I'm not ashamed to say out loud that, though I'm pushing 30, I still love Disney movies, and cry each time I see Aladdin freeing the Genie or Mufasa dying and Simba trying to wake him up.
It beats Bambi's mother's death anytime. [sobs]
Disney movies are extremely beautiful, animation and story-wise, not to mention the breathtaking soundtracks. And the children can usually learn something from it.
Usually, not always. Signing pacts with the devil doesn't exactly scream filial obedience.
Nevertheless, sometimes Disney awards us with scenes and/or songs that are truly nightmare-fuel. After all, sleeping soundly is totally overrated.
10. Tangled: “Mother Knows Best [Reprise]”
I LOVED Tangled! It's a great movie with great soundtrack and characters (specially the über charming Flynn Ryder, and I'd been waiting for so long for another captivating Disney princess like Rapunzel) and does not fail to entertain. It's simply adorable.
Rapunzel's been locked in a tower for her whole life of 18 years. When runnaway dashing thief Flynn Ryder breaks into the tower to flee from the law, the girl sees in him the opportunity she needs to leave and make her dream come true: see the floating lanterns that appear in the night sky on her birthday every year.
As I said, it's an adorable movie. IF you don't count the scene when the witch who pretends to be Rapunzel's mother, Mother Gothel, finds Rapunzel in the forest and puts her DOOOOOOOWN.
“Why would he like you, come on now, really? Look at you! You think that he's impressed?” Jeez. That's exactly the kind of mother that pushes their 15-year old daughters in the direction of anorexia.
9. The Beauty and the Beast: “The Mob Song”
Released in 91, this was the studio's biggest hit since the 40's. It also made history by being the first animation to ever be nominated for an Academy Award of Best Picture (back when the nominees amounted only to 5). It was nominated for Best Original Song as well, for 3 different songs (“Belle”, “Be Our Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast”), taking the award with “Beauty and the Beast” AND for Best Original Score.
Belle is the only person to have ever taken the risk to get to know the Beast, and they fall in love. But the villagers, as good villagers always do, decide to march to the Beast's castle with torches and pitchforks.
Gaston is not so great a villain, he's much more of a jerk, really. BUT he casts a whole new light upon himself while leading the villagers. The line “We don't like what we don't understand” is very medieval and always current. Collective hysteria can be terrifying.
8. The Little Mermaid : Ursula's death
Disney had been having a bad time up to 89, with their movies underperforming at the box office; but upon the release of The Little Mermaid, what is today known as the “Disney Renaissance” began, i.e., it was the beginning of a new golden era for animated movies: unforgettable classics for the audiences and astronomic profit for the studio. (It ended in 99 after Tarzan. In my opinion, it's no surprise.)
The story is great (albeit greatly distorted from the original tale) score and songs are addictive ("undah tha sea, undah tha sea, dahling it's bettah, down where it's wettah, take it from me!"), Ariel is charismatic, Eric is the first prince to have not only a name but also a personality...
Yes, nameless bland Cinderella prince, I'm looking at you.
...Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle are great sidekicks, and Ursula is a fantastic villain, specially in her scary-but-fascinating looks.
And the way she dies is just plain frightening.
When I was a child and watched this on tape, I'd always fast-foward it, cause I was shit scared of this scene. Dying impaled is already quite ugly, but the added lightnings, her skeleton and her tentacles wrapping around the ship are the cherry in a cake of sheer horror.
7. Dumbo: Dumbo and Timothy Drunk
Dumbo (1941) lasts for mere 65 minutes, and it's gotta be one of Disney's most charming and unpretentious movies ever.
The baby elephant Dumbo suffers bullying from everybody around him (animals and people alike), because of his ginormous ears. But when he learns to fly using those ears (with the help of some offensively stereotyped crows), he quickly becomes the main attraction in the circus. And they all lived happily ever after.
But before living happily ever after there was this petrifying scene when Dumbo and his mouse mentor Timothy get accidentally drunk, after drinking water mixed with champagne.
I used to fast-forward it as well. I mean, dude: There's an elephant made of other elephants, and its eyes become pyramids, and from behind them comes a camel-elephant that turns into a serpent that turns into an odalisque, and her belly turns into an eye! This must be the devil! And their CHANTING “pink elephants on parade” really doesn't help.
6. The Lion King: “Be Prepared”
Released in 94, this movie remains as one of the studio's biggest successes ever – and it still is one of the most lucrative animated movies in history. Another record: Mufasa's death, plotted by his brother Scar, is definitely one of the saddest Disney scenes ever, and it must've made thousands of kids cry around the globe at the same time.
Besides the amazing score and soundtrack by Elton John, a Hamlet touch to a great plot, Darth Vader talking to Ferris Bueller through the clouds and a Mr. Miyagi baboon, The Lion King also stands out for having one of the darkest songs, showing Scar and the hyenas' ambition.
That surely is a very accurate recreation of Hell. Everything in green and red, bones and decomposing carcasses everywhere... *shivers*. Notice the fact that Scar basically kills a hyena, making it fall into one of those hellish fissures! And the evil-faced hyenas marching is the epitome of nazi terror. In the end, they all rise as if from Hell. And though this can be quite frightening, I just can't help loving this song, it's very catchy!
I can't help loving Jeremy Irons, either. Jeremy, please marry me.
To be continued...