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My Top 10 Favourite Disney Films Part 1 (Disney 100th Anniversary Special)


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Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to welcome you all for a very special occasion. For this month, we are in a grand celebration for one of the biggest media enterprises of all time. This is a celebration for 100 years with a company that has made a million childhoods and inspired generations of people all around the world. That company of course...is Disney.


Themediamanblog humbly welcomes you all to Disney Month, where throughout the month of October I'll be posting Disney related posts to celebrate this momentous occasion. And I have the PERFECT way to start off this centenary special! And that will be to countdown my Top 10 Favourite Disney movies.


I cannot make this clear enough readers: I. LOVE. DISNEY. Yes, I know, the company is full of evil scumbags who couldn't care less about you as long as you give them money but the same can be said about any company. No, I love Disney for the content it's created over these past 100 years. With legendary movies, timeless stories and awe-inspiring animation to bring them to life, Disney has touched the hearts of many, myself included and will continue to do so for years to come.


For those who'd like to know, my history with Disney all started with the Disney Renaissance back in the 90's. I was born in 1994, the very same year that The Lion King came out, so already I have a close connection to this era. Throughout the 90's and the 2000's, I was constantly watching old Disney films on VHS and later DVD with the Renaissance era being my biggest exposure to the brand at the time. Seriously, I have VERY vivid memories of being surrounded by merchandise for movies like The Lion King, Pocahontas, Hercules, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Tarzan, I was always seeing the trailers for the next renaissance movie on VHSes and I even owned some of these films on VHS and would watch them over and over. My Christmases were always very Disney themed too with a lot of Disney Christmas VHSes to watch and we'd always decorate the Christmas tree with Disney ornaments. And I didn't just watch the Renaissance movies either. I'd watch a lot of their older movies too such as Robin Hood, The Fox and the Hound, Pinocchio, The Aristocats and much more. Such happy, happy times for me... ^^


So yeah, Disney very much owned my childhood. Alongside Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, Pingu, Power Rangers, Spider-Man and Dragonball, Disney was what made my childhood for me and became a big part of shaping me into the media-enthusiast I am today. And as thanks to Disney for all those wonderful memories and for bringing me so much joy over the years, I'm counting down my Top 10 Favourite Disney Movies to kick off our centenary celebration. These movies will be strictly related to the main Disney canon. No Pixar, Star Wars or Marvel movies will be listed here. Pixar will get their own list later on. ;)


Oh and don't expect any of those garbage live-action remakes to make the countdown. I hate those things with a burning passion so naturally for any movie that makes this list, it's ALWAYS going to be the original. I want to celebrate what's GOOD about Disney and the live-action remakes are NOT one of those things! =P


So without further ado, let's kick off this celebration with my Top 10 Favourite Disney movies...


Number 10: Pinocchio

Pinocchio

This was Disney's second animated movie and the definitive proof that lightning could strike twice after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. While the war at the time screwed over its box office results, the film has gone down in history as a total classic and is celebrated as one of Walt Disney's greatest achievements as a filmmaker. And for good reason because it's SO good!


I love Pinocchio for a variety of reasons. The story is strong with some surprisingly dark moments from time-to-time that still stand as some of the scariest Disney scenes ever animated. Seriously, the Pleasure Island stuff is still creepy and unsettling even to my adult self! As is, the film is also VERY heart-warming and touching and even very funny at times as well. It's got something for everyone and who can not love it for that? As a kid I especially remember really laughing my arse off at certain scenes such as those with Honest John and Gideon or when Pinocchio scares Figaro and causes him to scare Geppetto in return. So funny. XD Pinocchio is also a very touching story on how kindness to others will be rewarded by other acts of kindness. Geppetto's kindness as a toymaker bringing joy to others rewarded him with his own son and Pinocchio's kindness towards his friends and father figure rewarded him with being a real boy in the end. It's a good message to take away and very wholesome morals to live by. ^^


The move itself is also carried by its unforgettable cast. Pinocchio is irresistibly charming, Jiminy Cricket is sympathetic as Pinocchio's conscience that acts as the voice of reason who sadly gets ignored a lot, the villains are memorable for how hammy, over-the-top, charming and oozing with evil charm they are and Geppetto is a wonderful father figure for Pinocchio. These characters have touched the hearts of many for generations and I can say I'm one of those people who adores them too. Pinocchio especially made this movie for me as this naïve kid who's new to everything and his unusual status as a living puppet attracts all kinds of unwanted attention. It even leads him into a pretty damn intense climax with Monstro the Whale that to this day stands as one of Disney's most exciting action scenes ever! Oh and I definitely must add that the soundtrack is a classic for the ages too with many memorable tunes such as "When You Wish Upon A Star", "Give A Little Whistle" and "I've Got No Strings On Me". Those songs are always there in the corners of my mind and always fun to listen and sing to when this film is on.


I also still applaud this film for having that extra edge that most family-friendly films lack these days. This film may look like a picnic compared to the original source material but this is still a movie with some surprisingly dark moments at times, especially with the Coachman and his fiendish plot that never gets stopped. Seriously, how many Disney films out there let the villain get away with it in the end? That's some dark stuff, even for a family friend film! And yet Pinocchio never goes too dark and still manages to be an uplifting watch even in spite of those scenes.


This movie deserves to be treasured for always and always. It's charming, it's funny, it's shocking, it's heart-warming and is just a good time for me every time I see it. There's no strings on this movie, that's for sure...


Number 9: Robin Hood

Robin Hood

I'll always remember watching this one a lot as a kid and I still consider it one of Disney's most fun movies they've made.


Robin Hood was, like it was for many people, my introduction to the legendary folk hero and needless to say, Disney gave me a GREAT first impression of the famous outlaw. Robin Hood may not be Disney's most complex or strongest movie they've ever mad, but it remains one of my favourites for introducing me to the legend of Robin Hood and being such a fun watch throughout my life. Even to this day I still consider Robin Hood one of Disney's funniest films they've ever made with so much great comedy and slapstick routines that always get a chuckle out of me. The archery tournament battle in particular always gets me laughing even if I've seen it a million times. That scene is just pure comedy gold beginning to end. XD


The film isn't just enjoyable for its humour though. The cast also make this a fun movie from the charismatic, charming rogue that is Robin Hood himself, the kind and fair Maid Marian, the strong but gentle Little John, the pathetically hilarious man-child that is Prince John, the greedy and wicked Sheriff of Nottingham and much more. These remain some of the most memorable and popular depictions of these iconic characters from the Robin Hood folktales and it's easy to see why. The fact they're all depicted as animals also makes them stand out from other versions of Robin Hood too. Whoever decided Robin should be a fox especially deserves a medal for such a fitting choice of animal to play the legendary outlaw. Also the soundtrack is a lot of fun too with many fun tunes you'll walk away singing after you've seen this movie whether it's "Oo De Lally", "The Phoney King of England" or "Love". Even to this day, fans like myself will even start whistling the "Whistle Stop" song from time-to-time.


This film remains one of my childhood favourites and that alone is enough for me to call it one of my favourite Disney films. With its simple yet charming story, lovable cast, excellent comedy, strong emotional moments and unforgettable songs, Robin Hood is a movie that steals my attention effortlessly and I'd happily join Robin's Merry Men if it means getting more stories like this. Well worthy of Robin Hood's legacy indeed...


Number 8: Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch

I already reviewed it earlier this year so you'll likely remember how much I loved this one. And I still love it now.


Lilo & Stitch is by far the best movie Disney released during their troublesome times in the 2000's and still holds up to this day for many reasons. The story especially feels like it hits much harder as an adult thanks to all the stuff with Lilo & Nani and Stitch adds a lot of fun to keep the tone from being too bleak, yet he never detracts from the story's heart overall. Rather he adds to it as he too learns the true meaning of "Ohana" and how maybe he can have a family too in spite of what he was meant to do. This genetically created being that was meant to destroy ends up helping to mend a broken family in the end and that's so wholesome that words can't really describe it. ^^ The story is the perfect balance of family friendly in my eyes with Lilo & Nani's story being more relatable to adults while Stitch's story is more appealing to kids so there's something for everybody in the end and that only makes the film even better in my eyes.


I already mentioned how the story has a strong emotional core and a theme of family to it and the cast make this story even stronger with how they tell it. Lilo & Nani are insanely relatable as this pair of siblings where one's overworked and struggling to help her younger sister and the other is a bit of an outcast due to her oddball personality. Any adult and kid has probably been in either of their shoes at some point, and I say that as a fact. Most of the story's heart and emotional core lies with them and they carry them so well, as does Stitch in where his antics may be a little more geared to kids and yet as mentioned before, he doesn't detract from Lilo & Nani's story at all. And I also applaud the movie SO much for its more nuanced and mature story-telling with the biggest example of what I mean being the film having no real antagonist to speak of. It managed to make the story even stronger because there's no forced villain and even characters like Cobra Bubbles who could've been the villain in this movie ended up being more nuanced in execution. Pity the sequels ruined that with Gantu but that's neither here nor there.


The film also gives us a lovely depiction of Hawaii that really comes to life thanks to the beautiful animation that combines Disney's watercolour backgrounds with Chris Sanders's signature art style and gives us some really pretty visuals. This is one of those movies that's a true feast for the eyes and cannot be missed. It has to be seen to see just how beautiful this animation really is.


With its strong story, deep themes, complex characters, balanced tones for kids and adults, gorgeous animation and gripping emotional core, Lilo & Stitch is a classic that'll be remembered for years to come and I can say that like Stitch himself, this is one experiment that can be considered a great success. It deserves to be part of anyone's Ohana...


Number 7: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

This might seem a little low down but I assure you, if this was a BEST Disney films list, it would be much higher. As is, I still enjoy this movie immensely for a myriad of reasons.


Beauty and the Beast is among the best films Disney has ever made and even the Academy Awards agree on that since this was the first ever animated movie to get a Best Picture nomination. As far as I'm concerned, it deserved that win for how good it is. It's a great adaptation of the original fairy-tale while making some necessary changes to make the movie stronger, namely in making the Beast a more tragic figure and giving Belle an Abhorrent Admirer to create further conflict for the two, and the romance between Belle and the Beast stands tall as one of the greatest movie romances ever depicted onscreen. Seriously, the romance between the two is one of the big reasons I love this movie so much. Even if it's a fairy tale, they make this romance seem so believable with the two being at odds due to the Beast being...well, beastly, but as they spend more time together and come to understand one another, they grow ever closer and it's showing kindness to one another that ultimately creates that spark between them. It's really romantic stuff and makes for one heck of a sweet love story to watch. ^^


The film is also enjoyable for many other reasons and not just the romance. The cast are unforgettable and oozing with personality, Belle and the Beast are very strong leads who carry the romance plot between them effortlessly, the film can be funny, exciting, sad, scary and emotional and it handles all those different tones and emotions brilliantly, the voice-acting is top-notch and it's all brought to life with some of the most dazzling and gorgeous animation ever put to film. From the Beast's design to the household objects to the Beast's castle itself to the musical numbers and the famous ballroom dance scene, this film is a treat for the eyes no matter how many times you see it and it's incredible to see all this beautiful animation put together to bring this movie to life. The musical numbers of course are real show-stoppers with every single song in the movie being iconic, memorable and highly quotable whether it's "Belle", "Gaston", "Beauty and the Beast", "Wasn't There Before", "Kill the Beast" and my personal favourite, "Be Our Guest". The animation also REALLY shines during those moments to make for even greater musical scenes to enjoy.


But one of the main things that makes me love the movie so much, other than the romance, is the theme of the movie. What makes a monster and what makes a man? As we see, the Beast is transformed into a beast as punishment for his selfish behaviour but as he spends time with Belle and falls in love with her, his beastly temper and ungentlemanly nature gradually fades and he becomes more patient, loving and human while Gaston is the good-looking hero but his greed and lust for Belle transforms him into a beast himself (figuratively, not literally). It's always an important lesson to take away here that it's not what's outside, but what's inside that truly makes you a monster or a human and this movie showed it so brilliantly without once needing to spell it out for the audience.


Romantic, charming, scary, funny, emotional, beautiful to watch and fun to listen to, Beauty and the Beast has it all. With its great love story, strong cast, lush visuals and unforgettable soundtrack, it's a tale as old as time that everyone should watch and enjoy at some point in their lives...


Number 6: Frozen

Frozen

Seriously, how is this thing going to be TEN YEARS OLD come November?! I still remember when it was brand new! And I'll always remember how damn great it was too. Expect a full review to celebrate it's 10th anniversary in November... ;)


Frozen is a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen story and was a long time in the making for Disney for this idea was floating around the story back when even WALT DISNEY HIMSELF was alive! And needless to say, 2013 made that wait all the more worth it for Disney as it became a billion-dollar hit and a pop-culture juggernaut they hadn't seen since The Lion King! Did it deserve all that? Eh...I can understand why some may disagree on that but personally, I still enjoy Frozen even if I can see the flaws it has.


The story is very strong with a twist on the usual Disney formula where the focus isn't on true love, but rather sibling love instead as it's all about Anna trying to mend the bonds with her sister, Elsa, whom has to keep her ice powers hidden from the world in fear of being ostracized by her own kingdom. It's nice to see a Disney film tackle a different kind of love for a change as they don't often do love between siblings as their story and it's also kinda amusing to see them poke fun at their old tropes in a few spots. Frozen is also a movie that contains very relevant themes and messages that many of us could do with taking away. First of all, don't be like Elsa where you shut yourself off from everyone and only hurt those you're trying to protect but also don't be like Anna where you're too open and willing to trust others as they can exploit that and hurt you. I know with the rise of social media in the past decade, that last one is INSANELY important to take away...


Frozen has all that and many other things that make it an enjoyable watch. It's got some great comedy that makes for a fun watch, especially whenever Olaf's onscreen, the cast are fun and enjoyable (except for Hans. He can go screw himself) and have very charming actors bringing them to life with Anna, Elsa and Olaf being my personal favourites, the themes are strong as I said and of course, the animation and soundtrack are top-notch. Frozen boasts some of Disney's best animation ever rendered on computer with the ice and snow effects being proper standouts throughout the movie and the soundtrack is one of those things people are STILL singing to this day! You know all the songs, "Let It Go", "Frozen Heart", "For The First Time In Forever", "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman", "In Summer" and "Fixer Upper" are all songs that I still remember and sing to from time to time. The soundtrack was nothing short of amazing and the team that worked on the songs deserved all the awards they got for their talents.


Is Frozen a little overrated? Eh...kinda? Does it have flaws? Well yeah, what movie doesn't have flaws? Is it still extremely enjoyable and among my favourite Disney films of all time? HELL YES. Frozen is an enjoyable movie that I'll always enjoy no matter how many times I see it. With its enjoyable story, strong themes, unique twists on the Disney formula, fun cast, gorgeous visuals and show-stopping songs, this movie doesn't have me feeling cold by the time it's over, that's for sure. This was the movie that solidified Disney's return for me and I can't help but love it for that...


Continued in Part 2...


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