Recently, Entertainment Weekly posted a list of films that they consider the best and worst animated Disney films of all time. Here’s the link. Now for the most part their best list is okay, let’s take a meander at it. The films on their best include Bambi, good choice. As it is a good film and as stated it has perhaps one of the most memorable death scenes but also in a way, it’s a lesson about growing up. Beauty and The Beast, this one is to be expected but not without reason as it’s a classic. The Jungle Book, again a fun little film. Not sure I’d put it on the list of Best Disney films personally but that’s just me. Peter Pan, another fun movie and plus who doesn’t love Captain Hook and Tic Tock. Snow White, it would feel wrong if this film wasn’t mentioned. The Lion King just like Beauty and The Beast, I saw this one coming. 101 Datamations, happy to see this film get the love it deserves as it seems to be overlooked these days. Aladdin, again obvious choice. The Artistocats, odd choice as while I don’t hate the film, I know many people that consider this film to be weaker then some of the other Disney films. Pinocchio, again not a bad film and it does deserve to be here. And Dumbo was on there as well, yay. Lady and The Tramp, good enjoyable romantic story. Hunchback, again happy to see this one get the love it deserves as even with the gargoyles (who I don’t mind) it is a bloody good film. Fantasia, Walt’s magum opus, so yes it does deserve this spot. Cinderella, another wonderful film that admittedly I feel is a bit dated but nevertheless, very good. The Little Mermaid, happy to see this one on the best but it’s not a big surprise. Mulan, this one does surprise a little as while it isn’t a bad film, I don’t know that I’d put in the same league as films such as Aladdin or Mermaid. Alice In Wonderland, okay movie, I was never a big fan growing up as this movie freaked the hell out of me. Tangled, yay one of my new favorites is getting the love it deserves. Now we’ve gone over the best list and for the most part, I can agree with it as I feel most of these films are enjoyable. The only one I don’t understand is The Artistocats. But I more want to focus on the worst side of this list. Just wanted to give you a rundown of what they considered best but now let’s focus on the worst and for this one, I’ll also make sure to include their reasoning. The first film on the worst list is one that I know a lot of you are going to disagree with….
The Great Mouse Detective
And what did our fine friends that Entertainment Weekly have to say about this film to warrant it a place on the Worst list. Let’s find out.
The first hand-drawn Disney movie to significantly incorporate computer animation is a slight, stuffy affair. Coming at the end of Disney’s two-decade artistic doldrums, this Sherlock Holmes tribute about the investigative rodents leaving beneath 221b Baker Street is marked by bizarre tonal shifts: the terrifying sight of a mouse being fed alive to a cat is followed up shortly by… a mouse striptease. Um, who exactly was the audience for this film? —Christian Blauvelt
Yes, there are some tonal shifts but they don’t actually elaborate on that and I think that would help and really calling this movie for having a striptease to me almost sounds desperate. Because other sutdios have been sneaky in stuff worse than that and personally, I find that scene to a bit funny. As to their question of who this film is for. I’d argue that this is a Disney film for a older more mature audience and yes it has dark elements but that does not make it bad. Quite the opposite, in my opinion it enhances the story because as they state this is Disney’s take on Sherlock and Mr. Holmes faced some pretty nasty stuff in his time. So why shouldn’t a Disney film that uses Sherlock Holmes as it’s basis have some dark elements to it. Next up…
I take a lot of personal issue with this one Especially for their so called reasoning as to why they placed it on their worst list.
The last of Disney’s animated musicals in the ’90s is its weakest. And the reason for that is two words: Phil Collins. Actually, that’s being a bit harsh. His songs are lackluster, but so is the animation. Instead of visualizing the famous jungle-dweller swinging from vines, Disney’s artists imagined him surfing along branches, an effect that’s silly and disorienting. Worst of all for the studio, the fact that Tarzan scored $171 million at the U.S. box office may have influenced their decision to adapt another Edgar Rice Burroughs character for the big screen: John Carter. —Christian Blauvelt
Okay, first I have to ask what is all the Phil Collins hate? Since when, did we as a society decide to mock him? When he is actually a good musician and delivered wonderful songs for this film that are not lackluster. Are they as memorable as Can You Feel The Love Tonight? or One Jump Ahead. Yes, they are. They may not be as good as those songs but are just as memorable and also I highly disagree that the animation is lackluster and maybe it’s just me but I thin the tree surfing added to it. Also, it feels like a stretch to assume that Disney made John Carter because of how well, this film (by the way, that’s on their worst live action Disney film list) This is one that I’m sorry but I can’t wrap my head around.
Oh, boy I fear mentioning the next one as well, I’m not a big fan of it myself.
On paper, this should be a Disney Princess movie par excellence: a classic fairytale intended for 70 mm projection with a score that samples Tchaikovsky. But the result is as soporific as the spell cast over the title character. —Christian Blauvelt
Yeah, another I like but I know it hasn’t aged well. Let’s see what they had to say about this film.
The fact that this update of the exiled Olympian’s life features bloody violence, gross-out humor, and possibly James Woods’ most disturbing performance to date — which isreally saying something — is bad enough. The fact that this Grecian dud ended the six-film winning streak kicked off by The Little Mermaid eight years earlier is a tragedy worthy of Sophocles. Zero to hero? No. Just zero.—Christian Blauvelt
Okay, here’s my biggest issue with this one, they are trying to call it out for be too violent. Let’s go back to their best list a sec and look at one of the films they put on there, which is much more violent then this film. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Now I know what you may be thinking that you can’t compare the two but which do you think has more violence. Me, Hunchback and along the same line with the violence, this could and in my opinion should be looked as part action film and with an action, violence is part of the territory. Is it one of the stronger film, no but I don’t think violence is a good thing to use against it when as I said this film could be viewed an action film.
The next one, I can understand both sides of the coin as I’ve seen rabid arguments against it and for it being a cult film. Personally, I don’t hate it but it’s one of my favorites either…
The Black Cauldron
As I said up above, I have no actual feelings towards or against this film because to be honest, I haven’t seen it in ages.
Disney had long wanted to purchase the rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ringsfor animated film adaptations. Needless to say, the Tolkien estate refused. So the studio decided instead to adapt another sword-and-sorcery fantasy, Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain. Newly-appointed animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg was so horrified by the results that he decided to delay The Black Cauldron‘s original 1983 release by six months and reedit the film himself. That still didn’t help.
I have no actual opinion here but I will say that if your interested in the back story behind this film and the Disney Renaissance in general, I suggest the fantastic documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. The next one coming up is another that I greatly enjoy.
This is one that I can understand why it would be placed on a worst list as compared to some of the others, it is a tad forgettable. Now let’s see what they had to say about this film.
The $88.5 million box office haul of Brother Bear in 2003 would, in any other year, have seemed respectable. But the $339.7 million raked in by its Pixar rival, Finding Nemo, all but drowned it. The bigger problem, though, was that Brother Bear, the story of an Inuit boy turned into a grizzly after seeking revenge on the bear that killed his brother, couldn’t compete artistically with Nemo either.
Here’s the big issue I take with this one. To me, it seems as though the reasoning to place it on the worst is just because of the box office and perhaps that I haven’t been paying much attention to the list but this seems to be the biggest factor in them choosing to place this film on the worst list. Now if this was a list of the Disney films about Disney box office, maybe that would’ve made sense and also they say that the film couldn’t compete with Nemo on an artistic level. I would’ve liked it if they had expanded upon this to explain what they actually meant.
The next two choices are perhaps the most obvious choices for the worst list and there isn’t really much to say. I give you Chicken Little and Home on The Range
Here’s what they had to say about Chicken Little.
The sky is falling, the sky is falling! And so was Disney’s ambition.
I’ll admit that is a bit humorous. And as for Home on The Range.
There’s a lot to like about Home on the Range: the fact that Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Tilly voice its bovine leads, Bonnie Raitt’s terrific song ”Will the Sun Ever Shine Again,” and… that’s about it. A lazy effort that would have seemed more at home on TV as a Saturday morning cartoon than a big-screen feature.
I think they actually got this one right and pretty much sums everything that doesn’t work with it as it does feel more like a Saturday Morning Cartoon then a Disney film released in theaters. Makes me wonder if this had been done as TV show during One Saturday Morning, if it would have been better. Probably not but just speculation on my part. For the last two on here, I’m changing things up as the very last film that I want to talk about I have a lot to say about. The second to last film on their Worst is Robin Hood.
And what did they have to say about this film. Let’s see.
Ooh-de-lally, ooh-de-lally, golly what a lousy movie. Don’t think twice, watch 1938′s The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn instead.
Uh, Entertainment Weekly. I know this is your list and all and it’s fine if you choose to place films that not everyone will agree with on your Worst list but you should, oh I don’t know. The words coming to me, it’s on the tip of my tongue. What is it again? Oh, right, you should…
That’s it, you didn’t actually explain why you placed this on your Worst list. See the problem here. I can’t take this seriously because how you tell me to do is watch a different Robin Hood film without actually stating what you find wrong with this one other than calling it a lousy film. This really isn’t helping you. Now we’ve gone over most of the Worst list and for the most part, I really didn’t agree but none of them really got me steaming until I saw a certain film they decided to put on their Worst list. I’ll give you all a hint, Uncle Remus. Yes, that’s right they put Song of The South on their Worst list. I repeat they put Song of The South on their Worst list. Let’s see how they try to justify this.
Song of The South
It’s a great irony of Disney’s filmmaking history that one of its most technologically progressive efforts should also be among its most socially regressive. Based on Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus stories, Song of the South is a disturbingly idyllic presentation of Reconstruction Era southern plantation life, glutted with racial stereotypes — as such, it’s never received any home video release. But it’s also one of the earliest, and most ambitions, attempts at mixing live-action photography with animation, an enduring technique also explored in 1949′s So Dear to My Heart, 1964′sMary Poppins, 1987′s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and 2007′s Enchanted. Despite the film itself being kept under lock and key in the Disney Vault, Song of the South‘s characters and setting inspired the Disney theme parks’ wildly popular Splash Mountain rides. And of course, this was the movie to give the world ”Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”
I will say I appreciate that they do give this film, the credit it deserves but at the same time, it almost seems as though they are only placing this one on the Worst list because of the racist stigma surrounding it and if that’s the logic, they used shouldn’t Dumbo also be on the list because of the Crows. Look, I’m not saying that’s the case but that honestly seems to be the case and I also have to ask, where they saw the film. Perhaps, they viewed it on YouTube as it’s available to view there but I would like to think that Entertainment Weekly, a magazine that is distributed nationally would use a more credible source and to me, this one feels as though they just chose it to be controversial. This one is the biggest gripe I have with the Worst list. I actually had to comment on this one because I felt that their placing on Worst was because of the racist stigma this film had attached to it.
At the end of the day, I know this is just someone’s opinion but I sometimes feel as though with this list that they didn’t explain why the films they chose made their Worst list and also interesting to note from The Black Cauldron on here, the author stopped listing their name. Makes me wonder if they knew that people liked these films or if it was a different article writer. I can’t say that I agree with this list and perhaps my biggest issue aside from Song of The South which are most noticeable with Robin Hood and Sleeping Beauty is that they don’t actually explain. Let me know if you’d like to see me go in further detail with the best side of this list like I did with the Worst, let me know in the comments. Peace!