I AM A DISNEY WOMAN!
Honestly, what’s not to love? Sweet stories, great animation, A LOT of amazing songs ideal for sing-along. It doesn’t get any better than that. I used to think I was the only adult, almost, to still love Disney films but I quickly disvovered that that’s not the case at all, although we might be a minority. As a kid I used to think that it would be something I would grow out of – my siblings, though a lot older than I, definitely don’t have Disney in their hearts – but it neveer happened. I’m almost 30 years old and I am certain that my own kids are going to love the fact that we can enjoy these movies together (or perhaps they will get annoyed because their mom always sing along to every single song).
I might as well say it right away: you’ll quickly discover that I am a 90s kid, and that it is highly reflected in my taste in movies. The Golden Era was from 1989 to 1998, no question about it. I have 11 movies on my list so buckle up and let’s get started.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Year of release: 1937
Along with many other widely known fairy tales Snow White was first published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, and I am not surprised that Walt Disney chose this to be his first ever film length animation. Although it is clear that the team struggled with not only the animation of a human being, but what turned out to be even more difficult: a male human being (which is why the prince in Snow White has very feminine features. Not to be judgy or anything), the result speaks for itself. I must admit that it is the story of the making of this movie that draws me in. It is a part of movie history, and a true wonder to behold. In terms of story I still prefer the original from 1812 but even I must admit that the dwarfs hold a special place in my heart. Especially Dopey and Bashful.
Best Song Award goes to: Someday My Prince Will Come
“… and then he will carry me away to his castle, where we will live happily ever after.”
The Little Mermaid
Year of release: 1989
Though based off of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen‘s The Little Mermaid (published in 1837) the Disney version is actually the one I encountered first. Which is why I was shocked when I read the real story. But as an adult I think I prefer the more tragic story because it feels more real. There is something haunting in the fact that she’d rather risk her life trying to get not only the handsome prince with whom she’d fallen in love with but a human soul so she would live on in heaven. Still, this movie holds a very special place in my heart as it is one of the first Disney movies I ever encountered and fell deeply in love with. Alan Menken, you are forever my hero for creating the score of my childhood. Not only for this gorgeous movie but for many others as well.
Best Song Award goes to: Part of Your World
“What would I pay to stay here beside you?“
Beauty and the Beast
Year of release: 1991
La Belle et la Bête was first published in 1740 by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve so it is indeed a tale as old as time, and has been through several different adaptations. I have never read the original story, but I have read some other versions that come closer to the 2017 adaptation, than this 1991 version does. I was 7 years old when I first saw this movie, or at least the beginning of it, because the terrifying look of an angry Beast scared me half to death and many years had to pass by before I dared go near it again. Though when I did I saw, as so many others before me, the true beauty of it and fell in love with the story, the animation and, of course, the songs. The prince is bland after transformation, and am I the only one who wanted him to stay a Beast? If I am then forget I said anything. On an end note I do have to say that the intro melody is still a bit creepy to me. It’s beautiful, piano and all, but at the same time kind of eerie.
Best Song Award goes to: Tale As Old As Time
“I let her go (…) because I love her.“
Year of release: 1992
“ARABIAN NIIIIIIIIGHTS….” God I love that song! As one of many Middle Eastern folk tales Aladdin was published in the 18th century in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. That it has always been a popular tale is not surprising if you know anything about human psychology. Who wouldn’t want to be granted 3 wishes by a genie? I love that Disney chose a tale outside Europe and the movie is blessed with the great Arabian architecture and clothing style. I remember being so envious of Jasmine’s voluminous long black hair, and I still think Disney cheated when they created a hairdo you simply cannot do without failing miserably. Jasmine, like Belle, is a strong female character who certainly is a match for the agile and quick-witted Aladdin, and I love the fact that the brilliant animator Mark Henn used his own sister, Beth Allen, as inspiration (Tom Cruise is the inspiration for Aladdin). This movie is pure greatness, and, come on, the Genie is voiced by Robin Williams. It doesn’t get any better than that. As all of the 90s movies I watched this in Danish all through my chilhood years until I finally watched it for the first time in English as a teenager, and I haven’t looked back since. Especially Aladdin’s voice is so much better in English because he sounds his age (18).
Best Song Award goes to: A Whole New World
“It’s all so magical.“
The Lion King
Year of release: 1994
THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME! I laugh, I gasp and I cry. I don’t know if it’s officially Disney most iconic film but if not it should be! Not because I love it more than the others but because everything about it is so different and fresh, even now more than 20 years later. This incredibly stunning masterpiece is so great that I don’t really have a lot to say about it, other than perhaps the fact that I won’t contaminate this movie with the English language (no offence). I have seen enough of it in English to be able to say that this stays Danish forever. “Sorry future kids. I guess you have to love it in Danish just as mommy does.” I tend to always go with the better version and in this case the Danish version is superior.
Year of release: 1995
Though a bit of controversy as to what some Native Americans think of this movie I do actually see this movie as a tribute. It doesn’t portray them as ruthless savages (if anything it is Governor John Ratcliffe along with the English crew that gets portrayed as such) but as a people in harmony with nature. Is it historically accurate? No, but come on, it’s a Disney movie! We all know that all kinds of crazy can happen in the universe of animation, such as the fact that none of us suddenly breaks out in song in the midst of… well, something. Anywho, there’s not much else to add other than watching Pocahontas saying goodbye, sending her love back to where he can be treated for his wounds, makes something fly into my eyes so they tear up. Every single time. Alan Menken doesn’t help the situation as he once again has created the perfect score. If you have time, listen to Farewell. I promise you, it gives you all the feels.
Best Song Award goes to: Colors of the Wind
“If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew“
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Year of release: 1996
As a kid I didn’t care much for this movie, but as an adult I cannot stress enough how amazing and important it is. Though Victor Hugo‘s Notre-Dame de Paris from 1831 is severel tones darker I think Disney managed the perfect balance between being true to how brutally real the story is and making a movie suitable for kids. It touches dark topics such as racism, religious bigotry and lust, arguably not suitable for kids at all, and yet it sadly is a very real part of our society, even today, and therefore something everyone has to be aware of. As always the animation is beautiful and the score unbelievable. Alan Menken does it again.
“Who is the monster and who is the man?“
Year of release: 1998
Based on a Chinese legend about Hua Mulan from… well, let’s just say it was a really long time ago. Long Chinese history and all that. As I understand it it was a song or a poem, and it has inspired this epic Disney movie. Another strong female character living in a time and a place where girls didn’t really matter (which is ridiculous but whatever), but then she used her brain and newly taught mad skills, and whoosh, from zero to hero she went (wrong movie, I know!). I have binge-watched this movie more times than I care to admit. I could cite the whole movie. And with the whole movie I mean the WHOLE movie! I distinctly remember my sister being very amused by it. It portrays war as I don’t think we’ve ever seen it in a Disney movie before or since (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m too lazy to find out). Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate what an utter hunk Li Shang is? *drool* I know that Mulan proclaims that she never wants to see a naked man again, but come on!, that was Yao – now had it been Shang… *more drool* You’re yummy in both English, Danish and Spanish. Also also, this movie has the most badass scary villain, as my dear Sophie @ Sophielouwho pointed out (if you want to check out her ranking of Disney villains click here). Shan Yu, please come to my next Halloween gathering. It could be epically awesome.
“I’m travel-sized for your convenience!”
Year of release: 2010
12 years went by with bad or mediocre movies and then finally: Tangled. I actually went to watch Tangled in the cinema, and my companion and I were the ONLY adults without at least one kid. It’s been a while since I watched a movie surrounded by that many kids under the age of 10. At some point I caught myself thinking: “should we have kidnapped a kid to bring or something? Do they even sell kids in the shop??” Joking aside, it was a bit weird but at that moment I learned that Thou Shall Not Be Discouraged By Being An Adult Disney Lover. And it is a great movie! I think we all knew the story beforehand, that’s definitely not why I love it. I love it because they finally cracked the code: ‘Disney prince with personality’. I know Flynn Rider (Eugene Fitzherbert – is that really the most geek name you could find, Disney? If that’s someone’s real name he’s not happy) is technically not a prince, at least not before marrying the blonde turned brunette, but my statement still stands: up to this point the prince has been really boring! I certainly watch Tangled to laugh at Flynn Rider. Seriously, he has all the great lines… AND he can sing! How can you not love a man like that? “Well, a fake reputation is all a man has.” Indeed Eugene, indeed.
Best Song Award goes to: I See the Light
“And for that one moment, everything was perfect … And then that moment ended.”
Year of release: 2013
This movie is officially the first Disney animation I’ve only watched in English. (Since I can’t remember if Tangled was in Danish at the cinema – which it might have been since there were kids present – and even though I haven’t watched it in Danish ever since, I still have to count Frozen as my first.) It’s very loosely based off of Hans Christian Andersen‘s Snedronningen, The Snow Queen, from 1845, but it’s so far away from the original story that I’d rather say that they were inspired by the character of the Snow Queen, and then went in the totally opposite direction. No matter what it is a great movie, and I was utterly impressed with their animation of snow; how real they made it look. I’d never seen that in an animated production before. I love the fact that Anna wakes up with morning hair, a thing never really seen before but something we can all relate too, right guys?… Guys?? Okay, bye… Great humor too, my favourite moments being “foot size doesn’t matter“, “the sky’s awake, so I’m awake, so we have to play” and Oaken’s “hoo-hoo. Big summer blowout!” It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it makes you care about the characters. All in all, an incredible production.
Best Song Award goes to: Let It Go
“Some people are worth melting for.“
Year of release: 2016
Based on Polynesian culture the look is refreshingly different (I mean, unless you’re Polynesian I suppose?) and so is the music. I love the colours, the azure sea and the story as a whole. AND I was pleasantly surprised when I suddenly heard Dwayne Johnson’s voice come out of the big man with all the tattoos. AWESOME! What I also love about this movie is that Moana doesn’t need a man to rescue her, and her goal has nothing to do with finding a prince charming (cue the flirty dancing kid). Plus, can we just acknowledge the genius who is Alan Tudyk? No one, and I mean NO ONE, could have pulled off playing Hei Hei other than him. Respect! Moana, you’re a modern gem, end of conversation.
“Sometimes our strengths lie beneath the surface … Far beneath, in some cases.”
If you’ve made it to the end, WELL DONE! I’m impressed. Honestly, I didn’t mean for this post to be so long but what can you do, it’s Disney. If you’re thinking “where the heck are all of the Pixar movies?” don’t worry, that’s a post on its own, and it is coming! I want to thank you for using a good portion of your time reading this. You are officially awesome, and before you leave I want you to remember that: “If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.”
What are your favourite Disney movies?
Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments down below.