Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oscars, Schmoscars

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Okay, it would be about now (or even a week ago) that I'd start doing posts on the Academy Awards, since they're airing in just a few weeks. However, I never have any fun trying to make predictions when I'm just not really a "movie" person when it comes to the types of films that win these awards. I did predictions and reviews of the winners in 2009 and 2010, but I'm going to pass this year.

However, I am going to do a three-part featurette on movies... the 50 Disney Animated Motion Pictures, to be precise. In the past week or so I've seen several different lists where people have sorted them into their own order of favorites, and I thought I'd do the same. I wanted to start immediately, but it turned out that there were two features that I hadn't seen, so I needed to wait until I could cross off Chicken Little and Tangled from my list (man, that Netflix is just SO handy, LoL!). Now that I have, I'm going to begin my own countdown, starting with 50 and working my way to what I consider the pinnacle of Disney's animated masterpieces. 20 films today, 20 next Wednesday, and my top 10 to finish up the following Wednesday. I was encouraged to do this because of the ways others changed my ways of thinking about some of these films, and also because I wanted to make my own arguments about why certain selections are better than others, LoL. Now, without further ado, let's get started!

50. The Three Caballeros. The premise of this one (since it's a little less known than some Disney features) is that it's Donald's birthday and he gets some presents. I find it to be incredibly boring, with the Pablo Penguin segment being the best (though still dull).

49. Saludos Amigos. Latin America was "in" for Disney, and this is a compilation of several different segments featuring other countries. I kinda like the little plane delivering mail, but the rest of the segments practically put me to sleep... like "gaucho Goofy" and the Lake Titicaca part.

48. The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad. The first time I went to Disney World, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was my favorite. I was five years old, and I couldn't imagine anything more fun. It was twenty years later that I finally saw the inspiration for the ride, and wasn't that thrilled. In fact, I thought it dragged on too long. And the Ichabod feature didn't impress me, either.

47. Home on the Range. This is another one that I caught on Netflix long after it came out. I thought there were some funny moments, but ultimately the storyline was about five minutes long... too much fluff... I think it would work better as a short.

46. The Black Cauldron. I expected too much out of this movie, I think. It was Disney's first PG animated film. The plot was somewhat unique. The names in it were difficult to remember, and even more difficult to spell. And, I didn't care for the way it wrapped everything up.

45. Tarzan. I saw this with a friend and his family, so there was a little bit of distraction involved. However, for as popular as this became, I got sick of it... since I didn't think it was that exciting. The songs are cute... but get old pretty fast.

44. Brother Bear. I actually liked this one more than I thought I would. There are some really funny parts, and the end was a bit unexpected, at least for me. I didn't care for the main character as much as the supporting ones, but that's fairly common for me, LoL.

43. Treasure Planet. The idea of this movie really excited me.The previews intrigued me, and I couldn't wait to see it. I actually don't remember where I was or what circumstances formed my home-viewing of this one, but it only held my attention on and off.

42. Princess & the Frog. Eh. With all the hype that surrounded the film waaaay before it came out, I was excited. And then TWO songs got Oscar nominations. And then I finally saw it. And, although there were some cute dresses and whatnot, it just didn't have any *magic* to me.

41. Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The first time I saw this movie, I was pretty interested. Of course, I was still naive enough to completely believe in the possibility of Atlantis existing. So, I ended up watching it again, and a good deal of the excitement was gone... which left the movie kinda lackluster... and I think that one of the elements of a great Disney movie is the fact that it can be watched over and over again.

40. Melody Time. Didn't care too much for Samba. Toot was better as a book. And Pecos Bill was as much of a laugh as it was a joke.

39. Tangled. I read so many fabulous thing about this movie, from people I knew and from critics. I was thinking that maybe it would join the fabulous films of the 90s... but no. It started on a great note... amusing introduction, great song about what Rapunzel does all day to occupy herself... but then it starts going downhill. It picks up some magic again in the middle, particularly when Gothel realizes that Rapunzel is missing. But then it starts trailing off again, only to make me happy in the credits.

38. The Rescuers. I think that this movie has a special place in the hearts of some people. However, for me, there were just a few cute lines here and there, plus some interesting bits about the Rescue Aid Society, which I thought was pretty cool.  

37. Dinosaur. Well, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that, to me, the coolest thing about this one is that it was the first or second movie that my now-husband ever took me to see. The storyline isn't that unique (Land Before Time did a strikingly similar plot several years earlier), but the CGI is beautiful, and perhaps even the most memorable part of the movie.  

36. Bambi. I was never a fan of this one, even as a kid. I like the introductions of Flower and Thumper, and have always liked the name "Faline," but otherwise, not a big fan. The buck scared me, and while I giggled when Bambi fell down on the ice, I didn't believe that Bambi was a boy for the LONGEST time (the name just sounded feminine to me!). 

35. Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. Yeah, I know I face a lot of criticism for putting such an important work so low, but I think a lot of the reasoning has to do with the way I was introduced to the film. I still don't know if my mom owns a copy, so I didn't see it until middle school or high school at a friend's house. HOWEVER, my brother and I had a VCR board game that had clips of Pinocchio, Cinderella, and Snow White... and I got sick of the Snow White segments. When I finally saw the entire thing, I realized that the clips I knew were the best in the movie.

34. Hercules. This has a fabulous soundtrack. And I love mythology. I think there are some very clever jokes in it, and I like the name "Megera." That said, the movie doesn't have a lot of staying-power for me... and the second time I saw it, I was already pretty bored.

33. Lilo & Stitch. I actually liked the television series better than the movie. I also don't have the compassion for "family" that the theme of this story promotes, so I think that's a major reason that I'm not a big fan. And, I think it was one of the least-believable Disney stories I had seen at the time... and I'm not really into that. (Additionally, I didn't like the "ride" at Magic Kingdom.)

32. Fantasia 2000. I really wanted to LOVE this piece. But, certain sections just didn't do it for me. I adored the Gershwin, and thought that the Saint-Saen was beautifully captured (flamingos with a yo-yo). Donald Duck as Noah was somewhat amusing, and I thought it was a very bold choice for "Pomp and Circumstance." But, the remaining songs weren't that intriguing to me, bringing down my overall opinion.

31. Dumbo. There are scenes in this movie that I can't stand (like "Pink Elephants on Parade") and scenes I adore (watching the elephants perform, watching everything get set-up). I'm not as captivated by "Baby Mine" as many others are, and the clowns with the fire scared me.

Well, that wraps up this segment. Stay tuned for next Wednesday, when I'll go over my #30-11, and the following Wednesday will feature #10-1. If you've ordered the Disney films yourself, let me know... I'd be glad to link to your selection! My friend, Katie, did it on some really cute color-coded notecards.

And, don't forget to vote for your favorite type of post (out of the four major types we feature) just to the right of this entry! It will be up for another ten days.
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