I know it’s a huge cliché to say, but nobody is ever too old to watch Disney movies. I like to think that animation made with a family audience in mind isn’t solely for children and that people of all ages are able to enjoy them. When I was coming up with what would be on this list, I got the first three down immediately and then struggled after that because there are so many Disney movies that I like. In all honestly, I can only think of one that I genuinely didn’t like and the rest I’ve either liked or thought were alright. I have a lot of different reasons for loving a movie, so hopefully I’ve been able to collect those reasons into words that actually make sense because I tend to get a wee bit excited when talking about things I love.
Alright, let’s get this one out of the way first. This movie, ladles and jellyspoons, is my absolute favourite Disney movie ever. I love it so, so, so much that sometimes it’s difficult to put into words. Tarzan is one of the earliest movies that I actually remember going to see in the cinema (the first movie i remember seeing in the cinema was The Rugrats Movie which was released in 1999 before i turned 4, as well as Tarzan, but it was earlier in the year) so it does have a special place in my heart. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that I don’t really care all too much if a movie adaptation isn’t word for word exactly the same as the book, and this movie is partly why. So many things are different between the original Edgar Rice Burroughs book and this adaptation, which at first sounds dumb and unnecessary, but once you read the book it completely makes sense. There’s no way that Disney would’ve been able to make a word-for-word adaptation that still remains to be family friendly, because the original Tarzan books are violent af. Anyways, back to me raving. I love pretty much every part of this movie: the story, the relationships between characters, the acting, the animation, and of course, the music. I grew up listening to Phil Collins and this movie’s soundtrack is my absolute favourite. I still have the physical CD in my collection (i actually kind of stole it from my dad but shh…)
Fun little anecdote time: my uncle once asked me if he could have my copy of Sleeping Beauty, and then offered to buy it from me when I said no. I still said no because you just don’t ask somebody if you can just take their copy of one of their favourite movies. It’s bad cinephile etiquette. Anyways, out of all the fairy tale based Disney movies, Sleeping Beauty is my favourite, but mainly for aesthetic reasons (as well as the story, characters, and music but y’know). I love Gothic aesthetics, and because this movie is set in the 14th century it has so many Gothic elements in the settings. I know that when most people think of “Gothic”, they think of Victorian times, but Gothic architecture is actually medieval and what the castle in this movie is. You could say that this movie gave me my love of Gothic aesthetics, as well as giving me my favourite Disney villain, which is Maleficent. Maleficent is one of my favourite villains just because of how awesome she is and I would actually kill a person for that facial structure (also, yes, i have seen Maleficent and i wasn’t too impressed by it, oops). Also, can we please make a petition for Disney to start making blue Sleeping Beauty merchandise? Because everything is pink and I absolutely cannot stand the colour pink, I’d rather at least some things were blue. Just a mug or three, I’m not asking for much. (really tho, even my Maleficent mug from Disneyland is pink. not as pink as the Aurora stuff, but still. it’s pink.)
This movie here was my favourite thing in the entire world when I was three years old. I had so many things with Ariel and Flounder on them that I might as well have dyed my hair bright red and wore an Ariel costume every single day. I had dolls, clothes, a swim bag, swimming costume, name anything and I will have owned it with Ariel on it. I even had an Ariel birthday cake for my third birthday. Basically, I was the way a lot of little girls are now when it comes to Frozen, but instead it was The Little Mermaid. I went a long time without having this movie in my collection because I gave my ancient video tape copy to my cousin, and only got a DVD copy a couple of months ago. Come to think of it, The Little Mermaid was probably my first ever favourite movie because it almost never left my VCR.
I grew up with cats so it’s only natural that I would list a movie about cats as one of my favourites. It also takes place in Paris, which is my favourite place in the world. Cats + Paris = One very happy me. I used to watch The Aristocats all the time when I was little, whether it was with a cat or not, that’s how much I loved this movie. I don’t have a cat anymore, so I can’t do that now. You ever tried to watch a movie about cats with a dog? It’s not the same. When I was a kid, I had a plush Toulouse (from Disneyland Paris, of course) and that plushie went everywhere with me. Nearly all of our family home movies from when I was the ages of maybe 6 to about 10 feature me and my beloved Toulouse. I think I had a Marie too, but I don’t think I treasured that one as much…
Another one of my childhood favourites! Although I didn’t own anywhere near as much Mulan merch as I did Little Mermaid, I still did adore this movie. This was another movie that never left my VCR and would end up being wound back to the beginning to be played again as soon as the movie was over. Mulan has some of my favourite Disney songs and is probably the movie that sparked my interest in Eastern Asian cultures, although I do tend to take more interest in Japan than China. And while I’m still thinking about music, I have to draw your attention to this video of Jackie Chan (who played Shang in all three Chinese dubs) singing ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ in Chinese (i forget which dialect it is, sorry >.<)
The Muppets have been owned by Disney since 2004, so yes this one counts. Live action movies also do count too, shush. I am a lifelong fan of The Muppets, having watched both The Muppet Show and Sesame Street as a child and as soon as I heard about this movie being released I had to go see it. My mum, who has been a Muppets fan since the 70s when The Muppet Show first aired on ITV, came with me to see and ugh it was soooo good. The plot of this movie follows Walter (a Muppet), Gary (his brother), and Mary (Gary’s girlfriend) travelling to LA for sightseeing and then helping Kermit and the Muppets get their studio back from an oil baron by putting on one final show. It sounds like a simply plot, but the way that it’s told is what makes it great. Muppet movies are always incredibly self-aware and the humour can be really clever at times. The sequel wasn’t as good as this one (i may be biased though because Ricky Gervais is in the sequel and i can’t stand Ricky Gervais), but that’s okay because they actually made reference to sequels not being as good in a freaking opening song.
I love video games so movies about video games always manage to catch my attention (not movies based on video games though because those nearly always suck). I didn’t go to see Wreck-It Ralph when it was first released in cinemas and instead watched it on demand, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love it any less than I would have if I’d seen it at the cinema. Out of all the “new” Disney movies that have been released in the past few ones, this is the only one that I genuinely do love. The others have either been just good or just okay and that might be because I’m more biased to traditionally animated movies, but with a movie like this it wouldn’t be possible to have animated this by hand in 2D animation, so this one gets a pass as a Disney movie (i’m a total snob, i wanted Disney and Pixar to be kept as two separate companies, but now it’s kinda difficult to tell them apart :/).
Despite what I said above about me preferring 2D animation, I do still like Pixar movies. And yes, I do count Pixar movies as being Disney because shhh, this is my post. While I do like the Toy Story series, I’ve always preferred Monsters Inc. Maybe it’s because I like humanised monsters, maybe I just like the characters in this movie more. Whatever it is, it makes me love it. The idea of monsters using children’s screams to fuel their home lives and in turn being terrified of children is just so interesting. I just love the idea of monsters being scary creatures being turned on its head by making these monsters just like ordinary people that you would want to hang out with in regular situations. I’m also now regretting that I should’ve bought that pair of Sulley slippers that I saw the last time I was in Disneyland (i bought Stitch ones instead).
When I was five, I got this movie on DVD and wound up watching it every single day. That’s not even an exaggeration, the sleeve on the inside of the DVD box is torn and water damaged from me watching this movie so much. I was so obsessed with The Princess Diaries as a kid that I even had the opening credits and the special features doc memorised to the finest little detail. Obviously I didn’t read the book before watching the movie because, well, I was five and therefore way too young to be reading a YA series. I actually didn’t read the books until I was either thirteen or fourteen and I actually haven’t finished the series. To this day, I still do love this movie, but there’s just one thing that gets on my nerves: the makeover. As a girl with naturally curly hair, and one who was bullied for having such curly untamable hair, Mia’s makeover irritates me these days because it kind of implies that having naturally curly hair is ugly and undesirable and as a child I took that to heart and it did quite a bit of damage because I couldn’t come to terms with my hair until I’d left school. But apart from that, I do still love this movie for sentimental reasons.
Fun fact about me: I’m terrified of open bodies of water and fish kind of freak me out. So why do I like this movie? Sort of the same reason as Sleeping Beauty: this movie is just gorgeous to look at. Water can be notoriously difficult to render in CGI and the Pixar team on Finding Nemo got it perfectly right and showed just how beautiful and horrifying the bottom of the ocean can be. The look of this movie is so incredibly detailed and well researched that it didn’t stop me from being scared of the ocean, but it has lead me to appreciate the creatures that are in it, but don’t expect me to be going scuba diving anytime soon because I can’t actually swim.