So, what’s the best and worst of Disney, you ask?
…You didn’t? Oh…
…Well, here you go anyway!
Overall Film Quality:
Worst of the Worst Award – Chicken Little
Disney’s first solo venture into the world of CG is, shockingly, their worst. Only Home on the Range comes close to the sheer miasma of badness that this stinker emits.
The plot is confused (do we focus on the aliens or the baseball?), the characters are one-note and/or unlikable (I would happily fry Buck Cluck up, KFC style); and the animation is somewhere between “meh” and hideous.
Take my advice. Just don’t. Also, put this down for Worst Humor Award and Worst Father Award too.
Most Artful Award – Fantasia
It’s like going to an orchestra concert and letting your mind wander and create stories to the music that you hear. It is a series of stories and scenes illustrated creatively, accompanying famous classical pieces. I’d give it praise for introducing kids to this kind of music by itself, but it also went and gave us the predecessor to surround sound.
Most Beautiful Award (2-D) – The Little Mermaid
This movie started the Disney Renaissance; it reminded everyone of the artistic potential of 2-D animation. It looks absolutely amazing.
Most Beautiful Award (3-D) – Frozen
Best Story Award – Beauty and the Beast
Not only did Disney successfully adapt this fairytale, they improved it.
A better reason for the Beast to get pissy with Belle’s father (the catalyst to the plot), a better reason for the Beast to be protective of his rose(s) (his last hope for humanity that is wilting more everyday), better stakes (loss of humanity, loss of life at least three times), a damn good villain (who probably gave Hans from Frozen some pointers), and it took some time (which the clever writers never specify) for an actual romance/friendship to develop.
Best Humor Award – Peter Pan
Say what you want about the Genie or Kronk or anyone else. Complain about the racist indians. Okay. Are we good now?
Because this movie has the BEST slapstick ever. Any scene with Hook, Smee, and/or the crocodile kills me every time. Peter’s not that bad either; we get some funny fight scenes out of him.
Worst Music Award – Home on the Range
I hate this movie. Also…Alan Menken…why?
Best Musicals Award – The Little Mermaid
This was another tough one, but I think that this film has the (consistently) best songs in any Disney movie. They are all solid, memorable hits, except for maybe the “Daughters of Triton” song from the beginning.
Plus, “Part of Your World” was the “Let It Go” of the 90’s.
Best Score Award – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Here is just a sample:
It is epic, awesome, and fitting (latin choruses in a movie starring a gorgeous Catholic church).
Best Straightforward Adaptation Award – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Probably the most faithful. Fitting, as it was Disney’s first venture into feature-length films.
Most “Child-Friendly” Elements Award – Pinocchio
For those who think Hunchback of Notre Dame is Disney’s darkest film…
I have seen this movie maybe 3 times in my life…That’s more than enough for me. It’s actually really unpleasant.
First, consider this:
Enjoy seeing these in your nightmares, kiddies!
Most Creative Animation Award – Alice in Wonderland
In contrast to the vastly inferior live-action version, animated Alice’s world is very dark and minimalist at times. It feels as though anything could appear out of the shadows next, and over the course of the story, anything does. It’s a clever choice, and boy does it bring out the colors of everyone and everything else.
Take a note, overstuffed CGI fail-fest: less is more.
Worst Villain Award – Edgar, The Artistocats
Least competent, least noteworthy, and least entertaining to watch. He has his moments, but for the most part, I just don’t care. The only thing more idiotic than him attempting to kill some cats because they are inheriting a fortune is that the lady is willing the fortune to her cats in the first place. Also, why would Edgar think he was going to get that money in the first place, and why would the lady even consider him? Does she not have any family? Friends? Charitable organizations that she supports?
Most Awesome Villain Award – Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty
Kick-ass voice actress, amazing design, elegance, class, insanity, intimidation, power. And need we forget, self-proclaimed “Mistress of All Evil”?
As far as the “I do it because I’m evil” villains go, she is the boss.
Worst Villain Song Award – “Mother Knows Best”, Tangled
Except for the sinister “don’t ever ask to go outside again” line, this song is all goof and no bite. Lady Tremaine was a better controlling mother, and she didn’t even get a song.
Best Villain Song Award – “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, The Little Mermaid
A crazy faustian waltz filled with lies and seduction, and it ends on one hell of an awesome crescendo. It has all of “Gaston”‘s sentiment (“I’m totally not a villain. I actually a really awesome person”), mixed with undertones of “Hellfire”‘s creepy sexual overtones.
It’s only real issue is probably the lengthy dialogue throughout, but even then, it’s a great, sinister listen.
Best Villain Motivation Award – Judge Claude Frollo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
God told him to do it. No, really.
Frollo is scary because there are people out there like him. He’s greedy, but repressed. When he has power, he abuses it for his own ends, but claims that it’s all for the greater good. How can that not be awesome?
Two more unrelated things of note: “Hellfire,” and Tony Jay. That is all.
Scariest Villain Award – The Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Look at it. LOOK AT IT.
Every time this woman stares into the camera, I dare you not to shiver. It’s like she knows you’re there, and once she’s offed Snow White, she’s coming for you.
Also, the “Thirsty?” scene is f%#*ed up.
The Queen pre-hagdom is pretty creepy too; her virtually frozen face, the way her eyes randomly widen and narrow while she speaks, her voice (Lucille La Verne took out her false teeth to do the Hag voice), her magic mirror slave. She’s one of the weaker villains character and motivation-wise, but her fear factor is not to be denied.
As she prepares her disguise potion, the hag’s cackle and scream of fright are particularly chilling.
As an honorable mention though, I’d like to point out that this guy exists:
Disney: The most wholesome factory of night terrors since 1923. Probably fitting, since it was also founded in October.
Most Entertaining Villain – Rattigan, The Great Mouse Detective
He’s voiced by Vincent Price; it’s a match made in Hell.
So what if you can tell he’s the villain from 3 miles off? He’s so gleefully evil. He prances, for Hell’s sake.
Just watch him and try not to get into his performance.
Also, watch the climax to see him become truly terrifying.
Best Villain Laugh Award – The Headless Horseman, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
This one was a three-way tie between Maleficent, Ursula, and good ole’ headless, but we’re not going for most iconic laugh here. As awesome as the first two are, they can’t match the simultaneous levels of crap-your-pants fright, maniacal glee, and even hilarity that comes from this guy.
Best Villain Lair – Bald Mountain, Fantasia
Hmmm, what’s an awesome lair for a villain? Inside a dead elephant, or sea monster? A fortress on top of a mountain?
How about the mountain itself, where Hell’s minions come out and party with you?
Best Villain Sidekick – Kronk, The Emperor’s New Groove
I love LeFou, don’t get me wrong, but Kronk is funnier and plays off his villain, Yzma, much more comedically. That is what elevates him from potentially annoying to lovable and hilarious; he’s coupled with a jaded, smart sourpuss.
Scariest Non-Villain Award – The Beast, Beauty and the Beast
Finally A Non-Evil Queen Award – Elsa, Frozen
Because responsibility is not your enemy, little girls. You can rock a gorgeous dress AND rule a kingdom, without having to marry and let your man do it for you.
Worst Princess Award – Snow White, from where do you think?
Snow White ties with Aurora and Pocahontas for “Least Personality,” but Aurora isn’t ear-bleedingly obnoxious to listen to, and Pocahontas does more stuff plot-wise and is outdoorsy. This chick looks like she belongs on “Toddlers and Tiaras;” she wears way too much makeup and makes weird faces half of the time, but she acts like she’s five years old. I think she was coasting off of the popularity of Betty Boop.
It’s frustrating how much nothing she does, how stupidly naive she is.
Best Princess Award – Elsa, Frozen
Yes, her again. It counts because she was a princess til about the 1/4th point of the movie.
Don’t get me wrong. Belle will always have a special place in my heart, as will Mulan and Merida. Anna is pretty cool too (see what I did there?). But here’s the thing: Elsa has powers. Not just queen powers, but legit ICE MAGIC powers.
Worst Leading Man Award – Hercules, from guess where?
I’ve got nothing really against the guy. He’s nice enough, but he’s kind of boring. Also, his motivations are kind of selfish.
If you’re wondering why Philip or the two other “Prince Charmings” didn’t end up here, it’s because there was nothing to work off of there. They do nothing (aside from Philip, who is awesome despite his blandness), and have no character traits to speak of.
Best Leading Man Award – Kristoff, Frozen
Frozen has a bit of an unfair advantage; it’s the most recent animated film, and probably the most conscious of previous Disney “flaws”. But still, it must be counted.
Kristen may not have an epic fight with a dragon or a giant octopus-woman under his belt, but he’s got a lot of personality. Probably the most of all the Disney guys, aside from the Beast. He’s the closest to a guy you might actually know, but he’s never boring or standard. He’s Kristoff, the pungent reindeer king!
Worst Good Guy Sidekick Award – Buck, Home on the Range
He’s obnoxious, plain and simple. He kung-fu kicks everywhere and thinks he’s too cool for school. He is a waste of thought and screen time.
Best Good Guy Sidekick Award – Olaf, Frozen
I’m sorry to keep doing this to you.
Olaf could have been horribly annoying as far as sidekicks go, but he’s actually really cute and likable. Because he was a product of Anna and Elsa’s early (happy) childhood, it makes sense for him to be silly, upbeat, and naive. He also gets some really genuinely funny lines.
Jerk Protagonist Award – Mr. Toad, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
I was tempted to go with Aladdin because he’s a compulsive liar and essentially a con man. But hey, it’s for love, so at least it’s a…good cause?
I also thought about Ichabod from the same above-mentioned movie, because he wants to marry Katrina to get her family farm and money, and he actually FANTASIZES ABOUT HER FATHER DYING. But again, the other two main characters, Brom Bones and Katrina, are just as jerky as he is, so it’s a more level playing field.
So how about a guy who destroys public property without thought, who is extremely prone to bad habits and fads?
Mr. Toad even goes to jail at one point, albeit for a crime he didn’t commit. At one point, he considers turning his life around and taking his friends more seriously (and less for granted). Does he?
No lessons learned. No growth or change. What an asshole.
Sympathetic Villain Award – Elsa, Frozen
This one is cheating just a bit, but she’s mistaken for the villain by most of the rest of the cast and does inadvertently cause the dangerous predicament that the kingdom falls into.
Elsa is sort of like Frollo (repressed), but a nice person. She means well and doesn’t want to hurt anyone. She gets an awesome moment of freedom and happiness, only to realize that she still has responsibilities, and must fix the hurt that she’s caused, even though she has no idea how.
Backhanded Best Mother Award – “the queen”, Sleeping Beauty
Do you know what is worse than offing mothers? Not even giving them f&#%ing names.
And really, there is no excuse for this. You named the father Stephan; why wouldn’t you toss out anything for the queen? She actually gave birth to Aurora! Doesn’t that count for anything?
Yes, in Disney Princess Enchanted Tales, they name her Leah. That doesn’t count. None of the direct-to-video stuff counts in the grand scheme of things.
Best Father Award – Maurice, Beauty and the Beast
He’s quirky, supportive, and adorably bumbling. Plus, he deserves an award for all of the crap he endures throughout the course of the movie.
Also, just because you needed to see this:
Best Castle Award – Sleeping Beauty
I just love the look and feel of it. So much detail, like a tapestry…
Marge’s Favorite Character Award – Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland
I love his voice actor (Sterling Holloway, who also did Winnie the Pooh btw), his madness, his design, his color scheme. What is not to like about a cat with seemingly god-like powers who may or may not be out to get you?
That’s the awesome punch of Alice in Wonderland‘s characters: you never know if they’re going to snap on you at some point. Are they harmless, or…?
The intrigue there is part of his appeal.
And I think that is quite enough for today. Needless to say, Disney has done some good work. Let’s hope we and our families get more quality entertainment in the future.
*All pictures, video clips, and other media belong to Disney. None of the images or sounds belong to me.