There is a name that has skipped across our collective childhoods, dancing and singing all the way; a name connected with princesses, catchy songs, and a talking mouse. This name is Disney. To be more specific, I’m talking about the Walt Disney Animation Studio.
For many of us, Disney is a name associated with childhood; fun adventures, beautiful art and, of course, the always growing collection of Disney merchandise. The lessons we learned, from “Believe in yourself” to “Never tell a lie” have, it seems, stayed with us as we grew older, stamped in our minds by stunning animation and catchy tunes. Now, many of us are sharing these stories with our children, nieces, and nephews or rediscovering them as adults.
When you watch Disney as an adult, however, how does it hold up? Are the stories still exciting and (mostly) clever? Is the animation still as beautiful as it looked to your young eyes? Will you be singing “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” for the rest of the day now that I have mentioned it? In an attempt to answer these questions, as well as many more, I am going to watch every film in the Disney Cannon (all 51 of the full-length animated features that Disney officially claims) and do some digging and soul searching.
As I watch each movie, I am going to review them as honestly as possible, without my nostalgia goggles. Each review will be based on the story as presented, the music, and the artwork, as well as examining the plot when compared to the source material and, finally, looking at what each film can tell us about the time period it was made. Questions will include the following: what was the film made to do, and does it succeed? How does the culture of the film’s era of creation affect the story and the characters? What are the driving points that the film is trying to get across? Does it all hold up? These are questions that I, for one, am excited to ask, and look forward to trying to find answers for.
As I embark on this 51-week journey of Disney fun, I invite you to join me. I’ll post the next film at the end of each review if you want to watch along with me during the week. And, of course, please comment if anything in the film stands out to you or you find my conclusions to be just too out there!
So please, be my guest, (if you will) as I try to discover if the Disney Animated Classics truly are tales old as time or if they should have just tried to dig a little deeper (the Disney puns will continue, so be prepared). Either way, I look forward to learning more about one of the great influences on my childhood and sharing my thoughts with you all.
For next week, the one that started it all: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
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