Review of the Disney Renaissance (Most of Them, Anyways)

Joshua Collins, Staff Writer

Ah, the Disney Renaissance. From The Little Mermaid to Tarzan, this period brought back Disney to the mainstream, taking the company from close to going bankrupt to making millions off of now beloved characters and defining childhoods. I was one of these kids. My parents watched these movies and loved them, getting them for my sister and I to grow up on. So, due to my free time with school being closed down, I decided to watch them all again.

Unfortunately, this experiment ended before I got even halfway due to unfortunate circumstances. So, instead of going from The Little Mermaid to Tarzan, it only goes up to The Lion King. I find this more unfortunate for the fact that I love The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I had to sit through one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

The Little Mermaid is the epitome of the classic Disney-spin on an old fairy tale. That, and it started decades of success from the company, saving it from complete ruin. One of the best things about this movie is how the dialogue and songs are intertwined. Songs do not come out of nowhere. You know they’re coming and you can’t stop smiling. Not only that, but the animation aged so well, unlike some newer movies put out by their animation department. Personally not my favorite, but re-watching it made me appreciate it in a new way.

The Rescuers Down Under is a dirt stain on the Disney company. It sucked. It felt like I was being tortured while watching it. It, also, only came out during the Renaissance because it got delayed due to The Little Mermaid. The animation is lifeless and the only redeeming quality of this movie is the fact that they used Australian voice-actors for Australian characters, and the fact that you realize people like the villain actually exist and need to dig themselves their graves and lay in them.

The Beauty and the Beast was my favorite movie as a child, no matter how much my mother says that it was some My Little Pony movies. Not only was this an amazing animated movie, but also an amazing stage musical and, unpopular opinion here, great live-action. I cried watching it in the theaters and refused to think any other live-action remake exists. Gaston is an amazing villain who is so full of himself that it gets him killed. The only bad thing about this movie is the fact that Belle falls in love with Beast who is supposed to be her captor. Like, that’s a little not okay?

Aladdin was not my favorite movie as a kid. Now? The best one. The opening, the transitions, and the animation are all golden. They made it a male protagonist longing for a girl instead of the other way around. Also, Jafar doing a reprise of “Prince Ali” was the best villain song in the whole entire world besides “I Steal Everything” from Twisted. Twisted is just Aladdin, but Jafar is the protagonist and Aladdin is the antagonist. It’s iconic.

The last one I was able to watch was The Lion King, which is either Hamlet in Africa, or a direct copy of another movie, or both. I was able to watch it with my sister when I visited her in Bellingham. Sadly, it’s not as much as it’s lived up to be in my opinion. The dialogue is awkward, and some of it feels very rushed. If you’re looking for this story but go above and beyond what you remembered it as a kid, look into the stage production. It’s beautiful.

Overall, watch Aladdin. It’s such a good movie. If you have more time, watch Twisted. They’re both iconic in their own ways.