After looking over my previous ranking, it appears that I skipped number 28. Sorry, about that, but here’s the number 28 pick!
28.) Zootopia (2016)
At the root of it, Zootopia is a very clever commentary, but it lacks some of Disney’s trademark “heart”. The characters, especially Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, are really relatable and well-developed, but the story is a little muddled. The message is poignant, but sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. The outstanding animation, along with interesting ideas and great characters keep Zootopia afloat. It’s good but not a masterpiece.
Okay, back to where we left off!
24.) The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
This is hands down Disney’s best package film Both shorts, The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow are well told and animated, with good characters and music. Honestly, the only nitpick I have is that the film should be longer. At only 68 minutes, the film feels a little brisk. I really liked the stories of both Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and each story could have benefitted from an extra 5-10 minutes, or heck, they each could have been their own movie. But as is “Ichabod and Mr. Toad” is the pinnicale of Disney’s package features.
23.) The Sword in the Stone (1963)
This retelling of the King Arthur legend boasts a light-hearted tone and really memorable characters, yet, the story seems all over the place. But aside from that, there isn’t too much. The animation is just average except for a few amazing scenes like the Wizard’s Duel. Despite this though, there is a legitimate conflict with Arthur and an occasional emotional moment. The music also isn’t very impressive. But the stand out characters as well as a laid back tone, make The Sword in the Stone a fun and creative film. Maybe it’s not fit for a king, but definitely a good watch.
22.) Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Lady and the Tramp is a cute little love story with some good characters and pretty animation. Sadly though, the story is just your typical love story with a few unforgettable scenes, ie the spaghetti kiss scene. Also, the film really captures a dog’s point of view via the shot composition and cinematography. The story isn’t particularly exciting, but I don’t think it was meant to be, I think it was just meant to be a nice love story, and it achieves that goal. Lady and the Tramp is a sweet film with a few exceptional moments, making enjoyable for the whole family.
21.) Meet the Robinsons (2007)
Okay, I have to come clean here, this is one of my favorite Disney films. But, I can’t pretend that Meet the Robinsons is perfect. At times, the story is all over the place, and there are a few too many characters. Yet, the characters we do get to know (Lewis, Wilbur, the Bowler Hat Guy) are really enjoyable and fun to watch. The message- “Keep Moving Forward” is portrayed so well that it makes the film stand out from the other Disney films. Yeah, Meet the Robinsons may have some problems, but the message and heart are both outstanding, making it a must-see flick of the future.
20.) The Princess and the Frog (2009)
There are a lot of great things about “The Princess and the Frog”, mainly it’s animation and characters, particularly Tiana and Naveen. This film was a much-needed return to Disney’s hand drawn fairy tale. And here, the fairy tale is updated beautifully, both with the setting of New Orleans and the introduction of a modern princess, Tiana. Yet, the story is a little too complicated. Also, the message of hard-work may not be appealing to viewers as Cinderella’s seamless transformation. But, The Princess and the Frog is a masterfully made film in its own rite.
19.) Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Wreck-It Ralph has some really good characters and some really interesting ideas. The film is clever in that it combines beloved video game characters, yet you don’t have to be a video game person to enjoy the film. Although the story is complex, it’s not hard to follow. The film’s story, however complex, works because the characters, and their relationships, i.e. Ralph and Vanelope, are enough to make it fun and touching.
18.) The Jungle Book (1967)
More than anything, The Jungle Book is a fun film that is mainly character based, much like Winnie the Pooh. What sets this film apart though is that it has a singular narrative and attempts to follow Mowgoli through a coming of age story. A bonus is also the villains, Shere Khan and Kaa, who add both comedy and a legitimate threat for Mowgoli. Although the coming of age theme isn’t fully realized, the characters as well as some great song sequences pull the film through, and make it Walt Disney’s last gem.
17.) The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Although not one of Disney’s most iconic films, The Great Mouse Detective hits nearly every mark. It’s an exciting adventure based off Sherlock Holmes, and features mice. The story actually meshes very well with Disney animation. The hero- Basil and the villain- Ratigan (voiced by Vincent Price) are particularly fun to watch. The story is also engaging and provides for one of Disney’s best climaxes. The animation of both the characters and London is beautiful too. It may not be an icon, but The Great Mouse Detective is exciting upon every viewing.
16.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
One of Disney’s darkest tales is also close to being one of its best. The Hunchback of Notre Dame delivers unique characters, music, and visuals. It also boasts one of the studios most complex villains, Frollo. My only real issue with the film is that the heroine, Esmeralda, doesn’t end up with the odd but lovable hero, Quasimodo. But, that’s probably me being a romantic. The film works very well, even if by all accounts it shouldn’t.
15.) Aladdin (1992)
The word to describe Aladdin is: fun. It’s a fun story with fun visuals and fun characters. There’s a lot to keep us laughing – like the hilarious Genie and the dopey Sultan. Aladdin and Jasmine are also very nice and Jafar and Iago get their laughs as well. And the story is pretty engaging, as well as the visuals. There isn’t too much depth to Aladdin, but I also feel like there wasn’t meant to be. Mainly it’s a fun film that never ceases to be anything less.
14.) Frozen (2013)
It’s almost impossible to describe the impact that Frozen had, not only on Disney, but on the world of film in general. With that said- Frozen is a great film that can live up to such a reputation. It’s got wonderful songs and breath-taking animation. But really, what Frozen has going for it is its originality. The film has elements that really stand out, like two real likable and interesting heroines, who match the engaging nature of this both touching and tragic story. The film also focuses on sisterly love rather than romantic love- so that’s really different as well. Although it may not be Disney’s absolute, it is a masterpiece that will be loved for years to come.
13.) Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
The first thing my mom said when I showed her this list was, “Atlantis is way too high up.” Respectfully, Mom, I don’t agree with that statement. Atlantis is a wonderful film, even though it may not be celebrated as such. It’s an adventure story that matches the likes of live-action cinema. Also, Atlantis has unforgettable characters with big personalities that make the film amazing to watch. The animation is an ornate collection of visuals inspired by the creator of Hellboy, Mike Magnolia. Although there are no songs, or cuddly animals, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a Disney classic unlike any other.
12.) Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Beauty and the Beast is a great film. There’s really nothing else I can say about it. The animation is beautiful, the story is well told, the characters are likable, and of course the songs are amazing. Surprisingly though, I don’t think that this is Disney’s best film. Mainly because the story should have centered around the Beast, who actually learns a lesson and changes by the end of the film. Aside from that, this is a great film that people still enjoy, and will enjoy for years to come.
11.) Dumbo (1941)
Dumbo is an emotional journey with a lot of creative ideas in it. The story is simple yet draws so much emotion, because we feel for Dumbo being considered an outcast because of his big ears, and because of how much he misses his mother. The ideas in this film are also so imaginative, like an elephant who can fly, a train that’s actually a character, and a protagonist that doesn’t utter a single word, but instead communicates via outstanding character animation. The music in Dumbo is also so good, especially since it includes classics like “Baby Mine” and “When I See an Elephant Fly”. Honestly, Dumbo just misses the number ten spot on this list because of its length, only 64 minutes, which should have been extended to at least 70. But aside from that, the film triumphantly soars as high as Dumbo himself.