Disney Animated Film Discussion

Kristy Stevens

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 19, 2020
so, i realize this is kind of a daunting idea, but i wanted to propose an ongoing discussion of disney's animated features in chronological order. of course, since there's about sixty of them, i'm sure that we would only have, at best, a very casual discussion. i wouldn't expect anyone to watch them all, nor would i expect anyone to comment on them all. i'm just interested in going through them one at a time, revisiting some that are a little hazy in my mind, finally seeing some that i've never seen, and reading what other members generally think about them. i'm thinking of looking at maybe 1-2 per week - which, yes, will indeed take forever - and writing a few [superficial] sentences about each one, just in a super casual manner.

i know that ongoing discussion threads like these haven't always fared well here, and i don't think there's ever been one of this scale, so it's extremely likely that this will crash and burn, but that's okay. i figured it was worth a shot. personally, i'm very eager to watch all the stuff from the 1940s-50s, but it's possible that i'll significantly lose interest from the 90s-onwards, haha. i'm thinking that this should be limited to features produced by walt disney studios, so no pixar, disneytoon, etc. there's a handful of ones that combine animation and live-action - either in separate segments or simultaneously - that i'd want to include, and i marked them in blue on this list of all the titles (wasn't sure about including song of the south):

01. academy award review of walt disney cartoons (1937)
02. snow white and the seven dwarfs (1937)
03. pinocchio (1940)
04. fantasia (1940)
05. the reluctant dragon (1941)
06. dumbo (1941)
07. bambi (1942)
08. saludos amigos (1942)
09. victory through air power (1943)
10. the three caballeros (1944)
11. make mine music (1946)
12. fun and fancy free (1947)
13. melody time (1948)
14. so dear to my heart (1949)
15. the adventures of ichabod and mr. toad (1949)
16. cinderella (1950)
17. alice in wonderland (1951)
18. peter pan (1953)
19. lady and the tramp (1955)
20. sleeping beauty (1959)
21. one hundred and one dalmatians (1961)
22. the sword in the stone (1963)
23. mary poppins (1964)
24. the jungle book (1967)
25. the aristocats (1970)
26. bedknobs and broomsticks (1971)
27. robin hood (1973)
28. the many adventures of winnie the pooh (1977)
29. the rescuers (1977)
30. pete's dragon (1977)
31. the fox and the hound (1981)
32. the black cauldron (1985)
33. the great mouse detective (1986)
34. oliver & company (1988)
35. the little mermaid (1989)
36. the rescuers down under (1990)
37. beauty and the beast (1991)
38. aladdin (1992)
39. the lion king (1994)
40. pocahontas (1995)
41. the hunchback of notre dame (1996)
42. hercules (1997)
43. mulan (1998)
44. tarzan (1999)
45. fantasia 2000 (1999)
46. dinosaur (2000)
47. the emperor's new groove (2000)
48. atlantis: the lost empire (2001)
49. lilo & stitch (2002)
50. treasure planet (2002)
51. brother bear (2003)
52. home on the range (2004)
53. chicken little (2005)
54. meet the robinsons (2007)
55. bolt (2008)
56. the princess and the frog (2009)
57. tangled (2010)
58. winnie the pooh (2011)
59. wreck-it ralph (2012)
60. frozen (2013)
61. big hero 6 (2014)
62. zootopia (2016)

so yeah, super daunting list there, and the last 20ish titles don't look all that interesting to me, but would anybody else be interested in casually talking about these films, one at a time?
 

BrianL

Doom Buggy Driver
Joined
Jul 24, 2013
There actaully was a thread around a year or so ago where two ladies watched everything (and I mean everything, Pixar and Disneytoon if released in theaters) and wrote up mini-reviews. I followed along and would do so with this thread too. At the time I didn't have the ability to see certain ones that I hadn't seen or was unfamilliar with, but thanks to D+ I either have or can easily give them a look. This board needs traffic like this, so I say go for it. Have fun!
 


  • SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    I would be interested to try this. Is the first one on the cartoons available on Disney+? I searched by the title you listed and did not find it.
     

    BrianL

    Doom Buggy Driver
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    I would be interested to try this. Is the first one on the cartoons available on Disney+? I searched by the title you listed and did not find it.
    "Academy Award Review of Walt Disney Cartoons" is a compilation of several of the animated shorts from the 1930s. According to Wikipedia they are:

    Flowers and Trees - 1932
    Three Little Pigs - 1933
    The Tortoise and the Hare - 1934
    Three Orphan Kittens - 1935
    The Country Cousin - 1936

    Then in an updated version from 1966 they added:

    The Old Mill - 1937
    Ferdinand the Bull - 1938
    The Ugly Duckling - 1939
    Lend a Paw - 1940

    I know at least some of those are on D+ but most probably are as they are all among the best cartoons made in those years.
     

    SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    I watched Flowers and Trees from 1932. I don’t think I had ever seen this before although some of the images seemed familiar. I thought it was interesting that the title cards is Mickey Mouse presents a Walt Disney silly symphony. I guess it was a way of including Mickey Mouse's name even though he is not in this cartoon at all. I also thought it was interesting that it was a United Artist production, because I had thought Disney animation was all out of the early Disney and Hyperion studios. Disney+ Says in their caption that it’s for families and kids, I guess because it’s a cartoon. But some of the themes of this are pretty mature including an angry tree that tries to burn down the forest. I found it interesting that some of the trees are anthropomorphized and some of the trees are just trees. Sort of like how Goofy and Pluto are both dogs but Goofy is sort of a human dog and Pluto is a dog dog. The female tree reminded me of fan dancers, so I guess those were around in the 30s. The backgrounds were all static, and some of the foreground was pretty static also. There is a warning on the cartoon about outdated images, and I think this probably comes from what I guess are black eyed Susan flowers. The coloration looks rather like that of a minstrel show. I also thought the mushrooms were rather phallic. To me this mostly seemed like an experiment to see what they could do with a mixture of classical music and animation in the new Technicolor format.
     
  • BrianL

    Doom Buggy Driver
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    I watched Flowers and Trees from 1932. I don’t think I had ever seen this before although some of the images seemed familiar. I thought it was interesting that the title cards is Mickey Mouse presents a Walt Disney silly symphony. I guess it was a way of including Mickey Mouse's name even though he is not in this cartoon at all. I also thought it was interesting that it was a United Artist production, because I had thought Disney animation was all out of the early Disney and Hyperion studios. Disney+ Says in their caption that it’s for families and kids, I guess because it’s a cartoon. But some of the themes of this are pretty mature including an angry tree that tries to burn down the forest. I found it interesting that some of the trees are anthropomorphized and some of the trees are just trees. Sort of like how Goofy and Pluto are both dogs but Goofy is sort of a human dog and Pluto is a dog dog. The female tree reminded me of fan dancers, so I guess those were around in the 30s. The backgrounds were all static, and some of the foreground was pretty static also. There is a warning on the cartoon about outdated images, and I think this probably comes from what I guess are black eyed Susan flowers. The coloration looks rather like that of a minstrel show. I also thought the mushrooms were rather phallic. To me this mostly seemed like an experiment to see what they could do with a mixture of classical music and animation in the new Technicolor format.
    Disney did not distribute on their own back then. Thye used a couple of different companies before signing with RKO Radio Pictures which distributed their features as well. Eventually they formed Buena Vista to handle distribution on their own, but that wasn't until the early 1950's when some live action stuff started.
     
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    SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    I watched the Three Little Pigs from 1933. It had the same content warning, but I didn’t notice anything in this cartoon I thought was an issue. I knew I had seen this cartoon before, and of course the song was very familiar to me. I have seen the Three Little Pigs in their character costumes at Disney World. I thought the carton was cute and funny and a little slap sticky. But I think some of the earlier cartoons were. It also reminded me somewhat of the cartoons where Donald Duck has to deal with Chip and Dale. The cadence when Practical pig is lecturing Fiddler and Fifer reminded me of the Shirley Temple movie A Little Princess. If you have seen that, I’m thinking about the dream sequence where she is the ballet dancer.

    Most of the backgrounds and scenery were pretty static. But I thought the movement of the pigs was better done than the movement in Flowers and Trees. Although the pigs were anthropomorphized, they looked like pigs. It appeared to me that the artists had at least looked at some real pigs to get a sense of what their bodies and particularly there hoof shapes were. I thought the pictures of mom and dad hanging on Practical's wall were really funny, and some thing that you might miss if you weren’t looking carefully. I am joyed this cartoon much more than Flowers and Trees.
     

    SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    Today I watched the Tortoise and the Hare again a Walt Disney silly symphony presented by Mickey Mouse and from United Artists. I have to say I did not care for this one very much. Obviously, I was already familiar with the story. I thought that the hare came off as a really big jerk, but perhaps that was the point. It was sort of slapstick, and unlike the Three Little Pigs, the animals were not really drawn in a way that depicted them in the natural world. The music was pretty nondescript, and I think they used the same static background from Flowers and Trees. Not Disney's best effort!
     

    BrianL

    Doom Buggy Driver
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    Today I watched the Tortoise and the Hare again a Walt Disney silly symphony presented by Mickey Mouse and from United Artists. I have to say I did not care for this one very much. Obviously, I was already familiar with the story. I thought that the hare came off as a really big jerk, but perhaps that was the point. It was sort of slapstick, and unlike the Three Little Pigs, the animals were not really drawn in a way that depicted them in the natural world. The music was pretty nondescript, and I think they used the same static background from Flowers and Trees. Not Disney's best effort!
    Seems like you;re running with it. I'm up to chime in for some, but I haven't watched these in a while. @Kristy Stevens, are you going to stick around for it? It'll be fun.
     
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  • SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    I watched the Three Orphan Kittens today. This one was not on Disney+, but I was able to find it on YouTube. Like the previous ones it was Mickey Mouse presents a Walt Disney silly symphony from united artists. I’m not sure why it wasn’t on Disney+, but I am guessing the depiction of the “Mammy” character is probably the issue. The characters voice is rather stereo typical for the 1930s in Hollywood, and the drawing of the woman herself is a little problematic. You do not see all of her, but you do see her hands in several scenes and the coloration is not great. The backs of her hand shown very dark, and then a very clearly lined pink palm. There’s no shading at all, but I think part of that was due to the animation techniques that were available at the time.

    The story itself starts a little sad because the kittens are abandoned. But then they find their way inside the house. Some of the cartoon I enjoyed very much because the action fitted the idea of kittens who might find themselves in a little bit of trouble. Once scene in particular that I liked was when one of the kittens got stuck inside of a bottle, and then when he managed to get out he stopped to sit and clean himself and pretended like nothing it happened. My cat would absolutely do the same thing. I didn’t really care for the piano scene, because it was too slapstick. But the other scenes that showed a kitten falling off the table, grabbing onto the tablecloth to save himself, and then that causing the tablecloth to slide and make dishes crash did seem realistic. The end is cute because the kittens are adopted by the little girl. I could see this being remade today without including either human character.
     

    SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    Today’s Silly Symphony was The Country Cousin. The title card has been changed, as it’s no longer presented by Mickey Mouse and now the distributor was RKO. Like Yesterdays cartoon, I had to find this one on the Internet as it was not on Disney+.

    The story is really straightforward. A country mouse is invited to visit his cousin in the big city. Stereotypes about country people and city people then follow. I thought the city mouse was a little bit rude to his cousin because he was always shushing him. He reminded me a little bit of Jiminy Cricket. The cousins managed to avoid a mouse trap and find a Buffet laid out by the humans and they start to eat all sorts of things. The country mouse manages to find a glass of champagne and drinks it. This of course leads to a little bit of slapstick about drunkenness. The cousins get into some trouble and dishes go crashing. They then have to hide from the pet cat. The country mouse, feeling rather bold, decides to challenge the cat. The way the cat was drawn and his coloration reminded me of Lucifer from Cinderella. The cat chases the country mouse out of the house, where he hast to deal with all sorts of traffic issues. And then it ends with him heading back to his home in the country, minus his luggage. The cartoon was cute, and like all of Disney cartoons featuring mice, the mice are completely anthropomorphized. There were some more advanced techniques with the animation, particularly in a scene where the country mouse sees himself reflected in gelatin. I thought that was particularly clever. I hadn’t remembered seeing this ever before, so it didn’t bring back any feelings of nostalgia. As I said, it was cute, but the story was trite and I think this cartoon is clearly aimed at children. However, the animation is definitely improving from the earlier cartoons.
     

    SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    Today's Silly Symphony was The Old Mill, distributed by RKO. Only a few years from Flowers and Trees, but already the animation, the storyline, the background imagery, and the music have become much more sophisticated.

    it had a little bit of everything, some humor with the frogs (and I wonder if this is where Budweiser got their idea), some drama, and a happy ending. There was real tension with the mama bird. I really liked what they did with the music and sound effects, especially the way they used the plants to contribute to the music. I thought the animals were all realistically drawn, including the mice! I was also really impressed with the way they did the bats and the spider. There was very little anthropomorphizing in this particular cartoon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before, and I would’ve remembered, because I really enjoyed this. Of all of the older cartoons I have seen over the last week, this one is by far my favorite. And, I can see the influence going forward on some of the full length cartoons such as Snow White and Bambi.
     

    BrianL

    Doom Buggy Driver
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    Today's Silly Symphony was The Old Mill, distributed by RKO. Only a few years from Flowers and Trees, but already the animation, the storyline, the background imagery, and the music have become much more sophisticated.

    it had a little bit of everything, some humor with the frogs (and I wonder if this is where Budweiser got their idea), some drama, and a happy ending. There was real tension with the mama bird. I really liked what they did with the music and sound effects, especially the way they used the plants to contribute to the music. I thought the animals were all realistically drawn, including the mice! I was also really impressed with the way they did the bats and the spider. There was very little anthropomorphizing in this particular cartoon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before, and I would’ve remembered, because I really enjoyed this. Of all of the older cartoons I have seen over the last week, this one is by far my favorite. And, I can see the influence going forward on some of the full length cartoons such as Snow White and Bambi.
    The Old Mill is a groundbreaking cartoon marking the first use of the Multiplane Camera. I'm sure you noticed a jump in anamiation quality from previous shorts. This one was a new pinnacle of animation technology with a very beautiful story too.
     

    SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    The Old Mill is a groundbreaking cartoon marking the first use of the Multiplane Camera. I'm sure you noticed a jump in anamiation quality from previous shorts. This one was a new pinnacle of animation technology with a very beautiful story too.
    absolutely. I would guess that the multiplane camera was necessary to develop the feature length animated films.
     

    SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    Today I watched Ferdinand the Bull. I was familiar with this already, and remember seeing it when I was a child. This was also my oldest nephews favorite book when he was a kid, although I can’t imagine why. I always thought the story was a little bit sad because I don’t care for bullfighting.

    The cartoon opens as a Walt Disney production, with no mention of UA or RKO, so I’m guessing by this point Disney had his own studio and distribution. This is what I often think of as a typical Disney cartoon because of the narrator. The animation of both the characters and the backgrounds is definitely improved over some of the earlier cartoons. I particularly liked the way they drew Ferdinand’s mother in the way that her hips moved. I thought that was both funny, and pretty realistic for the movement of a cow. Of the cartoons I’ve seen so far, this was the first one to feature complete human beings. Three Orphan Kittens just had hands and feet. I thought that the people were animated in what I also consider sort of a typical Disney style. Where the women are drawn pretty realistically, but the men often have exaggerated features, particularly big noses. I thought it was interesting that the program had a warning before it started that it depicted tobacco use. I guess I hadn’t paid enough attention recently to realize that that had become a regular warning label.

    I liked the program, and they definitely lightened up the story a little bit by not really describing the jobs of the men that worked in the bullfighting ring. After all, most of them are there to torture the bull and make him angry, and the Matador is there to kill him. I did like the happy ending were Ferdinand gets to sit under his favorite tree just smelling the flowers. But, I did not like this as much as the Old Mill.
     
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    BrianL

    Doom Buggy Driver
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    An interesting note about Ferdinand, there was a full animated movie in 2017 that was done at BlueSky, a studio that Disney now owns due to the Fox acquisition. It wouldn't surprise me if we saw that on D+ eventually as well.
     
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    SamFaniam

    I Love Rabbit!
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2019
    Today I watched The Ugly Duckling. Interestingly enough, even though this was listed as being later than Ferdinand, it is a Walt Disney Silly Symphony released through RKO. So, I guess Disney wasn’t quite finished working with other distributors yet.

    I should start by saying that I have never enjoyed the story. It does have a happy ending, but everything up to the ending is sad because everyone keeps rejecting this poor little bird. But, I’m going to set that aside and just talk about the cartoon itself. I thought the animation was strange. The backgrounds were all rather impressionistic and water colored. The foreground, where the birds all were, was very bright and had defined line drawings. So the background and the foreground didn’t really work together for me. I did think that the birds all looked pretty realistic. The argument between the mother and father duck, where clearly he was accusing her of cheating, I thought was a little mature for a children’s story.

    So, not my favorite, and I decided to follow it with a duck video that I do like very much.
     





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