The Best and Worst of Disney Part V: The Renaissance

The Renaissance

I’m a Millennial. Guess what my favourite era of Disney film is! The Dark Age is over, thank goodness, and Disney suddenly went on a streak of hit, after hit, after hit, and almost all of the Renaissance films are considered classics. Beauty and the Beast was the first film I ever saw in theatres, and it made such a tremendous impression on me. I was all of 4 years old at the time, but that film taught me that animation could be art. And it showed the rest of the world too. Thank you for existing, Disney Renaissance.

JUMP TO: 

The Little Mermaid | The Rescuers Down Under | Beauty and the Beast | Aladdin | The Lion King | Pocahontas | The Hunchback of Notre Dame | Hercules | Mulan | Tarzan


little_mermaid_ver1_xlgThe Little Mermaid (1989)

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t adore this movie. I may or may not have seen it in theatres (I was 2 1/2 when it came out), but I certainly owned the VHS, and I watched it so many times, I know every word. I listen to the soundtrack on a regular basis. I’ll be first in line to go into rant mode if someone does the “Woman mutilates her body to get a man” bullshit interpretation. The Little Mermaid was a project that had been planned as far back as the Golden Age, but wasn’t realized into a film until the late 80s. Much of the film’s success is credited to composer Alan Menken and his lyricist Howard Ashman, who were known for an Off-Broadway adaptation of Little Shop of HorrorsThe Little Mermaid was a critical and commercial smash, and it kicked off what many people (myself included) consider to be Disney’s greatest creative streak.

THE BEST:

  • The Part of Your World sequence is the cornerstone of the whole movie. I am still shocked and infuriated that Jeffrey Katzenberg wanted to cut it – he showed an unfinished version to a test audience, who weren’t into the scene. Well gee, maybe it’s because it wasn’t finished? This scene is beautifully animated, and the song absolutely reveals Ariel’s character in the most beautiful way. It establishes that she has wanted to be human all along – long before she met Eric – that she’s a dreamer, that she’s an outcast, that she has a natural curious streak, and that she’s a little rebellious. And in that final verse, when she expresses her deep yearning to explore the human world, you really feel her pain. [Incidentally, the Poor Unfortunate Souls sequence was a very close second, and the incredible animation of Ariel’s broken-hearted expressions upon learning that Eric was marrying someone else was a close third.]

THE WORST:

  • I always found Scuttle and Flounder to be really annoying, but I’ve never been a fan of the comic relief/sidekicks. It seemed that they mostly existed to cause trouble, and only managed to be useful to the plot at the end with Ursula-Eric wedding scene. I also wish that Ariel had some kind of interaction with other female characters besides Ursula. Her mother’s dead, but she has 6 sisters, and she never has a conversation with one of them? None of her friends are female? I can buy that she might be the mermaid equivalent of a tomboy, but it really is an oversight not to have her interact with her siblings. [If I recall correctly, the TV series rectified this]

See Also: The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning


rescuers_down_under_ver1_xlgThe Rescuers Down Under (1990)

This film is very underrated – it is considered one of the lesser members of the Renaissance, because it wasn’t as financially successful as the others. A sequel to The Rescuers, Bernard and Bianca are reunited and sent off to Australia to rescue a boy (who can somehow talk to animals) who had been kidnapped in order to force him to reveal the location of a rare eagle. This film is notable for two things: It is the first true Disney sequel (if you don’t want to count The Three Caballeros), and the first film entirely animated digitally using the CAPS digital colouring system. Incidentally, Oliver and Company was originally intended to be a Rescuers sequel.

THE BEST:

  • The animation. This film was more-or-less intended as a test subject/proof of concept, and it shows. The animators pulled out all the stops to make this film look gorgeous. It is a MAJOR bump up in quality from its Dark Age predecessor. One particular sequence that continues to blow me away is when Cody is passing a large flock of white birds, which are all individually animated. I also want to note what an interesting (accidental) time capsule this film is. The early 90s had a ton of animated PSAs about environmentalism (reaching a nadir with Ferngully: The Last Rainforest). This one is not quite as heavy-handed as the others, but goodness knows we millennials had the Save the Rainforest! message drummed into our heads.

THE WORST:

  • Marahute the endangered eagle makes absolutely no sense. She’s literally big enough for a large child to ride on, yet one of her feathers is disproportionately small. She is also the only animal character that is not anthropomorphized…for no particular reason that I can figure out. Why so inconsistent? How can something as enormous as Marahute expect to stay hidden, exactly? No wonder her species is severely endangered. She also does not sound like an eagle when she cries – this film makes use of the cliche where the calls of the Red-Tailed Hawk are dubbed in for eagle cries. Eagles don’t sound tough and majestic. They kind of sound like indignant chickens. Americans, I am very sorry that your symbolic animal doesn’t sound as intimidating as it should, but at least your symbolic animal isn’t a euphemism for a vagina?

See Also: The Rescuers


1991-beauty-and-the-beast-poster2Beauty and the Beast (1991)

As I mentioned in the introduction to this era, BatB was the first film I can remember seeing in theatres. It’s a cherished childhood memory of spending time with my mother, and seeing an incredible film. BatB was the first animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, which is a big friggin’ deal considering how contemptuous a lot of film “fans” are of the medium. My readers will probably not be surprised to learn that this is my favourite film in the canon (with The Little Mermaid and Frozen as close 2nd and 3rd). From the gorgeous stained glass prologue to the triumphant ending, this film, for me, is the peak of Disney’s creative powers. It is a tragedy that Howard Ashman died of complications from AIDS before the film was released, as this was very much his baby. I hope he got to see his masterpiece in Heaven.

THE BEST:

  • The music. The score is better than the songs in The Little Mermaid, and the songs are better than the score in Aladdin, but BatB achieves a perfect balance of both. Belle is pure Broadway-style magic, effortlessly introducing Belle and Gaston’s characters, and telling us all we need to know about Belle’s isolation from the others because she is an intellectual and a dreamer. Beauty and the Beast is almost fourth-wall breaking in its lyrics, as it points out that we are watching a timeless story that has been told again and again, but no matter how many times we see it, it’s a surpriseGaston is outrageously, hilariously (and probably intentionally) homoerotic – “Every last inch of me is covered with hair!” – and I still can’t believe how irreverent Ashman was in his lyrics.  The score itself sends chills up my spine. Whenever I listen to the soundtrack and Transformation comes on, I have to stop what I’m doing and listen. That music is utterly magical.

THE WORST:

  • This film appears to have no sense of time whatsoever. There are so many contradictory things going on with the plot that it’s just mind-bending trying to unravel it. It’s Fall when Maurice goes off to the fair. Then it starts snowing. Belle finds him, and while she’s staying in Beast’s castle, it’s clearly winter. But Lefou is standing outside Belle’s home waiting for her to come home. How long was he there? How long did she stay in Beast’s castle? I prefer to think that she stayed at least for the season, as it would realistically take a long time for Beast’s personality to change and for her to warm up to him. And then there’s the Beast’s life itself. In the stained glass artwork, he looks to be roughly a teenager. He has a portrait of himself in the West Wing where he is a teen/young adult. We know that the Rose will stop blooming on his 21st birthday. But Lumiere makes reference to the servants being unable to do their jobs for 10 years. This would mean that the Enchantress cursed a young boy. As revealed in Waking Sleeping Beauty, Ashman’s original intention was for the Beast to be cursed as a child, but the directors found the idea ridiculous. So the lyric referencing 10 years stayed, while everything else contradicted it. What a headache.

See Also: Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World, Beauty and the Beast (2017)


aladdinAladdin (1992)

Even though, like most of the other Renaissance-era movies, I know every line of this film, I deliberately left Aladdin for later because I wanted to rewatch it to see if I could have stronger opinions about it. And, uh…well, I certainly do have opinions (as I have opinions on everything) but I’m worried I’m just going to come across as repetitive. Oh well. One major issue with reviewing Disney films is that they keep making the same mistakes over and over, and yet still manage to do a lot of the same things right. So anyway, this is the only Disney Princess film where the respective Princess is not the main character of her film, and this was the first film with a (mostly) human cast that wasn’t all white people. This was also the final film that Howard Ashman contributed work for – he died early in the film’s production, and lyricist Tim Rice had to finish the remaining songs. Ashman would receive a posthumous Best Original Song Oscar for A Whole New World.

THE BEST:

  • Speaking of A Whole New World, my choice for the best thing about Aladdin is its songs. There isn’t a single dull or bad one in the whole film (even The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast had Les Poissons and The Mob Song) Although I was tempted to choose Jafar as Aladdin‘s strongest point (I seriously love Jafar) I gave the edge to the songs after I realized that I didn’t have a favourite mainly because they’re all great. Catchy, funny/dramatic (depending on the scene), entertaining to watch, all that good stuff. Arabian Nights is a little on the politically incorrect side (okay, more than a little) but it establishes the setting perfectly. One Jump Ahead and its reprise show both sides of Aladdin’s character – his situational moral ambiguity, contrasted with his compassion and generosity. Friend Like Me is goddamn eye-popping, and ALSO is great at establishing Genie’s character. Prince Ali is practically a Busby Berkeley production number – so many different things are going on and its finale is so high octane you don’t even notice that Robin Williams isn’t singing at the end. Its reprise is also hilarious in that Jafar is just so damned SMUG. (I do wish he’d called Aladdin “Prince Abooboo” one more time though) And, of course, A Whole New World is a lovely duet and, like other breakout songs from musicals, is the only one that makes sense out of context.

THE WORST:

  • Jasmine is an amazing character, but she is the ONLY female character in the entire film. Every other character, including even the goddamn carpet and tiger, is male (or is at least presumed to be). How screwed up is it that people presume the carpet, a FRIGGIN’ CARPET, is masculine? There was no need for Jasmine’s mother to be dead, and Aladdin was originally planned to have a living mother he wanted to make proud, but she got cut from the film early in production. The result is that the film is 90% male. That’s disgusting. And while I really do like Jasmine (particularly how quickly her mind works) and consider her to be a well-developed female character, there’s a lot of wasted potential there. She’s shown in the first act to be very courageous and physically and mentally capable, but was reduced to damsel in distress after Jafar catches on to her pretending to be in love with him. This is another issue – out of all the Princesses, she’s the one most overtly sexual (as she wears a rather stereotypical bellydancer outfit), and yet she’s apparently one of the youngest? (She’s supposed to be about to turn 16 or something – I prefer to think she’s about to turn 18) As the first POC Princess, was she deliberately sexualized more as a kind of twisted exoticism? Pocahontas and Mulan aren’t sexualized, so I’m just kind of baffled by all this.

See Also: The Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves


lion_king_ver1The Lion King (1994)

A lot of people consider The Lion King to be Disney’s greatest achievement. It was an enormous hit in theatres (it played for literally 6 months) and it was all that the children of 1994 could talk about. [I have a distinct memory of bitterly arguing with one girl who insisted that The Lion Sleeps Tonight originated with this film. Well, to hell with you, dumbass. I was right.] I thought it was…decent. I have mentioned before that the Talking Animal Disney movies don’t do much for me. And while I am a Shakespeare fan, Hamlet has never been my favourite play. (Team Twelfth Night!) The funny thing is, the executives (especially Jeffrey Katzenberg) were expecting Pocahontas to be the hit, and put all their B-team animators on this project instead. In case I haven’t expressed this before [I have] – Katzenberg is an idiot. It is beautifully animated for sure, and Elton John/Tim Rice’s music is fun – but doesn’t have a patch on the Ashman/Menken compositions.

THE BEST:

  • The Circle of Life sequence is incredible. It establishes the setting from the first second, with the bright red rising sun and the triumphant singing in Swahili. It’s a beautiful song as well, with some very profound lyrics. It also is pretty good at tugging the heartstrings when the song reaches its climax and the sun shines down on baby Simba. This entire sequence was used as a trailer for the film, which is a fantastic idea, as it tells you exactly what to expect. I listen to this song sometimes when I’m feeling down, and it always cheers me up a little (which is saying something!) – the Circle of Life takes us through despair and hope.

THE WORST:

  • Same problem as Aladdin – not enough ladies. All of the character development is given to the male characters, with only two (Sarabi and Nala) having any effect on the plot. I could write for paragraphs about Simba, Mufasa, Scar, Timon, Pumbaa etc.’s character traits, but I struggle to think of any notable traits whatsoever for Sarabi and Nala. And we can’t point to the source material here – Gertrude and Ophelia certainly had characterization! Nala is a wasted character – as a child she’s basically just a follower of everything Simba does, and as an adult her role is to push him back into being the King and to, uh, give him bedroom eyes. The musical version made a tremendous improvement simply by making Rafiki female.

See Also: The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride


pocahontas_xlgPocahontas (1995)

*long deep breath* Okay. So…I have made my views on Jeffrey Katzenberg clear – I think he’s a silly dipshit who doesn’t understand animation and had no business running major animation studios (I’m not much of a fan of Dreamworks! Surpriiise!). And Pocahontas, more than any other film he was involved in, proves it. See, the Disney execs thought that The Lion King was filler, and that this film would match the critical and financial success that Beauty and the Beast achieved. Katzenberg was convinced that this story would be a love story for the ages. All of the A-team animators (minus Andreas Deja, who would animate The Lion King‘s Scar) & composers (Alan Menken would compose the score & the music, while future Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz would write the lyrics) were put on this film’s team, and everyone else was assigned to The Lion King. Well…we all know how that little experiment turned out. This film isn’t that bad (it’s mostly just boring) but it kind of makes me angry to watch it because I feel that as an audience member, my intelligence is being insulted. Fun fact: Hollywood movie executives know nothing about anything.

THE BEST:

  • Uhhhh…Colors of the Wind, I guess? The first time I saw it was on the VHS release of The Lion King as Disney attempted the same style of promotion that its predecessor got, which was to show the entirety of a musical sequence as a trailer. While watching the trailer as a child, I thought “Ooo pretty,” and since I was used to heavy-handed 90s-era environmentalism messages, the rather clunky lyrics sounded important to me. I still think it’s a generally pretty song, and the animation is still excellent, but those lyrics, which are eyeroll-inducing and littered with “deep”-sounding Aboriginalesque metaphors, have aged pretty badly. Of course, Colors of the Wind‘s lyrics would sound like Yip Harburg (look him up, trust me, you know his work) compared to the other songs in the soundtrack…

THE WORST:

  • The #1 phrase I would use to describe this film is “heavy-handed.” Messages about environmentalism and racism are important, but Pocahontas is almost condescending in how hard they hammer this stuff into the audience. And it’s not just the political issues that are heavy-handed, it’s everything. The romance is utterly ridiculous, and bittersweet ending or not, doesn’t even come close to Katzenberg’s Romeo and Juliet comparison. (FYI, world, please stop treating Romeo and Juliet as a perfect tragic romance, cause the whole point of the play is that it is not.) Injecting fantasy elements like a magic universal translator into a historical story just does not work, and I really don’t care that the directors insist they were adapting the “legend” of Pocahontas. Oh, so the “legend” of Pocahontas was that she magically learned how to understand English? There is also way too much attention given to the animal sidekicks. I was genuinely exasperated and bored out of my mind every time they had yet another scene with the raccoon stealing food from and humiliating the dog. There’s also a ruby-throated hummingbird who adds literally nothing to the plot. Three animal sidekicks, and all they do is waste time instead of being the comic relief or whatever. The voice acting is generally fine…minus Mel Gibson, who Disney were hoping would be a draw but is instead a distraction. Disney, if your celebrity voice actor can’t keep his character’s accent straight, maybe cast someone else? And seriously, his voice isn’t even interesting to listen to. (I bet I can blame Katzenberg for this problem as well.) Ultimately, though, the film reaches its heavy-handed nadir during the Savages sequence. One lyric is literally “They’re not like you and me, which means they must be eeee-vil!” Like, holy shit, Disney, have a little shame here!

See Also: Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World


hunchback_of_notre_dame_ver1The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

So…Disney adapted a Victor Hugo novel. What an odd, odd choice. The man is noted for being the most Depressing Writer Ever (TM), so naturally the usual Disney “fix the ending so it won’t drive people to suicide” job had to be applied. And this film is fascinating because it gets so close to being an utter masterpiece, but fell flat because it seems like Disney didn’t trust in their own ability to deliver a solemn, thoughtful and religious film. They really did their research here and clearly put their all into the animation and music, but that script…just buggered things.

THE BEST:

  • The world is bereft now that the incredible voice of Tony Jay has been silenced. A genius voice actor with a deep, sinister voice, I knew him first as ReBoot‘s MegaByte. He played a small role (as the director of the insane asylum) in Beauty and the Beast, which impressed directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale enough to give him a larger role – this time as the corrupt, morally conflicted, sexually obsessed Frollo. And man does he sell that role! The film reaches its absolute creative peak in the Hellfire sequence, a bombastic combination of religious guilt, sheer unbridled lust, fury, and obsession. And this is in a Disney film! The music is incredibly dramatic and sinister as well. A lot of people consider Hellfire as the best villain song in the Disney Canon – I have to agree it’s pretty damn (pun intended) awesome.

THE WORST:

  • Predictable one here – the Gargoyles. Not only are they astoundingly annoying characters, they absolutely ruin the tone of the film. They are blatantly shoved into the film to make it less dark, and it just does not work. For one thing, the film should at least have firmly established that they were figments of Quasimodo’s imagination, but nope, they participate in the riot in Paris at the end of the film. This is a dark, serious, complex film – there is no room for magical realism here. I can sort of understand giving Quasimodo someone to interact with, but they’re so cheesy! And A Guy Like You is an insufferably bad song – unfunny and irritating. I have heard that there are fan-made cuts of the film that eliminate the Gargoyles. When your comic relief characters are given the same treatment as Jar-Jar Binks, you screwed up real bad, Disney.

See Also: The Hunchback of Notre Dame II


hercules_ver2_xxlgHercules (1997)

Neither the high point nor the low point of the Disney Renaissance, Hercules was highly reminiscent of Aladdin in that both films were by the same directors, and had a similar “anachronistic, comedic take on mythology/fairy tales in an ancient setting” premise. Unsurprisingly, the Hercules and Aladdin TV series’ had a crossover episode. There was intentionally no attempt to stay faithful to the original Greek myths (not that this is surprising, considering that Disney Canon films rarely adhere to their source material), but it’s understandable that some changes needed to be made..considering how messed up Greek mythology can be. From the outset the film made it clear that they weren’t going to do a straight adaptation of the Hercules myth, as the stately Charlton Heston narrator is interrupted by the Muses, who in this film are 5 black women in a gospel Girl Group who occupy the role of a literal Greek Chorus. Incidentally, this wasn’t the first time that Alan Menken would use the 60s Girl Group sound in one of his musicals – Little Shop of Horrors features Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon, who perform on most of the songs, and are also a Greek Chorus!

THE BEST:

  • Even though I can only offer mild praise of this film, I had a bit of trouble coming up with what I liked best about Hercules, as there are several things. I decided, however, that although I adore James Woods’ performance as Hades, I love absolutely everything about Megara. Perhaps it is a bit of narcissism on my part, but she’s the Disney Heroine closest to my own personality (all respect to Belle, but all we really have in common is brown hair and bookworm tendencies). I really like that she is the most well-rounded and developed character in the movie – she has virtues (independent, clever, principled) and flaws (manipulative, sharp-tongued and dually overly trusting and overly mistrustful). And as I have mentioned before, I go nuts for morally ambiguous characters, and she’s about the only one who truly fits the bill here (and considering this is Greek mythology, that’s saying something). Most of all, though, I Won’t Say (I’m In Love) is one of my all-time favourite Disney songs. I’ve always loved the 60s Girl Group sound, and it works really, really well here. And it’s actually kind of rare for a song to be about trying to deny being in love instead of…you know, “Loooooove is a many spleeeeendoored thiiiing!” [If I had one complaint though, they really, really should have tried to subvert the Damsel in Distress thing. She says she can handle herself against an attacker, but we never actually see her do that, and Hercules still had to save her anyway.]

THE WORST:

  • Hercules is a boring hero. I honestly have to struggle to think of his flaws, and that was maybe his teenage self’s clumsiness. He’s way too much of a Jesus allegory – it works in the finale, but for the rest of the film, he is basically Mr. Perfect Self-Sacrificing Saviour and that’s just so dull. He’s the most famous man in Greece, but is somehow still humble? None of it gets to his head even a little? He’s never disobeyed Phil’s regiments even once? He somehow stopped being clumsy? He’s ambitious about being a True Hero(TM), but that is entirely because Zeus told him that this was the only way he could rejoin Mount Olympus. The odd thing is, he reminds me of Archie Andrews. A redhead who has a heart of gold and always wants to help people, and often pisses everyone off because he’s ridiculously, dangerously clumsy and often thoughtless, but the rest of the time he’s held up as the Ideal. [Also: As a side character in Kingdom Hearts, Hercules sucks. Oh yes, Mr. Literal Demigod, totally let the 14-year-old with the giant key do all the work, that’s totally fine. …Okay, that doesn’t actually count against the film.]

mulan_ver1_xlgMulan (1998)

This was the last Disney film I’d bothered seeing in theatres for quite a long time afterward. I’d been obsessed with Sailor Moon for a few years by this point (still am, to the point that this blog is half Sailor Moon and half Disney), so a story about an ass-kicking Asian woman definitely appealed to me. This film’s voice actors include pretty much every Asian actor you can think of – whether or not they were actually Chinese. This film is important in terms of representation – up until now, the only other Princesses who were racial minorities were Jasmine and Pocahontas, and as role models they aren’t even in the same class as Mulan. I’m still not entirely comfortable that she was included in the Disney Princess line, and the artwork featuring her is so ridiculously feminized. Hey, Disney? Did you watch your own movie?

THE BEST:

  • For those who study gender roles & gender theory (Hi.) this film is so fun to analyze. The themes & musical lyrics explore some pretty abstract stuff for a film intended for children. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? Mulan proves that what we think are the “answers” are really just more questions layered on top of other questions. I particularly like the scene featuring the reprise of I’ll Make A Man Out Of You as Mulan’s friends cross-dress in order to sneak into the Emperor’s home. Initially the “Be A Man” chorus being repeated is a bit of dramatic irony, but when we unravel this a bit, isn’t fearlessness and standing up for others also “being a man?” And, as Mulan illustrates, fearlessness and protectiveness are traits women share as well – it’s not about performing a gender, it’s about being an adult. Criticizing Disney’s spotty record at representing women is what I teasingly call Baby’s First Feminism, so this film made important steps in establishing a female character who has complete agency.

THE WORST:

  • This isn’t even part of the film (but instead shoved onto the ending credits) but the True To Your Heart song is GODAWFUL. There’s a reason it wasn’t included in the film’s runtime itself – it’s a very 90s boy band (98 Degrees, as it happens – bet you forgot they existed!) sound, which clashes with the traditional Broadway musical sound of the songs in the film. The lyrics are so trite and stupid – this is an after school special-type message. Also, what the hell is Stevie Wonder doing performing on this? He doesn’t sound good with 98 Degrees, nor is his Motown/Funk/R&B style suited for the music in this film. Many of the songs in Mulan are fondly remembered, but no one talks about this one. (Also, I don’t care for Christina Aguilera’s version of Reflection, but that’s because she makes every note she sings sound like she’s in agonizing pain)

See Also: Mulan II


Tarzan_Second_PosterTarzan (1999)

The grand finale to the Renaissance era, Tarzan was a kind of spiritual successor to The Jungle Book in that both films are based on turn-of-the-century novels about human boys being raised by jungle animals. Like many of the other Renaissance films, Tarzan was a technological experiment. “Deep Canvas” was a 3D rendering and painting technique developed for this film, which blended CGI and hand-drawn animation much more effectively. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this film ended up being pretty much the only one in the Canon that used this technology effectively. I also pinpoint this film as the harbinger of the Second Dark Age, because it is a significant shift away from the Broadway-style musical soundtrack. It’s considered the end of the Renaissance because it was the last blockbuster hit Disney would have until Lilo & Stitch.

THE BEST:

  • The “Deep Canvas” technology made the backgrounds and art direction in this film absolutely incredible. I’m talking “Pause the movie to gape at the scenery” incredible. The backgrounds are realistic without being distracting, and it still looks like the jungle and the animated characters exist in the same universe. And the amount of detail the backgrounds have makes it all very immersive, which is important for a film with such an exotic setting. I find it utterly baffling that Disney only managed to perfect the use of this technology once, as it seems like the kind of thing that would have many different uses. As I find this film utterly mediocre otherwise (another talking animal movie I don’t care for!), Deep Canvas is pretty much the only thing Tarzan has going for it.

THE WORST:

  • Phil Collins is my pop music nemesis. Oh dear lord do I hate Phil Collins. I find his voice simpering and saccharine, he’s ridiculously overplayed, he’s ridiculously overrated. Basing an entire soundtrack around one musician (not counting jukebox musicals, since those are intended for people who are already fans of that musician/genre) never turns out well. So yeah, every time Phil started singing, I mentally checked out of the movie and just looked at the backgrounds. It’s particularly egregious to me that You’ll Be In My Heart was the Oscar winner and big pop hit, because it doesn’t have a single lyric that hasn’t a desperately overused cliche. Boooooooo Phil Collins.

And then things started to suck again in

Part VI: The Second Dark Age.

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