Hello, Spongey here.
It’s time for the 2nd installment of our whole Ranking the Disney Animated Canon project. The intros will be super short from here on out so let’s do this.
This time we’re doing the decade we’re currently: the 2010’s. Is it fair to do a decade that’s not even done yet? Not quite but I don’t want to wait until 2020 and besides, the remaining films for the decade are sequels so the decade is done for original films at least.
It’s safe to say this decade has been interesting for Disney. The previous decade was troubling for them but they got their shit together at the end and it really helped shade this decade.
So far this decade has been about them branching out and doing new things while still keep that Disney magic. They’ve tried and succeed to do so in the past but this decade it’s paying off a lot more.
WDAS is becoming the new Pixar in terms of Critical Success which is quite impressive. I do think some of these films have become slightly overhyped (especially some of these would be slammed if Pixar did them) but ah well, at least the movies are good.
We have 7 films, which is more than some previous decades had overall. All them happen to be rated Good or above which is pretty impressive. Even more impressive Disney skipped 2015 and 2017 and still put out 7 films so far that are all pretty good.
So yeah, there’s plenty to discuss with these films. They’ve got problems that we’ll get to but in general, this decade has been good so far. Without further ado, let’s dive in as you all must be interested to see which highly praised movie I dare to put above a movie you likely enjoy way more.
This, is Ranking the Disney Animated Canon: 2010’s
Winnie the Pooh (2011):
We start this ranking with a pretty good one. That’s right, as I said, even the weakest one is still pretty good. It’s only here by default due to it’s nature as I oddly may respect it slightly more than the next couple even though they are better.
The biggest thing keeping it at the bottom is it’s length. Without credits, this is 53 minutes long. Yes, really. That’s not a big deal and clearly this is a smaller movie but i do think being longer would work, sine the other Pooh movies, even the DisneyToon ones, were longer while still being short.
It was never meant to be anything grand so unless it the movies around it really were flat out weaker, it wasn’t going to be too high on here. It’s meant to this small cute thing like a lot of the other Pooh media.
…Which makes it odd that Disney made this a Summer release, when it was built to be a smaller winter release where there was less competition. You know, no wizard boys to fight with.
And as a result of it doing only okay, we haven’t had a Disney 2D animated film since and likely won’t get one for awhile. Yeah, I’m as a bitter as everyone else. This should not have been the movie to decide the fate of 2D animation, it’s just not built for that.
It was just a mistake to do what we did with it. Ah well, on to how it works on it’s alone. The films main goal is to capture that classic Winnie the Pooh spirit and it does that really well in ever aspect.
Especially the animation which captures the classic style really well, just wit digital inking and all that. S
Story-wise, it’s as simple and fragmented as you’d expect. That mostly works but i do feel perhaps just doing the many stories thing would work better than having him exist in one narrative.
It’s a bit better than stopping the plot for stories that sometimes only kinda connect to the main theme, at least, Still, it works for what they are going with and each story is solid in it’s own way.
The misunderstanding thing may be cliché it’s one of those Pooh things and it leads to some fun stuff, including the best song in the movie. Oh yeah, the songs are enjoyable. That’s the big standout but the others are charming as well.
The new actors are all really good, even the cleb one. Tom Kenny is Rabbit is also less distracting than you think he would be, except maybe when he’s singing. The characters feel exactly like they should, not much to say on that front.
There isn’t much say to about the film in general. As I said, it’s meant to be pretty simple and that’s part of it’s charm. It’s rather refreshing in that way, especially when this came out.
I obviously prefer the bigger films but it’s nice to have a smaller one sometimes, and Pooh was the perfect way to do have one. It’s a nice little movie that does what it wants to do quite well.
It’s too bad that this is the last 2D Disney Film instead of something grander like Princess and the Frog but at least it’s not Home on the Range at least.
So yeah, nothing too complicated for this one. It’s only at the bottom by default, it’s still quite enjoyable and charming for what it is. I promise I’ll have more to say for the rest.
This is one of 3 (technically but we’ll get to that) I’ve covered on the blog before, this case in a full review back when it came out. As such, I’ll make this a tad shorter. But I still have some things to add.
I overall liked it upon first viewing, praising the fantastic and creative animation, solid songs and good leads, but criticized the typical Disney story structure. I was a bit harsh on some films in 2016 and this was one of them.
My reaction stayed the same over time but some people calling it one of their best, to the point where it has a higher RT rating than Frozen (oh, we’ll get there) did sour me a bit on it. Yes, even if I jump on that train every now and then.
That was a bit silly in hindsight. On a 2nd viewing, I like a lot more and can say why some personally really like it. I STILL don’t quite see why some would call it amazing but not everyone thinks the same way I do, I totally get it.
Given what I call great sometimes, I’m no one to talk. Looking back, the Disney plot structure isn’t too bad here. It’s used as a template to get us into this fun adventure, it at least it’s used just out of laziness like some movies we’ll get to in other rankings.
It’s able to make up for it with where the story goes, with an interesting journey for the two leads and nice emotional moments. It’s just that in terms of writing, I do feel it needed something. It has all the groundwork for an awesome movie like all the Disney movies I consider to be great.
I’m not sure what it needs, some some interested/unexpected twists to the overall story, possibly? There are certain things I can point to as flaws, like the typical Father who won’t allow Moana to go out there. He’s really typical here.
There’s also the grandma death scene which really feels obligatory. We don’t even know why she died, she was fine just a scene ago but now she’s just lying there? She only dies to be her voice later on, not because that death scene really needed to happen right there.
It works fine but it’s part of that whole Disney Check list thing. Oh, and while I actually do think the 3rd act split up thing mostly works here, we never see WHY Maui comes back. I can guess but he’s just back because the plot says so.
But that last one is a family film problem more than a Disney problem so I’ll be fair there. As a whole, the feel the presentations adds a bit more than the writing. As I said before, the animation is fantastic, being really colorful when it needs to be and having the best looking ocean in any movie ever. It’s able to look nice without being totally photorelastic like a lot of animated films.
The music, both the score and the songs, add a ton to the big scenes too. (You’re Welcome is still my favorite). But that can be applied to even movies I love so again, not a big slight.
Overall, Moana is still pretty good, better than when I first it. I’m okay with it not being amazing since Disney just did a pretty heavy one with a Zootopia, it’s fine to kick back. It’s just that I do expect a tad more from Disney and feel they could have added a bit more.
But I get why some like it more, and I really have no right complaining about people over hyping it as at least there’s reasons to consider it great, which is more than I can say for Jungle Book 2016 at least.
So yeah, I stand by the basics of what I said before, but I do think I was being slightly harsh in some areas. I do think they could have done more with it but given what they were to able to do despite and when it came out, I feel like it’s not worth complaining about.
But hey, if even a lower film on this ranking has a lot going for, it does show how well they are doing this decade so far. Take that for what it’s worth.
(Side note #1: The chicken is still amazing)
(Side note #2: Still not saying anything about the cultural thing, but watch Lindsay Ellis’ video on Pocahontas was a pretty fair take on both films, you can whine at her if she got anything wrong, she’s smarter than me).
Big Hero 6 (2014):
It’s interesting I put this one above Moana as that one is arguably more consistent in terms of all the elements. But after thinking it about, I decided this one just appeals to be more and it’s best moments wow me a little more.
When Disney bought Marvel, we soon saw the wonders they would do with the established Marvel films but we wondered if Marvel would effect Disney. They did some stuff on TV but finally they adapted a less known Comic Series (which created by the people who made Ben 10, fun fact) into a Disney feature.
I hear it’s a loose adaptation but on it’s, it’s a pretty fun Superhero movie…where the Superhero element is the weaker side. Let me explain. The main problem everyone points out is that the other team members don’t get a lot to do, which is a shame. They all have unique and fun personalities, especially Fred, but they don’t make a big impression even after they become heroes.
I’m glad they didn’t follow the typical plot of them having to put their differences aside but I do wish they felt more like a stronger team. Then there’s the twist villain. To be fair, they put a twist on it by covering with a certain something and give him a decent motivation for why he’s doing all this.
However, as a character he is still weak in general (although he is badass at times, especially before the reveal) and I still saw the twist coming from mile away. I also feel like they didn’t cap off his development too well.
There’s a great moment involving his facial expressions when he’s being taken away but given what just happened and while he did this, it’s odd this wasn’t a bigger moment. It made him feel just a tad hollow.
Still, give them credit for trying. Also, Alan Tudyk voices the fake out villain again.
But onto the positives. Of course the animation is great, with fascinating settings expressive character animation and cool use of tech. I like how the real Super Power here is just smart people with tech.
They keep talking about looking for another angle which of course ties into the main themes too. It manages to give us fun action while grounding a tad bit, kind of like some of the MCU films in that way.
But of course the main reason I like this one is the relationship between Hiro and Baymax. Baymax alone is amazing, being hilarious and quite sweet, thanks to Scott Adsit’s predominance mostly.
Disney movies love killing off loved ones but this one deals a bit more directly with it. You really feel their connection, as the writers wisely wait until 20 minutes in to kill him off and they make a really powerful moments.
It comes full circle at the end when Hiro watches his video diaries and it’s such a great scene. It deals with letting go quite well and the ways to deal with it. Especially with that whole “petty revenge is bad” lesson this ties into.
That element really carries this movie as it focuses more on developing that than the Superhero element. I wish both were equal but ah well. That puts it above Moana for me as it’s best moments are simply more impressive and it overall appeals to me more.
They are kinda close but this edged out for despite having more real problems I can point to. The best moments just stand out as more impressive and it’s generally more unique. It still falls into the “pretty good but nothing amazing” category but there’s certainly more than enough great things in here to make people happy.
And yes, I am looking forward to upcoming TV Series. I think this is a chance to flesh out the team a lot more and with the creators of Kim Possible behind it, it’s sure to be good. (It’s now out when this goes up because I’m a lazy bastard)
But as for this movie, it’s got it’s faults but it’s still a really solid take on Superheroes and is fun on top of some solid narrative depth.
Overall, a flawed but pretty solid entry for Disney. I am satisfied with my care.
I talked about this one a movie battle with Princess and the Frog so I’ll keep this short, as I went into detail on certain aspects.
But let’s talk a bit about it on it’s own. This one of those movies someone could see as either “pretty good”or or “Great”, and since I’m on the latter side for this one and not some others, you might wonder why.
I’m not quite sure myself, I think it’s another personal preference thing. The way this movie handle it’s concepts appeals to me more than how the last couple movies do so. Even though I do think the movie has a bit more than some may give it credit for, I could see someone just finding it good and referring others.
As you can see, I myself prefer a few others so I get that. One aspect I couldn’t mention in the Movie Battle was the animation so we’ll talk about how great it is here. It has a hand drawn feel to it which makes the character animation really strong, and of course Rapunzel’s hair is the highlight in this regard. Plus, the I See the Light sequence is also really nice looking, on top of sounding great.
The way it’s done makes one of their better looking CGI films, just from how they bring a hand drawn feel to CGI.
Again, if you want my thoughts on certain details like the songs, villain and such the post does go into detail on that. But in short, the songs are mostly fun, the villain one of the better ones for Disney as of late, Flynn Rider makes for a fun foil and Rapenzul is a really great and likable lead,
She helps pull the whole thing together for me. As I said, she’s really likable and her interesting situation allows us to follow her on her journey. It’s done well enough that it becomes the main draw.
Everything works but the focus on her is what makes it work as well as it does. It has pacing issues and is a bit typical places but overall, Tangled is really good. \
The animation is great, the songs are fun and the characters are memorable and likable with a strong lead to pull it all together.
Disney has better films this decade and obliviously I still like the film that came before it, but it’s really great nonetheless. That is all.
Here is our 2nd one that I reviewed So again this will be a bit shorter. I originally only had it as “Good” but changed it after thinking about it, and now I’m glad i did as it deserves to be called “Great’. I don’t quite think it’s top 10 materiel, never mind #1 but it’s more of a personal thing and even my only main criticism isn’t that big a deal.
Like with Moana, I was slightly hard on it the first time in some areas although I realized it sooner than with that one. The structure works better for me on re-watch and I like how they used.
Especially by subverting the “You’re off the case” moment.
A lot of what I say does hold up somewhat. The animation is still pretty amazing and the main characters are really likable. I love how Judy has her own prejudices to deal with instead of being Little Miss Perfect. It helps with the themes.
Said themes are handled really well and are put into the story instead of just being another preachy moral of this kind. Aside from a few small moments, it’s never preachy or forced, as not as much as some may say.
The pacing is worth noting, as the film is a bit long. It works well to really flesh out the story however, and I don’t even mind the ending this time. Even the parts that seem pointless end up working. (Although that sloth scene does drag even more this time, thank you trailers). It does however effects villain. I’m just gonna say it, i liked the twist LESS this time around and it is the main reason this was ranked lower than the next movie.
Is that petty? …Maybe but it bugs me that much. I like how it works into the themes and i personally couldn’t predict it, in a good way. But once they are revealed, she stops being a character and just monologue. (Which of course gives Nick time to do stuff).
A mostly well written character becomes just another villain and because this twist comes 1 hour 28 minutes in (I timed it, yes) there’s no time to really have her do enough. She’s fine i suppose, but becomes disappointing one note. And for such a well written movie, that’s a shame.
It bugs me because there’s so much potential to make the film even BETTER by using this as a way to further the themes. It’s almost brilliant but sadly it’s too little too late. That’s why it drags the film down as much as it does, it was such a missed opportunity.
Despite… that and some nitpicks, the movie is still strong and sadly relevant. I may not be in the “10/10” crowd but as i see why some are due to the lovable leads, amazing animation, and great and well done themes. I do think the “Relevant” thing is the main reason people call it the best thing ever, over the actual execution of the story itself, but you can’t exactly blame them.
It’s about tied with the last 2 on here but the villain twist bugs me enough to drag it down. I know it’s slightly petty but I explained why it’s such a problem for me. Anyway, movie is still pretty great.
Oh boy, here we go. I’ve been looking forward to talking about this one since I had the idea for a project like this. That’s right, we’re starting off with the Elephant in the room so skip ahead a bit if you don’t care too much about my speil on that.
Hype Backlash always happen when something becomes popular, especially with big Hollywood movies that got more love than expected. But man did Frozen get it the worst of any film any recent memory.
At least until Force Awakens came out.
To be fair, Disney isn’t helping matters by pushing it so much that we’ll have to wait 22 minutes for Coco to start! Seriously, it was dying down but now it’s back just because we’ll be getting a sequel in 2019.
But it has gotten to the point where people have forgotten just why people loved it so much in still do to this day. Let me put it in context in two ways.
One, the Disney context. People liked their previous couple Princess films but felt they were lacking in some areas, be it the stories or the musical numbers. To them, this was perfected the Modern Disney Formula by giving the Princesses more personalty while also creating what they feel are fresh themes for Disney,
There’s more of a focus on sibling love than romantic love, and it pokes fun at Disney tropes while still having that classic Disney magic. Regardless of how you feel about how it does these things, this is why it was so impressive to people at the time.
2nd is the context of when it came out. 2013 was one of the mixed years for Cinema in awhile especially with animation. We had some good animated films but nothing that impressed the general public. Then this came out. Combine that with the other context and you see how we got here.
I feel like a lot of people just a bash a film for being “over hyped” without getting exactly why it got the hype it did. You don’t have to suddenly like it or even agree with the reasons but context is important.
But onto the actual movie. On a ..third viewing I will freely admit it “impresses” me less than it did feel. I still see it as great but the super impress elements are less so now 4 years later. Oddly enough my main issue I had back then I aren’t bothered so much by now, but we’ll get there.
I do feel like the flaws aren’t too big a deal overall but I know for some those flaws bug them more than similar flaws in movies in love even more.
Most of the flaws are minor, like the aspects of the set up are kind of dumb, and how Kristoff isn’t that interesting compared to other love interests. He’s almost Flynn Rider 2.0 at times to be honest. There’s also a lull in the middle but I expected that. And as great as the animation is (especially with the backgrounds and effects during a certain song), I feel like it’s less impressive than the animation in some of their other CGI movies.
I think it’s the designs. Not bad but they don’t stand out too much. But onto the things that make it great. For one, the songs are all great. Some are better than others but they are really catchy and memorable and have good places in the story, from the opening song to even Fixer Upper.
I’ll never get why people seem to hate that one. Oh and there’s also a song about letting go or something. No one talks about that one though.
Anna and Elsa are likable leads and their relationship is strongly written. We see their bond nicely which makes what happens even more tragic. For as much as we nitpick the logic of the set up, it works story and theme-wise for me.
I like the sisterly them and it’s jokes about the whole “getting married to someone you just met’. It’s slightly forced but I enjoy it either it. They make it part of the overall theme instead of just making it a dumb joke which makes me forgive it.
There’s also some great emotional moments that build on these themes like the ending. Oh, Olaf is a surprisingly good comic relief because he’s actually nice and quiet at times instead of being jerk-y and annoying.
So there’s already plenty of reason I like this one enough to put it this high but what makes it better than Zootopia that one perhaps holding up slightly better on repeat viewings? Besides what I brought up already the main reason is…the villain twist.
I think Frozen does it better than some of the others. Yes, it has the same problem everyone else points out. He does become a typical villain which is why it bugged me on first viewing. But watching it again, especially after some of these other movies, I think it does some things right.
For one, Han being a love interest that brings up the “don’t get married quickly” thing, makes that point stronger. The man Anna love turned out to be evil which is an exaggerated way to show this but it stll works.
It at least fits thematically but what makes it better than Zootopia is that it happens early enough for him to make an impact. He’s still not amazing but we get time to see how devious he is.
He’s villainy is somewhat enjoyable and a certain thing he does adds to the whole devious thing. I don’t know, just the amount of time we see how be evil makes up for the typical villain twist problems.
I get people’s issues with him by the pacing of the 3rd act just helps make him a bit better for the story than the previous two twist villain we went into it. And given how much the villain tiwst bugged me in Zootopia, it helps bring this one up.
Is it fair to have that be the main reason? Not quite but it’s only the icing on top of a great cake. Not everything is well thought out but what they managed to do in spite of obvious rewrites is pretty impressive.
Did it need to become the monster it did, in terms of marketing? Not really but it does deserve the critical love it got and I get why it got the hype it did on that level.
I said a lot more about smaller things than I did the big stuff but that’s because a lot of people have done that already and you don’t need me to repeat most of it.
But yeah, I don’t care what anyone says. Frozen is flawed but mostly great with it’s themes songs and likable characters. It IS something special in spite of it’s flaws and perhaps being slightly over hyped.
I get some of the backlash but I think now that’s slightly died down, it’s time to give it another look and fall in love with it all over again. know I…mostly did.
And my favorite 2010’s Disney film is…
Wreck it Ralph (2012):
It was hard to decide which of the “Great” ones was my favorite but after re-watching them and thinking about it, I picked this one. I wouldn’t call it nearly perfect like I can with some ranking toppers we’ll get to but it just appeals to me the most and feels the most complete.
I did a general review waaay back in 2012 when this came out, but that was long ago so you can ignore it. It’s easy to forgot all the wild praise this one got given what stole it’s thunder the year after.
I joined the crowd and thankfully, I still love it. I am more aware of it’s minor shortcomings but they aren’t a big deal to me. As for those small things, some have found Voneloppe (I keep butchering that, sorry) a tad annoying and while i don’t think she is, she has her moments.
The story has some cliche moments, and there isn’t as many game cameos as you might think, but that issue has become less damning as those ads that showed them off are long behind us.
And this one can be overlooked, but while the overall moral is good and the Nicelanders do ease up on him, they could have further addressed that their treatment of him (especially that one guy) helped make him want to do all this. Part of it was Ralph’s fault but the others are to blame. A bigger moment about that could have been good, but thankfully what we get is enough to not ruin the moral.
Honestly, the last part is so nitpick-y that it shows how solid this one is.
For one, This honestly is one of the best looking CGI animated films ever, due to how perfectly they capture different styles of games while not having it be too jarring. Every characters moves like that should, and the world is just great.
Not all of it makes too much sense but it’s well realized and thought out. It’s a fascinating world with how it all works and the animators and writers brought it to life really well. I also agree it’s one of the few CGI films that arguably needed to be CGI due to the kind of games they have to capture.
While the story and themes are good and all, the world and the characters really make the movie what it is. People like Ralph and Felix are very likable, funny, and either get good development, or are just well written.
It would have been easy to make the hero a jerk like most villain protagonist stories do but Felix is a good guy and is even nice to Ralph earlier, he just finds it awkward due to things are set up. Also, Felix and Calhoun are great together.
Vanelople could have been annoying, but the way she is developed in the story makes her great. Especially with that twist and how she bonds with Ralph. A few dumb lines don’t drag her down for me.
The voice acting helps too. I wasn’t a big John C Riley Fan before this movie but he did a great job on all sides of Ralph. Jack McBrayer is also pretty great but isn’t he always?
As for the story, it’s done so well you forgot how cliché it can be at times. Ralph’s journey is a solid one and I love his friendship with Vanolepe and how they learn from each other.
Granted, it becomes slightly less about him at points but he still learns a solid lesson and I feel like she doesn’t take over the movie, even if it seems like it.
Of course, plenty of emotional moments are involved and the way it wraps up leaves you with a happy feeling at the end. It’s also really funny on top of all this with everyone getting funny moments along with some in the background.
But then we have the villain twist, the first of 4 times in a row Disney would use it. There’s a reason they kept doing it as it turned out really well. King Candy manages to be highly enjoyable even before he’s shown as the villain so we get to know him throughout the film instead of just at the end.
They also work this into the story and it makes everything even better instead of dragging it out down like some of the other villain twists. Plus, Alan Tudyk is awesome.
Overall, Wreck It Ralph is easily the most evenly great with it’s well written story, amazing animation and likable and memorable characters.. It doesn’t quite reach to full on amazing but nothing feels incomplete here.
It doesn’t have the caveats some of these other films have and does about everything right. Not saying it’s perfect, just more evenly great. People’s personal preferences lead to them preferring any of these movies and mine lean towards this one.
It does all the things you need to in a great animated feature and happens to be the best video game movie ever while it’s at it! All this is why Wreck it Ralph is my favorite DAC film of the 2010’s…so far.
And those were the Disney Animated Canon films of the 2010’s. The fact that I’ve done some of these before sure made this easier on me, lol. Overall, the Decade has been pretty solid. I was perhaps slightly harsh to some of these even though we’d had some pretty great ones.
I suppose the reason is that in this day age is Disney part of the culture where we like to label any really good thing as the best thing ever so when I have an issue with it is dragging it down, I like to focus on it a bit too much in retaliation It’s a bit silly but I’ll try to do that less.
All that matters is the great ones are indeed great, cuz trust me getting to be called is sometimes high praise for me given how I can be a bit stingy.
I will say that Disney could still fix that villain twist issue, it hurts a fair amount of these movies. As long as they don’t rehash anything in Ralph 2 and Frozen 2, we won’t have to deal with it until Giga-oh wait.
Yeah, they canned this one upcoming movie but there is another TBA film coming in 2020 to make up for it. Hopefully it’s another great one. Honestly, between Disney and Pixar we’re all biding out time until 2020 when it comes to original animated features.
Anyway, it’s nice that Disney is in a new golden age these these movies and hopefully those sequels are worthy followups. I have no way to close this but yeah, don’t kill me for some of my rankings here.
Next time, we visit the decade you all likely wanted to see me cover the most.