As I have said on a number of other occasions, I frequent the film blog nighthawknews.wordpress.com for a great deal of my film reading and part of my inspiration for the way I engage in film came from his posts on his favorite directors. A few weeks ago I fell sick and couldn’t really do anything aside from watch movies, so I decided to take another queue from him and marathon the Disney Animated Canon while I was sick. I wouldn’t have a better opportunity to watch 52 films in a short span of time. Eight days later I finished my marathon and I now have a ranking of all the Disney Films. He and I have certain things we agree on (our top three and bottom one) but everything between is a mishmash.
Also before I start I should classify what the Disney Animated Canon is. The list can be found here but basically it is theatrically released, completely or mostly animated, films made by Walt Disney Animation Studios. So partially animated live action films (like Song of the South or Who Framed Roger Rabbit), non-Disney Animated Studios release (so Pixar, Disney Toons, and Studio Ghibli films) and non-theatrical (the paramour of direct to DVD sequels) are not included. Only the 52 films I list are part of the canon. I will be going from worst to least.
The Truly and Utterly Bad
#52 – Home on the Range (2004)
Like I said, we agree on one thing for sure and that is that Home on the Range was the stupidest Disney film ever released. Trying their hand at a Western Comedy they cast Roseanne Barr as the lead Cow and it is completely terrible. The plot is stupid, the voice acting is bad (although not the worst Disney has ever employed) and ITS NOT FUNNY. While I have no problem with Disney going serious, this was not that. They wanted this to be funny and it just wasn’t. Cliché after Cliché.
#51 – Fox and the Hound – 1981
When I said Home on the Range didn’t have the worst voice acting in a Disney film, it was this film I was talking about. Kurt Russel and Mickey Rooney? Who thought that was a good idea!! Not to mention the biggest problem with this film. It’s trying to be Bambi and it doesn’t have the courage or the quality to go through with it. The film is plodding and slow and if it weren’t for the song “Best of Friends” it would rank as the worst Disney film.
#50 – Chicken Little – 2005
This is just another film that isn’t funny. There are a few jokes that get a laugh from me (thanks to the Fish-out-of-water character) but it’s just not funny and doesn’t have anything else to give it any quality.
#49 – The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad – 1949
There were six films released between Bambi and Cinderella that were collections of short animations. These are called the “package films” and Ichabod and Mr. Toad is by far the worst of them. It’s only redeeming quality is some truly terrifying images in the last five minutes, but all together the films two stories don’t amount to much of anything. My dad loves this film, I just don’t get it.
The Mediocre Films
#48 – Make Mine Music – 1946
This film is a huge step up from Ichabod and Mr. Toad because rather than having almost nothing of value, this film has some very funny and heartwarming segments. Out of the ten shorts within this film, three of them are good (and one would have been if set to different music. This is like a Queen album, some great songs but it doesn’t really mesh together. Too much second rate filler.
#47 – Saludos Amigos – 1942
None of the skits in this film work for me except for Goofy the Cowboy. Similar to Make Mine Music, the film doesn’t mesh because of the substandard quality of most of the skits. Fortunately this film is only 40 minutes long so the suffering doesn’t last forever.
#46 – Dumbo – 1941
This film was made to recoup costs from Fantasia because Disney had almost sunk the studio with it. I remember enjoying this as a kid, but nothing except the song Baby Mine works for me. And it doesn’t help that they’ve got the jive-talkin crows (one of whom was named Jim). A little too racist for my liking. And the film as a whole just doesn’t work for me.
#45 – Bolt – 2008
I was actually enjoying this film for a little while. Then there was a moment where the sassy black female cat says that all cats ever want is to be dogs. She says that to the masculine, macho, white, male dog. It really doesn’t sit well with me and it dropped the film from a 3 star to a 2.5 star.
#44 – Brother Bear – 2003
The music isn’t as good as Tarzan, the story isn’t as good as Pocahontas or any of the other animal films, the supporting characters aren’t as good as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, or the Little Mermaid, and the tone feels mixed the whole way through.
#43 – Dinosaur – 2000
I loved this movie when I was a kid but 13 years later it just doesn’t hold up. Some of the animation is good, but the story and the characters are just too simplistic to get it in the 3 star range.
Sorry to leave on such a down list, but Disney definitely had ten stinkers. Next post we’ll get to the good films, I swear.