Disney Animated Canon Ranking, Top 5

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

These are my Top 5 films from Disney Canon.

5. Pocahontas (Canon #33)


In sixteen hundred seven, we sail the open sea~!

For glory, God, and gold, and the Virginia Company~!

So back in the mid-90s the Disney Renaissance was in full swing. Disney could seemingly do no wrong, and the sixth film was Pocahontas, Disney’s take on the establishment of the Jamestown colony in America. And apparently people didn’t take too kindly to this film. For reasons… I will not touch upon. I am not a historian, I am not interested in how the Disney company changed history to tell their story. I am here to be entertained, and entertained was I.

Pocahontas is one of the more mellow pictures Disney has released. Sure, there are stakes, and people die, and even a rather tense musical number leading up to what you think might be a great battle between the natives and the settlers. But it ultimately ends in a stand off, and everything is resolved at the end by one person’s “heroic” sacrifice. If you can even call it that?

But why do I love this film? Colors of the Wind. Mine, Mine, Mine. Savages. The soundtrack to this movie is why I love it as much as I do. When I think Disney music, these are the songs that come to mind. I have the fondest of memories for these songs, and Colors of the Wind is my favorite track in all Disneydom. Followed perhaps by Zip-a-dee-do-dah but that’s a discussion for another time.

Is Pocahontas a perfect film? No way. But I can look past the (many) faults each time. That’s what it means to love something. Or something. Point is I love Pocahontas. And it sits nice and comfortably at #5.

4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (#34)


Morning in Paris, the city awakes to the bells of Notre Dame~

So despite the weaker outing before it, Disney did not slow down. This time they were tackling a literary classic by Victor Hugo, and what we got was one of the darker Disney films ever produced. Even if they took liberties with the source material (everyone does) and softened the tone a bit (or a lot depending on your point of view).

The music is a major part of why I like this film, but unlike Pocahontas before it, it’s not the primary reason. The music is all great, of course: Out There, Hellfire, Heaven’s Light, The Bells of Notre Dame; all of it’s fantastic. But what I love most about this film is undoubtedly the villain.

On the surface, Frollo is the villain of the film. But in the story he’s actually a judge, and his goal (while morally wrong by our standards) was actually par for the course in the time depicted in the film. His corruption is human flaw, which anyone can have. I’m not trying to defend what he did in the movie, of course. But it’s not like he did it with actual ill intent. Sort of?

Okay I’m digging myself a grave here. This movie is awesome. It’s visually stunning, it defies Disney conventions, and the music just elevates it to an experience I don’t think any other Disney film achieves. #4 for me.

3. The Fox and the Hound (#24)


“Forever is a long, long time. And time has a way of changing things.”

So when people think of the Disney Dark Age, they think of the worst things they put out during those 20-some-odd years. But people forget that it was during this time period they released one of their best films ever. The Fox and the Hound is a look at what happens when society dictates what your life will be like, regardless of the damage it does to people you knew in your childhood. With dogs and a fox.

Todd the fox is raised by an elderly woman living in the countryside who becomes friend with a hound pup owned by the elderly woman’s next door neighbor. They develop a friendship that would melt anyone’s heart, only for them to be separated when Copper the hound is taken on a series of hunting trips to teach him how to be the best hunting dog he could be. Upon returning, both he and Todd realize the friendship they had as children is no longer viable in the eyes of the world around them, and are essentially forced to be enemies.

Every time I see this movie I get emotional to the point of tears. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It kills me to see how Todd and Copper fight to the point of nearly killing one another, making me wonder if that could happen to any of us. If I had to pick the saddest part, it would be just before the film ends. There’s a moment where Todd is at the mercy of the hunter who owns Copper, and it’s at that critical moment that Copper stands up for his old friend. He stands between the hunter and the injured Todd, intent on protecting his old friend despite everything that has happened.

That scene gets me. Every single time. It deserves its spot at #3.

2. Beauty and the Beast (#30)


Tale as old as time.

So a few years back I did something similar to this series of blog posts where I shared thoughts on all the Disney films. And when it came time to talk about Beauty and the Beast, I couldn’t really say anything about it. Not positively, not negatively. It’s the one Disney film I think is as close to flawless as the company has ever come.

So I’ll say what I always do: the music is great (of course), the visuals are great (as usual), and it’s a classic (like many). However, for as great as I think the film is, I have a soft spot for another Disney film. Beauty and the Beast is #2. And a well earned #2.

1. The Little Mermaid (#28)


Click here and let the music play as you read.

I can’t say with any real certainty why I routinely pick The Little Mermaid as my favorite Disney film. I’ve found faults with it in the past. I love the soundtrack, but I also love the music from other films in Disney canon.

But I can never turn down a chance to see this. I love this film more than you can possibly imagine. And it might always be my favorite Disney movie of all time. Call it nostalgia. I don’t rightly care. Excuse me, I’ve got a Disney film to pop in and watch right about now.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, Top 5

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 10-6

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

10. Wreck-It Ralph (Canon #52)


What if after the arcade closes the characters that you control within the games clock out and hit up a local hub/tavern? It’s much the same idea as if your toys come to life and have a “life” outside your own. And Wreck-It Ralph is this idea.

Set in the modern day, the classic arcade cabinet Fix-It Felix Jr. has been operating for 30 years. The game’s antagonist, the titular Wreck-It Ralph, deals with the day-in, day-out hatred associated with being a villain at a “Bad Guys Anonymous” set up (which itself is kinda funny). 30 years doing the same thing has taken its toll on the poor guy, so he decides to hop into a different game to prove that he could be more than the bad guy he was designed to be.

It’s obvious the message here is that anyone can be anything they want, and that you aren’t restricted to what you were “born” to be. Or something. I’m not too good with messages.

Ralph carries the film as he should being its protagonist (despite being an antagonist in-universe), while the characters around him are all fun. I enjoyed the movie a lot, and a lot of that came from the world built here that pays homages to video game culture. I grew up playing video games after all, so it’s not small shocker this is on my Top 10. And this is probably the only film that I’d dare to say isn’t strong enough to make a Top 10 for your typical list of groundbreaking Disney films.

But this is my list. And on my list, Wreck-It Ralph earns that hero’s medal.

9. The Princess and the Frog (#49)


Set in the 1920s in New Orleans, the film follows Tiana, a hard-working young woman whose dream is to one day own her own restaurant. This plan is thrown a bit out of whack when she kisses a talking frog in the hopes of helping him out of a pickle, only to turn into a frog herself. With no other choice left to her, she teams up with the talking frog Naveen to visit a voodoo priestess so that she could undo the curse on the two of them.

Why is this film so high up on my list? Not so much because it’s the last traditionally animated Disney Princess (though that is a big part of it). But because this was the first real instance of Disney’s return to form following the Renaissance of the 90s. It’s good enough to stand alongside the films of the Renaissance, and I’m sure that if this film had been released during the same time period, it would have been remembered just as fondly as those. And while I never bring up how these movies did at the box office, it is sad to note that this one did as “poorly” as it did. Look into it yourselves.

What do I like best about this film? The animation quality (which is probably the best Disney has ever done). Yes, I mean that: better than even the Renaissance films. The music is also pretty darn good and catchy, though it is a notch weaker than the rest of the Disney Renaissance.

But if I had to peg a single reason why this film will remain as high as it is on my list, it would be that this (along with Winnie the Pooh) were the last traditionally animated films from the company. And it makes me all kinds of sad to know there will likely never be another film of this visual caliber again.

Though I hope I will some day be proven wrong.

8. Mulan (#36)


Set during Imperial China, the film follows Mulan, a young woman who doesn’t feel like she’s worthy of her family name. When the Huns invade her country, she chooses to take her father’s place in the Imperial Army, dressing up as a man since in those days women weren’t allowed to serve in the military.

It’s rather easy to poke holes in the narrative, but that’s not why I’m here. I love this movie, thanks in no small part to the music. As you’ll see tends to be the case for most of my Top 10. The animation style is also superb, bringing to mind what they did with Hercules (utilizing a distinct style to illicit the emotions of traditional Chinese art).

I don’t got much else to say about Mulan, really. The movie can be hilarious considering the amounts of jokes about how men are among other men (and Mulan is a woman). The songs while not as plentiful as other Disney films are all catchy, with my personal favorite being “I’ll Make A Man Out of You”.

7. The Great Mouse Detective (#26)


If I have seen one movie more than any other in my life, it would be this one. Childhood is a strange mishmash of things that way.

The Great Mouse Detective is an adaptation of a book series that is in itself heavily inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he of Sherlock Holmes fame. The film follows Basil of Baker Street, who is for all intents and purposes Sherlock Holmes as a mouse, who takes on the case of Olivia Flaversham to find her kidnapped father. Aided by Doctor David Dawson, Basil discovers a plot by his arch-nemesis Professor Ratigan to replace the Queen of England with himself as ruler of the country. And so it’s up to Basil to put a stop to him once and for all.

It’s no joke when I say this film inspired my love of mystery fiction, and introduced me to Sherlock Holmes in the first place. I also like the fact that Sherlock himself is the man who lives above Basil in the film.

So what’s great about this film that isn’t completely related to nostalgia? The final confrontation between Basil and Ratigan. The two crash into the clockwork of Big Ben, and it is in there that they duke it out hand-to-hand. Every moment of this scene is tense as hell, with almost no music to speak of as Basil and Ratigan come close to killing one another. Better seen than described, trust me.

It’s one of the few Disney films that I think would actually benefit from a sequel in some capacity. A shame it never got one, but at the same time I guess it makes The Great Mouse Detective all the more special.

6. Aladdin (#31)


Poor boy Aladdin is trying to make a living on the streets of Agrabah when he meets a beautiful girl named Jasmine. She turns out to be a runaway princess, which gets him thrown into prison. He’s given a chance to escape by helping a strange old man find a magic lamp in a place known as the Cave of Wonders, which he then uses for himself to turn his life into a dream.

I don’t do justice to the film with that weaksauce synopsis. But that doesn’t matter; the movie is a classic. You know the drill by now: the music is great so I won’t say anything else about it. Also take note of that fantastic theatrical poster. Like many other Disney Renaissance films, the poster adds a certain mystic charm to the film. At least I think so.

Why is this one as high as it is? I think it’s one of the best straight-up adventures Disney has ever put out. It felt less like a fairy tale than most of Disney’s other films. I love Aladdin, and watch it over and over again rather frequently.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 10-6

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 15-11

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

15. The Emperor’s New Groove (Canon #40)


Disney films typically have some humor in them, but I would never really call them comedies. Even Hercules, which was a lot more comical in tone would never be called a comedy. So to think that Disney would actually try a legit comedy is a bit strange to me. And probably was to everyone else.

Kuzco is the selfish prick ruler of an ancient (Mayan? Incan?) civilization who gets turned into a llama by his backstabbing advisor. While the goal is to kill him, our villains are so inept they fail at this, and so we follow Kuzco as he travels with a peasant named Pacha to retake his kingdom and perhaps learn a lesson along the way.

The plot is a means to an end. The end is a punchline. This movie is funny. Tons of funny, even on multiple watches. So much so I don’t want to spoil ANY of the jokes. Enjoy the film is all I can say.

14. Alice in Wonderland (#13)


Lewis Carrol’s magnum opus (not sure if anyone else considers it this, but I do) has been adapted dozens of times. Into cartoons, live action, pornos, games; you name it, there’s probably an Alice version in existence. Sifting through the dozens of adaptations is something I like to do, since the original novel is one of my favorite stories ever. And I’m happy to say Disney’s version is not only one of the best, but also a huge influence on every adaptation since.

Alice is a curious seven year old who wanders into the whimsical Wonderland after falling down a rabbit hole, and she explores this magical place over the course of the film. Virtually everyone she meets is mad, because that’s the entire point of this story. It’s how curiosity bounces off the insanity that passes for normalcy in this world.

Disney’s version takes the best elements of both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (the sequel) and makes a single romp through Wonderland, far more cohesive than you’d imagine. I’ve seen versions that stick to the letter of the original novel, but even they tend to pale in comparison to this one. Perhaps it’s the Disney bias, but I feel this version just flows better from one plot point to the next. Some might say this is against the complete wackiness that is Alice, but to them I say: hush.

13. Lilo & Stitch (#42)


So a mad scientist creates an abomination designed to wreck havoc, is caught and sentenced, while his creation is to be exiled to a deserted planet. But before Experiment 626 can be taken to his final resting place, he breaks free and crash lands a ship on a primitive planet. That planet is Earth, and after Experiment 626 is incapacitated, he’s taken to a dog shelter where he’s adopted by the little girl Lilo as her pet.

This movie sometimes feels like its all over the place. The first part of the scientist sent to retrieve his monster undercover makes it feel like it’s a silly movie. Named Stitch by Lilo, he was designed to destroy stuff, but is isolated on an island where there’s nothing to destroy and is being taught by the girl to be good. I’m sure there’s a message here somewhere but maybe not, and I don’t care.

The other part of this film is the struggles of Lilo’s elder sister Nani, who is trying her best to find a job since she’s in charge of her younger sister following their parents’ deaths. Lilo doesn’t make it any easier for her; not because she does it intentionally, mind you, just the antics of a child that get Nani in trouble. Add to all of this a social worker who is on the poor girl because it’s his job, and there’s a real sense of urgency and drama. You almost want to forget the silly plot of the alien Lilo adopted as a dog.

And that’s where I think the movie is weakest. The Stitch plot on its own is silly and fun, but the Lilo plot with her sister is infinitely stronger. I think the best part is towards the end, where Nani accepts the fact that she has to let Lilo go (and thus be taken into some sort of foster care) because she just isn’t equipped to look after her. There’s a scene where the two sisters share a mostly silent moment together that’s particularly powerful, and feels somehow out of place with the rest of the film.

But even putting aside my desire to have one or the other, the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. The film is about family, and part of that message is you have to take the bad with the good.

Plus! The marketing campaign for this one was great. Look up old trailers for it, you’ll have a blast.

12. Frozen (#53)


It took the world by storm. We’ve all seen it.

So what do I think of Frozen? Considering it’s this high up on my list, I like it. Quite a bit, too. It’s got good messages, good music, a good story. It’s overall good.

But overall good isn’t good enough for me. Perhaps in the distant future when Frozen is considered a “classic” it might have a chance to rise the ranks. Given enough time, the music will grow on me more, and thus propel it into the top 10.

As of now, it’s a good film. At times I feel like the messages it pushes are a bit much, but at the same time they’re tongue-in-cheek considering Disney’s history. Maybe there’s just still too much spotlight on this one. But it is strong enough to make it this far.

11. Zootopia (#55)


The latest film at the time of writing. Zootopia is about a bunny who becomes a cop. Treated as something of a joke in a city where animals are not all make to be of similar proportions, she strives to be the best cop she can in the metropolis of Zootopia, where word of mouth says all animals live happily together. But that’s not entirely true, and after meeting a sly fox she’s handed a case on which her fresh new career is riding on.

It’s obvious that one of the biggest reasons Zootopia got as much praise as it has is because of its great allusions to current society. We as a people like to think we all get along, but every individual knows that’s not the case. Zootopia shows us this with cartoon animals, and while many have said the metaphors to factors such as race aren’t 100%, that wasn’t the point I think.

I’m not going to get political about this of course. This is a Disney film list, and I talk about what I like about the films. Zootopia is at its heart a mystery film, a buddy cop film, and a fun look at what a city populated by animals that don’t eat each other would look like. And seeing the locales of presented here are amazing, and make me wish we could see more of it. While I doubt we’ll ever get a sequel to Zootopia, I do hope some day we’ll get shorts that showcase the various districts of the city.

Zootopia is a great example of the upward trend of Disney that began with their 2009 film outing. It sets a high bar for films to follow, and I’m certain they’ll keep raising that bar higher. It’s the latest film, so it’s also one of the easiest to go see now if you haven’t already.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 15-11

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 20-16

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

20. Robin Hood (Canon #21)


Robin Hood is an outlaw who steals from the rich (in this case, Prince John) and gives it back to the poor (who are in turn robbed again by Prince John). Seen as a hero by the masses despite not really doing anything in the long run, if you think about it. What good is stealing the money of royalty if they just take it back as “taxes”?

This is Disney’s take on the classic legend of an outlaw with a heart of gold, where everyone is an anthropomorphic animal. And it’s pretty darn good. So much of this story has become muddled by time that so long as you have core essentials the end product might turn out good. I say might because that one adaptation a few years ago did not.

Being a Dark Age film, it does have a few issues of course. The animation isn’t great; it’s messy, recycled from older films like a trace job, and even reused on a number of parts. However, the music is pretty good. Not good enough perhaps to put on your MP3 player, but the songs are catchy and move the plot forward.

However, the end of the film isn’t that great. It’s a jailbreak sequence that ends too well for everyone in a way that just doesn’t seem plausible. I know it’s a bit of a nitpick for a Disney movie, but I never once was worried that everything wouldn’t turn out okay. The lack of a true final encounter was also a letdown, considering this is a story set in medieval times. A sword fight wouldn’t have been too much to ask between Robin Hood and Prince John. Even if he was a sniveling loser the entire film.

19. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (#22)


Framed like reading a storybook, this film follows Winnie the Pooh and his Hundred Acre Wood friends on several adventures, hence the title. All of them are likely taken from classic books, and they translate well to the screen, book and all. And that’s one of the coolest things about this film (and even the other film that came many years after); the book they reside in is as much a part of the world as the Hundred Acre Wood itself!

I don’t have much else to say about this one. There’s nothing really to hate here if you’re a fan of Pooh, and if you’re not then there’s probably nothing to change your mind. These are children’s tales told as such, and nothing more. I do have to say this is the best Pooh feature ever released, and nothing released since has come close.

18. Sleeping Beauty (#16)


A king and queen have a daughter, and when local powerful witch Maleficent is snubbed an invitation she curses the newborn to die on her 16th birthday. Talk about making a mountain of a molehill. One of the three good fairies that WERE invited places a counter on this curse, saving the princess so that instead of dying, she’d fall into an endless sleep. Not that much better, but the loophole of true love’s kiss is better than nothing, right?

So Sleeping Beauty doesn’t have a great plot. And that’s fine; I’m more engaged by the visuals of this film. Everything has this very angular design, layered upon one another to give the illusion of depth in such a way I can’t really describe it. That’s just the forest! One look at Maleficent’s castle and the countryside of Aurora’s castle when its covered in a maze of brambles is something else entirely.

One downside to this film is that it doesn’t seem to have a lot of forward momentum. We’re given the backstory, only a short time between our lead and the prince she’s to marry, before she’s whisked away to be cursed into her deep sleep. The rest of the film (about half of it) focuses on the good fairies as they work to prevent panic in the castle and free the captured Prince Phillip, who then faces off against Maleficent in one of the most tense action sequences seen in Disneydom to date. Sure, compared to most modern films its not GREAT, but this was quite the scene back in the day, and still holds up today.

The movie comes and goes far too quickly, and it’s not a bad thing. Not a good thing either, but this state of neither isn’t bad. I guess? I’m losing track of what I want to say. Point is the movie holds up, and there’s a reason why its climax of prince versus giant dragon was referenced many years later in the self-parody film Enchanted.

17. The Lion King (#32)


Ruling monarch Mufasa is blessed with an heir in Simba. This doesn’t sit well with his younger brother Scar, who plots to off both father and son and assume power afterward.

I’m certain everyone in the world has seen The Lion King, so spoiling it probably wouldn’t hurt anyone. But I won’t, because there’s no point to it. The film is good, featuring great voicework, terrific songs that have endured, and a story that feels timeless. Probably because it’s a retread of Shakespeare.

However, for as good as the film is (and all the praise it gets), I don’t put it that high on my personal list. As you can plainly see. I like other Disney movies; movies that resonate with me. But don’t take that to mean it’s not worth a watch because it didn’t make my top 15. Virtually any Disney movie (sans Aristocats) is worth a watch at least once.

16. Hercules (#35)


Disney has been accused of many things. Theft, white-washing, all that jazz. And then there’s Hercules, which took Greek mythology and somehow sanitized it to the point that it hardly resembles the original source material anymore. Heck, not even Jungle Book was mangled this much.

But despite all that I love this film. I love how it looks, I love the music, and for as ridiculous as the plot is I love it, too. Probably because it’s freaking stupid beyond belief if you give it even an ounce of thought. Magic potion to turn gods mortal? Planetary alignments to make a hole in the ocean appear? The final battle against the Titans going well just because Hercules showed up?

Man, people have done whole presentations on why this movie can be considered bad. But you know what? I don’t care. Go listen to “Go the Distance”. Go watch a music video of “I Won’t Say I’m In Love”. Just bask in the delight that is this movie. Of a time when you could just have mindless fun without worrying so much about messages and what a film wants to comment on. It’s just plain, simple, stupid, processed fun.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 20-16

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 25-21

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

25. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Canon #41)


So back in 1994 there was a movie called Stargate. It was about an ancient circular portal that sent people to a different part of the galaxy where a similar civilization to ancient Egypt still existed. And the pharaohs were all aliens who use people’s bodies as suits and they rule with an iron fist. And they ruled Egypt too until they closed the gate.

What does any of this have to do with Atlantis? Well, someone really liked this movie and worked at Disney, because Atlantis is very similar. Set in the early 20th Century on an Earth where magical tech was a thing and steampunk currently is a thing, Milo Thatch is recruited by an eccentric millionaire who funds an expedition under the ocean to find the titular lost civilization. Traveling with him is a crew of colorful characters who don’t get nearly enough screen time to be interesting, and eventually they do find the city, which is in decline.

The good: this movie looks fantastic. The animation is stunning, the design of Atlantis, the road to Atlantis, and everything in between is spectacular. The character designs are also great, despite them being shallow characters in the end. Even the plot itself isn’t too bad.

The bad: time. This movie was only given 100 minutes to play out, which isn’t anywhere near enough. And it sucks to watch the movie reduce finding the city to a montage that lasted all of a couple minutes. Not to mention the scene that preceded it where they come face to face with the Leviathan. I honestly feel every problem I had with this movie could have been solved with just giving the film 20 additional minutes to flesh out the world.

So what was the point of the Stargate mention at the start of my thoughts? Watch Atlantis (it’s still pretty great), and then watch Stargate. You’ll see just how similar both films are.

24. Big Hero 6 (#54)


Hiro Yamada is something of a child prodigy, and he uses his talents at robotics to rip off street thugs for tons of cash. When his elder brother convinces him to go to a prestigious school instead, he does. Only to lose his brother in an accident, which leads Hiro (and his late brother’s friends and robot Baymax) to track down what appears to be a supervillain operating in their own city of San Fransokyo.

Big Hero 6 is visually amazing, combining the landscapes of San Fransisco with the aesthetics of Japanese culture. Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of the coolness of the film.

The plot is sadly weaker than most other Disney films, feeling very predictable from start to finish. About the only thing I didn’t foresee was the villain’s intention, but other than that I could blow-by-blow it start to finish. That’s not to say it was a bad execution; this is a super hero flick from Disney, but it still pales in comparison not only to other Disney outings, but also Pixar’s fantastic The Incredibles.

However, within its weak plot with good executions was some great stuff. The characters outside Hiro are all memorable, even if they don’t get a lot of time on screen compared to Hiro and Baymax. And really, it’s Baymax who steals the show in every scene he is. You just want to hug the white fluffy robot. Be sure to stick around until after the credits for the stinger!

23. Treasure Planet (#43)


It’s Treasure Island… IN SPACE!

Jim Hawkins becomes a crewman on a ship with a course set for Treasure Planet. On it he meets the ship’s cook John Silver, a colorful old sailor who knows a lot more than he lets on, and takes the young Jim under his wing.

I’ve read a lot about the shortcomings of this film, one of the biggest reasons cited for its less than stellar performance being poor marketing. Can’t say how true this was, but the fact I don’t remember a single commercial for this film I suppose means there’s some truth to that. But setting aside that nonsense, what do I think of the film?

I like it. That’s about it, really. It’s not fantastic, and its hurt a bit at the end through the inclusion of a robot named B.E.N voiced by Martin Short (who is simply unbearable in this role). I like (dare I say, even LOVE) the mix of 19th Century dress and B-list space age tech. The parts between Jim and Silver are great, as the two have a great dynamic and play well off each other. The entire film could have been about Jim and Silver swabbing the deck and talking and it would have been superb.

But sadly there is the adventure to contend with. There are the weaker side characters (such as most of the crew save for Captain Amelia), and there is the treasure itself. It makes sense why people say the treasure in a treasure hunt movie is the least important part of the movie. This film is great for the visuals and the animation, so watch it for those reasons.

22. Tarzan (#37)


A ship of good British folk somehow catches fire out in the middle of the ocean. The only survivors are a family of three, which make it to the coast of Africa (somewhere) and build themselves a killer tree house. However, they aren’t long for this world, as they’re picked off by a leopard named Sabor, leaving their infant son orphaned. Said son is adopted by a family of gorillas, named Tarzan, and we watch him grow up throughout the course of the movie.

I have few problems with Tarzan as a film, shockingly enough. I love the music by Phil Collins, I like how he becomes a real badass king of the jungle, I love how when Jane and crew are introduced he learns so much from them since it’s the first time he’s ever seen other people. Basically I find little fault with the film overall.

So why isn’t it higher up on the list? Because I love other movies a lot more. But it’s still pretty good. Except the Trashing the Camp sequence. That part is kinda… meh.

21. Tangled (#50)


In the kingdom of Corona, the queen fell ill one day. To save her life, she was given a potion from a golden flower, which then transferred its powers to her daughter Rapunzel. Unable to keep using the golden flower to maintain eternal youth, Mother Gothel then kidnaps the baby Rapunzel, since her hair is now the source of the golden flower’s magic. She keeps the child locked up for years, until Rapunzel sneaks out of her tower home/prison to go on an adventure with the thief Flynn Rider.

If I had to pick the weakest aspect of Tangled, it would be its music. And considering how important a part this is for a Disney Princess film, it’s a wonder I didn’t knock this one down several more places on my list. However, the one saving grace the whole soundtrack had was Mother Gothel’s reprise of her song “Mother Knows Best” about half way through the film.

Rapunzel herself isn’t too great a character. She’s cute, and her curiosity is nice, but she pales in comparison to the princesses that came before her. Flynn the male lead isn’t far behind, looking the part of a charming rogue without really doing anything else. Mother Gothel ends up being the best character on account of her careful planning; it wasn’t enough for her to drag Rapunzel back to the tower, she set up an elaborate ruse to trick her to come back of her own volition. Props to putting in effort where most other Disney villains do not.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 25-21

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 30-26

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

30. Winnie-the-Pooh (Canon #51)


It’s a shame I had to put this one as low as I did.

Winnie the Pooh lives in the Hundred Acre Wood, along with a bunch of other animal friends who are all actually children’s plush toys. The child in question is Christopher Robin, and what sets the plot in motion is when the group finds a note from Christopher that they misinterpret as a cry for help. No thanks to Owl, who claims to be able to read but clearly can’t, the group set off on a journey to save Christopher from the mysterious “Backson”.

If this all sounds eerily familiar, it should. This movie is quite frankly a retread of a direct-to-video Pooh film from 1997. Wherein Pooh finds a note from Christopher that Owl misinterprets as a cry for help that sets them off to save him from “Skull”.

And really that’s what I think hurts this film the most. I’ve seen it before almost two decades prior, and it was done better then despite a smaller budget. Sure the animation wasn’t as spiffy as it is here, but Pooh’s Grand Adventure was longer, had better music, and just felt like it made more sense somehow.

And even if it didn’t, the fact is I’d already seen this movie. So it’s a bit of a shame this was the last 2D animated film from Disney to date. And I don’t think we’ll be getting anymore any time soon.

29. Pinocchio (#2)


Pinocchio is a puppet brought to life through the sincere wish of a puppeteer who wanted a son of his own (ignoring the fact that despite looking to be in his late 60s he could still have a child the old fashioned way). The little wooden boy earns a conscience in the form of a cricket named Jiminy who just happened to be there at the time, and together they get into a LOT of trouble. Because poor Pinocchio is as gullible as you can imagine (he was just born like a day ago, and his conscience is never around when you need him).

But do I like this movie? Yes, I do.

Because despite the inconsistencies, what happens to Pinocchio along the way is pretty darn messed up. Rather than go to school, he becomes a performer for a traveling puppetmaster (who then enslaves him). He then chooses to go to a place called Pleasure Island where he never has to work and play all day (sign me up!). Turns out it was all a lie and is actually a magical place of sorts that turns kids into donkeys they then send to salt mines. And this all ends with a trip into the stomach of a massive whale to save his father.

But really of all these it’s the Pleasure Island segment that stands out the most to me. We get to see a friend of Pinocchio’s suffer what looks like physical pain as he turns into a donkey before going stark raving mad. It’s actually quite chilling to watch.

And I think Disney knows this as well. Plus, we get to see Pinocchio and his friend smoke and drink like grown men on Pleasure Island (as well as play billiards), so it’s not exactly a film they like to promote all that often. We still remember this product of the earliest years of the company because it did give us the Disney mantra: When You Wish Upon A Star.

28. Bambi (#5)


Everyone knows this story. Or at least they know the biggest shocker from it: Bambi’s mom dies. She gets shot off screen about half way through the movie. Spoilers? Nah, the film is like 70+ years old.

Other than that, what do we have left? A decently good film. We follow Bambi from birth to ascension as “Prince of the Forest”, hitting all the most important milestones of his life. But that’s about it, really. I can’t say anything more about the movie.

Watch it. It’s certainly a classic for a reason.

27. The Jungle Book (#19)


This film marked the end of Disney’s Golden Age, as it was the last film Disney worked on personally before his death.

Based so loosely off Rudyard Kipling’s work it may as well have nothing to do with it, the story follows Mowgli, a baby who was found in the middle of the jungle by a panther named Bagheera. Raised by a pack of wolves, Mowgli is told to leave the jungle and return to his people on account of Shere Khan, a tiger who has returned to these parts and is out to kill him (just because he doesn’t like humans). Guided by Bagheera, Mowgli runs into a number of colorful animals along the way before his fateful encounter with Shere Khan face to face.

The biggest strength this movie has for me is the music. A strong collection of tunes inspired by swing music (which was popular at the time) move the plot along. On top of that, the characters themselves are pretty fun, from Baloo the bear to the classy Shere Khan, everyone outshines the bratty Mowgli.

26. The Rescuers (#23)


A little girl who is somehow under the “care” of a greedy shop owner seeks help, and does so by dropping a message in a bottle into the river where she’s being held. Somewhere in the middle of a swamp, and the bottle ends up in New York where a United Nations of mice accept the request. How did that bottle get from what I assume was Louisiana all the way NORTH to New York City?

This plot hole aside, it’s a Hungarian mouse named Bianca that takes on the mission. Traveling with her is Bernard, a janitor who rubs Bianca the right way upon meeting her and thus tags along. What follows is a minor mystery of sorts until they find the girl Penny, who is being used by her guardian Madame Medusa to locate a massive diamond known as the Devil’s Eye. Together the mice work with local wildlife to save the girl and stop Madame Medusa.

What I like most about this movie is how dark and dreary everything is. We are in the middle of a swamp after all, and even during the day everything around us has this layer of disgusting filth on it that makes me not want to be anywhere near the place. There’s no music to it, but it lasts just as long as it has to and never drags. I suppose this is where my favorites begin, as I have fond memories of the movie moreso than any of the ones that came before it on my list.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 30-26

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 35-31

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

35. Fantasia (Canon #3)


Talking about this film reminds me a lot about the man behind the entire company. I’ll try not to veer off into too much of a tangent, but I just find it all so funny.

This was the original package deal film. It started with the (admittedly fantastic) Mickey Mouse short The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which ran over-budget and so Disney stuck it in a film with other animated shorts set to classical music. Add some big names of the time to make it appear as though it was a “roadshow” production and we have Fantasia. Like Fantasia 2000 which I mentioned before, its value as a film is perhaps entirely up to the viewer. Well, I suppose that applies to any film, really.

Personally, I don’t care for it as much as other people I know. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a great short, but I am more a fan of Night on Bald Mountain for its visuals more than anything. I will say this though: it’s far and away better than Fantasia 2000. Simply because of the lack of celebrities trying to be funny.

34. Cinderella (#12)


Compared to how slow Snow White felt, Cinderella always seems to have something going on. And that’s probably the strongest part of the film.

Everyone should know the tale here; Cinderella is treated worse than the very chickens she’s made to feed by her stepmother and stepsisters, and by the end of the movie thanks to a bit of magic ends up marrying the prince. Oh and some mice capable of sewing were also helpful.

In fact, the mice that help Cinderella probably have more screen time than she does. I suppose it’s a necessity considering how utterly bland she is as a character. The film spans a single day and night, and throughout that whole period she’s either cleaning on screen or cleaning off screen. Since watching the poor girl play slave to her family isn’t very engaging, we had the mice and their adventures to hold us over.

Other than that, I can’t say much else. The songs in this film are pretty nice. Not just the obvious ones like Bibbity Bobbity Boo and A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes, but even the song that her stepsisters were trying (and failing) to sing at one point is done magnificently by Cinderella herself. So yeah, not terrible.

33. Lady and the Tramp (#15)


Somewhere near the start of the 20th Century, a man gives his wife a Christmas gift. A puppy whom they call Lady, she grows up in a rather spiffy neighborhood and life seems rather perfect until one day she meets a stray mutt simply known as the Tramp. And over time, the two grow to fall in love.

On the surface, it sounds like a bland tale. But really it’s how the story plays out that makes it so interesting and ultimately endearing. I like how the story is in fact almost entirely about Lady, and the Tramp plays only a bit part all things considered. He wanders into her life one day by chance, says his piece, and then vanishes again for months to follow. The thing that was troubling Lady at that point in the film was her cold treatment by her owners, and her anxiety only escalated after meeting the Tramp (who told her that it was the start of a downward spiral for her).

But in truth what happens is that her owners are about to have a baby, and therefore their attention shifted from Lady to the baby. But once the child is born, things return to normalcy, and life seems to go on. It’s only after a series of unfortunate events that Lady finds herself on the street, and the Tramp shows up again to make sure she stays safe. And it’s at this point that she finally starts to develop feelings for him. It’s just so refreshing in a way to have the story focus almost exclusively on a female protagonist (not unheard mind you), but up until this point for Disney it was certainly unique. Tramp might be important, but he never really steals the show from Lady. He compliments her.

Other than that, I enjoy what little music is in this film. Bella Notte is the obvious contender, though the song He’s A Tramp is also great. The weakest part of the film I think is the climax, wherein Tramp confronts a rat (of all things) that tried to sneak about the baby’s room. The way the film portrays it, the rat was out to kill the baby. Other than that, it’s a fun movie.

32. 101 Dalmatians (#17)


A story about a dog that sees another dog he wants, and gets his owner to marry the owner of the dog in question so he can get some. No joke, that’s the plot.

Well, that’s not all of it. There’s also one of the coolest villains with Cruella De Vil, a system of communication between dogs throughout London and probably the whole world, and a scene where Pongo and Perdita are drawn as rabid as is possible during their fight with the inept Horace and Jasper.

I think 101 Dalmatians is more interesting on a scene by scene basis than as a complete film. It has a beginning, middle and end, and the plot is consistent throughout, but it’s also a bit dull that way. I remember single scenes a lot more than the whole story. Not just the ones I’ve already mentioned but also the climax of the film where Cruella chases a truck where the Dalmatians are aboard. Her car gets wrecked in the process, and with it her facade as a prissy high class woman as she becomes more devil-like in appearance. As tense as this scene is, what kills me about it is how the man driving the truck with the Dalmatians doesn’t even know why this crazy woman is trying to run his truck off the road!

Musically, the film doesn’t have much to offer. It isn’t a musical like other Disney films, despite Roger (Pongo’s owner) being a songwriter. He does give us one track at the start (Cruella De Vil), which during the course of the film becomes a smash hit and earns them enough money to move out of their London flat into the countryside. I still sing it to this day.

31. Oliver & Company (#27)


What a train wreck of a film.

This is a VERY loose adaptation of Oliver Twist, a classic novel that detailed how fucked up being an orphan in London in the 19th Century. About how they were used as mules for criminal “masterminds” who were no more than petty crooks. Only when Disney did it, they set it in 1980s New York City. With dogs. And a cat.

See, what I never got about Oliver and Company, even as a kid, was what Dodger and his crew of dogs were trying to accomplish. In Oliver Twist, they were kids who were pickpockets who reported to their criminal overlord Fagin. But here they’re dogs who just wander New York City doing… nothing in particular? At one point one of the dogs tries to hot wire a car. What was he planning to do? Drive it off? He’s a dog!

This leads to Oliver (the only cat) being taken in by Jenny, the daughter of a pair of rich people living somewhere in the rich part of the city. This turns out to be the best thing to happen to Oliver, and things look great for the kitty. It’s not until his old gang snatches him from the place that he tells them he was better off there, and tries to leave. Fagin hatches the plot to ransom Oliver to his new owner, since he’s in deep with the villain loanshark Sykes. This plan backfires when Fagin realizes the owner is Jenny (whose like 10) and Sykes then takes the girl hostage instead. The film ends with one of the strangest plot holes in the world, which I’d rather not even share here.

So if I’ve done nothing but talk shit about the movie, why is it so high up on my list (compared to other films I’ve only said mildly nice things about)? Because this film has a spectacular soundtrack.

All five of the songs in this film are great (with Good Company probably being the weakest but still holding up). Part of this came from the talents of Billy Joel and Bette Midler, but just go listen to the music and tell me it’s not catchy as hell. I think that’s why this film endured as much as it did, but it wasn’t quite as successful in the end to merit credit as the start of the Disney Renaissance.

But why should I worry?

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 35-31