Ranking The Disney Renaissance Movies

5. The Hunchback of Notre Dame


From FFlashback: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996):

“Though the other Renaissance films have the odd dark moment, Hunchback is basically a stream of shocking scenes, with themes of racial genocide and religious extremism. Though there are Quasi’s comedy gargoyles (who you’re never sure aren’t just imaginary friends) and a bunch of likeable heroes, the levels of darkness is probably why Disney has tried to wipe this under the carpet ever since. This is a great shame as, with great heart, songs and characters, it’s one of their most underrated films.”


4. Tarzan


From FFlashback: Tarzan (1999):

The Renaissance goes out with, if not quite a bang, then a very strong closer in Tarzan. The fight between nature and man recalls Pocahontas but the subject matter is deployed much better, and the Tarzan/Jane romance is probably the best since Aladdin. Also, the realisation of the jungle is beautiful (assisted by some pioneering CGI). It’s a testament to the film’s strengths that it would be the last big animated hit for the studio until Disney revamped itself a few years later.”


3. Aladdin


From FFlashback: Aladdin (1992):

“Whereas Beauty and Lion swing the Disney-ometer to romance and drama, Aladdin embraces its cartoony-ness with gusto, making for perhaps the most outright enjoyable Renaissance film. The Genie lifts it immeasurably – and the role stands as one of the best ever showcases of Robin Williams’ colossal talents – but it would still be a thoroughly great flick without him.”


2. Beauty & the Beast


From FFlashback: Beauty & the Beast (1991):

“Every aspect of Disney’s formula is at its apex here, with the songs, animation, voice work and Disneyfication of the story all perfect. Unlike a lot of their romances, there is a believability and sincerity to this one which makes all the difference. Plus, the enchanted castle and all its inhabitants is a terrific setting. In short, Beauty & the Beast is simply Disney magic bottled. The upcoming live-action reboot really has a tough job replicating that success.”


1. The Lion King


From FFlashback: The Lion King (1994):

“Bringing to a close Disney’s terrific triple whammy of three of the best animated films ever made, The Lion King is one of the best films ever made. I’ve always been of the opinion that Lion delivers just about everything you could ever want from a movie, and even after endless viewings its brilliance is undiminished. Comedy, tragedy, meerkats in hula skirts, it’s all here in this Disney film fit for a king.”


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