Disney Animation: A Return To Form?
In an era of animation dominated by Pixar, Disney itself has dipped down from the critical and commercial heights of the “Disney Renaissance” that spawned classics like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. I am glad to say that with Tangled and The Princess and the Frog, Disney demonstrates that it still has the moviemaking prowess to make films on par with their own classics.
All of the pieces are in place for a Disney classic in these two films: witty, amusing dialogue, charming characters, and songs that are smartly integrated into the storyline (these strengths are especially pronounced in Tangled, which I highly recommend and put a bit higher than Frog).
But when you break it down further, they succeed because they follow the same formula that has made every animated Disney classic work: take a “tale as old as time” and put a spin on it while making it definitively Disney.
Think about it: Disney sure didn’t make up the basis of Beauty and the Beast, or Hercules, or Tarzan, or any of the fairy tales like Cinderella. This is not a coincidence, and it is also not coincidence that Tangled and Frog follow this formula. It’s a key reason Disney movies are so good.
Everyone knows the tale of Rapunzel and her freakishly long hair, and everyone knows the tale of the princess who kissed a frog, magically transforming it into a prince in the process. By making films based off of these basic stories, Disney establishes entry-level appeal that makes it very easy for anyone to enjoy (but more importantly pay for) said film.
Thing is, neither of these new additions to Disney’s huge animated family tree have too much depth going for it; sure, there are good messages about self-discovery, ambition, and friendship/love, but nothing too far from the surface. Fortunately, that is actually another way that the film fits the mold of a Disney classic.
Indeed, some movies don’t need particularly deep meanings to succeed, and these two films, like most Disney classics, are just good fun. You will laugh at Tangled in particular, and I could definitely see people being able to shed some tears too (Frog is a well-done and heart-warming story, but I can’t say I laughed at it much).
It is also worth mentioning that the animation in both is absolutely stunning. With Tangled, Disney proves its capability of performing at Pixar’s level in regards to computer animation (in fact, the story and characters also help to prove this point), while Frog shows that they’ve still got it when it comes to the more traditional, hand-drawn style of animation (there are some seriously stunning visual effects in Frog).
Whether or not you believe that Disney ever hit a slump and was in need of a return to form, the reality remains that Tangled and The Princess and the Frog both demonstrate that Disney is fully capable of telling tales just as well as they used to.
Oh, and I can’t help but give a shout-out to Tangled for creating the greatest chameleon to ever walk the Earth (even if said Earth is computer-generated…). I mean, what a boss.
But I’d like to know your perspective! Is Disney experiencing a return to form or not? Was Disney not even in need of a return to form? Sound off in the comments.
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about 1 year ago - 1 comment
Wait…there’s another Pirates movie in theaters now? Weren’t the first three movies enough? When is Disney going to just let go?! These are all fantastic questions that I’m sure have gone through a majority of people’s heads when they first got word about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. However, when I learned the