Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 1


Please read this first!

Welcome to my ranking of the Walt Disney Animated Canon! Here I will rank and analyze each of the Disney animated classics. First, a few things need to be cleared up. The only movies included are theatrically released, full-length movies made by Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) or its previous incarnations. Sometimes the movies were advertised as “the nth animated classic/masterpiece.” A full list can be found here. That means you will not find any movies made by DisneyToon Studios or its previous incarnations (A Goofy Movie, The Tigger Movie, Return to Never Land, etc.), any movies made by Pixar (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, etc.), or animated movies neither made nor distributed by Disney (Shrek, The Land Before Time, The Prince of Egypt, Ice Age, etc.). Additionally, this is the animated canon, so live action films with some animated segments (Mary Poppins, Pete’s Dragon, etc.) will not be on the list.

The movies are evaluated based on five key things: story, characters, animation, music (where applicable), and the “I like/don’t like it but don’t know why” category. As far as music goes, songs that play only during the ending credits will not be evaluated, because the ending credits signal that the movie is over. Post-credits scenes will be acknowledged, however. I know it’s not consistent, but that’s how I’m doing it. Movies will not be compared to source material. All that will be evaluated is what’s there on screen. The movies can be compared to each other (because otherwise how could I rank them?) and nothing else. That means they can’t be compared to the real world either. In other words:

  • Historical inaccuracies will not be held against Pocahontas.
  • Paleontological inaccuracies will not be held against Dinosaur or Fantasia.
  • The fact that Zangief was not a villain in the video games will not be held against Wreck-It Ralph.
  • Anachronisms like the waltz in Sleeping Beauty, Eiffel Tower in the “Be Our Guest” segment of Beauty and the Beast, Genie’s impressions in Aladdin, and the fact that in 1914 when Atlantis: The Lost Empire takes place there were 48 States—not 38—will not result in demerits.
  • The fact that leafcutter ants are found in the Americas, and not in Africa will not hurt The Lion King.
  • I will not ding The Rescuers Down Under for the fact that golden eagles are not native to Australia, and will not hold the fact that an Australian boy sounds like an American against it.
  • Pedantry about how it should be One Hundred One Dalmatians instead of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, or that since every other character goes by their Greek name the movie should be called Heracles is not allowed.
  • The only snarky comment about how the most unrealistic thing in a movie about people being turned into frogs is the portrayal of race relations in 1920s New Orleans will be found here.

I must also point out the obvious. This is my ranking. You are probably not going to agree with it, and that’s okay. This is my own view formed with all of my own biases and idiosyncrasies and I am not going to pretend to be objective. If you want attempts at objectivity, consult the Cogerson system. Also, please note that all trivia and background information is taken from each movie’s page on the Disney wiki unless otherwise noted. Finally, there will be spoilers, so read at your own risk! Now without further ado, let’s start the countdown! Continue reading “Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 1”

Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 1