The Disney Renaissance

After the embarrassing years known as the Dark Age of Disney, Disney was tired of making bad movies and making not much money. They decided to make 2 test movies to see what audiences wanted to see. Musical adventures seemed to be what the audience wanted. So for the next few years Disney made movies much quicker but they had better quality than their predecessors. All of these movies did well, though some did better than others. This era put Disney back in the spotlight in a good way and let everyone know that Disney can still make movies that are as good as the Disney movies of the Golden Era. This time was known as the Disney Renaissance.

The Little Mermaid

The first movie to kick off the Disney Renaissance was a movie that Walt Disney had been trying to bring to the big screen for years…. The Little Mermaid. This movie is the one that started it all. It showed the world that Disney could still make good movies. The Little Mermaid is awesome and has nice characters as well. The music is probably the best feature about this movie. Part of Your World is a song that almost didn’t make it in because some thought it was too boring. But we couldn’t imagine the Little Mermaid without Ariel’s trademark song. Ariel is a fun little mermaid who loves adventure and exploring and the human world. This was Disney’s first fairy tale movie since Sleeping Beauty, but unlike Sleeping Beauty, the Little Mermaid was an immediate success. Ursula is our villain and she is a good one. She is clever and takes Ariel’s voice because she knows that is the link between Ariel and Eric. Without her voice, Ariel would have to use other methods to get Eric to kiss her. Her final battle with Eric is one of the best Disney villain vs hero battles. We other awesome characters such as Flounder and Sebastian. Flounder is one of the best friends a princess could have. He just loves to see Ariel happy and is supportive of her love for the human world. He does all he can to see Ariel’s dreams come true. Sebastian is a music loving crab who loves Ariel too, but wishes that she would stay under the sea. And then we have King Triton, Ariel’s father. He is a good Disney dad but he often clashes with Ariel’s love of the human world. But in the end he just want to see his daughter happy. The music is what makes this movie so awesome. All of the songs are singable and we love them all. Under the Sea won the Best Original Song award and Kiss the Girl was also nominated. Poor Unfortunate Souls is an awesome villain song. And Part of Your World is my favorite Little Mermaid song. The Little Mermaid spawned to movies, a TV series and is seen on House of Mouse. The Little Mermaid is also featured in the game Kingdom Hearts. Being a Disney princess in a successful movie, Ariel and her movie have a massive presence in the Disney parks. With a dark ride, meet and greet characters also appearing in just about every parade and firework show. The Little Mermaid is an awesome movie and it made an awesome start to the Disney Renaissance.

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The Rescuers Down Under

Due to the success of the Rescuers, a sequel was granted and we are once again on a journey to save a kid with Miss Bianca and Bernard in the Rescuers Down Under. This movie did not do as well as the first Rescuers and is the weakest film in the Disney Renaissance. That being said, I like this movie more than the original. I love the Australia setting, the animals and Cody the boy. Being an animal lover, I hate the villain Mcleach. And when he dies, I smile. But other than that I love the eagle scene where Cody and the giant eagle Marahute fly through the air together when they first meet. A wonderful score is with them and they just soar through the clouds. Bernard and Bianca are back and Bernard keeps trying to propose to her and he keeps getting interrupted. Bernard shows that even little mice can make a difference and he is the hero of the story. Other characters include a crazy frilled lizard Frank, and a koala voiced by Douglas Seale who would be the voice of the Sultan in Aladdin. Due to the Rescuers Down Under not doing well, there is practically nothing of this awesome movie in the Disney Parks which is a shame because the eagle scene would make a great Soarin episode. Go see this movie it is worth a watch.

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Beauty and the Beast

It is the tale that is old as time the movie that gave a beast his soul. Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney’s greatest achievements and one awesome movie. From start to finish everything about this movie is epic. The music, animation and the characters are all perfect. There is not one annoying character or sidekick that doesn’t need to be there. I love the music and the songs. Of course, the iconic yellow dress and the ballroom dance and that wonderful song just add to this movie’s greatness. This movie was so great that it was the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture. I love Belle, she is my favorite Disney princess. She cares for her father, is smart and well-read and has a huge vocabulary because of this. She doesn’t let anyone walk over her or control her. She only begins to fall in love with Beast after he starts being nice. And no Belle does not suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. She loves the Beast because he has a good soul and she sees that. The Beast is great as well. Now Gaston may not be my favorite villain but he is a good one. He can stand to not have what he wants. So, when Belle tells him that she will not marry him. This turns Gaston from the town hero to the town villain. Oh, this movie is just so wonderful. What else is there to say. Beauty and the Beast is my 4th favorite Disney movie of all time. Being a popular movie, Beauty and the Beast has a large presence in the Disney parks. Belle and Beast appear in parades and in Hollywood Studios there is a stage show. You can eat in the Beast’s castle in the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom and hang out with Belle in Story time with Belle. I was a soldier. Beauty and the Beast for some reason spawned midquels but only one (although some say both) in my opinion is worth watching. And that is Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Enchanted Christmas. This movie is not bad but not as good as the original.  The other one is called Belle’s Magical World. Avoid this one like the plague. I will give that movie a Z because it is so bad that an F is being kind to it. But the original is so majestic and beautiful and one of Disney’s greatest movies ever. I am going to give Beauty and the Beast an A. So, until next time Disney family…. May all your dreams come true.

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Aladdin

After Lion King and Peter Pan, Aladdin is my 3rd favorite Disney movie. I love Aladdin, it has everything a boy would want. Action, adventure, magic, a hot girl and an awesome villain. Aladdin is just one of those movies that is great from beginning to end. Aladdin is a nice guy who is a street rat but cares for those who have even less than him. He has a problem with honesty but he soon learns from his mistakes and is able to marry the girl of his dreams when he does. Jafar is an awesome villain who loves being evil and loves to see others bow before him. He also loves power and wants as much as he can get. The Magic Carpet is my favorite Aladdin character. He doesn’t speak but from the moment you meet him, he demonstrates his bravery, speed and loyalty to Aladdin. This movie is also known for its songs. A Whole New World is an awesome song that won Best Song. There is just so much I could say about Aladdin. Aladdin vs. Jafar is another great battle. Jafar is unique among Disney villains in that he gets more screen time than most other villains. He gets kissed by a princess and uses a song and bad puns to defeat his enemies. And he doesn’t kill his victims unless he needs to. He would rather see them suffer and finds enjoyment in their suffering. Jafar is a very good villain. But there are other great things about Aladdin besides Jafar. The Genie is probably one of the funniest characters in the Disney universe. Most of his lines were improvised by his awesome voice actor the late Robin Williams. Robin Williams but his heart and soul into this character and we love him for that. Aladdin has a presence in the Disney Parks. With the Magic Carpet rides, appearing in parades and meet and greets as well as appearing in stage and firework shows. Aladdin is awesome and is a wonderful addition to the Disney Renaissance.

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Lion King

. I remember like it was yesterday, I had just gotten the movie Aladdin on VHS and got home and plugged it in. One of the previews was of a lion movie. I immediately got excited and ran to my mom and told her about it. Of course, mothers know everything and she already knew about it and knew that I would love it. She then told me that I could either see Aladdin on Ice or go see Lion King. Of course, I said go see Lion King. So, we go to the theaters and I ask my mom what we are going to see? She says the Flintstones. The Flintstones! I don’t want to see the Flintstones. I want to see Lion King. So, then she says 4 tickets to the Lion King please. I even said but you said we were going to see the Flintstones. Oops she says. And with that my life changed forever. Up until that point, Peter Pan was my favorite movie. I still love Peter Pan but Lion King replaced Peter Pan as my favorite movie. Peter Pan became my second favorite Disney movie.  I love everything about this movie. The epic story, the animation and the music and I love the characters. My favorite character is Scar! I love this guy and I hate it when he gets defeated. I also love Simba and Nala and Mufasa too. I love them all. Mufasa is the best Disney dad in the world and we got one of the saddest deaths because we loved him so much. The opening and ending scenes are great. I just love that moment when Simba climbs Pride Rock and the epic music is playing and then Simba roars and everything returns to normal. Oh, I love it! I could go on forever talking about how much I love the Lion King. I used to think that Lion King has gotten snubbed in the Disney Parks but I am wrong. While I wish Lion King had a ride, what Lion King does have is awesome. First off Lion King has the Festival of the Lion King in Animal Kingdom and it is a must do for me and I cry like a baby every time. Also Circle of Life is the anthem of the Animal Kingdom. Also, Timon and Rafiki are walk around characters and I have met Rafiki. An attraction that used to be in the Magic Kingdom was Legend of the Lion King which was a show that retold the story using awesome puppets. I never saw it though. Also, Lion King can be seen in Mickey’s Philharmagic and Fantasmic and the new Magic Kingdom’s firework show Happily Ever After. Also in Disneyland, the World of Color show features Lion King. In a Disney World resort the Art of Animation there is a Lion King area complete with a Lion King walk-through. Also, the Magic Kingdom Game Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom features Lion King cards and Rafiki and Scar are in the game itself. Simba was a summon in the game Kingdom Hearts and the Pridelands was a world in Kingdom Hearts 2 where I had to battle Scar and I loved and hated doing that. Lion King has spawned 3 sequels and 2 TV shows and lots of other cool stuff. And soon Lion King will be remade with a live action version. I look forward to seeing that but even that version will never surpass the wonder and awe that is the greatest Disney movie in the world! I give Lion King a capital A! So, tell me do you love the Lion King? Let me know in the comments below and if you like this please leave a like and share.  Long Live the Lion King!

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Pocahontas

After the major success of the Lion King, Disney was ready for its next big hit. This movie went into production at the same time as Lion King and most animators chose this movie over the Lion King thinking that this movie would be another Beauty and the Beast. Well it wasn’t. Pocahontas did do well but nowhere near as well as Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King. I think what hurt this movie is that it was based on real life events and the movie doesn’t follow these events at all. They got so many things wrong about the Jamestown settlement and the events that took place. There was no romantic relationship with Pocahontas and John Smith. And there are many other elements that are not in the real-life events. But aside from that is Pocahontas a good Disney movie? In my opinion yes. We can just call this the myth tale of Pocahontas. Pocahontas is a beautiful Disney princess with her long flowing black hair and the love of her people. She does all she can to find her path and protect her people. Along the way she meets John Smith a white man who loves adventure and exploring and loves to fight. He soon changes his view toward savages once he meets Pocahontas. Ratcliffe is just another greedy villain who hates anyone who gets in the way of his gold. But attempted genocide might be going a bit too far. The songs once again are awesome and we love singing Colors of the Wind and Just Around the River-bend. Even if this movie had followed its story more, I don’t know if it would have helped. Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King are just 2 very good and strong movies. It would have been hard to top them. It still is hard to top them. And in my opinion, nothing will top Lion King. Pocahontas has a small presence in the Disney parks. She used to have a show at Animal Kingdom. But now she is the Disney Princess that you can meet at Animal Kingdom along with Meeko. And she is featured in Disney World’s Fantasmic. And in World of Color in Disneyland. Pocahontas is just around the river bend, go watch her movie.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Now we come to the movie that is dark and mature but is such a good Disney movie. Basically, this is what the Black Cauldron could have been. This movie is about the novel the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Some changes were made and we have a happier ending than the novel. The music and score are once again amazing and the score might be one of my favorites in all of Disney. Those bells probably help with the awesomeness of the score. Quasimodo is our underdog hero who is forced to live alone in this bell tower all while being raised by an evil man Judge Claude Frollo. Frollo believes that he can do no wrong and that everyone else especially the gypsies are wicked and evil and they should all go to hell. This man is one of the most wicked villains in all of Disney. His crimes include attempted infanticide, abuse of power and destruction of religious property. He seems to enjoy tormenting Quasimodo too. Esmeralda is a kind soul who despite being a gypsy helps those in need. She is kind to Quasimodo when the rest of the world is cruel to him. She is one of my favorite heroines. If there characters that I wish didn’t exist it would be the gargoyles. Added to the story for comic relief, these idiots do nothing for the story and when their song comes on I always skip it. It is just a filler song and has no reason to exist except to make the movie longer But aside from them, the movie is a good movie and I love it. It is definitely not for young children. But older kids who love dark movies and can handle rough scenes they should be fine. Hunchback did better than Pocahontas but of course was not as successful as the movies before Pocahontas. Hunchback has a small presence in the Disney Parks with only a few merchandise items and being featured in Happily Ever After and a few other shows. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a very good Disney movie.

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Hercules

Hercules came out the same year that Titanic came out and Hercules may be strong but not strong enough to stop this massive boat from sinking it at the box office. I love this movie. I have always been fascinated with mythologies and Greek mythology, I love the stories and most of the gods. I like Zeus and Athena the best I think. But the movie Hercules, to be rated G and be suitable for kids obviously some things had to be changed. Such as the adulterous schemes of Zeus and the jealous hatred of Hera. In this version, Hera is Hercules’ mother and Alcmene becomes Hercules’ adopted mother. And Hades who usually was a calm and silent figure in Greek Mythology, is the villain of the story. These changes are fine and they make an interesting plot twist. Now there are some plot holes and questions that need answering mainly on Hades’ part. First, where did he get that potion that turns gods mortal? Also, Hades is lord of the underworld and seems to know when mortals are going to die or are dead. So, why doesn’t Hades know that Hercules was not killed 18 years ago when he sent Pain and Panic to do the deed? Also, why didn’t Hades when Hercules was mortal just cut Hercules’ thread of life. Thread cut, Hercules dead, Hades rules the cosmos. But enough of that. Overall Hercules is a good movie despite the plot holes and continuity issues. The music is awesome and I love the instrumental as well as the songs. Hercules is a cool, fun character that is fun and funny to watch. Sometimes he can be a bit absent-minded but he has a good heart and is always there to be a hero and save those in need. Phil is also crazy but a good friend and mentor to Hercules. Meg is a unique heroine in that she is sort a villain in the beginning or at least she works for a villain. She also has been in love before and had her heart-broken. So, now she doesn’t trust people and would rather be alone so she doesn’t hurt anyone or gets hurt herself. I really wish she had become a Disney princess but since her movie did not do very well thanks to that big boat, she will never be a princess. Although, she was a candidate for a while. Hades is a fun and hot-tempered villain who relies a little bit too much on others to do his evil bidding. I wonder what would happen if Hades did more than just scheme and make deals, I wonder if Hades would have been an even better villain. Interesting thing about Hades, he has blue fire for hair, but when he gets mad his blue fire turns orange. Blue fire is much hotter than orange fire. So, does Hades cool down when he gets mad? Hades is one cool villain. Hercules, though it did not do well has managed to maintain a presence in the Disney Parks. Hercules and some of the other characters such has Meg and Hades have been walk around characters, and Hades has been featured with the Disney villains. Hercules is used in some night-time shows as well, such as the beloved but now extinct Wishes and the new fireworks show Happily Ever After. Hercules also spawned a TV series based on Hercules going through high school. Also, in almost every Kingdom Heart series game there has been a Olympus world with many Hercules characters. Hercules is also a summon in that game. Hercules is a great Disney movie and I would watch it more than Titanic. I will give Hercules a C for great music and characters. Needs a little work on the story with plot holes and continuity issues but overall is a good Disney movie. So, what do you think about Hercules? Let me know in the comments below and if you like this like it and share it.

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Mulan

Another awesome movie that came out during the Disney Renaissance is Mulan. Set in China, Mulan is based on  the Legend of Hua Mulan. Mulan is an awesome movie that used watercolors much like Bambi and a few other Disney movies during the Golden Era. Mulan is about a war versus the Huns and China. Mulan wants to bring honor to her family while being herself. She is clumsy and is often late but she has a good heart. She decides to go in her father’s place to fight in the war disguised as a boy. If she is discovered she will be killed. She starts out clumsy and makes a lot of mistakes but over time she learns and becomes a great soldier. She is able to come up with good plans that help win the war. Shan Yu is the leader of the Huns and is a good villain. He doesn’t say much but we do know that he is clever and takes pride in his army. He also doesn’t judge a person by gender like the rest of the people do in China. When he realizes that Mulan is his biggest threat and not the rest of the Chinese Army, he goes after Mulan. Mulan is one of the few Disney movies to actually have a body count. The songs are pretty good and memorable. Reflections and I’ll Make a Man Out of You are our favorites. Mushu and Cri-Kee are cool sidekicks that don’t hurt the plot of the movie. And Khan is one of the best Disney horses. He braves avalanches and lives to tell about it. Mulan is one very cool Disney movie. Mulan did better than Hercules and Hunchback but couldn’t beat its new rival Pixar’s A Bug’s Life. But despite that Mulan has a presence in the Disney Parks. You can meet her in the China Pavilion in Epcot. Go see Mulan, it is amazing.

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Tarzan

And now we come to the final movie of the awesome Disney Renaissance, Tarzan. Tarzan was the most expensive animated movie to make to this point. And you remember that Sleeping Beauty once held this title. But while Sleeping Beauty did not make money, Tarzan did. While once again it did not match Lion King’s greatness but it did out-gross Pocahontas, Hunchback, Hercules and Mulan. As well as A Bug’s Life. This movie saw a shift in the way that Disney movies were made. While Tarzan is still a musical, none of the characters except for one song, sing a song. All the other songs are “montage songs” and Phil Collins sings over the actions. Now the songs are still awesome but I think it would have been better if the characters sang some of the songs and not some random singer. Tarzan is the only animated version of the story Tarzan and the Apes. Which is a nice little fact for Disney’s Tarzan and it makes it unique to all the other Tarzan adaptations. Tarzan is a nice Disney character who loves his family, ape and human. He is a skilled fighter and loves adventure and is very curious about the outside world. Clayton is our villain who is another greedy poacher who wants to kill the apes. His death is quite tragic though. Jane is kind of forgettable but she has good chemistry with Tarzan. Terk and Tantor are awesome friends to Tarzan and do all they can to help Tarzan. Kerchak in the books is actually a villain but, in this version, he is the tough leader of the troop who doesn’t like Tarzan but, in the end, finally accepts him as one of them and his son. Kala is a sweet mother who loves Tarzan and just wants him to be happy. Despite doing very well Tarzan has a rather small presence in the Disney Parks. In Disneyland you can climb Tarzan’s Tree-house. And in Animal Kingdom he used to have a stage show, but now he can be met as well as Terk. And he appears sometimes in firework shows. Tarzan is the last great movie of the Disney Renaissance and is worth a watch.

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So there we have it. Those are the awesome movies of the Disney Renaissance. Unfortunately this era has come to an end but the movies will be apart of our lives forever. So be sure to come back for the era known as the 2000 Slump. Great things are in store for Disney.

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