Movie Review

Road To Disney: The Revival

road to disney 2

Welcome back to Road To Disney. Well, we’re at the final stretch of our journey. Disney in the 2000s had its fair share of bumps in the road (in some cases, giant potholes), but ever since they hired John Lasseter, they managed to get their A-game back and put out quality movies. Just like with the Renaissance and the Silver Age, it was back to basics and thus, from 2009 to now, we have the Revival or as some like to call it, the Second Renaissance. During this point, Disney has gotten better at computer-animated movies even at the cost of their traditionally animated ones. The fairy tales were back and are revitalized with subversions of typical Disney tropes and are mixed in with Pixar influences. Let’s wrap up Road To Disney with the Revival, starting with…

The Princess And The Frog

Release Date: December 11, 2009

Tiana is a waitress hoping to start her own restaurant in New Orleans. She comes across a prince named Naveen who was turned into a frog by the evil Shadow Man and who mistook her for a princess. When she kisses him, hoping to reverse the spell, she gets turned into a frog herself. Now they both have to find a way to turn back to normal before it’s too late. This was the first traditionally animated Disney movie since Home On The Range. Yep. Five years of no traditional animation on the big screen. So you can imagine my excitement for this movie and I enjoyed it. The animation is almost a return to classic Disney, mixed in with a Cajun look to it. Tiana is one of the best main characters in a Disney movie. Smart, goal-oriented, and focused. Plus, it’s nice for black girls to have a princess that looks like them. Naveen is egotistical, but charming. Both characters go through the rom-com thing where they bicker a lot, but they eventually get along and fall in love and come to reality with their own flaws. Though his plan is a bit convoluted, we have a great villain in The Shadow Man, voiced by Keith David, who has the perfect villain voice. Also, is it me or does he look like Oscar Proud? The other characters are really good, too, like Louis, the friendly trumpet-playing alligator who wants to play in a jazz band, Ray, a redneck firefly in love with a star, and Tiana’s friend with the Southern accent who cracks me up every time. I also dig the music, especially Almost There and Friends On The Other Side. It captures that New Orleans jazz vibe perfectly. If you can’t tell, I really like this movie and I’m kinda sad that it wasn’t that big of a hit. Don’t get me wrong, it made money, but it wasn’t exactly the box office smash Disney were hoping it would be. Plus, it was released in the same month as Avatar and the second shitty-ass Alvin & The Chipmunks movie. Regardless, it’s getting an 8/10 from me.

Tangled

Release Date: November 24, 2010

Based on the story of Rapunzel, a princess with long magical hair is kept in a secluded tower by Mother Gothel, who uses her hair to stay younger. Longing to explore the outside world, Rapunzel leaves with a thief named Flynn Rider and experiences a world she doesn’t know about. One thing that Disney is really good at is taking classic fairy tales and give them a new spin. That’s especially true for Rapunzel and Tangled. Though I personally wouldn’t call it one of my favorites, it’s still really good. Funny thing is that the advertisement for the movie made it seem like a DreamWorks film, but the final product is all Disney. This is a beautifully animated film. By this point, Disney has perfected computer animation the way Pixar did. Just look at this shot.

Rapunzel reminds me a lot of Ariel from The Little Mermaid, both of them are teenagers curious about a world that they don’t know and are fascinated by what they see out there. Flynn Rider is the cynical puckish rogue and Mother Gothel is kind of a weak villain. The horse is hilarious just because of how dedicated he is to capturing Flynn. Speaking of, this movie is really funny. My favorite scene is when Rapunzel and Flynn go to a bar to escape Gothel and soldiers looking to arrest Flynn. It went at a direction that I did not expect. I don’t remember any of the songs. Yeah, they just didn’t stick out to me. A bit too poppy for my taste and not Disney enough. I don’t love Tangled, but it’s a good flick regardless. I give it an 8/10.

Winnie The Pooh

Release Date: July 15, 2011

While searching for honey, Winnie The Pooh comes across Eeyore, who lost his tail. All the residents in the Hundred Acre Wood try to find a replacement tail for him. Then, Pooh misreads a note, thinking that Christopher Robin was kidnapped. He tells everyone and they try to find a way to save him. Ladies and gentlemen, the last traditionally animated Disney film released in U.S. theaters. That’s kinda sad. Traditional animation is a dying art in America. Oh, and it was released at the same time as the last Harry Potter movie, which is like releasing a movie at the same time as a Star Wars movie now, it’s going to get demolished. Still, this is a decent movie, but not as good as The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. Instead of multiple stories, this movie has only two and while they’re not the strongest, they’re well-told stories. All of our favorite characters are back with new voices and the same charm. The music is pretty nice, too, replicating the same feel as the Sherman Brothers. This time around, the theme song is sung by Zooey Deschanel. For what it is, Winnie The Pooh is a good enough film that’ll entertain those who love The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. I give it a 7/10.

Wreck-It Ralph

Release Date: November 2, 2012

In a world of video game characters, Wreck-It Ralph is the bad guy to an arcade game called Fix-It Felix. Tired of being the bad guy, Ralph decides to travel to other video games where he can be viewed as a good guy. Here’s a film that combines two things I love: Disney and video games. One of the big appeals of this movie are the cameos from famous and classic video game characters. It looked to be like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but for video games. And for the most part, it wasn’t. But considering the story we got, that’s a good thing. It takes advantage of the video game world and gives us some creative and funny ideas and scenes while blending retro games with newer ones. Plus, it’s always interesting to see a story where the main character isn’t a hero. The voice acting is amazing and they picked the perfect people for each role: John C. Reilly as Ralph, Sara Silverman as Vanellope, a glitch in a candy-themed racing game, Jane Lynch as Sgt. Calhoun, a soldier from a Halo parody, Alan Tudyk as King Candy, the main villain, etc. The relationships between the characters are strong, especially Ralph and Vanellope and Felix and Calhoun. There are also twists surrounding Vanellope and King Candy that I won’t reveal, just watch the movie. Wreck-It Ralph is an example of taking advantage of a great set-up and delivering a funny, heartwarming story that’s also a love letter to gamers. I’m looking forward to the sequel coming out this year, though I think the name is stupid. Shouldn’t it be Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet instead of Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2? Whatever. That’s just me being nitpicky. I give Wreck-It Ralph a 9/10.

Frozen

Release Date: November 27, 2013

Anna and Elsa are two princesses from the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa possesses ice powers that she can’t control. Later on, Elsa becomes the Queen of Arendelle, but when she accidentally reveals her ice powers, she runs away to isolation. This leaves Anna to team up with an iceman named Kristoff and his trusty reindeer to find her sister and save the kingdom from an eternal winter. Oh, boy. This will be fun to talk about. I remember when this film came out and nearly everyone loved it. They wouldn’t shut up about it, they kept singing the songs, and quoting the lines. You couldn’t walk 10 feet in public without seeing Frozen merchandise of some kind or go online without seeing something related to Frozen. It’s currently the highest-grossing animated film of all time. OF ALL TIME. There hasn’t been a Disney movie that’s gotten this much attention since The Lion King. Then came the backlash. All of a sudden, people either hate it or are just sick and tired of it. Hell, just look at the negative reception of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure playing before Coco. And Disney are planning on a sequel. It’s obvious that they’re just milking this franchise until it’s dry. They did the same thing with those godawful straight-to-video sequels a decade ago. Nearly 5 years later, if you take away all the hype and marketing and overexposure, Frozen is still a good movie. *look outside window*

“Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill Kill. Kill.”

Let. Me. Explain. Is it overrated? Yes. Are there issues? Yes. Anna can be a bit of a dumbass, there’s one song in the movie that you could cut out and miss nothing, the third act is weak compared to the first and second, and there’s a poorly-developed twist villain that comes straight out of butt-fucking nowhere. In spite of that, there are a lot of great things in this film as well. The animation is beautiful. I love the winter look and aesthetics. It’s clear a lot of time and passion went into animating this movie. A lot of cliches associated with Disney films are subverted while other ones are followed by the dot and it’s all done naturally. Elsa and Anna are great characters who represent two opposite extremes. Elsa is more of an introvert trying not to hurt anyone with her powers while Anna is a carefree extrovert open to new things. You see that they care about each other and want to save one another, but they show it in a different way. Kristoff is a charming character and so is his reindeer companion. Olaf is one of the better comic relief characters in Disney history, he never got annoying to me. Even though he’s the comic relief, all of the other characters are funny as well, especially Anna and Kristoff. There’s also Hans, who Anna falls in love with, but surprise, he’s the twist villain and his motivation is stupid. Do I even need to talk about the music? You all know the songs, especially Let It Go. Dear Christ, that song got spins and covers everywhere. It’s a good song and all, but people got to chill.

Is Frozen the best Disney movie of all time? No. But, again, this is a good movie and I’m glad I’ve watched it and will most likely watch it again. I give it a strong 8/10. I await your differing opinions, internet.

Big Hero 6

Release Date: November 7, 2014

In the futuristic San Fransokyo, Hiro Hamada hopes to be a great inventor like his older brother Tadashi. When Tadashi dies in a fire, Hiro becomes depressed and loses all motivation. Then, he befriends one of his brother’s creations, an inflatable medical bot named Baymax and they team up with Tadashi’s friends to find the culprit of the fire. This is the first Disney animated movie to be based on a Marvel property, more specifically, a comic series called Big Hero 6. Since Disney owns Marvel, they can get away with it. Like every Disney movie, this version is MUCH different from the source material.

Seriously.

And I think they did a decent job with this movie. The story is your typical superhero story with some really powerful emotional moments, especially between Hiro and Baymax. Their relationship is the best part of the movie. Hiro just lost his older brother and all Baymax want to do is make him feel better as it’s in his programming. Plus, Baymax is ten levels of adorable. The other characters are kinda standard and the villain isn’t that compelling, even with the twist. Oh, and stick around after the credits. There’s also a Stan Lee cameo because no Marvel property feels complete without a Stan Lee cameo. This movie at times feels like an extended pilot of a TV series, which this did get. As for the movie, it has some cool action, funny moments, and genuine heart between the leads. I like it and I’m giving it a 7/10.

For reviews of Zootopia and Moana, click here and here.

And thus, we’re at the end. I’ve had fun looking through 80+ years of Disney films and seeing what changed and what hasn’t, the wonders and the blunders. What does the future hold for this company? More great films? Another Dark Age? World domination? Who knows? All I can say is keep the magic going. Here’s my official ranking of all the Disney movies from best to worst based on my opinion. Feel free to leave your own ranking in the comments below and what you think is the best Disney movie.

  1. The Lion King
  2. Beauty And The Beast
  3. Great Mouse Detective
  4. The Rescuers Down Under
  5. Fantasia
  6. Zootopia
  7. Aladdin
  8. Mulan
  9. Lilo & Stitch
  10. The Little Mermaid
  11. Peter Pan
  12. Wreck-It Ralph
  13. Pinocchio
  14. The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mister Toad
  15. Bambi
  16. The Jungle Book
  17. Hunchback Of Notre Dame
  18. Meet The Robinsons
  19. Frozen
  20. Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
  21. The Princess And The Frog
  22. Tarzan
  23. Tangled
  24. Alice In Wonderland
  25. Cinderella
  26. Fantasia 2000
  27. Moana
  28. Bolt
  29. Make Mine Music
  30. Melody Time
  31. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
  32. Robin Hood
  33. Emperor’s New Groove
  34. Sleeping Beauty
  35. Big Hero 6
  36. Lady And The Tramp
  37. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  38. Treasure Planet
  39. Fox And The Hound
  40. Winnie The Pooh
  41. The Three Caballeros
  42. Dumbo
  43. Fun And Fancy Free
  44. Saludos Amigos
  45. Hercules
  46. Pocahontas
  47. One Hundred And One Dalmatians
  48. The Sword In The Stone
  49. Oliver & Company
  50. Rescuers
  51. Dinosaur
  52. Aristocats
  53. Brother Bear
  54. Black Cauldron
  55. Home On The Range
  56. Chicken Little

Peace!!

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5 thoughts on “Road To Disney: The Revival

  1. yeah, this was definitely a return to form for Disney, and I’m glad they’re releasing good movies consistantly again. Several of these movies gave me that same feeling I had when I was a kid when the movies from the Renaissance era came out. The Princess And The Frog was a movie that should have done better than it did, but sadly it was up against both Alvin and The Chimpmunks (“growls angrily”), and most notably Avatar. Given that Avatar is one of the highest grossing films of all-time, there was no way The Princess and The Frog was gonna do any better than it did, which is sad. That said, it’s great movie, and I’m glad Disney decided to make a princess movie with a predominantly African-American cast. And the animation was awesome, I really wish hand-drawn animation in animated movies wasn’t extinct. I honestly think there should still be room for those. Computer animation’s great, but it gets tiring after a while. Tangled is pretty good, and I liked Rapunzel and Flynn, but the movie didn’t leave a long-lasting impact on me. It’s serviceable and I wouldn’t oppose to watching it again, but it didn’t really strike me as a movie that’s going to be sticking with me for the long haul. Also, the music isn’t memorable and a product of its’ time, and the mom villain is weaksauce. I didn’t watch Winnie The Pooh because I outgrew the character ages ago, plus it wasn’t really all that advertised. It really is a shame that this had to be the last hand-drawn animated film. Hopefully, they’ll start making those again. I can only hope. Wreck-It-Ralph is one of my favorite Disney animated movies of all-time just for the fact that it’s about video games. Growing up, I was a HUGE gamer, and played obsessively in the arcade and on my video game systems growing up, whether it was on the original Nintendo, the Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, the Game Boy, Playstation, you name it. The movie really clicked with me, and it brings me back those memories. I still play video games (I have the PS4), but not as much as I used to. Plus, the main characters were all likable, especially Ralph, Vanelope and Felix. Oh boy, is Frozen ever overexposed. Never in my 32 years I’ve been alive have I ever seen an animated Disney movie as overhyped and as talked about as Frozen. Even The Lion King didn’t get this much attention. And I was around in 1994, I don’t recall that movie ever getting THAT much exposure despite being the highest-grossing film of that year. It’s just recently that I’ve been seeing The Lion King get so much love. But Frozen, every kid I knew wouldn’t shut up about this movie. And don’t even get me started on Let It Go. If I hear that song again, I’m gonna go insane. It’s still everywhere, which is unbelievable. That being said, Frozen is a good movie. I do like Elsa and Anna, Olaf is okay with me, and despite some flaws, I do think this was a really good movie with some good songs and great animation. And even though I just bashed Let It Go, it is a really good and powerful song (I really dislike the Demi Lovato cover, though. No offense, man, but I really don’t like pop covers of Disney songs). My problem is that the movie itself isn’t as great as it’s hyped up to be. I never really got how or why this movie was such a phenomenon. Maybe it was the fact that it the first Disney princess movie to get any real exposure since the 90’s (no offense to Princess and The Bride or Tangled, but they weren’t huge hits), plus it brought back the Broadway-styled musicals from that era. But still, if I’m being honest, I really don’t think Frozen ranks among the greatest Disney masterpieces of all time. To me, it’s just another standard princess movie that’s well animated and has good music. Heck, I wouldn’t even say it’s the best Disney movie of this decade (Wreck-It-Ralph, Zootopia and Moana are at the top of my list in that department). It’s a good movie, but super overrated. I like Big Hero 6. While it is a standard superhero team movie, the characters are likable and I really love Baymax. You just want to give a big hug with that marshmellowy-type design. Other than that, it’s solid, but not great. Zootopia is an example of a movie blowing away expectations. From the trailers and just the character designs, I thought it was going to be a generic kiddie movie that even by Disney standards, it looked dumb. I did not expect it to be a great, extremely likable movie with social commentary and a storyline that makes you think. This movie more than exceeded my expectations and I’m all the happy for it. Moana to me is what I didn’t get out of Frozen, which is a magical experience that reminded me of the Disney I knew and love growing up. The music was spectacular and in my opinion, better than Frozen’s music (yeah, I said it). How Far I’ll Go is a much better and more listenable version of Let It Go. And I really love all the characters, especially Moana herself and Maui. Plus, being from an island myself (though it’s a caribbean island, not a Polynesian/Samoan-type one) I can relate to these people. Overall, it was great to see the history of Disney animated movies, and I hope they continue to make great movies. They have been part of my life since I was a little kid and will keep being a part of my life until the day I die. Looking forward to where Disney goes from here in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leo, is it okay if I give my thoughts on your post and you can tell me what you think of it:

      1. Currently as I’m writing this post, the only films I’ve yet to see are Tangled, Big Hero 6 And Winnie The Pooh but I’m going to find a library to rent them from to complete the revival viewings.
      2. Wreck It Ralph did have a lot of cameos but thankfully had a nice story to not just feel like a advertisement for products. It’s nice to see how clever they wove in game Easter eggs like the Konami code used for a secret door into the plot
      3. Despite overplay, Let It Go is still a 2014 Song I love and Frozen doesn’t really deserve its hate. You still get a nice story, characters and animation plus I liked how it feels like the first Disney film to begin the trend of poking f7n of its tropes
      4. The Princess And The Frog could have made more money but Avatar opened a few days later so maybe James Cameron stole a bit of its thunder? Also the 2nd Chipmunks film came out so you could probably blame them too😤but oh boy, I’m so happy 😍 they were able to bring back 2D animated films even though it was currently short lived after 2011 😔
      5. Zootopia really impressed everyone and it’s nice that Disney really picked up the slack from last decade. This felt like an apology for 2005’s Chicken Little where they now balanced the humour with characters you can sympathize with instead of wanting to kick in the balls and speaking of balls, they definitely had some to have a cartoon film about racism and stereotypes. Though fans labeled the animal version as specisim. Also I feel alone in liking the theme song Try Everything by Shakira. Yeah it’s a standard empowerment anthem but it’s not worth raging over.
      6. Moana was a nice princess film to end 2016 and I love how Maui voiced by Dwayne Johnson makes fun of the princess tropes? Lin Manuel Miranda really did a great job with the sound track.
      7. Bhop if you’re reading this, do you think you could have done quick re-reviews of Zootopia and Moana again just for this post? I know you gave them separate film reviews but they did play a part in the revival lineup plus since it’s been 2 years since their release, maybe you could have had more time to think about the impact they had on culture? It also would have been a nice ending since you’d have gone up to the most recent in the releases

      Like

      1. Considering I said everything that needed to be said about Zootopia and Moana in their own reviews, I didn’t see a point in re-reviewing them.

        Like

      2. The thing with Frozen is that I honestly don’t think it’s one of the best Disney movie ever. I don’t really feel it warrants all the amount of praise and exposure it’s gotten. It did bring back that feel of the 90’s and the classic days of the Disney princess movies and musicals, but aside from that, I don’t see what’s so special about this movie that merits so much attention. I don’t hate the movie, as a matter of fact I think it’s pretty good, but I don’t think it’s a masterpiece like a lot of people think. It got to a point where Let It Go was so HUGE, that it actually crossed over to top 40 radio and peaked in the TOP 5 on the Billboard charts. That rarely ever happens to a Disney song from a movie that isn’t a pop cover. I was like “yes, it’s a movie, but jeez, calm down people. It’s not THAT special”. Still, I’d take Let It Go over Try Everything anyday. I’m sorry, but that Shakira song was the only thing about Zootopia I didn’t like. It sounds dated, generic, lacks any real punch for an empowerment anthem, it’s forgettable and doesn’t exactly scream “Disney”. Also, Shakira’s done much better than this.

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