The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same. Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation. Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all. Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!
What’s your favorite animated Disney movie?
This is the first question I don’t have a direct and definitive answer to. I’ve been chatting with the lovely writer of The Ink Garden, and among other things the topic turned to Disney movies. After considering this in our last correspondence, I realized I had my QOTW 🙂
I almost feel as though this one needs to be broken up into time periods or even animation styles (traditional 2D or CGI), because Disney has made a lot of animated movies. This is not even considering the Pixar branch off, which I will be.
Up until a few years ago, if you asked me this question, my answer would have been unequivocally Frozen.
It fell into that strange niche of something I had no interest in initially that I loved upon experiencing (it has good company in FFVII, Harry Potter, and ASOIAF among others). From the opening song “Vuelie” I had chills running down my spine, which is a brilliant meta on their part.
But though I still absolutely adore Frozen, time tends to lend itself to retrospection. In the grand scheme of my Disney movie watching, I don’t know it it’s my Number 1, though it’s up there in the count.
Picking a 2D animated Disney film is just as difficult, but I can say without impunity that The Hunchback of Notre Dame is high on that list and may very well be my favorite.
I think this was the first time a Disney movie used the term “eternal damnation,” (though Sleeping Beauty did have Maleficent deliver the exquisite line of “Now you shall deal with me, oh prince, and all the powers of Hell), and if you haven’t been paying attention, religious symbolism and imagery is kind of my thing.
Hunchback is about a self-righteous, overly sanctimonious official who abuses his adopted, physically disabled son and eventually attempts to use him to commit genocide against an ethnic minority, one of whom he lusts after. Oh, and the only reason he has an adopted, physically disabled son is because he murdered his mother on the steps of Notre Dame, and the high deacon saw him and called him out by putting the fear of the very God he claims to worship into him.
Not even mentioning that fact that everything I love is ultra messed up, Hunchback has that very dark undertone at its foundation in addition to the religious aspect, and that’s always been appealing.
Also I love the song “God Help the Outcasts;” it was an inspiration for the church scene in Chapter 4 of Northern Lights.
Just to assure you that I don’t just like Disney movies because of the music (though that is a big part…I love musicals), when it comes to one subset of them, I have a definitive answer, and it has nothing to do with music since there are no official musical numbers. My favorite Pixar movie is without a doubt Ratatouille.
I can relate the idea of the protagonist who’s been told all his life that he can’t do something because of what he is regardless of his skill level, and Gusteau’s proclamation of “Anyone can cook” is the perfect analogue to so many things. I’m not the idealist I once was two decades ago, and I know that there are uncontrollable and often insurmountable barriers that stand in the way of success. The fact that there is a movie with a seemingly absurd concept of a rat cook (and I don’t mean the Rat Cook from ASOIAF *shivers* there are no horror motifs in Ratatouille) and make it believable in its way shows that what’s really absurd is our restrictions on what people can do based on what they are alone. It’s an important metaphor to portray and Pixar pulled it off perfectly.
So I have a newer CGI film, an late 00s Pixar movie, and a mid 90s traditionally animated one. I’ll have to think about my favorite early Disney movie, but that will be another story for another time.
What is/are your favorite animated Disney movie(s)? What do you love about them?
I look forward to your answers in the comments!