Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 2

Start with PART 1

#43. Atlantis: The Lost Empire

41 Atlantis- The Lost Empire 1

Ah yes, another movie from post-Renaissance slump. Ltllntis: The Lost Em—what? No, look at the title card or DVD packaging. It clearly says “ΛTLΛNTIS” with Lambdas. What? Really? Okay.[1] (No, that doesn’t get the movie any demerits; I just wanted to address it.) Anyway, I think this movie is actually better than people give it credit for and is a little underrated. Its Rotten Tomatoes score seems too low to me. It certainly doesn’t deserve a lower score than Home on the Range. (It has higher critical reception score in the Cogerson system though.) It was a bit surprising to see that this was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (the duo that had previously directed Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) but it’s not as big of a mark on their record as Treasure Planet is for Musker and Clements.

I think the biggest problem is that movie tries to do too much, which ends up making the plot clunky and unnecessarily complicated. It’s not that it’s confusing or difficult to follow; it’s just trying too hard for that “deep, complex, and mature” feeling. The overall story is decent enough, but it lags in several places. I don’t think it was necessary to stretch this out to a 1:35:41 running time. Again, it’s not that I have a problem with long movies, but the difference between this and, say, Tangled is the latter uses its time better as every moment is dedicated to advancing the plot or developing characters. It’s fine if you need time to tell the story right, but at least use the time to tell the story! They really spend too much of the movie getting to Atlantis, and the movie does gets better after they arrive. I also enjoy the plot twist of the entire team turning on Milo, and that most of them repent and join his side. The climatic battle is exciting too.

The characters are fun though, and the movie has decent star power in its cast. Michael J. Fox stars as Milo and veteran voice actress Cree Summer plays Princess Kida. Milo is a lovable eccentric and there’s some decent chemistry and character development between Kida and him. James Garner plays Rourke and is a decent villain; especially because we don’t find out he is one until the film’s climax. Jim Varney plays Cookie, and died of lung cancer during production. The film is dedicated to his memory. Oh, and there’s Leonard Nimoy as the King of Atlantis, so that’s really cool. The rest of the crew members are all pretty fun too, and there is real character development that goes on.

The animation is on point. The 2D isn’t quite Renaissance-level quality, but it’s still pretty good, and the CGI effects are really well done. This is one of the few movies in the canon not to have any musical numbers, but the score is okay. I remember wanting to see it in theaters when it came out but didn’t get the chance. I saw it on video and thought it was okay. My opinion hasn’t really changed since then. If anything it wasn’t as good as I remember it being. Overall it has a decent story and good characters, but it tries to do too much and has a few boring parts. It doesn’t really feel like a Disney movie at times. It was a fine idea, and they really tried, but while it’s not terrible, it’s not particularly good either.

#42. Pocahontas

33 Pocahontas 2

This is the low point of the Renaissance. It started the second half of the Renaissance and is often seen as the beginning of the decline of Disney animation. It’s the only Renaissance movie I don’t consider good or excellent, and it’s the only Renaissance movie to have a rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also the last movie in the canon to win both the Academy Award for Best Original Score and for Best Original Song (for “Colors of the Wind”). It’s also worth noting the previous Renaissance films that had won those had multiple songs nominated while Pocahontas had only one. Anyway, that’s enough trivia.

The story is your basic Disneyfied[2] Dances With WolvesRomeo and Juliet mash up. The basic plot pretty much follows the standard Disney Princess formula, but there are some important differences. Those differences actually make this movie better than other Disney Princess movies in those instances, despite the fact that it’s ranked lower than all of the rest. The most important one (and the best thing about the plot) is that this movie does not end in a wedding. The injured John Smith goes back to England and Pocahontas stays in America. Also unlike most of the earlier Disney Princess movies there is some hint of agapē in this movie, even if it’s buried in eros. That Pocahontas is willing to sacrifice herself to save John Smith calls to mind John 15:13 as does the fact that John Smith is willing to die to protect her father. The whole “racism and war are bad” message is a positive one and earns the movie some points too, as does the fact that Native Americans are portrayed in much more positive light than they have been in past Disney movies. Despite the positive aspects the movie has plenty of boring parts. There are some good action sequences, but overall I find the movie to be dull most of the time.

The characters aren’t the best. The animal sidekicks Meeko, Flit, and Percy are the most fun characters in the film and their antics help break up the boring parts. Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) just isn’t an exciting protagonist. She’s dull and I just don’t really care about her. The rest of the characters are pretty boring too, despite the star power. It has Mel Gibson as the voice of John Smith. You see, in the ‘90s Mel Gibson was known as a great actor instead of a crazy anti-Semite, so that was a huge selling point for the movie. Big time action star or not, he wasn’t able to make the character interesting, though he does have the most character development. There’s also David Ogden Stiers (Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on M*A*S*H) as the voice of both Governor Ratcliffe and his lackey Wiggins. Wiggins actually does provide some decent comic relief and Ratcliffe isn’t a terrible villain. For Powhatan they got Russell Means, a political activist that lost the 1988 Libertarian Party presidential nomination to Ron Paul. Oh and future Batman Christian Bale is in this movie as the bumbling Thomas.

The animation is disappointing. Most of the Renaissance movies have high quality, eye-popping visuals throughout. Here the animation, while not terrible, looks pretty bland. It’s a step down from its predecessors and successors. I think this is most surprising because so many of the top animators chose to work on this movie instead of The Lion King. They thought The Lion King would flop and this would be a success. Don’t laugh! That’s an abuse of hindsight. Alan Menken does the music with Stephen Schwartz on lyrics. It’s okay I guess. The only song I really like is “Savages.” I don’t care that “Colors of the Wind” won the Oscar, it’s not the best song in the movie and it’s just okay.

Overall this movie is bland. I liked it more as a kid. The fact that it was released in the Renaissance and is surrounded by great movies makes it all the more disappointing. If you want to have a Disney Renaissance marathon and want to skip this one because you only want to see good movies, that is up to you. You can do that if you want.

wont judge

It’s not terrible movie, but it’s not very good either, and when you watch the movies in sequence like I did it interrupts the momentum of a really great stretch. It’s just…meh.

#41. Brother Bear

44 Brother Bear 1

Here we have yet another post-Renaissance slump movie. I actually think this one is slightly underrated. I remember when this movie came out I didn’t want to see it, but my mom dragged me to see it with her. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. It doesn’t deserve to have a lower Rotten Tomatoes score and critical reception score in the Cogerson system than Home on the Range. It was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (it lost to Finding Nemo) and was the last film in the canon to be nominated until Bolt.

The story is predictable through most of the movie. It’s not the best written or most exciting or original plot, but it is sweet overall. I think it could accurately be described as an odd combination of Moby-Dick and “Bart the Mother.” One notable aspect of the movie is the use of aspect ratio in relation to storytelling. The movie is in 1.75:1 for the first 24 minutes. Once Kenai wakes up after being turned into a bear the aspect ratio changes to 2.35:1. It’s a nice little innovation.

The characters are okay. Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix) actually goes through quite a bit of character development. After he forgets to secure the fish a bear eats their entire catch, and the brothers give chase. The oldest brother, Sitka (D. B. Sweeney) is killed in the process and Kenai decides to take revenge on the bear. He kills the bear and as punishment, Sitka transforms him into one himself. His other brother, Denahi (Jason Raize) thinks that Kenai the bear killed Kenai the human and decides to take revenge. While escaping from Denahi and trying to find a way to become human again, Kenai meets up with the bear cub Koda (Jeremy Suarez) and after finding him annoying, he grows to care for him like a little brother. We later find out that the bear Kenai killed was Koda’s mother (I saw that one coming) and after Sitka returns Kenai to normal to save him from Denahi, Kenai asks to be made a bear again because Koda needs him. It’s a fairly touching with decent character development. The Canadian moose Rutt (Rick Moranis) and Tuke (Dave Thomas) don’t really add anything to the story, but they do provide some mildly amusing comic relief. This is also the first movie in the canon to have a post-credits scene. It’s just a joke scene and doesn’t add anything.

The animation is pretty good and is used pretty effectively in story telling. When the aspect ratio changes the colors become more vibrant. After his success with Tarzan, former Genesis front man Phil Collins makes his Disney return here and, with the help of Mark Mancina, does the music. It’s not as good as his work on Tarzan. None of the songs are particularly memorable. It’s an okay movie that at times gets close to being good, but it has too many boring stretches. It’s still a lot better than what immediately followed though (Home on the Range and Chicken Little).

#40. Dinosaur

39 Dinosaur 1

This is perhaps most interesting movie on the list from an inclusion point of view. Assuming that the statement on Wikipedia is correct then it wasn’t even added to the canon until 2008, well after it was released. I do remember when I originally saw the list of canon films on Wikipedia that this wasn’t on it, but when I checked again some time later it was, but at the time I thought it just another mistake on Wikipedia. Then I went on Google after seeing that statement and found message board discussions from that time that do talk about how it was suddenly included in the canon, so there is some anecdotal evidence. Additionally, it is not included in the United Kingdom’s canon, which advertises the film numbers (“the nth animated classic”) more than the American releases do. Also, it was made by The Secret Lab, which isn’t WDAS or one of its previous incarnations. The Secret Lab was, however, a subdivision of Walt Disney Feature Animation (now WDAS) so perhaps that means it could be included. But DisneyToon Studios also operates under WDAS and none of their movies are included. Additionally, while the characters are CGI, many of the backgrounds are live action, so can it really be included in the animated canon? Sure, after all the package films from the ‘40s all have live action sequences or blending of live action and animation. “Then why aren’t Mary Poppins, Pete’s Dragon, etc. included?” you ask. Well, those are primarily live action films with some animation, so they don’t count. Anyway, regardless of its various anomalies it’s still included in the American canon and that’s all we’ll say about the issue.

Now then, let’s move on to the analysis. I’ll start with the strengths. First, it gets major points simply for being a movie about dinosaurs. Additionally, the CGI is amazing. While the appearances of the animals would now be considered outdated, they were stunning at the time. Also, remember what I said in the introduction (no demerits for paleontological inaccuracies). I also love that they used less well-known dinosaurs (Iguanodon instead of Parasaurolophus or some other hadrosaur, Styracosaurus instead of Triceratops, and Carnotaurus instead of T. rex for example). This is another one of the movies that doesn’t have any songs, but the score is really good. The movie is technically brilliant all around, and that’s why it was such a commercial success. Despite all that it was not as successful in the critical reception department, and there are a few reasons why.

The story is uninspired and predictable. I remember when I saw this movie in the theater towards the end my mom leaned over and whispered, “This must be the part where they find the Great Valley.” It was, but let’s not make the mistake of saying this is just a CGI version of The Land Before Time; it’s nowhere near that good.[3] The characters aren’t very interesting. Aladar and Neera’s romance is predictable. Yar is fun as a “grumpy old man” and Plio is a sympathetic mother figure. Bruton’s self-sacrifice and redemption is a nice touch. Kron is a thoroughly unlikeable jerk, which makes him a good antagonist. The Carnotaurus and Velociraptor packs are intimidating and are good villains too. Young Hayden Panettiere voices Suri and fills the “annoying little sister” role quite well. Della Reese of Touched by an Angel voices Eema the Styracosaurus and gives perhaps the best performance of the film.

Overall it’s technically brilliant, but lacks in the story and character department. It’s worth checking out for its strengths, but it’s not an enduring classic by any means. This had a lot of promise and it’s too bad they skimped on the story, because that’s more important than the animation.

#39. Alice in Wonderland

13 Alice in Wonderland 3

Yes I know this is considered another beloved classic that most people wouldn’t put so low, but in my defense:

  1. See introduction
  2. Walt Disney himself was disappointed with it (assuming unverified statements on the movie’s Disney wiki page are true).

The movie has a somewhat complicated history. While it was initially panned, it has since become regarded as a classic, yet it is also marred by having a reputation as an acid film. That actually factors in to why I have it so low. It’s not because of the reputation per se, but because it’s so weird. My earlier comments about psychedelic reveries in The Three Caballeros and Dumbo should give you an idea about my feelings on this film.

The story is really weird. I know it’s supposed to be, but even knowing that it still doesn’t appeal to me. Despite the overall weirdness though it does have its moments. “The Walrus and the Carpenter” segment is amusing, as is the unbirthday party. It also has some notable stars in the cast. Kathryn Beaumont stars as Alice, and would go on to voice Wendy in Peter Pan. It also has Sterling Holloway as the Cheshire Cat, Verna Felton as the Queen of Hearts, and Bill Thompson as Dodo and the White Rabbit. It also has Jimmy MacDonald, who voiced Mickey Mouse after Walt Disney couldn’t anymore, as the Dormouse.

The music is okay. It has 14 songs, more than any other film in the canon. Most of them are short ditties rather than show-stopping musical numbers though. The score is good and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The animation is quite good too. It’s nice to see the money made by the package films went to good use. While the animation is not as good as some of the other films from the era, it’s still aesthetically pleasing. Also, this was the first movie in the canon to have ending credits, and the first to match the voice actors to their roles in the credits. Actors would not be credited with their roles again until The Jungle Book, and ending credits wouldn’t return until The Black Cauldron.

Overall it’s not a bad movie, it’s just weird and at times boring. Sometimes it comes so very close to being good, but it falls just a little short. The good news is that this is the last of the okay movies. From here on out they’re all good to excellent!

#38. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

11 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 2a

This is the sixth and final of the 1940s package films. It’s the only one of the six I consider to be good rather than simply okay. As you might be able to tell from the title the movie consists of two parts: an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows and one of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The overall plot is that a Briton (Basil Rathbone, famous for plying Sherlock Homes) and an American (Bing Crosby!) tell the stories of the “most fabulous” characters from their respective literature. It’s not the best framing device, but it works.

Despite the film’s title, we are treated the story of Mr. Toad first. It’s delightful. J. Thaddeus Toad’s motorcar mania and the antics that result from it are a romping good time. The prison escape and Toad on the lam are funny. The battle for Toad Hall is both action-packed and amusing. The characters are fun too. Toad and his horse Cyril Proudbottom are lovable rascals and Toad’s friends are quite sympathetic and their loyalty is admirable. Mr. Winkie and the weasels are decent antagonists too. The music is fun and animation is quite good. It’s clear things were improving at this point. And of course because this movie we have Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which I consider Disneyland’s best “dark ride.” It can’t help or hurt the movie, but it is worth noting.

The Ichabod segment is fun too. The best thing about it is that it’s told and sung by Bing Crosby! In other words, the music in this segment is fantastic. The animation is pretty good too. The plot is entertaining and the characters are enjoyable. Ichabod and Brom Bones’ rivalry is entertaining and the big chase with the Headless Horseman is both spooky and fun. It’s not quite as good as the preceding segment, but it’s still thoroughly enjoyable.

Both segments are a fun time, and their lengths are appropriate. The movie doesn’t overstay its welcome. Overall it’s a good movie and signaled the beginning of new era for Disney. The struggles of the ‘40s were ending and the ‘50s would be much better overall, not just for animated movies, but also for Disney’s live action movies, television projects, and of course the opening of Disneyland. We don’t have time to get into all of that, but I do feel like I have to mention it. Onward and upward!

#37. Oliver & Company

27 Oliver & Company 2

I think this movie is underrated. It certainly doesn’t deserve to have a lower Rotten Tomatoes score than Home on the Range. (It does have a higher critical rating in the Cogerson system though.) It went head to head with The Land Before Time. The latter opened stronger, but this made more money overall, which surprises me.[4] Also, a bit of trivia: this was released 60 years to the day after the premiere of Steamboat Willie.

The story is good. While it’s plenty predictable, most Disney movies are and the plot is enjoyable while it’s happening. The characters are well done too, and the cast has decent star power. It features a young Joey Lawrence as Oliver, Cheech Marin as Tito, Roscoe Lee Browne as Francis, Dom DeLuise as Fagin, Robert Loggia as Sykes, and Bette Midler as Georgette. Oh, and Billy Joel as Dodger! The characters have some decent development. There is real camaraderie between the members of Fagin’s group. Sykes is a good villain. He actually threatens to kill Fagin several times in very realistic ways, and this movie is one of only a few to show a realistic kidnapping. Oliver’s struggle makes him sympathetic throughout. Also, Francis watches a production of Macbeth, which is my favorite Shakespeare play, so that’s cool.

The animation isn’t great. It’s the penultimate xerography film, and it looks worse than The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and The Little Mermaid. Given that it stars Bette Midler and Billy Joel the obvious question is: Is the music good? Not really. I’m a fan of Billy Joel, but it’s a fact that “Why Should I Worry” while okay, doesn’t even compare to other Disney songs, let alone “Piano Man” or “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”[5] I don’t like Bette Midler’s “Perfect Isn’t Easy.” The best song in the movie is the opening “Once Upon a Time in New York City,” sung by Huey Lewis, and co-written by Howard Ashman (remember that name). Overall, while it’s not Disney’s best, it’s still a good movie and worth checking out.

#36. Winnie the Pooh

51 Winnie the Pooh 1a

Given how massive the Winnie the Pooh franchise is you may be wondering, “Which one is this?” This is the 2011 film. Disney had so little faith in this movie that they released it the same day as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which is the movie equivalent of suicide. The movie bombed at the box office and as result it has the third lowest score in the Cogerson system, despite having been a critical success. This is also the last traditionally animated film in the canon so far, last canonical sequel, and the last to begin with “Walt Disney Pictures Presents.” It’s also not included in the UK canon. It’s really a shame this movie is so overlooked, because it’s actually quite good.

The story captures the classic Pooh whimsy. Eeyore loses his tail (again) and his friends humorously try to find a replacement. Christopher Robin leaves and will be “back soon.” Owl, fancying himself smarter than he is, tells the others that this means the Backson has kidnapped Christopher Robin. The gang then tries to set up a trap for the Backson, only to end falling in it themselves. Christopher Robin returns and explains the whole situation. Pooh finds that Owl has been using Eeyore’s tail as a doorbell ringer. Pooh returns it and finally gets some honey, which he had been lacking the whole movie. There’s a humorous post-credits scene (this is the first movie in the canon since Brother Bear to have one) revealing that Backson is real (Huell Howser’s only film role), and he falls into the trap.

The characters are all true to form. I have some problems with the casting though. Jim Cummings has been playing Pooh and Tigger for decades, so I have no problems with him. I’m not sold on Tom Kenny as Rabbit, and I’m certain I heard him use his Spongebob voice a couple times. I don’t like Craig Ferguson as Owl either. John Cleese does a fine job as the narrator though.

The animation is beautiful. It’s far superior to its predecessor in this department. Robert Lopez (who helped do the music on The Book of Mormon) and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez did the songs. They’re quite enjoyable and are so in the classic Pooh spirit that one can easily imagine them as having been written by the Sherman Brothers themselves. Zooey Deschanel sings the Winnie the Pooh theme at the beginning, and this movie has corrected a problem with the original: Tigger is now mentioned in the opening theme! It was a scandal that the franchise’s greatest character was left out of the Sherman Brothers’ version.[6] Overall, it’s a great little movie. At 1:03:03 it’s the second shortest film in the canon. The run time fits the story perfectly, so it’s a great way to spend an hour. Definitely check this one out, especially if you’re a Winnie the Pooh fan.

#35. The Aristocats[7]

20 The Aristocats 3a

This is the last film in the canon approved by Walt Disney himself, and the first to be made after his death. As such it is the first to begin with “Walt Disney Productions Presents” instead of “Walt Disney Presents,” but because Walt Disney approved it, it still ends with “A Walt Disney Production.” Anyway, enough trivia, let’s start the review.

The story is fun. Madame Adelaide decides to leave her mansion and fortune to her cats and Edgar, her jealous butler, kidnaps and abandons the cats so that he will become the beneficiary. With the help of some Geese and Thomas O’Malley and his alley cats, the cats find their way back home and send Edgar to Timbuktu.[8] The characters are pretty good. Duchess is a loving mother and loyal pet. The kittens bicker and fight like human brothers and sisters. O’Malley is the feline equivalent of Tramp from Lady and the Tramp. Edgar is an okay villain while the dogs Napoleon and Lafayette are a nice foil for him and provide some comic relief. The cast is notable too. This is the Disney debut of Eva Gabor (Duchess) and Pat Buttram (Napoleon). In the second of his three consecutive Disney roles, Phil Harris voices O’Malley. Sterling Holloway voices Roquefort and Paul Winchell voices the Siamese cat, which, unfortunately, is a stereotypical Asian-equivalent-of-blackface role (it was 1970). Again, I don’t want these movies censored or changed, but these instances are uncomfortable and we have to be aware of them.

The movie’s biggest weakness is the animation. I think this has the worst animation of all the xerography films, and therefore probably the worst animation in the canon. Not only is it a xerography film, but also the studio had budget problems at the time, which only made things worse. It even looks dirty at times. The music is okay. “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” is quite fun. “Scales and Arpeggios” and O’Malley’s theme aren’t the best, but they aren’t bad either and are kind of catchy. Also, opera singer Maurice Chevalier came out of retirement to sing the movie’s opening theme, so that’s impressive. It’s a good movie, but not a great one. Check it out if you can, but it probably won’t be one you watch over and over again.

#34. The Sword in the Stone

18 The Sword in the Stone 3a

This is the last film in the canon to be completed and released in Walt Disney’s lifetime. It’s also the only one made and completed in Walt Disney’s lifetime (besides the ‘40s package films) not subject to the Disney Vault.[9] Also, excluding the package films of the ‘40s, it has lowest Rotten Tomatoes score of any film released in Walt Disney’s lifetime. Ditto for critical reception in the Cogerson system and overall Cogerson scores. Fortunately, the same cannot be said of it in my ranking (the lowest ranked movie released in Walt Disney’s lifetime that wasn’t one of the six package films is Dumbo.) It is better than it gets credit for, though it’s still not great.

The story is a delightful Disney telling of the first part of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King tetralogy.[10] Merlin attempts to give Wart (the future King Arthur) an education in hopes of bringing reason and enlightenment to a brutal age in which might makes right. He turns Wart into various animals to teach important life lessons, the antics of which provide plenty of entertainment for the audience. The wizards’ duel towards the end of the film is quite exciting. When Wart is made a squire and shows great enthusiasm about it, Merlin gets so angry he blasts himself to 20th-century Bermuda. Wart ends up pulling the titular object and becomes King of England, and Merlin returns to help him in his reign.

The characters are fun. Merlin is a wise, yet eccentric and, at times, bumbling wizard. He’s a delight throughout. His grumpy owl Archimedes provides some great comic relief moments. Wart isn’t the most fun or sympathetic protagonist ever, but he does his job. Sirs Ector and Kay fill the wicked stepfamily role well, though Ector isn’t so much wicked as he is set in the ways of his time. Madame Mim is a fun villain and serves a great adversary during the wizards’ duel.

The music is classic Sherman Brothers fun. It’s not as good as their work on The Jungle Book, but it’s still enjoyable. The animation is a weak point for the movie. It’s a xerography film and while it’s not the worst of its kind in the animation department, it’s not the best either. Overall the movie’s quite fun and you should check it out, especially since it’s a bit underrated.

#33. The Emperor’s New Groove

40 The Emperor's New Groove 3

This is one of the earliest films of the post-Renaissance slump. At this point it wasn’t really clear that Disney had entered a downward spiral. It’s a fun movie and has its charm, but it’s not up to the level of its Renaissance predecessors. The story is predictable, but it’s a fun time while it’s happening. I think my biggest problem with it is that the non-sequiturs and breaking of the fourth wall make it seem more like Looney Tunes than Disney at times.

The characters are all likable and the cast has decent star power. David Spade is the perfect fit for the spoiled autocrat Kuzco. Yeah, it’s a typical “selfish person learns to care about others” character development, but it’s an enjoyable one. John Goodman voices Pacha the lovable peasant whose house Kuzco wants to destroy to build a summerhouse. Eartha Kitt voices Yzma, a usurper that turns Kuzco into a llama when trying to poison him. Patrick Warburton does a hilarious job as Kronk, perhaps the greatest henchman in the entire Disney canon. The characters all play off each other well. There is real development in Kuzco and Pacha’s friendship. Yzma’s frustrations with Kronk’s simple-minded ways provide plenty of laughs. The movie overall is genuinely funny without being crude. It would be nice if other films from the era that are ranked lower had followed this movie’s example. The real problem with the movie is that there’s never really any sense of danger. In every situation that would normally convey danger the characters walk away unscathed and get out it in a humorous manner. Again, I think this makes it feel more like Looney Tunes than Disney.

The animation is really good, just like its Renaissance predecessors and other films from the same era. The music is almost non-existent. The “Perfect World” segments at the beginning and end of the films are pretty brief, but Tom Jones sings them, so that’s a plus. “My Funny Friend and Me,” sung by Sting, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was the last time a movie in the canon received that nomination until The Princess and the Frog almost a decade later. It plays during the end credits and not the movie itself, however, and as I said in the introduction, those are not evaluated. This film is a good time and is genuinely funny. Definitely check this one out.

[1] One of my pet peeves is when Greek or Cyrillic letters are used as substitutes for Latin letters when they aren’t even close to making the same sound. Δ, Λ, or Д for A, Я for R, Ш, Щ, or ω for W, Σ for E, etc.

[2] I don’t care that that’s not a real word.

[3] The Land Before Time would probably beat every movie on this list.

[4] Again, The Land Before Time would probably beat every movie in the canon.

[5] My favorite of his songs

[6] Okay, not really. Tigger wasn’t in the first Pooh short, which is when they wrote the song. Then again, neither was Piglet and they included him in the song, but Gopher is not in the song despite being in the short. Gopher was also originally a replacement for Piglet. My guess is Piglet was going to be in it when then wrote the song but was ultimately replaced by Gopher.

[7] The title card would seem to indicate that it should be The AristoCats or The Artisto Cats. Every home release’s packaging and the Disney wiki use Aristocats though and I have followed suit.

[8] Which was in French West Africa, not French Equatorial Africa like Edgar writes on the postage. That doesn’t get the film any demerits (see introduction) it’s just an FYI. (Yes, this review is both entertaining and educational!)

[9] I love Disney, but I hate the Disney Vault and really wish they would do away with it.

[10] It’s amazing and you should read it. If not the whole thing, at least read The Candle in the Wind. This is just an aside. Remember, as I said in the introduction, films will not be compared to their source material.

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Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 2