When I visited Disneyland Paris for my yearly lads holiday, I was hit by the iconic legacy that it will always hold. I would go as far as to say that some of the greatest and most creative minds have passed through Disney, creating some of the most powerful and heartwarming films ever made. But Disney has more recently discovered a new hobby – one that is much more lucrative. Starting with Alice in Wonderland, followed by other high earners like the Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, Disney is now firmly established their quest to make live action remakes and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
I am going to believe them when they say that these remakes are simply a supplement to their upcoming plans for original content. For now, though, rather than complain about their money making tactics and lack of creativity in these remakes, we can just be hopeful, and trust that one day they will bring us something close to the magic of the 90s Disney renaissance.
It was in this era that Disney had a revamp of writers and decided to bring a bit of Broadway to the company. They used the classic formulas — such as the famous “I want” songs in the first 20 minutes of each film — to create childhood classics with strong stories and morals.
Here are my top 5 films from Disney’s golden-era:
- Pocahontas: The empowering story of a native American woman who protects her land from English intruders. Okay, so the film probably couldn’t be made now as it ignores colonialism and its brutal reprecussions. It does, however, have a strong female character, remarkable and nostalgic wilderness animation, and some great music.
- The Lion King: A classic. From the comedy duo of Timon and Pumba and the fierceness of Scar, to the gracious protagonist Simba, every character in this film has been carefully crafted.
- Hercules: We follow the legendary Hercules on a journey of self discovery about his past. The beautiful song “Go the Distance” sets the whole film on course and the unique voice of Susan Egon is what makes the song “I Won’t Say I’m in Love”. Danny DeVito, playing a short, bald character (method acting in real life, Danny?) also adds a liveliness.
- Beauty and the Beast: The remake will never come close to the glory of the original. The animation is gorgeous in this film, encapsulating the life of the village and the darkness of the castle. “Tale as Old as Time”, sung by Angela Lansbury, is stunning, and Belle in that yellow dress – honey, you have found your colour.
- Mulan: A film following a Chinese girl as she illegally pretends to be a man to fight a war. It has cross-dressing, so that already makes it a brilliant film like Mrs Doubtfire (but with just a bit more war). Catchy songs and a lovely encapsulation of the culture. Also is Li Shang the first bisexual Disney character?! Represent!