I figured I would start off the new year with a goal — Begin each month with a different “Top x” list. This month, I decided to visit one of those genres that had an early impact on me, as well as everyone else — Disney Animation. Now I am not talking about any of the Pixar movies — I love them, but I am focusing on traditional, 2-D Disney Animation — Think of it as a list, Steamboat-Willie style…
So without further ado, let the debates begin:
5. Fun & Fancy-Free (1947)
This is not one that springs to people’s minds often, but it holds an enormous amount of sentimentality for me. This movie is actually two cartoons in one: Bongo and Mickey & the Beanstalk. One of my first books was a huge collection of Disney stories, of which Bongo was one — to see it on film proved that my imagination pictured things correctly. When I was little, my mom would put on a whole stack of records for me to listen to as I played in the living room. One of those records was Mickey & the Beanstalk. It was only in my 20’s that I finally saw the cartoon that had been playing in my head for decades.
4. Pinocchio (1940)
I really identified with this character growing up. I was adopted as a young baby and had two loving “Geppettos” raise me. I often broke their hearts by getting into trouble, lying, and not being a “good boy.” Like Pinocchio, I finally learned my lessons and did become a real boy…err….man.
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
This is a movie that almost needs its own classification. Purely hand-drawn and beautifully done, very few Disney movies can match the shear artistry of this film. Humans have never looked so real in the traditional animated form. Walt hit it out of the park with this first full-length animated feature.
2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
I am sure many of you are scratching your heads at this entry. Many times in life, I have felt like Quasimodo, but I have overcome those feelings. There is not a Disney movie with a more beautiful song than “God Help The Outcasts” and the artwork is amazing. While not for little ones, to skip this movie is to skip one of the truly underrated movies in Disney animation’s archives.
1. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Those who know me are not surprised at this one. Bottom line, this is the one Disney film that has it all for me: soundtrack, characters I strongly identify with, amazing and stunning artwork, tremendous story, and a true Best Picture Oscar nomination. It is because of this film that there is now a Best Animated Feature Oscar category.