The question everyone should want to know the answer to is, “What exactly is the ranking of the first ten Disney films (at least those that are available on the Disney Life app) in the opinion of someone who doesn’t even like Disney”? I’m here to answer that question now. You’re welcome. I wanted to write this as I’ve now watched through to the end of the 1940’s, and before I jump into their ‘Golden Age’ (or at least that’s what I’ve been told it is), I thought this would be an ideal time to consider which films, so far, are most worth the time of day, or to be more accurate, tolerable. I think this could be useful to other Disney fanatics that want to show their significant other one of the earlier films in the hope that they will join them in their passion and not want to risk the inconvenience of a messy separation or divorce. It’s probably worth bearing in mind that most people probably wouldn’t be as tough an egg to crack (stubborn) as myself.
So here we go:
#10 – Bambi (initial score 1/10)
Managing to bridge the tricky gap between creative indulgence, plot-free meandering and emotional destruction of the innocent, this will undoubtably stay in last place in my Disney rankings permanently. If, in the future, Disney decide to make a three-hour remake of ‘Home Alone 4’ interspersed with scenes of their most elderly writer suggestively touching himself to a soundtrack of Elmo from ‘Sesame Street’ singing the greatest hits of Cher, I’m certain Bambi will still fall a notch below. The fact I scored it one point was purely because of the cute animals that weren’t shot.
#9 – The Three Caballeros (initial score 2/10)
Shameless propaganda, an overload, and I mean overload of musical numbers and cultural dances, along with the fact that each of the Three Caballeros seemingly compete for the award of ‘most annoying twat’ means that I wasn’t the only one to have never heard of this film before. Some things are forgotten about by society for a reason.
#8 – Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad (initial score 2.5/10)
In theory, animating two literary classics to a high level should be a home run in terms of delivering a good film. The critics indeed did seem to like this film, but I was bored silly by it, and for large parts so was my Disney-loving wife. For me, the Sleepy Hollow adaptation was far more entertaining that the Wind in the Willows one. I’m curious what the public, Disney fans or not, think…
#7 – Pinocchio (initial score 3.5/10)
Again, I’m sure some people will rate this higher and granted it does have one of the most cohesive stories of the early films. At the same time, it has donkey-slave-children. So, checkmate.
#6 – Saludos Amigos (initial score 4.5/10)
The more tolerable of the ‘Latin America is wonderful, please don’t join the Nazis’ films. Unremarkable, but at times fun.
#5 – Fun and Fancy Free (initial score 4.5/10)
Bizarrely I quite like the story about Bongo the bear, and I’m not adverse to the adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk. Songs about ‘giving her a slap’, creepy ventriloquist puppets and Donald-sodding-Duck are a different matter, however. For a relatively unknown film, this could have been worse still.
#4 – Dumbo (initial score 5/10)
Like Pinocchio, this has a more defined story, but without the donkey-slave-children to ruin it. When it goes off the proverbial deep end with the infamous ‘Pink Elephants on Parade’, it’s still a headfuck, but a far more pleasant one. I don’t rate this as highly as most would, but that’s probably to be expected.
#3 – Fantasia (initial score 5.5/10)
Some stories kept my attention more than others, I don’t know if the final segment was bad or if I was just suffering burnout from two hours of classical music fused with animation. I don’t see how such a concept will hold the attention with today’s youth, even with a maverick, crazy, daredevil personality such as Deems Taylor at the helm.
#2 – The Reluctant Dragon (initial score 7/10)
Considering this is one of the least known films, and I tend to be a tough viewer to please, this was, at least at times, a surprisingly enjoyable film. Mostly this was due to the insights into the process of making the films, which I found to be far more enjoyable than the fruits of their work. To be fair, the final ‘title’ cartoon, is probably the best animated story I’ve seen so far. Plus, the sexual tension between Robert and the sound effects lady was captivating.
#1 – Snow White (initial score 6/10)
I know I scored it below ‘The Reluctant Dragon’, but looking back, this was the most well-rounded and entertaining of the films so far. I also think this is the film I would recommend more to first time viewers. The Dwarves were good fun, Snow White’s voice was unbearable but otherwise the music was better than the rest of the top ten (excluding Fantasia), and there wasn’t as much animated indulgence. It was also the only time the “Baddy” got a fitting comeuppance. Finally, I think this is the film that would have kids giggling more than the others. If you said to me this was the best of the first ten films, at the start of this project we’re undertaking, I probably wouldn’t have made it to film two. And would I watch it again? Hmmm, maybe. Possibly. I’m not sure. Which probably is an achievement of sorts…