Sunday, July 16, 2006

My Favourite Disney Films

We've just spent a weekend away - camping, for the first time as a family, though not self-catering - with one of the churches that we are members of. Malcolm Macgregor spoke. A good time was had by all, I believe.

Completely disconnected, here is a list of my five favourite Disney animations, in reverse order ...

5) Tarzan
An unusually good soundtrack (Phil Collins) - indeed, the only movie soundtrack I've ever bought, though I felt somewhat shortchanged afterwards. Particularly strong in the first half, where Tarzan is struggling with his identity, and his adopted mother is seeking to protect him.

4) Finding Nemo
Probably the most beautiful animation ever, in my opinion.

3) The Incredibles
Very clever film. Does anybody not love it?

2) Lilo and Stitch
Unexpected choice. Lovely animation, subtle but knowing plot, with references to all sorts of other films, and various issues flagged in a low-key way (genetic engineering, obsessive disorders for example).

1) The Emperor's New Groove
Unexpected choice, I imagine, but it is enjoyable and fun. A brilliant script, good characters - both the sympathetic "good guys" and the suitably villainous "bad guy" - and animation that is stylistically "retro". The restaurant scene is particularly clever, as is the chase finale. "I've turned into a cow. May I be excused?". More quotes here.

Strongly biased towards recent releases, I notice. We didn't see many films when I was growing up, and when I compare these films with those I've seen since, I just think these are stronger. Probably my favourite older one is "Jungle Book".

Disney films are, of course, generally derided by serious critics. I suppose the problem with Disney isn't in the themes it addresses - which are universal - identity, relations with parents and so on. It's that it seems to "cheapen" them, by making them commercial. But then, isn't that what every writer or film director is seeking to do, I wonder?