Back in the 1990s aka as the Golden Age of Disney, the movies released by Disney tended to be phenomenal. Spanning different groups and different ethnic groups in the loosest sense of the term, Disney was the ultimate franchise based on American consumerism, the idea that being American is a state of mind. But aficianodos of the period of Disney do not tend to remember or pontificate about the imperialism or commodification or even the radicalism of Disney’s message but how good it was to be a child watching all those wondrous cartoons. Here is, in my opinion, the top five Diney movies of all times.
#5 The Little Mermaid
I remember having an Ariel curtain near my bed, so often and so fondly, do I remember being under the spell of Ariel. When I watched this movie as I was older, I was much taken aback with the radical message that did not exist in the original ‘Little mermaid’ – a sad little tale by Anderson (all his stories are sad in one way or another) whose ultimate message was stop disobedience in children through moral persuasion. While the original tale was cautionary and about the importance of one’s soul, this adaptation of Disney urges daughter to follow one’s dreams ( i.e. get hitched to a man of another species who may eat your friends at the age of 16 whom your father dislikes immensely ), objections be damned. Of course, the radical message made little sense to my young mind nor did the not-fit-for-little-children scenes seeped in to my consciousness. But this still formed a pivotal point, that ushered in other great Disney movies.
Mulan in a way is similar to The Little Mermaid in her disobedience but her act was an act of filial piety – her father was too old for conscription and she took her father’s place not for her own pleasure but for fulfilling her duty and obligation as a child, her gender be damned. Of course, I remember this movie being a girls can kick ass film. This was a great Disney film.
#3Beauty and the Beast
I don’t need to say anything. Its THAT good.
One thing that one would notice about Alladin is how much both men and women liked it – this was a movie that both sexes were enthusiastic about it, mostly because Alladin was not like every other prince or leading man that Disney usually trots out – as in, he has some personality. He also looks different from the other princes who all look monotonously the same unlike the Disney princess (except for Beauty and the Beast where the prince has to look different). This Aladdin bears little resemblance to the Aladdin of the Thousand and One Nights but no one cares at this point; it was just a great movie.
#1 Lion King
The best adaptation of the Hamlet in animated form, this was a phenomenal movie mostly known for kicking off a Broadway musical that has been in the #1 spot for a long time. Its such a shame that this is the only movie that was set in Africa but this has been Disney’s finest movie yet; a story about redemption that set a record in animation films in just monetary terms. There is no doubt in my mind about its place at spot 1.