Did you realize that Tangled is the 50th animated feature released by Disney? I didn’t. That seemed like a really low number to me, but then I read this list of all 50. I haven’t even HEARD of 4 of them. And there are 15 I’ve yet to see! Who knew Fantasia 2000 was an actual film? I thought it was just the re-release of the original. The more you know! I also realized it seemed like there should be more on the list because they don’t include Pixar films. That’s another 11 right there! I feel less ignorant now.
Anyway, I liked Tangled; it was cute, and it made me REALLY want a chameleon. But, I didn’t love it. That’s not to say there was anything WRONG with the film – the music was cute, though not particularly memorable (Best Song nomination? Really?) And I DID laugh a few times. All being said though, How To Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me and Toy Story 3 still rank as 2010’s best animated features for me.
I may sound like an 80 year old by saying this, but they just don’t make Disney movies like they used to. I don’t think I ever realized how lucky I was, growing up when I did. I came of age in what is commonly referred to as the “Disney Renaissance“: The brief decade between the late 80s and late 90s when Disney movies were freaking awesome.
The songs were epic;
The visuals were stunning;
The characters were charming and funny and moving; and the movies themselves were unforgettable. I can remember seeing Aladdin in theatres with my father and brother and the three of us laughing uproariously. I can recall my mother weeping during The Lion King and how awestruck I was by that – my parents were not criers. I have distinct memories of sitting in the theatre and being absolutely transfixed by Beauty and the Beast. I was 7, maybe 8 at the time? But even then, I knew: giving a girl a library might just be the most romantic gesture ever captured on film.
Beauty and the Beast is still my all-time favourite. You may recall my preference for strong, independent heroines? Belle was probably the first to make an impact. She was like me – she liked to read, she was stubborn, she wasn’t particularly girly, and she wasn’t a princess (not in the beginning, at least.) This last fact really struck me because I never particularly wanted to BE a princess, despite what the stereotypes suggested. But I did want to be Belle.
It occurs to me that for some little girl out there, Rapunzel may be HER Belle – a feisty young girl who’s thirsty for knowledge and adventure and freedom. And I have heard rumblings of how Tangled and The Princess and The Frog may mark the return of Disney’s mojo, referred to by some as “The Third Coming.” But for my money, you just can’t top those features made in the 90s. For me, that is pure Disney.