Melody Time is the second to last of the package films. This one follows the same format of Make Mine Music, which is having a bunch of different segments, Fantasia-style, but set to mostly popular music.
The one thing I say about all these package films is — it’s not their fault that I’m ranking them where I’m ranking them. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, and they’re mostly good films. It’s just — they’re just not as entertaining as most other Disney movies. That’s really their only fault.
I consider this one to be one of the weaker package films (of the six, this one is fifth for me. Also keep in mind that I don’t count Fantasia as a package film). The sections here just aren’t as interesting as those in the other ones. There really isn’t any section in this that’s memorable in any way. Yet, the fact that it has a bunch of sections makes it more interesting than Fun and Fancy Free to me, even if that one had the “Mickey and the Beanstalk” segment. Still, though, this is one of the more forgettable Disney films.
Another package film. I can’t really fault these films at all for being where I’ve ranked them. Disney just happened to get going as a studio right before a world war hit, so it was just a bad stroke of luck that they couldn’t get enough finances going to keep making films like they do now. They really couldn’t get going until Cinderella. So you really have to be lenient with them on anything between Bambi and that.
This is actually their fourth package film (of six. I don’t count Fantasia here, since that was meant as a unique piece of art. These are really just compilations of stuff. Anyway, of the package films — this is middle of the road. It’s not bad and it’s not good. The package films sort of take on one of three plots: The Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos are structured around locations (more so Amigos. Caballeros has the framing of Donald getting gifts, but it’s still based on location), and then Make Mine Music and Melody Time have a bunch of musical segments that run one after another (like Fantasia, only more like a playlist). This film, along with The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, only has two parts to it. It’s just two stories thrown together. They’re not connected by anything, really. This is the weaker of the two, simply because no one remembers the first half of it and the second half, while memorable, isn’t as amazing as I thought it was in my mind all these years. But still — it’s not a bad film. (It’s just drawn that way. Zing! No, I’m kidding. It just doesn’t have much to it. That’s why it’s here.)
Meet the Robinsons is — I want to call it an honorable misfire, but it isn’t. The film is a mess, and, like almost all of Disney’s CG features, doesn’t seem to have a point. If you look at Disney’s films, post-1999, specifically the ones told via CG, you’ll see that very few of them seem to have a point. They don’t tell a story worth telling. I’d say, of the 13 animated Disney films released from 2000 to the present, I’d say four have a story worth telling. And then I can be convinced about two more, with another half thrown in. Maybe they’re batting .500, which would be fine if the other half didn’t contain such gigantic messes.
This film is just a misfire from top to bottom. And the reason this isn’t lower is because it does have some heart to it (brought in after-the-fact by John Lasseter, apparently. But even he wasn’t enough to save this movie). But what is this film? What are we getting out of it? Why does this story need to be told? Anyone? Does anyone remember anything about this movie except for one or two jokes (which were in the trailer, so you don’t even need to have seen the movie for that)?
Honestly, I probably should have ranked this lower than Brother Bear, but for some reason, I felt this was the right place for it. I’m probably wrong, since hand-drawn should be ranked above CG any day. I guess it’s those small moments of humanity that are built into this unholy mess that do it for me. Either way, #47 or #48, I think we can all agree that this belongs among the worst five movies Disney has ever made.
Brother Bear is probably the nadir of Disney in the 2000s. Maybe more so than Chicken Little, but it’s close. It depends on how you see it. I see Chicken Little as Disney attempting to adapt to technological change. They’re not necessarily in their element. But with this — this is Disney doing what they know. And it still turned out like this. So it’s hard to really qualify. But still, it’s definitely one of their worst.
The film — I don’t know — it’s just flat. There’s nothing of interest in it (except for one thing, which I’ll mention later), and it just feels like Disney going through the motions.
Pic of the Day: ♫ “I wanna be / Where the people are / I wanna see / Wanna see ’em dancin’ / Walking around on those / What do you call ’em? / Oh… feet! / Flippin’ your fins / You don’t get too far / Legs are required / For jumping, dancing / Strolling along down a / What’s that word again? / Street. / Up where they walk / Up where they run / Up where they stay all day in the sun / Wanderin’ free / Wish I could be / Part of that world.” ♫
I always consider this film a pair with Saludos Amigos, which was the #50 film on my countdown. To me, they’re just throwaway films. It’s clear the company’s attention is elsewhere (making propaganda pieces for the war as well as cutting back on budgets because of it), and I’m just not a fan of anything South American. Never was. So to me, the two are not only linked, but pretty forgettable on the whole. This one at least has a plot (of sorts), and a pretty memorable song, so I can’t fault it that much. It’s just — not that interesting to me.
Again, this is one of those — it’s not the film’s fault, it’s just one of those by-default things that happens. The film just isn’t as good as other Disney films. It has all the reasons in the world not to be, but I can’t honestly say I enjoyed it past #49.
Last week, in Box Office…
To absolutely nobody’s surprise, The Dark Knight Rises wins the weekend. It made $160.9 million. That’s the highest-grossing opening weekend not artificially aided by bullshit 3D-inflated ticket surcharges. And pretty much no one went to see anything else.
Ice Age: Continental Drift fell 56% (a lot higher than a standard animated film drop, which should tell you something about the quality of the film), pulling in $20.4 million. After two weekends, the film has made about $90 million. That’s actually less than I thought. But that was about what they spent to make it, and the film made about $500 million worldwide so far, so don’t expect this fucking franchise to end any time soon. (Great…)
The Amazing Spider-Man fell almost 70% (holy shit!) to $10.9 million. (Thomas Wayne note: “Why do we fall? So we can get back up again.” … Boom… NAILED IT!) But seriously, damn, that’s a plummet. Not that it matters, they’ve already made their budget back domestically after 3 weeks (and they spent a ridiculous $230 million on it, so that’s saying a lot), and made a shit ton of money overseas. It’s not like they’re hurting for money with this. (more…)
Saludos Amigos isn’t really a film. It’s more of a travelogue. See, in 1941, right before the war started, the State Department sent Disney animators down to South America on a goodwill tour. Sort of a, “Hey, we’re Good Neighbors” sort of deal. A lot of South America had ties to the Nazis (Boys from Brazil, anyone?), so they said, “Hey, what’s pure? Disney is pure. They love the mouse down there,” so they sent Walt as an ambassador. They went down, about twenty people in all — artists, composers, etc. — and visited Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru. Apparently the film did more to promote common interest between the U.S. and South America in the few months the trip lasted than the State Department had done in 50 years. Good old Walt.
But as I said, it’s not really a film. It’s mostly just a piece designed for ambassadorial purposes. There’s no plot, it’s just an actual tour of South America, with some Disney characters we know thrown in. That’s why this film is where it is. It does nothing wrong, it’s just that there’s not much of substance here either.
We begin with #51, and Chicken Little. Picking the film I considered to be the weakest Disney film of all time was actually more difficult than picking the film I considered to be the best Disney film. The reason is because — what are your qualifications?
I struggled on this question for a while, and I flip-flopped between this film and the film that is going to be #50 on my list for the longest time. Ultimately, I decided that it’s worse to have a film that isn’t trying more than a film that just isn’t. So that’s why this is #51.
The 2000s were not a kind decade for Disney. They had some hits, but mostly, they had misses. A lot of this can be blamed on the rise of Pixar, which really messed with Disney’s style. They started to think, “Well maybe we should get into that computer animation game…”, and that really screwed them up, because… well, when you see which of their films are fully CG, you’ll understand.
Chicken Little is a mess. I’m not really sure what the idea with it was. It certainly wasn’t to tell the original story, since they dispense with that within the first sixty seconds. This film is just a jumbled mess of references to other films, gags pandering to children under the age of 5, and the biggest cardinal sin for Disney — using preexisting music. Everything about this film is just wrong. This is definitely the weakest thing Disney has put out.
This will begin a series of articles I’m calling “Ranking Disney.”
When I started the blog, I was already (part of the anatomy)-deep in the Oscar Quest, and I knew two things: that I was going to document all the categories on the blog and that I was going to post something on the blog every day. And back then, I hadn’t finished enough categories for the Quest to start putting those up. So I needed something to fill the first three and a half months before I could start posting categories without worrying about running out. And during my brainstorming session, I came up with the idea for a series of articles ranking all the Disney movies.
The idea was pretty simple — watch all the Disney movies (at the time there were only 50, and the articles were going to be called “Ranking Disney, 1-50,” and I’d put them up in the days leading up to the release of Winnie the Pooh. But two important things happened during that time: first, I realized just how much stuff was involved with the Oscar Quest (plus I went into overdrive to finish it, watching about 500 movies in the span of 6 months), and I moved out to Los Angeles. So these got pushed (to just over a year later).
But now, they’re back. I knew these were going to be one of the first things I posted, post-Quest, simply because it was the thing I was most excited about from the beginning. The other reason was — once I started the blog, I started watching a lot of movies I hadn’t seen before (outside of the Quest, I was doing those Top Tens of the Decade lists). And I realized that I really hadn’t seen that many Disney movies despite loving Disney. I figured I’d only seen less than half of all the movies Disney had put out, with a nice handful coming because I started buying the DVDs once they came out of the vault. And I felt that made me a lesser human being. Plus, here I am, watching all this stuff from the 60s and 50s, and I still hadn’t seen some major Disney movies yet? I had to rectify that. (more…)
Pic of the Day: “Legend has it, in the mystic land of Prydain, there was once a king so cruel and so evil, that even the Gods feared him. Since no prison could hold him, he was thrown alive into a crucible of molten iron. There his demonic spirit was captured in the form of a great, black cauldron. For uncounted centuries, the black cauldron lay hidden, waiting, while evil men searched for it, knowing whoever possessed it would have the power to resurrect an army of deathless warriors… and with them, rule the world.”
Top ten time….
Not much to say here. Everything is perfectly represented. I think we can all agree that these songs are the ten best songs Disney’s ever done. There’s really not that much you could swap. (And if you do think something other than these ten belong in the top ten, I’d be fascinated to find out what it is.)
I don’t need to set this up any further. Just — prepare to get happy: (more…)
From here on out, it’s singalong time.
There’s gonna be almost nothing underneath each song. We’re just gonna listen to them and sing along.
Obviously these are the best Disney songs. Let’s not even pretend. At this point we’re just celebrating the brilliance that is Disney songwriting. (P.S. 20-16 can be found here.)
Here we go, folks — 15-11: (more…)
Time for the top 20.
This section — well, let’s just say, the songs in this section fit perfectly within this section. They can’t go any higher, and they’re definitely ones that should be ranked higher than the stuff in the previous section (which, 25-21 can be found here).
There’s also one song in this section that I love so so much. To the point where it completely transcends its film. I’m not even going to waste time. Let’s get right into it.
20-16, here we go: (more…)
Have you been keeping track so far? Do you know what songs haven’t come off the board yet? (If you want to recap, you can find the previous section here.)
We’ve reached the top 25. I’m going to do my best to provide adequate space in between each song, so that you get the full benefit of surprise and excitement when each one comes up.
In terms of what’s in the top 25 — you can really only haggle with me about one song. I guarantee you that if you were to make your list of top 25 Disney songs, at least — 20, to be liberal — would be the same as mine. It’s just obvious which ones are the best.
This section skews heavily toward one decade in particular, and songs that I felt, while some of the best they’ve ever done, do have some added help by the fact that they came out when I was a child. So while I grew up with Disney, I really grew up with these songs. They’re just not as universal as the rest of the stuff on the list. But, on the other hand — we all know they’re amazing. So this section will be the ones that, while of top 25 distinction, easily fall to the bottom of this particular tax bracket.
It’s the top 25, people. Get excited.
Oh this section is amazing. From here on out, I’ll have less and less to say about all the songs, just because they’re so, so good. The most I’ll have to do is explain why they went here and not higher.
But as for this section — we have a nice Disney female ballad, an amazingly fun love song and probably the strongest song to come out of Disney since — well, another song in this section — one of the best mood-setter songs Disney’s ever done, and the most swingingest song in the Disney catalogue that all the hip cats know where it’s at.
Look, I’ve written like fifteen of these things so far, cut me some slack. I have to keep it fresh somehow.
Here’s 30-26: (more…)
All right — top 35. There’s really only one song left that people would haggle over where I ranked it, and it’s the first song on this list. But like I said in the previous article — I let my childhood be the tiebreaker. One spot is meaningless.
But, man, oh man — the rest of this section is off the fuckin’ chain! (Previous section can be found here.)
The one thing you’ll notice about this section is — the songs (most of them, anyway) either don’t make any sense, lyrically, or they only work as well as they do because of the accompanying scene in their film. You’ll see what I mean when we get to them. But — the songs in this section, while no one would question them being in the top 40 (outside the one I already mentioned, and even then, most people might throw it in there anyway), they do make you think, “Yeah, they really don’t mean anything. And they’re still great. Huh…”
Here are 35-31: (more…)