My Ten Favorite Disney Animated Movies

by Logan Gion
Used for Oblogatory's post, "My Ten Favorite Animated Disney Movies."

Why are you writing about your favorite animated Disney movies in October?

The reason is two-fold, Green Font. First, as of this publication date, Walt Disney founded his animation studio 100 years ago today (October 16th, 2023)! To celebrate, I’m counting down my top ten favorite Disney animated movies. Second, as of today, Oblogatory turned two years old! That’s right, two years ago, I finally got around to watching The Third Man, missed a numerical opportunity, and posted about that movie first (instead of third…).

How did you pick your favorite Disney animated movies?

I stuck to only films produced by the Walt Disney Animation Studio. That means that film companies under The Mouse’s enormous glove don’t count–Pixar, (99.9% of) Marvel, 20th Century Studios, Lucasfilm, and Studio Ghibli are all out. (Sorry, Anastasia, you’ll have to eat at the Ewoks’ table). This, unfortunately, also means that live-action family favorites like The Parent Trap, as well as hybrid animation/live-action movies like Mary Poppins and Enchanted, don’t get an invite to the ball. The scope-creep would be enormous and wouldn’t do these fantastic movies justice.

Can I write you an angry comment if my favorite Disney animated movies aren’t on here?

Please do! …though it doesn’t have to be angry. Disney has made way more than ten “obligatory” movies. Additionally, my list is biased by nostalgia and fond memories associated with watching these flicks. Spoiler alert, but Frozen‘s not on this list. That film has excellent songs and left a crater-sized cultural footprint. Objectively, it’s one of Disney’s best. It’s just not my favorite.

That’s because “favorite” doesn’t always mean “best.” I’ll forever have a soft spot for Return of the Jedi even though, from a cinematic craft or artistic evaluation perspective, A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back are light years ahead. …Neither of them have a keyboard-playing, blue elephant though.

Used for Oblogatory's "My Ten Favorite Disney Animated Movies"

Where can I watch Cinderella (1950)?

#10 Cinderella

After the passing of her beloved parents, Cinderella is left in the care of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, who treat her as a servant in her own home. Despite her hardships, Cinderella maintains her grace and optimism. Her life takes a magical turn when her fairy godmother appears, granting her the opportunity to attend the royal ball. However, there’s a catch: Cinderella must return before midnight when the spell wears off. At the ball, she captures the heart of the handsome Prince Charming, but her hasty departure leaves behind a single glass slipper. With the kingdom in search of the mysterious maiden who fits the lost slipper, Cinderella will have to rely on her friends and stay true to herself in order to escape her family’s prison.

Until about five years ago, I took Cinderella for granted (much like her stepmother, I suppose). The film’s ubiquitous presence and oft-imitated protagonist made me feel blasé. In my college years, I came to loathe Cinderella. I felt that it perpetuated unrealistic standards for women to achieve while conditioning them to believe a rich nobleman is roaming the countryside actively searching for “good” girls.

Bizarrely, I gave Cinderella another chance after watching Ralph Breaks the Internet. In one scene, Vanellope stows away in a room with Disney’s most famous princesses. Vanellope then examines her fellow royalty with modern eyes, asking pointed, logical questions about her sisters’ struggles. There, I recognized that Cinderella was a victim of abuse.

Intrigued, I rewatched 1950’s Cinderella with this new perspective. First, the movie set me straight about my “feminist” beliefs regarding her situation. The movie’s protagonist certainly isn’t passive, she’s merely so hampered by her stepmother’s bindings that she has limited options. One of those options is relying on her friends. These friends (though unorthodox), gladly help Cinderella because they’re paying her back for the numerous times she’s helped them.

Far from just being “kind,” Cinderella has grit, determination, and a decent poker face. Watching her side-eye her stepsisters or attempt to block out their singing gives our seemingly saintly heroine flaws and dimension. Prince Charming, likewise, is gloriously immature, barely tolerating the unflattering masses being thrust upon him by a baby-crazy father. His unabashed crush on Cinderella is comedic, considering that she’s the only woman present that’s even remotely interesting.

Finally, Lady Tremaine’s horrific treatment of Cinderella puts this wicked stepmother in the top tier of cinematic villains. Her everyday, casual manipulation towards her stepdaughter seeps into the audience in a disturbingly realistic manner. Unlike the evil queen from Snow White who can transform into a hideous witch or Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty who can transform into a literal dragon, Lady Tremaine leaves a bigger fingerprint with fewer resources.

After this more recent viewing, I believe that my juvenile qualms with Cinderella were misplaced. Lazy men used Cinderella to foist those unrealistic exceptions on young women (while hardly being Prince Charming themselves). Cruel parental figures used Cinderella to warp their daughters, hoping to fit them into impossible-to-fill shoes. Visual media companies used Cinderella‘s fantastical visage (achieved only AFTER a magical being intervened) to prey on girls’ insecurities, profiting off of fear.

These bad-faith actors, as well as my past self, forgot that Cinderella succeeds because she never lets anyone extinguish her inner light. The glass slippers just make her sparkle.

#9 The Fox and the Hound

The Fox and the Hound explores the unlikely friendship between two young animals, Tod the fox and Copper the hound dog. Widow Tweed, a kind-hearted woman, takes in Tod after he becomes orphaned. At the nearby farm, Copper is being trained to be a hunting dog by his owner, Amos Slade. Despite their contrasting backgrounds, Tod and Copper form a deep bond of friendship. However, as they grow older, societal expectations threaten to tear them apart. Things come to a head when Copper’s mentor, Chief, gets hit by a train while chasing Tod. Now the dog will have to choose between his friend or his family.

“Copper, you’re my best friend!”

“And you’re mine, too, Tod!”

I quote this exchange with dark delight whenever someone offers me a toxically optimistic outlook. For that reason alone, The Fox and The Hound lives, as the kids say, in my head rent free.

What I truly like about The Fox and The Hound, though, is its finely blended, bittersweet tone. This Disney animated movie was probably the first one I ever watched that didn’t have a happy ending (though it’s got nothing on the source material). It also doesn’t shy away from complex themes for children. While I don’t think my four-year-old niece is old enough to watch it, her older brother would appreciate the tragic inevitability of life unfolding, leading characters who were once friends to find themselves on opposite sides of an issue.

The Fox and the Hound also goes to great lengths to show the balance between nature and nurture. Tod and Copper don’t care about what the world thinks when they’re kids, even though Copper’s owner would shoot Tod on sight. Towards the end of the movie, this childhood bond prevails even though Copper’s owner has poured nonstop training and a hunter’s conditioning into his dog. Nature’s not totally discounted, either. Tod and Copper grow apart because of their biological life courses, watching each other from a distance. They’re both happy—Todd has a loving girlfriend, and Copper is enjoying the truce between his owner and his human neighbor—but they’re not like they were. Those days are over. Though mournful, The Fox and the Hound teaches kids that friendships change in life, and that’s okay.

What’s not okay is that bear, though. That thing’s freaky.

Used for Oblogatory's "My Ten Favorite Disney Animated Movies"

Where can I watch Fox and the Hound?

Used for Oblogatory's "My Ten Favorite Disney Animated Movies"

Where can I watch One Hundred and One Dalmatians?

#8 One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Pongo and Perdita, two Dalmatians, embark on a heroic adventure to rescue their adorable puppies from the clutches of the menacing Cruella de Vil. When their human owners, Roger and Anita, welcome a litter of 15 Dalmatian puppies, Cruella becomes obsessed with obtaining them to create a fur coat. She enlists the help of her bumbling henchmen, Jasper and Horace, to carry out her wicked plan. After their children go missing, Pongo and Perdita must rally the animal kingdom, including the memorable Colonel, Sergeant Tibbs, and a network of helpful dogs, to thwart Cruella’s nefarious scheme and bring their beloved puppies safely back home. 

“Cruella de Vil, Cruella de Vil/If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will!”

I’d bet a fur coat that you started singing along when reading the above line. Besides catchy tunes, One Hundred and One Dalmatians features mod animation, unforgettable voice acting, and imaginative animal antics. Watching as a child, however, the stakes went over my head. “Why do we have all these chase scenes?” I thought, “It’s a Disney move; the bad guys always lose.” As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ excellent thriller sequences. The puppies’ escape from the manor, Pongo’s covering of their tracks, Perdita’s hurried transfer of soot-covered pups into the transport van—all of these scenes employ Hitchcock-level suspense (ironic considering Walt Disney banned Alfred Hitchcock from Disneyland after watching Psycho).

Also Hitchcockian is One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ villain, Cruella de Vil. Cruella’s character design came from Tallulah Bankhead’s character in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat while Cruella’s spirit came from the Hitchcock quote, “The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture.” She’s a perfect contrast, too, as the characters and setting of the movie have a lovely twee vibe. The film glows with nostalgia that we, the audience, wouldn’t appreciate without Cruella de Vil wrecking every frame she enters. Even the color of smoke in her cigarettes is different than that from Roger’s pipe! Her skulking stride and her gesticulating arms grasp every centimeter of every scene in which she appears. Her droopy fur outfits foreshadow her ugly plans (both morally and aesthetically), and the enormous, negative publicity her cultural footprint left on the fur industry only begins to approach the size of her ego. Often imitated, yet rarely replicated, Cruella de Vil may not have crafted the coat of her dreams, but she helped fabricate cinematic memories for generations.

Fur fact: The voice actor for Cruella de Vil was also the narrator for Cinderella! She took a break from acting to work for her husband’s phone company, but came out of retirement for one final role as a fish…


#7 Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph takes you literally inside the world of arcade games. Ralph, the villain of the arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr., has grown tired of his role as the bad guy and dreams of becoming a hero. To prove he can be more than a wrecker, Ralph embarks on a journey through the arcade’s power strips, visiting other games and their protagonists, including the feisty racer Vanellope von Schweetz and the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun. Along the way, he discovers that “just because you’re a BAD guy, doesn’t mean you’re a bad GUY.”

After watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit for the first time, I was amazed at its world, then envious of those a generation older than me who got to see the movie without knowing anything going in. Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny together! Donald and Daffy Duck on dueling pianos! It’d never been done before. I wanted something released in MY time that gave people the same feeling. Imagine my satisfaction, then, upon seeing Wreck-It Ralph in theaters. Pac-Man! Bowser! Sonic! I truly felt like I was watching history.

Time will tell if that feeling becomes consensus, I suppose. Marvel’s The Avengers premiered that same year, a movie that probably stole some of Wreck-It Ralph’s thunder (with a literal god of thunder, no less). Today’s viewers are also used to transmedia team ups, especially considering Wreck-It Ralph’s lackluster sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, in which Vanellope visits the aforementioned princess room, and audiences are “treated” with a view of Disney’s terrifying, tentacular reach.

Wreck-It Ralph, much like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, uses its cameo-heavy world as a tool to tell a well-executed story. Written by two of the original Simpsons writers, Wreck-It Ralph cleverly employs its recognizable characters early on, giving the audience something shiny as a distraction. That, along with smart gag jokes and inventive world explanation, smokescreen the viewer while the movie sets up boring stuff like exposition, character backstories, and thematic questions. Then, just as the novelty of the world and its inhabitants wears off, Wreck-It Ralph explodes forward to its main story. Every development and reveal seems surprising yet well-crafted. Why? Because the filmmakers laid the track while you were staring at the scenery.

Used for Oblogatory's "My Ten Favorite Disney Animated Movies"

Where can I watch Wreck-It Ralph?

Used for Oblogatory's "My Top Ten Favorite Disney Animated Movies"

Where can I watch The Rescuers Down Under?

#6 The Rescuers Down Under

The Rescuers Down Under follows the courageous mouse duo, Bernard and Miss Bianca, elite members of the Rescue Aid Society, as they journey to the breathtaking landscapes of the Land Down Under. Their mission: to save a young boy named Cody from the clutches of a wicked poacher named McLeach, who seeks to capture a rare and majestic eagle, Marahute. Filled with breathtaking aerial sequences, memorable characters, and heart-pounding action, this sequel to The Rescuers is a captivating tale of bravery, friendship, and the enduring spirit of the wild.

Once every week or so, I’ll see a comment from some stodgy cinephile online who says something like, “All remakes and sequels should be banned.” This blog has already found exceptions to that sweeping statement, but The Rescuers Down Under deals that attitude another blow. 

Coming 13 years after The Rescuers, its sequel improves upon the character dynamics, the relationship developments, the comic relief, and the thematic resonance. Gone is Disney’s bizarre obsession with alcoholics as jokesters. Excised are the snooze-inducing easy-listening songs. Besides a couple minor detours, The Rescuers Down Under is a lean action/adventure outing. Though not heavily advertised, it also contains some hefty voice-acting talent. Bob Newhart and John Candy, both comedy royalty, played Bernard and Wilbur respectively, while Eva Gabor, socialite and sitcom star, gave life to Miss Bianca. All three names pale in comparison, however, to George C. Scott, one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, who gives a biting villainous performance as the craven poacher McLeach.

Perhaps The Rescuers Down Under didn’t feel the need to advertise their cast because of the eye-popping animation on display. The film’s production provided many firsts for Disney’s animation studio: It was the first Disney film to use Pixar’s CGI software. The Rescuers Down Under also made use of CAPS (Computer Animation Production Systems), a program that digitized animators’ drawings and automatically inked their outlines. This saved the studio time, manpower, and money, making cel animation obsolete. Development and practice with CAPS during The Rescuers Down Under also gave films of the Disney Renaissance their signature look.

All of these behind-the-scenes elements were worth the investment, as I still jump, startled by the opening musical blast across the outback. Five seconds in and The Rescuers Down Under already has my heart racing. It’s a thrill ride that flies higher than a golden eagle!


#5 The Emperor’s New Groove

Set in the Incan Empire, The Emperor’s New Groove follows the arrogant Emperor Kuzco, who finds himself transformed into a llama by the scheming sorceress Yzma. After vowing to destroy Pacha the peasant’s village to make way for a waterpark, Kuzco must now team up with Pacha to return to the castle and reclaim his throne. On the way there, Kuzco and Pacha must fend off the dangers of the Peruvian jungle–sleek panthers, bloodthirsty bats, and, worst of all, a sentient squirrel who speaks nothing but gibberish. Through it all, Kuzco will have to rely on Pacha in order to become a llama again! Wait…

Dave Franzoni, writer and producer of 2000’s Gladiator, upon recounting the labyrinthine production process, compared the final film with this analogy: “It’s like if 25 cars ran into each other and the Mona Lisa emerged.”

The Emperor’s New Groove, also released in 2000 coincidentally, would call that analogy “a normal Tuesday.” The insane story behind this movie’s production deserves its own deep-dive post, but it became Disney’s first film to be redeveloped mid-production since 1940’s Pinocchio. They had to start over from virtually square one in May 1998 with a release deadline of December 2000.

Ironically, that makes me love this movie even more! The Emperor’s New Groove deftly weaves together a screwball dynamic in its villains, Looney Tunes logic in its world, buddy cop interplay in its protagonists, and river-rapids speed in its plot progression–producing a result a damn sight stronger than the rope bridge that connects the mountains to the palace. I am floored that the story team, animators, and cast came up with a result this inspired in 18 months. (For reference, Disney Animation’s website lists their average feature production time at three to five years.)

The cast deserves pointed praise for their devotion. David Spade delivers career-best work, personifying his sarcastic, self-depreciating schtick as the spoiled Kuzco. John Goodman’s peasant Pacha is as shaggy and comfortable as the alpaca garment he wears. Patrick Warburton earns his title of voice-acting royalty as the oblivious himbo Kronk. Eartha Kitt steals the show, however, as Yzma, her signature sultry purr (she was Catwoman, darling) completely upended as her performance effortlessly keeps pace with the increasingly zany situations her character endures. The entire time, Kitt is having more fun than a cat on an oversized trampoline, imbuing Yzma with the same delicious zest for being bad as Cruella de Vil.

Most impressive, however, is the brevity of The Emperor’s New Groove. At 79 minutes, the film compactly delivers more memorable jokes than Peru has llamas.

Used in Oblogatory's "My Ten Favorite Disney Movies."

Where can I watch The Emperor’s New Groove?

Used in Oblogatory's "My Ten Favorite Disney Movies"

Where can I watch Mulan?

#4 Mulan

Set in ancient China, Mulan follows the titular protagonist, a young woman who disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in the Imperial Army when China is threatened by the invading Huns. With her ancestral dragon sidekick Mushu and the trust of her fellow soldiers, Mulan embarks on a daring journey to save her country and prove herself in a world dominated by men. This, at first, proves fun, as her new friends goof off, but train hard. After encountering the destruction and schemes of Shan Yu, however, Mulan becomes uniquely equipped to save her country. But will her comrades listen to her if her secret is exposed? 

At six years old, I watched Pocahontas in the theaters and liked it fine. My mother was livid, however, because they changed the story from the protagonist’s real life. I remember asking her why that was such a big deal, child version of me thinking that if a movie perfectly captured a subject’s life, it’d be as long as a person’s life–and probably boring in some parts. My mother sternly replied, “There’s telling a story, then there’s telling a lie.” Three years later, I watched Mulan and understood.

From the opening calligraphy brushstrokes, I was instantly transported. Mulan steeps itself in the world of fourth-century, North Dynasty China and presents a tale loftier than the impossible standards placed upon its heroine. Mulan manages to appeal to both kids and adults. It showcases military fraternity without downplaying the horrors of war. It makes excellent use of its celebrity voice talent while keeping the star wattage in check with the rest of the movie’s elements. (Side note: Joe Pesci was the original casting choice for Mushu. Eddie Murphy does great work in the role, but I’d totally visit a multiverse dimension where Pesci voices the part.)

Most importantly, Mulan presents its thematic message in a way that’s obvious enough for children yet isn’t moralistic. Put another way, Mulan is feminist through and through but doesn’t lecture its audience on why being feminist is good. Instead, the protagonist witnesses systemic sexism, a reality which leads to internal conflict. Through Mulan’s journey, she meets characters–some friendly, some not–whose own beliefs on the issue help Mulan find her personal answer (and help her save the country, too, which is a nice bonus). Subtextual nuance like this is hard to find in mainstream film, much less a kid flick.

What other G-rated movie could get away with a Schindler’s List reference?


#3 Zootopia

In the bustling animal metropolis of Zootopia, where predator and prey seemingly live together in harmony, rookie bunny cop Judy Hopps defies expectations by joining the police force. When a wave of missing mammals threatens the city’s fragile peace, Judy teams up with a sly con artist fox named Nick Wilde to crack the case. Their investigation takes them through ingeniously crafted communities, from sloths at the DMV to shrews in a tiny mall. A traumatic event in Hopps’ past, however, threatens to ruin her new partnership. Both she and Nick will have to overcome their past wounds before the city itself falls prey to the puppet master behind the kidnappings.

The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Touch of Evil–each of these movies is a brilliant film noir starring a hard-boiled detective. My hottest take on this list? Zootopia is as sharply written as these iconic classics and is a child’s perfect introduction to film noir as a genre. Guess what? I can prove it.

Two of the most formative classes that I took in college were graduate-level courses called “Film Directors” and “Film Genres.” Dr. Christina Lane, one of the WORLD’S foremost feminist film theorists, who specializes in film noir and auteur theory, taught “Film Directors,” where I spent a semester studying Alfred Hitchcock movies and the subsequent films his work influenced. Dr. William Rothman, one of the globally preeminent mid-century film scholars, who founded the Harvard University Press’s Film Studies series and has contributed historical notes for the releases of six Criterion films, ran “Film Genres,” where we did a deep dive on mid-century niche trends. One of those trends–you guessed it–was film noir. These two professors distilled noir into “Noir Femme” and “Noir Homme.” Noir Homme, the hard-boiled, traditionally masculine version of the genre has the following tropes:

  • An alienated, loner detective (either by choice or by circumstance)
  • The detective must have a Western sense of justice (A cowboy, Sheriff, drifter, soldier/warrior or outlaw role doesn’t matter, so long as they have a rigid code)
  • Takes place in an urban setting
  • The detective is unable to be domesticated
  • The main love interest turns out to be either a “Femme Fatale” or “Homme Fatale,” a conwoman or conman who uses seductive charm to scam the hero
  • The detective figures out the solution to the case via a clue in a flashback or an intimidating character from their past
  • The detective suffers from PTSD because of fear stemming from a traumatic event in their past.
  • The story structure often has a “false climax,” where the detective busts the big bad, only to find out they had an incomplete picture of the case. The true solution involves a betrayal from either the love interest or a close ally.
Zootopia nails each of these tropes while presenting a candy-colored, fully realized city as well as an incredibly detailed allegory about racial bias and systemic prejudice. The absurd subplot spoofing The Godfather is just icing on the tiny, tiny cake. Should one bemoan Zootopia‘s lack of black-and-white cinematography and moody lighting, I direct your attention to the expertly directed timber-wolf chase and the action set-piece on the subway.
Finally, Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman flood the screen with chemistry as Judy and Nick respectively. Even if this post was an official “Ten Best Disney Movies” list, Zootopia would be a prime suspect.
Used in Oblogatory's "My Ten Favorite Disney Movies"

Where can I watch Zootopia?

Used for Oblogatory's "My Ten Favorite Disney Animated Movies"

Where can I watch The Great Mouse Detective?

#2 The Great Mouse Detective

A missing father, a winged kidnapper, a ravaged toy store–Olivia Flavisham is in trouble and needs the help of a great detective like Sherlock Holmes! Unfortunately, Olivia is a mouse, so Holmes is likely unavailable. The good news, however, is that, in a mouse hole underneath 221b Baker Street lives Basil, The Great Mouse Detective! After a bizarre (and bizarrely racist) introduction, Basil discovers that Oliva’s father has been kidnapped by a batty–figuratively and literally–goon of the detective’s archnemesis, Professor Ratigan (roll the r’s, please, when saying his name). With retired military surgeon David Q. Dawson, Olivia, and Sherlock Holmes faithful dog, Toby, in tow, Basil discovers that Ratigan plans to use Olivia’s father in a complex, animatronic plot to overthrow all of mousedom! Ever one step ahead, Ratigan sees Basil coming for him, and concocts a plan to add the adjective “late” to The Great Mouse Detective.

Unfairly lumped in with Disney’s Dark Ages, The Great Mouse Detective was actually a decent success, and its reception renewed confidence in the animation department. Its animation team’s follow up? The Little Mermaid (my number 11 pick, I swear). The Great Mouse Detective also has the dual distinction of being the last Disney feature supervised by one of the “Nine Old Men,” nine core animators on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves who oversaw Disney’s animation decisions on every subsequent project, and being the first Disney movie to feature computer-assisted film shots. It also is the first movie approved and shepherded by CEO Michael Eisner and Disney Film chairman Jeffery Katzenberg, the duo who oversaw the company during the first half of The Disney Renaissance (though Eisner remained CEO until 2005).

The result is simultaneously traditional Disney animation mixed with contemporary tools and succinct storytelling. The songs are especially economical, with all three tracks either providing exposition or intercut with plot beats–a first for a Disney movie, and a hallmark of its ’90s films.

Raised on Batman, Star Wars, and Pokémon, I was unknowingly bred to be the ideal audience for a pulpy mystery movie which contains an imperial dictator and stars a mouse. Younger me loved the human-sized world made enormous by its rodent-sized characters, especially the clock-tower fight, influenced by Hayao Miyazaki. Older me adores the blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em character details like Professor Ratigan beating his head in frustration on a glass bottle, only to beat it too hard and have to rub his head. Another is when Olivia steps on the henchman Fidget’s foot. Fidget, who has a peg leg, says, “Ow, my foot!” then, in the background, “My only foot!” Every version of me loves Basil’s over-the-top mood swings, from despondently morose to exhilaratingly confident. Of course the balloons under a Union Jack and over a pizza box will fly the direction he wants them to. Why wouldn’t the science experiment fizz through the glass swirly-bobs and change color? I’ve been saved from death traps by using advanced trigonometry loads of times!

Just like The Joker, Darth Vader, and Team Rocket, the villain makes the picture in The Great Mouse Detective, and Vincent Price delivers the most expressive, unhinged performance of his career. Price, himself, said as much, giddy that he got to go so over-the-top. Near his death, Price also listed Professor Ratigan as “by far his favorite role.” That love and passion is apparent in every scene in which Ratigan appears. He’s animalistic evil, polished over with 1800s upper-class status symbols. Most importantly, like Yzma, Cruella de Vil, and that creepy goat from The VVitch, Professor Ratigan is a fun villain because he “wants to live deliciously.”

Sadly, greatest crime committed in The Great Mouse Detective? The fact that, despite an available series of books to adapt, Disney never made a sequel!


#1 Beauty and the Beast

An enchanting story set in an enchanted castle, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is truly a tale as old as time. Belle, well-read woman metaphorically trapped in a provincial life finds herself actually trapped in the castle of a Beast, a cursed prince with a fearsome exterior. As she befriends the castle’s magical staff and unravels the mystery of the curse, Belle discovers that true beauty lies within. The same cannot be said of town hunter/garish interior decorator and self-proclaimed eligible bachelor Gaston, determined to marry Belle because she’s the most beautiful girl in all the land. Appalled by her romantic rebuffs, Gaston eventually learns that his greatest quarry may just be the object of Belle’s affections.

HAH! Many of my friends and family members guessed I’d put The Great Mouse Detective as my number one pick. While I ran that VHS tape ragged as a child, The Great Mouse Detective cannot compete with Beauty and the Beast for one reason: I felt Beauty and the Beast in my bones–literally.

Beauty and the Beast was the first movie I ever saw in theaters. The two things I remember most? The Aladdin teaser trailer (tied with The Little Mermaid at number 11, I swear) and the BOOMING opening musical cue for the prologue. The contrast between the terrifying music and the gorgeous castle held me captive. The bass in the theater’s sound system shook my entire toddler body, imprinting it as one of my first memories. After the movie was over, I knew I had to go to the movie theater again as soon as possible.

Thank goodness, then, that my toddler brain imprinted on a masterpiece. Beauty and the Beast, until 2009, was the only animated movie IN HISTORY to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (Up and Toy Story 3 shared the distinction when the nomination list widened from five to ten). It won the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy. In 2002, it became the third animated movie to be inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry, behind only Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Pinocchio, beating Bambi, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty to the punch.

The songs are infectious, the score is haunting, and the animation dizzying. Belle and The Beast’s classic-gothic love story is melodramatic and operatic, but has flourishes of fun and humor. Even the smallest bit parts are memorable (The Gaston Groupies in their traffic-light dresses! The Wardrobe letting moths out of her literal chest-o-drawers! Maurice’s spider-carriage ride back to town!) Each movie frame is painted with care and personality.

As an adult, I could provide ample reasons more why Beauty and the Beast is a serious contender for Disney’s best animated movie. The reason that it’s my favorite, though, is simple. As a child, it made me fall in love with movies.

Used for Oblogatory's "My 10 Favorite Disney Animated Movies"

Where can I watch Beauty and the Beast?

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Note: Beginning in late March, I began a transformative yet energy-draining health procedure. I've had to take unexpected breaks from posting, so, unfortunately, I can't always get to everything I have planned. I'll do my best to keep it as accurate as possible.

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The 400 Blows: Leftover from both January and April’s themes

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: Leftover from April and September’s themes

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Why are PG Rated Movies from the ’70s and ’80s So Graphic? A “Why Does Hollywood?” Post/Oblogatory Deep Dive

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Blue Eye Samurai
From the writer of "Logan" and "Blade Runner 2049," "Blue Eye Samurai" follows a mixed-race swordsman in 1600s Japan who, ordered by the shogunate, must expel Europeans that've remained in the country illegally. Rotten Tomatoes puts it at 100%.
Netflix releases the 8-part, hour-long-episode event about Gesicht, a detective investigating a string of human and android murders. The culprit could be a robot, which would mark only the second time in history that such a thing has occurred. From the mastermind who made ‘Monster,” this grim mystery is a spinoff—believe it or not—of “Astro Boy”!
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