Ultimate 90s Blogathon Wrap-Up: Top 3 Disney Animated Films! by Tranquil Dreams

We’re finally here ladies and gents, the end of the Ultimate 90s Blogathon.  Today Kim and I are doing something a little bit different and posting each other’s wrap-up entry! For her kick-off, Kim shared three of her favorite movies from Robin Williams, one of her most memorable actors from the decade. This time, she is taking a look at another one of her biggest influences: Disney.  At the time, Disney was going through a period known as the Disney Renaissance, a resurgence of the Disney princess and musical.  For her wrap-up, Kim takes a look back at three of her favorite 90s Disney movies. Head on over to her site to check out my wrap-up post with my review of Wild Wild West.  The floor is yours, Kim!

We’re finally at the big wrap-up of the Ultimate 90’s Blogathon. I kicked off this event with one of my favorite stars and movies that I couldn’t get enough of. But, almost nothing else would define my 90’s without Disney. Disney had a fantastic decade especially when Disney also added on Pixar. I can almost never pick favorites from the 90’s  Disney animated films but after some long thoughts, these are hands-down my favorite 90’s Disney, mostly because they defined something amazing. Note that Pixar is not included in these selections so if you go and tell me that I’m missing Toy Story, there’s your reason.

In order of release, here are my Favorite  Disney Animated Film of 1990’s in order of release!

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast movie poster

Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Voice Cast: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jesse Corti, Rex Everhart, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers

“A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell.” –IMDB

What little girl doesn’t like a good princess story? I can actually say that because I went through a tomboy phase and this hit right in that timeframe. Beauty and the Beast is so much more than a romantic story. It packs in a beautiful story with a wonderful heroine who would do anything for her father including trap herself in a cursed castle with a horrible beast. Beauty and the Beast is a story that a ton of movies have then tried to replicate the formula about loving someone for who they are inside and that there is much more to than their horrendous exterior. However, what drew me to Beauty and the Beast was Belle.

Belle was a princess I could relate to. She loved to read and couldn’t put down her book who lived through her fantastic fictional worlds. She was brave enough to go hunt down her father and stood up for him no matter what anyone said. She respected herself enough to not accept Gaston who was self-absorbed and pretentious. Belle is a strong character and one that many girls can look up to. Wrapped up in a wonderfully magical world full of catchy tunes, like Be Our Guest as inanimate objects can now talk and are alive in this castle that really is more than its scary exterior. Are you sensing a theme here?

Beauty and the Beast is magical and a ton of fun to watch despite some rather scary moments with the Beast’s first appearance and the whole uproar to kill the Beast in the end. The animation in Beauty and the Beast is beautiful, the songs are enchanting and fun and humorous at parts and it just makes this animated film so much more than just a princess movie and a great start to the 90’s for Disney.

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King movie poster

Director: Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff

Voice Cast: Mathew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Moira Kelly, Ernie Sabella, Nathan Lane, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Cummings

“Lion cub and future king Simba searches for his identity. His eagerness to please others and penchant for testing his boundaries sometimes gets him into trouble.” – IMDB

Mid-90s brought us the majestically beautiful coming of age story of Simba in The Lion King. This was a different equation. Sure, there was still a very slight romance going on in this one but the themes of The Lion King was more about taking responsibility, facing our fears and figuring out along the way who Simba really wants to be. There is great friendships and father-son relationship and of course, what Disney movie is without its massive villain out for revenge or perhaps not revenge but lusting for power in Simba’s uncle, Scar.

The Lion King started out the first act innocently as we learned about Simba and his great friendship with Nala. We learn about his relationship with Mufasa and not only the valuable lessons about what it takes to be king but also some heartwarming father and son moments but only to have the first scene end with his father being ripped away and Simba blaming himself and leaving in shame to run away from his past. The second scene is all about the most unlikely friendships. It is happy and worry-free, just like the energetic tunes of Hakuna Matata. Timon and Pumbaa are two hilarious characters. They bring a lot of laughter and joy to everyone. However, these two are the most loyal of friends who finds courage in the third act when Simba realizes what he has left behind and after some struggles decides that he has to go back and assume his responsibility and make things right.

The Lion King doesn’t only have fun tunes like I Just Wanna Be King or the ever some creepy but oh so easy to get stuck in your head villainous song, Be Prepared. It gave us really only one romantic but memorable, Can You Feel the Love Tonight. Music was all that made The Lion King great. The coming of age story and the wonderful characters made it great. Visually, it was stunning bringing to life the African setting with it’s safari animals. Most importantly, it made us laugh and cry and generally evoked a ton of emotions just like any well-written story should.

Mulan (1998)

Mulan movie poster

Director: Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook

Voice Cast: Ming-Na Wen, June Foray, James Hong, BD Wong, Pat Morita, Harvey Fierstein, Eddie Murphy

“To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process.” – IMDB

Mulan changed the Disney game in 1998. Perhaps Mulan might not mean as much to others but for a little Chinese girl like myself, Mulan was the first Disney heroine that I could relate to. She was brave and courageous. Persevering to survive and prove that she could be whatever she wanted to be and all because she wanted to protect her family, especially her father. Obviously, this is made into a much more childish story with the addition of many humorous moments especially since we have the great voice work of Eddie Murphy as the incredibly animated Mushu. Mulan’s horse and cricket all added to the fun times.

Mulan is a great story and one that I love so much. Sure, I sometimes question as I got older about how she was able to conceal herself from the other men in the army from realizing that she was a lady but animated films can really bring out quite a bit of charm. Mulan shows off some more oriental tunes and tells of some of the values that the Chinese society had back then for young girls about marriage and their role and predetermined future. Mulan also showed someone who didn’t fit in because it wasn’t what she was really looking for, at least she didn’t believe her future wasn’t going to be that well-known path. Mulan chose to go to war for her father perhaps to also find herself. That makes her a fantastic heroine as we watch her journey to toughen up both mentally and physically.

There’s so much to love about Mulan other than the more personal level for myself. The animation of bringing China to life was great. The music was heavily inspired with Chinese instruments and sounds. There was not only an emotional level to the songs but a lot of very fun ones. My favorite is I’ll Make A Man Out of You which is so powerful as a song and in the funny department, there’s always A Girl Worth Fighting For. With a balance of humor, honor and courage, Mulan is a great way to wrap up the end of 90’s for Disney.

5 thoughts on “Ultimate 90s Blogathon Wrap-Up: Top 3 Disney Animated Films! by Tranquil Dreams

  1. Terrific insights on a great period of Disney animation! I cannot tell you how many time my sister and I would watch Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King growing up; those stories still resonate powerfully today as do the movies themselves. As somebody who writes about animation, these films are great picks; Mulan is rather unique in the Disney canon about the ideas and settings it explores as well, and while I could say a lot more about the Disney Renaissance in general, I’m not going to leave an essay in the comment section! Great work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These three are my favourite Disney animations! They say how Mulan’s weakness is that the antagonist there is so vague and underpresented, but I don’t see any problem with it at all. It is a fantastic animation, indeed!


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