The 90’s were known as Disney’s Renaissance. Year after year they released films that remain animated classics even today. It’s hard to say if we’ll ever see Disney have such a successful decade of film releases but it’s interesting to see them try. We’re now in the middle of a wave. Disney is recognizing their historical cinematic hits and, thanks to emerging technologies, are exploring new ways to bring these old films and stories we’re so familiar with back to the big screen. We’ve seen Disney remake the Jungle Book using CGI and some of Hollywood’s finest actors to voice the creatures. This was a wild success. Disney has remade several princess movies, including Beauty and the Beast. Later this summer, we’ll get the chance to see two of my favourite films, Aladdin and The Lion King, being remade in a similar fashion. Perhaps it is Disney capitalizing on our own personal nostalgia for these films we grew up with, but nevertheless, it’s still tremendously exciting to see.
In case you’ve missed part one of Disney in the 90’s, click here.
Here are the rest of the movies:
What a wonderfully optimistic feminist story! This film from 1998 is incredibly heroic - Mulan dresses up like a man to disguise herself to take the place of her father when called to battle. Placed in the context of traditional Chinese culture, gender roles are incredibly stubborn, making Mulan’s actions even more of a statement. The iconic song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” by Stephen Schwartz defines the film and the scenography of Ancient China is incredibly alluring. Above all, Mulan is one bad ass b*tch!!!!! Look at all the rules she breaks in an altruistic mission to help her father. This is one inspiring Disney princess, that’s for sure. Anything boys can do girls can do bleeding am i right??
Released in 1999, this was notable as the last film to come out of Disney’s second Golden Age. Despite having a wicked Phil Collins-centric album, this film got mixed reviews. I personally think Tarzan is pretty fabulous. He’s shirtless for 99% of the film, for starters. Yes, he’s raised by apes and has hair longer than mine, but there’s something incredibly touching about the animalistic jungle man. I also really liked Jane. I’m brunette so any time there was a brunette female character on Disney, my inner plane-jane rejoiced. I found the jungle setting to be especially exciting and firmly believe the Oscar-winning Phil Collins song “You’ll Be In My Heart” will forever be a hit.
Beauty and the Beast
One of the earlier films released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast won my heart early on as one of the best Disney princess stories. You know already that I was very much a tomboy, so I could never admit to liking princesses, however I was very secretly a big fan of true love stories, and Beauty and the Beast was exactly that. It’s a tremendously beautiful story based off of a French fairytale in which an arrogant prince is punished by a witch for his selfish behaviour and transformed into an ugly beast. The curse can only be broken with true love’s kiss. Enter Belle. She’s a humble girl from the village of modest beauty. When the Beast imprisons her father, Belle selflessly convinces him to take her as a prison instead. And so begins one of the most remarkable courtships in history…
The Lion King
Forgive me. The Lion King makes me incredibly emotional, mostly for nostalgic reasons but also because Mufasa’s death scene is one of the most tragic scenes of the 90’s (*spoiler*). Released in 1994, the Lion King is historically recognized as one of the best movies ever made, and certainly in the category of best animated film. As the title suggests, it is a movie about lions, notably the most regal animals. Mufasa is king of the Pride Lands, and his newborn cub, our protagonist Simba, must succeed him. A… tragedy…occurs, leaving us with a heart-wrenching plot twist. With villains and comedic relief surrounding the hero’s story, all is restored in the kingdom by the end. With a score by freaking Elton John to accompany the film, it’s no wonder it received so much hype during award season. The Lion King is a classic and if you happen to be part of the endangered species (no pun intended…) of people who haven’t seen this movie, you need to recalculate your life.
Also goes without saying my genuine excitement for the star-studded CGI film coming out this summer.