disney's 30 day animated feature challenge

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge 


Day 10. Favorite animal couple


Bernard and Miss Bianca, from The Rescuers (1977)and The Rescuers Down Under (1991).Seriously underrated movies (though I personally prefer the sequel) and an underrated couple. Bernard and Bianca are members of the Rescue Aid Society (R.A.S.) which is run by mice as an effort to save the children of the world. Bernard originally started off as a janitor, and Miss Bianca a new yet respected member of the Society. After a letter in a bottle, sent by a desperate Penny, was found by the Society, Bianca volunteered to take on the assignment, and chose the timid Bernard as her counterpart. Despite their apparent impossible mission, and their opposite personalities, somehow these made the perfect partners…. and couple. Bianca is extremely feminine, regarding her clothes, perfume, and overall appearance, yet also is much more adventurous and strong than you would think. Bernard is soft-spoken, timid, easily cautioned, and a shy romantic, whereas his lady partner is almost oblivious to romantic affiliations. Just on the outside, they would seem like a disastrous pairing, and yet their combined efforts make each rescue pull off successfully. 

I’ve always loved these two, especially with growing up with the second film, where Bernard tries so hard to propose to Miss Bianca, and I love how he never said her name without “Miss” until near the end of the film. It shows he always held her with high respect, but as the plot progresses, he can’t help but express his affection for her, even if in a subtle manner of using her name directly. He even reuses “Miss Bianca” when he finally proposes, the little gentleman, er, gentlemouse <3

What else can I say? These two rescuers are awesome fighters and an adorable couple. <3 <3 

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge


Day 20: Favorite Musical Number

“I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” from Mulan (1998).


All right, you know the drill….. *cue drum-beat*

LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS! TO DEFEAT… THE HUNS!!!!! 

DID THEY SEND ME DAUGHTERS, WHEN I ASKED FOR SONS??

YOU’RE THE SADDEST BUNCH I’VE EVER MET

BUT YOU CAN BET BEFORE WE’RE THROUGH

MISTER, I’LL MAKE A MAN OUT OF YOU!!!

TRANQUIL AS A FOREST 

BUT ON FIRE WITHIN

ONCE YOU FIND YOUR CENTER

YOU ARE SURE TO WIN

YOU’RE A SPINELESS, PALE, PATHETIC LOT

AND YOU HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE

SOMEHOW I’LL MAKE A MAN OUT OF YOU!

I’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO CATCH MY BREATH–

SAY GOODBYE TO THOSE WHO KNEW ME–

BOY, WAS I A FOOL IN SCHOOL FOR CUTTING GYM!!!

THIS GUY’S GOT ‘EM SCARED TO DEATH–

HOPE HE DOESN’T SEE RIGHT THROUGH ME–

NOW I REALLY WISH THAT I KNEW HOW TO SWIM!!!

BE A MAN!

WE MUST SWIFT AS A COURSING RIVER

BE A MAN!

WITH ALL THE FORCE OF A GREAT TYPHOON

BE A MAN!

WITH ALL THE STRENGTH OF A RAGING FIRE

MYSTERIOUS AS THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

TIME IS RACING TOWARDS US

TILL THE HUNS ARRIVE

HEED MY EVERY ORDER

AND YOU MIGHT SURVIVE

YOU’RE UNSUITED FOR THE RAGE OF WAR

SO PACK UP, GO HOME, YOU’RE THROUGH

HOW COULD I MAKE A MAN OUT OF YOU????

BE A MAN!

WE MUST BE SWIFT AS A COURSING RIVER

BE A MAN!

WITH ALL THE FORCE OF A GREAT TYPHOON

BE A MAN!

WITH ALL THE STRENGTH OF A RAGING FIRE

MYSTERIOUS AS THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

BE A MAN!!!

WE MUST BE SWIFT AS A COURSING RIVER

BE A MAN!!!

WITH ALL THE FORCE OF A GREAT TYPOON

BE A MAN!!!

WITH ALL THE STRENGTH OF A RAGING FIRE

MYSTERIOUS AS THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~~~

Damn, I feel pumped now!!!! XD But yes, I freaking love this song and always break out into passionate singing when it plays. Always. <3 

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge


Day 16. A Moment that Makes Me Cry My Eyes Out


The Beast’s “death” scene from Beauty and the Beast (1991). Yeah, I know, I am heartless. Not Mufasa’s death, not Bambi’s mom, not even Todd’s separation from the Widow. It’s the death scene that turns into a transformation scene that gets the tears rolling. I DON’T KNOW WHY. This scene utterly tears me apart… both the movie version and the play…. It’s just so incredibly painful to watch such a beautiful relationship that was built up over weeks, if not months, suddenly come to a horrible end. People talk of Rapunzel and Eugene’s “last moment,” but honestly Belle and the Beast had a much more effective spell on me. ;_; </3

~~~

[Admittedly, if this challenge included Pixar or live-action, I’d have more choices:

- Woody and his friends in the incinerator, from Toy Story 3 (2010)

- the first 10 minutes of Up (2009)

- the first 10 minutes of Finding Nemo (2003)

- Sully and Boo’s goodbyes, from Monsters Inc. (2001)

- Old Yeller….. just….. Old Yeller (1957). 

- Jesse’s break-down in Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

It seems Pixar/Disney is better at ripping apart the heart and soul…. but regular classic Disney films still choke me up…]

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge 


Day 13: Favorite Villain Song


“Hellfire,” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). I’ve addressed before that I’m not a villain fan. I don’t have a dark side nor a weakness for “bad boys” or anything like that. However, from a writer’s standpoint and an avid bookworm, I cannot deny that a great villain can be a fascinating study. Thus, my case of the day, Judge Claude Frollo, the ominously prejudiced and devout bringer of “justice” to the medieval city of Paris. Of all of Disney’s villains, Frollo is the most complex and, in my opinion, one of the greatest of evils. Yesterday’s challenge brought about my personal favorite (Hades), but I do respect Frollo’s character, simply for being so utterly despicable and yet so convinced of his righteousness. 

Which brings up the point of this entry: “Hellfire” is basically a song of sexual frustration brought to near madness, where Frollo debates with God or Maria or himself about wanting the gypsy Esmeralda, and comes to the conclusion that he may either have her or “let her taste the fires of hell” if she refuses. Unlike every other villain song, which are ego-boosters (“Gaston,” “Oh, Ratigan!”) or songs of revenge (“Be Prepared,” “Savages”) or even songs of manipulating the protagonist (“Poor Unfortunate Souls,” “Friends on the Other Side,” “Mother Knows Best”), Frollo’s song is purely an anguish-filled, psychological conflict of his own issues. That’s what makes it all the more fascinating, and also adds to Frollo’s complexity of a character, which is always refreshing. 

And from a musical standpoint, this song alone is FANTASTIC. The choir in the background is haunting and creepy, the melody powerful, and of course the singing is desperate, passionate, and overwhelmingly dark. And the fact that this song is back-to-back with Quasimodo’s soft piece, “Heaven’s Light,” makes it all the more effective. While other villains sing about themselves or sing of their diabolical plans, Frollo’s song of sexual desire vs holy cleanliness is by far the most shocking and yet awesome one. 

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge 

Day 9: Favorite couple 

Tarzan and Jane, from, naturally, Tarzan (1999). Honestly…. choosing a favorite Disney couple is probably the most difficult choice for me (other than favorite songs), because I love all the princess films and their happily-ever-after stories, plus various other Disney love stories. However, those favorites usually center around the “romantic moments” (ie: love songs), or it’s simply loving their STORY, or it’s loving the individuals but not necessarily the romance. Tarzan and Jane are the exception to all that because I adore them individually, their story, AND their romance. 

What I love about these two the most is that they are connected almost instantly after meeting (which is possibly the most awkwardly hilarious first meeting ever, besides Rapunzel and Eugene/Flynn Rider), and yet don’t profess any sort of love to each other for quite some time. Like Belle and the Beast, a relationship that lasts for weeks, and arguably months, Tarzan and Jane spend a decent amount of time together long before truly falling in love. Jane spends her time “educating” Tarzan so that he can learn to be a gentleman, while Tarzan shows her off to his jungle paradise. They satisfy each others’ curiosities, and discover more about themselves through each other. What’s more, their personalities are just right for each other: Tarzan is curious and adventurous, and even underneath that wild-man upbringing, still has enough chivalry in his heart to treat Jane with respect and loyalty. Jane is eccentric, patient, fascinated with nature, and still has enough logic in her head to handle difficult situations. They grow from each other, and become more intertwined at the same time. 

As for romantic moments… sure they don’t sing a love duet or have a special dance scene, but their little moments are probably some of the sweetest ones in all Disney films: the touching of each others’ palms/hands for the first time, as well as they day Jane almost leaves, when Tarzan teaches Jane to “speak gorilla,” as well as when he shows her his world (ie: the tree full of birds), and when Tarzan teaches Jane to swing on a vine and they end up twirling around till they’re staring, lost in each others’ eyes… What’s nice about their romance is the fact that they rarely say anything while having a moment. Yes,during the song “Strangers Like Me,” Phil Collins sings in the background as they begin to fall in love, but the characters themselves don’t need to say anything. In fact, the closest thing they have to a love confession of any sort is when Tarzan presents her with flowers and says “Jane must stay with Tarzan” and at the end when he simply tells her “I will miss you, Jane.” Their conversations are simpler and yet that’s what makes them more powerful. We know they’ve become very close, but they don’t need to empathize it more than just little hints and the way they gaze at one another. It isn’t until Jane runs back to him, flinging her arms around him, and kisses Tarzan out of nowhere, that we get an impulsive, romantic moment. Otherwise, it’s sweet, yearning, and beautiful. 

Tarzan and Jane are my favorite couple simply because they fit all the areas that make a great romance work: good chemistry, communication (yes, even silent moments count!), personalities that mix well, and loyalty/trust. They are one of Disney’s most underrated couples, but I love them all the more!! <3 

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge

Day 15: A Moment that made me Laugh Until it Hurts


Disney films are both heart-warming and entertaining, and much of that entertainment is brought about with classically hysterical moments. I cannot possibly name all of my favorites, so I went with a few of my personal favorites:

1) Timon and Pumbaa’s hula dance to distract the hyenas. I…. have no words. Timon and Pumbaa are not my favorite duo, but they were a big part of my childhood. This scene is so random, so absurd, and yet so perfect, it never fails to make me chortle wholeheartedly. XD

2) Mushu’s wake-up call to Mulan. I mean the whole scene: Kri-Kee as the “alarm clock,” the happy-to-see-you porridge, the war face, Mulan rushing out thinking the troops left, and Mushu saying “My little baby off to destroy people…” LOL, this scene never fails to make me crack up!!!

3) Tiana and Naveen’s tongue tangle, and the meeting of Ray. When I first saw this movie, as an adult (as opposed to growing up with Disney films as a little kid), I laughed hysterically during this scene (and fell in love with the movie as a whole). From Louis’s attempt to fix the situation by getting them even MORE tangled, to Ray’s subtle joke, “Looks like your boyfriend and you got into a little TOO much fun there…” to Naveen and Tiana’s attempts to continue bickering despite their awkward positions… it’s possibly the best awkwardly hilarious scenario ever!!!

4) Rapunzel trying to hide Flynn Rider in her closet. While most people loved Maximus’s funny moments, this little interaction is what won me over to love this movie. The way they cut to each attempt and how poor Rapunzel is so determined yet struggling to handle it… and her bloody frying pan…. it’s too much…. Disney charm to the fullest hilarious mode!!! 

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge

Day 27: Favorite movie of the Dark Age (1960-1988)


[My 2000th post!! WOO!!]

The Great Mouse Detective (1986). I mentioned the awesomeness of this film before, on Day 25 (“A movie I think is underappreciated”), and since I have been horribly neglecting this challenge, I’ll be as brief as I can on why I love this movie so much. 

First of all, as I’ve said before, it’s Disney-meets-Sherlock Holmes, so what not to like? The story begins when a young mouse-girl named Olivia is separated from her father, a toymaker, when a mysterious bat with a peg-leg kidnaps him. With the help of kindly Dr. Dawson, Olivia finds Basil of Baker Street to help with the case. Basil is cunning, highly intelligent (practically genius), passionate, and determined, but can also be blunt, tactless, impatient with children, and blind to all else outside his work. Despite his faults (and the difficulty of getting his attention once he’s focused on something), Basil agrees to help find Olivia’s father, namely because he has a hunch that his old-time nemesis and rival, Professor Ratigan, is involved. As we move further into the plot, we get to see just how these two geniuses play into each others’ hands and how one receives the upper-hand at each turn. Over time, Basil loosens up his logical, arrogant personality and begins to soften his heart toward his new partner (Dawson) and the young girl he agreed to help. Ratigan’s diabolical plans become more and more insane as he himself starts to lose control of his sanity (he’s obviously a rat, as everyone knows, but claims to be a mouse, and no one in their right mind would dare call him a rat because it would cost their life). 

The film opens with a terrifying (for a kid’s perspective, anyway) kidnapping scene, and has plenty of dark twists and turns, while also plenty of British hilarious moments. Basil is by-far my favorite Disney animal hero. He’s so passionate in his work, you can’t help but root for him to win, even during his moment of weakness near the climax of the film. Dr. Dawson is lovable and the perfect balance of sentiment and jovial nature to Basil’s logical and determined self. Even the relationship between Olivia and her father is sweet and heartfelt, despite its few moments. And Ratigan is one of the funniest of the Disney villains and seems to have the most FUN in his evil-doing than any of the others. 

The mysteries and action are thrilling, the humor is fantastic, the characters enjoyable, and the climax is heart-stopping and epic. What else can I say? This movie will always be in my top 5 favorite Disney animated classics, ever! And for good reason! Go check it out, if you haven’t already. :)

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge

Day 4: Favorite heroine

Okay, okay, I’m several days late because 1) Tumblr was being a bitch and wouldn’t let me upload all the right gifs, 2) I was debating whether I should change my answer, and 3) I’m a procrastinator. But, I still stand by my original answer which is….. another tie. Mulan, from Mulan (1998), may be on the list for “official Disney princesses” (which is a LOAD of bull, seeing that she was neither born or married into royalty), but I do still consider her a very memorable and inspiring Disney heroine. Esmeralda, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) is highly unappreciated compared to the rest of the Disney heroes, both male and female. For very different reasons, but also somewhat similar, I made these two be my choice for the day’s challenge: 

Mulan is similar to Belle in being one of my childhood’s greatest role models. Contrary to popular belief, it is not her warrior status that makes me admire Mulan; it is her journey of self-discovery. At the beginning of the film, we see her trying so hard to fit into society, so her family can be proud of her, and yet continually fails because she feels awkward and unlike herself. When she later disguises herself as boy, in order to save her father, she still has difficulty fitting in. When she finally confronts the Huns in the Imperial City, she is herself, a woman, not as an orthodox Chinese girl nor as a disguised man/warrior. Simply herself. Her experiences gave her strength and self-assurance, something her repressed lifestyle never gave her. I love her for not being just a girl or a tomboy or a strong warrior or a damsel, or fitting into any one category. Mulan is more than that, as is shown through her character development and her journey of learning more about herself. She always knew she couldn’t fit in, but she also felt that maybe, for once, she could do the right thing – ie: going off to war, despite what the law says. Mulan doesn’t start off perfect or admirable, but she does manage to “come into her own,” as they say, by the end of the film. I always looked up to her courage, strength, and growth, both when I was a child and now as an adult. 

Of all of my childhood heroes, Esmeralda is one of few Disney characters that stands up in the face of injustice. While other characters stood up for their friends or themselves, Esmeralda defends Quasimodo (who she barely met) while he was being tormented by a laughing, mad mob. One of my favorite moments of her is when she tells off Frollo: “You mistreat this poor boy the same way you mistreat my people! You speak of ‘justice,’ yet you are cruel to those most in need of your help!” And when Frollo shouts at her to be silent, she only screams back, “JUSTICE!” Being a gypsy, and therefore a minority that was constantly persecuted in those days, she understands only too well how much pain and humiliation Quasimodo must be going through, but instead of standing by and letting in happen, she steps up. Even before yelling at Frollo, she acts quietly but still powerfully: the entire mob goes silent when she simply walks up to the platform where Quasi was tied down, slips off some fabric from her dress, and gently tells him to not be afraid, “I’m sorry. This wasn’t supposed to happen..” while wiping his face clean. Considering how much I adore Disney girls like Mulan, Belle, and Rapunzel, mostly for the relating with their journeys of self-discovery and sheer personality likenesses, Esmeralda is like Tiana to me by simply being ADMIRABLE. She’s lived all her life on the streets of Paris, so has dealt with prejudice, soldier interrogations, and other horrors. She’s a survivor and a sassy one, at that. And yet, while other “sassy” Disney women show other traits outside their feisty demeanor, few show such depths of utter kindness and empathy as Esmeralda possesses. 

All in all, both women are truly great role models, and I’m so grateful I had them (as well as all of the other characters Disney created or recreated) during the course of my childhood. <3 

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge

Day 29: Favorite movie of the Millennium Age (2000-present)

[Note: For more commentary regarding the main character - tied with Rapunzel - click on this links: http://disneyworld-is-my-home.tumblr.com/post/54187187528/disneys-30-day-animated-feature-challenge-day-2]

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When I first saw this movie, it was well-after its release in theaters and on DVD, when I finally stumbled upon renting it at the public library. During the week I rented it, I must have watched it a dozen times. It felt like a breath of fresh air after over a decade of less-than-amazing animated features (in other words, since the Renaissance ended). I love the animation, the jazz-inspired score, the characters, everything!!

I only avoided watching it for so long because I’d been so disappointed in Disney films in the past few years before its release (excluding Pixar), and also because of the drama centering around the “first black Disney princess” ordeal. Oi vey… Tiana is tied for being my second-favorite Disney princess, and it has nothing to do with her being a milestone for black princess representation!! She’s hardworking, smart, sassy, but also has weaknesses (namely blindness toward anything outside her goals), and is an overall likable character. See, unlike SOME people on the internet, I actually admire ALL of my Disney girls for being WHO THEY ARE, AND NOT FOR WHAT “COLOR” THEY REPRESENT. But I digress….

The story might be a bit complex for some kids to digest, but the messages are incredibly deep and wonderful. You can want everything in the world, but what truly makes you happy is finding what you NEED. And though some people are annoyed by it, I can see why so many fans adore Charlotte LeBouff: simply because she’s everything WE DID NOT EXPECT. Even if she wasn’t going to turn out racist, we expected her to be spoiled rotten, to be tactless to Tiana, or do something along those lines. Instead, despite her seemingly shallow personality, she actually does so many wonderful things that make her relationship with Tiana all the more sweeter. Me personally, I just found her to be hilarious; the sweet moments were a bonus. ^^“

The love story is also something to admire, because both characters learn from another and gain strengths because of it (similar to Beauty and the Beast, no? :P) The sidekicks are never too annoying, which admittedly, can happen in some Disney films, just saying, and the villain is remarkably fun to watch. Overall, it’s a lovely film to watch, and is very reminiscent to the "classic” period of the 90’s films we all know and love (namely Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast). <3

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge 


Day 25: A Movie I Think is Underappreciated

[Note: this is a very long commentary. Apologies in advance if I ramble too much…]

Well, I’ve been absent from this challenge for three weeks (eek!), partially because of school and partially because I was debating on my answers. Eventually, I chose these three because before I discovered Tumblr, I assumed many other of my favorite Disney classics were forgotten by the world. My runner-ups are:

- Robin Hood

- The Fox and the Hound

- The Hunchback of Notre Dame

- Atlantis: The Lost Empire

- Treasure Planet

- Bolt

but I refrained from adding those because, judging by the many wonderful Disney fandom members, those classics are not entirely forgotten, which is a relief to me. ^_^ But I would have added them if this was my Google Blogger, where virtually NO ONE is as fanatical as I am (and the rest of the Tumblr Disney fandom), but I digress. These are my three underappreciated films, in chronological order, and why I think people need to pay more attention to them:

1) The Sword in the Stone (1963). This is not a GREAT film, mind you, but it is definitely memorable and adorable, and for a fandom that focuses on other not-great-but-still-fun films like The Emperor’s New Groove, Meet the Robinsons, and A Goofy Movie, I’m shocked this one is always brushed aside. Heck, even The Aristocats receives more attention!! Anyway, this is a hugely forgotten classic, at least from what I’ve seen. The comedic timing of Merlin and Archimedes is unbelievably clever and full of snark. And even the story of timid Wart, who’s true name is Arthur, is sympathetic and full of the pains of growing up. The animation is unique, and though not nearly as gorgeous as the Golden Age or the later Renaissance, it’s still reminiscent of the classy, older Disney style. It’s a fun little film, and I highly recommend it. 

2) The Great Mouse Detective (1986), based on the children’s book, Basil of Baker Street, by Eva Titus. This film is in my top five favorite Disney films of all time, and it always shocks me how many people honestly cannot recollect the movie, let alone have not seen it. People, it’s SHERLOCK HOLMES, DISNEY STYLE!!!! WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?! And don’t think this is a sugar-coated Sherlock; quite the contrary, this movie has plenty of action scenes, dark elements, and suspenseful moments. The animation is similar with The Fox and the Hound, which later formed the bridge to the Renaissance Era in the next few years. In other words, it’s beautifully animated and has a great score as well. The villain is one of the best: a diabolical, gleefully laughing rat who claims the status of a mouse, (and later, goes insane when his rat nature breaks through). And the hero is simply fabulous. Basil is my favorite “animal hero” of the entire Disney animal kingdom. As cunning as he is proud, his intelligence rivals that of his upstairs neighbor (the famed Sherlock Holmes, himself). His enthusiasm and brilliance made me fall in love with the film and later with the classic novels of Holmes’ adventures. It’s fantastic film, full of humor, adventure, and mystery. 

3) The Rescuers Down Under (1991), the only Disney sequel that is counted in the Disney Official Animated Feature list (in other words, it’s “canon”). Everyone seems to remember the original all too well, and yet this awesome adventure flick is constantly brushed aside. I’m gonna get a lot of hate for this, but…. I honestly don’t like the original Rescuers that much. It’s not that interesting, very silly, and had next to no captivating moments, besides the scene with the cave that Penny enters with Bernard and Bianca to fetch the Devil’s Eye diamond. (But I will admit, Medusa’s alligators, Nero and Brutus, are also fun to watch). On the other hand, its sequel is absolutely FANTASTIC and hugely underrated. Not only is the animation incredibly improved, the story is well-paced, the characters are much more likable, and the villain is more realistic. While Medusa was insanely obsessed with finding a diamond and used Penny’s small size to her advantage, McCleach is a poacher and kidnaps Cody for leverage and to blackmail him into revealing the location of a rare bird he intends to sell on the black market. Both villains are money-grubbers, of course, but McCleach is more clever in tricking the boy and has a reputation to keep up. Bernard and Bianca are as adorable as ever, but it’s especially sweet that Bernard tries so many times to propose to his partner all throughout the adventure. There’s action, gorgeous flying scenes, great characters, and a fun-filled story. What’s not to like?! 

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Check out all of these and more, because as much as Disney merchandise and theme parks may want us only to remember the princess and fairy realms, there’s plenty of other great films to indulge on. Have a magical time! :)

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge


Day 12: Favorite Villain


[Note: Okay, I am WAY behind on this challenge, so I’ll cut to the quick]

Hades, from Hercules (1997) is my favorite villain simply because he cracks me up!! He’s not the “best” villain (if I had to choose, it’d a toss-up between Frollo and Maleficent), and I do appreciate ALL of the other villains, simply for their characters. But… because I don’t really have a dark side or particularly have a “love” for villains, my favorite falls onto the one villain who makes me laugh more than any other. Captain Hook and Ratigan are also funny, but no one is full of one-liners and hilarious references as the God of the Underworld. Gods, I love Hades!! XD

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge

Day 30: Favorite movie 

[Note: LAST DAY. FINALLY. Only 4 months late… =_=“ A bit of long commentary ahead; enjoy!!]

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Beauty and the Beast (1991). Why? Because it is perfection. The animation is perfect, the story is perfect, the romance is perfect, the voice-acting is perfect, the music is perfect, the character development is perfect, EVERYTHING IN THIS MOVIE IS PERFECTION. 

Okay, okay, there’s more to it than just "perfection” (and that is just an opinion, I know…). First of all, you have Belle, one of the best Disney role-models for girls. Why? Because she’s smart, opinionated, loyal, independent, not shallow, a bookworm, and falls in love with someone NOT based on their looks. This may sound like a typical argument, but it’s true!! Even Tiana falls in love with Naveen when they were BOTH frogs (and adorable little amphibians, might I add); Belle literally is trapped in a castle with a raging, terrifying, hairy beast. And yet, slowly, over months together, they begin to fall in love. 

A lot of people who like to nitpick classics like this (don’t they always?) point out that Belle’s relationship with the Beast is considered “abusive” and also unrealistic because he supposedly changes in the end. First of all, when the Beast does lose his temper at Belle, were they a couple yet? NO. Secondly, to put in some perspective, Prince Adam aka “the Beast” has grown up selfish and spoiled all his life and wasn’t taught that yelling and throwing things is wrong, so while in his Beast form, his temper tantrums tend to go…. erm, overboard. Third and most importantly, Belle did NOT put up with that! Terrified at first, she ran away, breaking the promise she sacrificed her life and losing her father for. Then, she is attacked by wolves, and the Beast comes to her rescue. When he finally fights them off, he is badly injured and falls into a faint, leaving Belle the perfect opportunity to flee…. and yet she doesn’t. Empathy and gratitude kicks in and she takes him back to the castle, where he loses his temper again as she tried to clean his wounds. Now prepared for his attitude, she yells right back at him, and puts him in his place: “Well, you should learn to control your temper!” See, an abusive relationship would mean the Beast would demean and break Belle’s character until she kept dealing with his nonsense forever; but no, she straightens him out! Probably being the first in his entire life to do so… 

Aside from Belle’s awesomeness, you also have the other guy in the spectrum: Gaston. I’ve read some arguments online that Gaston is actually the most evil or at least the scariest of Disney villains, simply by how REAL he is. Admittedly, I can see those points, though I personally find Frollo to be much more realistic and terrifying…. Which brings about another interesting point: WHY THE FLIP DOES GASTON HAS A FANBASE ON TUMBLR??? Seriously, ladies, if you have a thrill for a bad guys, that’s fine, knock yourself out, but why go after someone who is so annoyingly shallow?! That’s probably why I’d name him in the Top 5 of Disney villains: for how utterly shallow he is, and yet will do anything to get what he wants. And that’s also why I positively hate his guts, with a fiery passion. While other Disney villains either scared me as a kid (like Maleficent), or I find them fascinating studies (like Frollo), Gaston is just a bully. A cocky, womanizing, sexist, creepy, arrogant jerk of a bully!! (Again, HOW is that hot???) But I guess that’s what makes him so terrifying for a lot of people: he’s the good-looking “hero” everyone admires and follows, he’s the one who doesn’t back off when a woman says “No,” he has a freakish power over the masses by his passion and reputation, and he sees the object of his desire (Belle) as nothing more than a pretty trinket that is being hidden from him by one obstacle: the Beast. Gaston is everything a woman fears, and everything a man hopes he may never become. He’s the real “beast” in the movie. 

And lastly, you have the Beast himself, aka Prince Adam (yes, people, that IS his name; confirmed by the Broadway show, if not necessarily by the animators). Another common nitpick is why did he change into a prince at the end, or rather “why does he look so weird?” The animators said that they could have slapped an Eric-like prince on the screen, but it wouldn’t matter how objectively handsome he is: we fell in love with the BEAST, not with his human counterpart. And honestly, I always saw his transformation as symbolic. It’s not a “oh, look he’s hot now, you can have him back!” situation; it’s a metaphor of how Belle’s love had transformed the raging, scary Beast into a softer, kinder man. Though the Beast had already gone through this “transformation” earlier, all that was needed was the confirmation of Belle’s love for him to set him free. And honest to gods, THAT “death” scene gets the tears rolling for me. It just rips me apart: the quiet, emotional dialogue they have, the Beast’s dying breathless voice, the way Belle tenderly touches him and holds his paw against her cheek…. JESUS, just thinking about it gets me choked up!! And I think that is what I love most about this movie: you BELIEVE in the story, you BELIEVE in the romance, you BELIEVE in the emotions, the pain, the joy, the wonder, the fear, and everything else these characters go through. As much as I adore all of Disney’s films, few make you truly believe and connect so deeply with the characters as much as Beauty and the Beast does. 

To wrap up, I adore this film above all others, and honestly, can you blame me? It is still considered one of Disney’s greatest achievements (my parents also like to make a point that there can never be another film as beautiful and great as this one), and was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film! That may not seem shocking now, with our Animated Film department, but at the time, 1) that section did not exist in the Oscars, and 2) it was the VERY FIRST ANIMATED FILM TO BE NOMINATED FOR THE SPOT in history. It’s a beautiful film, with great music composed by Alan Menken, and was the last of Howard Ashman’s lyrical work (he died just before the film was released), who was known to “give a mermaid her voice and a Beast his soul.” I could watch this film over and over and never tire of it. Truly a masterpiece that can never be touched. :) <3

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge


Day 21: Favorite Romantic Moment


“A Whole New World,” from Aladdin (1992). I know my set looks a little odd with some lyrics here and there, and not even the complete set, but these were the best I could find. And they were focused on the romantic couple in question, Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. I have a weakness toward Disney romances, both animated/Pixar and live-action. For this particular genre, I choose this song/scene because…. well…. let’s discuss it what it’s about:

Aladdin wins over the princess’s heart by taking her on a magic carpet ride over the whole world, while all her life she never ventured beyond the palace walls (until the fateful day where she first met Aladdin). While many previous and future Disney love songs spoke directly of love – as a vague, romanticized concept – this duet focuses more on the characters sharing life and love together, and of inspiring each other to open their eyes and see the world in a different light. It’s a song of freedom, youth, joy, and wonder, while using those elements to address their love for one another. THAT is what makes it a true love song and my all-time favorite from any movie musical, Disney or not. :D <3 

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge


Day 6: Favorite cast

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001). This was a tough choice for me, because I love many, many Disney sidekicks, minor roles, etc. But after giving it some thought, I realized that the this film that had one of the most culturally diverse and quirkiest collection of characters EVER. Yes, the villain set are a bit…… cliche, but overall the casting of this adventure flick is just incredible.

(Note: this will be a very LONG commentary, dedicated to each character. The leads have the largest ones, and a couple of the minor roles are important, but overall, this will be very long ^^“)

First you have Milo, Disney’s ONLY animated adult nerd-hero (something I have mixed emotions about). He has a passion for lost languages and cultures, and, in particular, finding the lost city of Atlantis. His passion was inspired by his grandfather, who spent his whole life searching for clues and pathways closer to the legend. Milo carries out his grandfather’s journey… at first with very little success due to the lack of enthusiasm on part with the museum’s leaders. Milo is not my number one favorite hero, but he’s definitely in my top 5, because despite his social awkwardness, he’s a genius in his own way. It’s one thing to study lost languages, but to be fluent and fully grasping the culture and histories behind it all is astounding. He’s intuitive, though slightly naive; his enthusiasm and passion is inspiring and kinda adorable. Not to mention he manages to kick some ASS in the final battle!!! (what can I say? I’m a sucker for badass actiony-adventure stuff ^^”)

Kida, Milo’s love interest and another “unofficial” Disney princess (though she actually is LITERALLY the princess of Atlantis…), is HUGELY underrated. Seriously, this chick is Mulan and Esmeralda combined, plus immortality, lingo-expertise, and an awesome accent. The only reason I don’t have her among my top favorites for Disney heroines/princesses is strictly personal reasons, but I cannot deny she is BADASS. She puts her faith in Milo’s group after discovering Milo’s language-gift, knowing that her people are in danger of losing their pasts, knowledge, and culture altogether. Not only is she wise, she is a kickass fighter, because she was raised not to be a docile flower but a future leader. When Kida was a young child, and on the day Atlantis sunk into the sea, her mother was “chosen” to become one with the crystal that maintains life in Atlantis, which protected the majority of the city. When Milo and Kida were forced into the villain’s plan to take the crystal for their own profit, Kida HERSELF was chosen to become one. And what goes down is quite possibly one of THE most hypnotizingly gorgeous scenes in animation history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdGuZicUPts

Main characters aside, the supporting cast is AWESOME: Mr Whitmore, the eccentric multimillionaire (or billionaire, not sure which), who was good friends with Milo’s grandfather. On behalf of a bet the old fellows made years ago, Mr. Whitmore pays for the entire expedition (including scientifically advanced equipment and vehicles, experts of every field, etc) long before Milo is even aware of it, and only pretends to be cynical about the discovery of Atlantis in order to give Milo that extra push to find the lost city. (Sort of like when Yoda pretends to be a friendly, quirky stranger yet “friend” of Yoda to Luke in order to test his patience; though Milo’s test worked out better than Luke’s……)

Dr. Josua Sweet is half African American, half Native American, and is the medical officer of the expedition. I always liked him as a kid because he was the one member of the crew who grows a conscience far faster than the others, all because of the health of Kida’s father. Not to mention he was a fast-talker, passionate in his work, and was the only one who could keep Mole under control (“Look out, I’ve got soap, and I’m not afraid to use it!” FREAKING LOVE THAT SCENE) And to talk about “race representation,” though technically Atlantis is already unrealistic with their use of gender and race equality in the expedition, considering it is set in the year 1914, it’s also quite fascinating how they manage to keep each character distinct in their role, while also still holding up as just as awesome as the rest. This leads to Audrey, the Hispanic mechanic, and the youngest member of the crew. Because her father had two daughters instead of the sons he wanted, he raised them to be as great as sons anyway which is AWESOME. She’s feisty, a bit of a flirt, and knows more about engines and mechanics than all of the adult men I know in my family. 

Vinny is HILARIOUS (the guy in the last gif). This Italian demolition-fanatic has some of the best lines of the film, and is useful for a mission that involves a lot of blowing up. Mole, the French oddball, is also useful on the job of digging through solid rock. Not to mention, he’s probably most unusual member of the cast, with his filthy state, obsession with dirt and geology, and disturbing “flirtatious” attitude. But… like Vinny, Mole provides a lot of comic relief, which is always welcoming. 

Mrs. Packard and Cookie I always thought were either cousins, old friends, or eventually got married. Mrs. Packard is the snarky, “I don’t give a fuck,” telephone operator who is just hysterical, when you’re old enough to get the joke. Cookie is more of the hillbilly, funny doofus that made me giggle as a kid. 

And of course…. the cool yet cliche villains: Commander Rourke and Helga Sinclair. Helga is your sexy, 1920-1940’s Lauren Bacall styled badass, who seriously underrated as a character, if not a villain’s sidekick. It was almost a shame she turned out “bad,” but at the same time not surprising considering her cold, hard demeanor, and ability to take charge in times of crisis. Commander Rourke is very…. flat. He’s just your average “greedy white man” who has nothing more to motivate him than money. Like Radcliffe, except not as flamboyant or self-pitiful; even Radcliffe, the mediocre villain of Pocahontas had at least some level of fear and ego going for his reasons why he is ignorantly evil. Rourke is just…. bad. No other explanation, which is weak. But I will admit, I liked his build-up and his interaction with the other characters, how he manages to convince us that he’s a good guy, only to change his tune in the third act. 

And yeah… that’s the basic sum-up of why I love this diverse, fascinating group of characters. ^^“

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge


Day 11: The pet(s) you wish you had


Oy, this was not easy! Forget Disney romances; Disney has THE most memorable, adorable, hilarious, and wonderful animal pals ever!! In order to narrow down my choices, I went with my top 10 in the whole official animated film family, in chronological order of when each was released (I could never try to list them personally!! Not to mention the many other animal buddies I had to miss out….) 

[Note: Yes, I am aware that Stitch did not make it on the list. Not because I dislike him as a character, but I certainly would not want him as a pet! O.o Oh, and this will be a very LONG commentary – 10 characters is a lot to discuss – so yeah… just a forewarning!]

1) Figaro and Cleo, from Pinocchio (1940). I’ve always had a soft spot for that feisty kitten, and his interaction with the somewhat flirtatious goldfish, Cleo, is just classic. Plus, I have a weakness towards cute kittens in general; Figaro was probably the cause of that. 

2) Nana, from Peter Pan (1953). From a parents’ viewpoint, Nana is the perfect pet because not only does she protect the children, she actually TAKES CARE OF THEM. She makes their beds, gives them medicine, cleans up their messes, tucks them in at night…. Seriously, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say Nana adopted the Darling children because they lost their parents!! She’s a loyal canine, and almost has a level of humanity to her that gives her that worrisome, motherly personality. 

3) Pongo, from 101 Dalmatians (1961). I love all the dalmatians of this movie (Perdita, the original 15 puppies, and the total 99 puppies), but I always loved Pongo the most for sheer personality. The film as a whole is hilarious, but a lot of the humor was brought on by the narrator and future father of the many infamous puppies, Pongo, himself. For crying out loud, he was the one who set up Roger with Anita (and also winning over Anita’s dalmatian, Perdita) by his hilarious persistence to get his “pet” out of his bachelor gloom. Plus, that gif with him and Roger grabbing hold of each other… it just cracks me up every time… XD

4) Archimedes from The Sword in the Stone (1963). If you have never seen this movie, SHAME ON THEE. GO WATCH IT. If I wasn’t so wishy-washy about which order to place all my favorites in, I’d say Merlin’s companion owl gets in at least my top 3. Why? He is HILARIOUS!! On top of being knowledgeable, cautious, and sarcastic, he provides a good portion of the comic relief in this film. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve seen the film enough times as I have; he has almost a dry sense of humor (excluding one or two moments), full of snark and sass, and it’s just PRICELESS. 

5) Duchess and her kittens, from The Aristocats (1970). Admittedly, these cuties are pretty much nothing more than that to me: freaking adorable kitty-cats. Not much else to say, other than I have a small bit of a “crazy cat lady” inside of me, too…. only I would NEVER let my cats inherit millions of dollars!!! O_o

6) Dodger and Oliver, from Oliver & Company (1988). Okay, this is more of the soft-hearted, animal-lover rooted inside of me speaking here, but….. JUST LOOK AT THEM!!! Oliver is an orphan kitten who somehow got roped into stealing hot dogs with streetwise dog, Dodger, as a means to fill his empty stomach, only to be nearly cheated of his work when Dodger runs off with the food. Despite chasing Dodger back to his home, nearly getting attacked by Dodger’s canine friends, and even nearly killed by Roscoe and Desoto (Bill Sykes’ evil henchmen/dogs), somehow Oliver survives, thanks to Dodger’s change of heart. After being “adopted” by the dogs’ owner, Fagin, Oliver fits in with the gang. And then HE CURLS UP NEXT TO DODGER AND FALLS ASLEEP BESIDE AND I JUST CAN’T HBNSADFBJAHFIAG <3 <3 <3 

7) Abu, from Aladdin (1992). Part from cuteness, part from hilarity, I’ve always adored Abu. Similar to Pongo, it’s his distinctive personality as well as his important contribution to the film’s plot that makes him so memorable and likable. I particularly love his interaction with Aladdin himself and the Magic Carpet. It’s also thanks to this film that had me convinced for a decade that I could have a pet monkey. Gods, I wish…. 

8) Pegasus, from Hercules (1997). To get more into the mythical side of things, which I am nuts about, I love Disney’s interpretation of this Greek myth (I don’t care how inaccurate it is; I freakin LOVE this movie!), and I especially love how hilarious they made Pegasus. People talk about Maximus from Tangled, who IS funny, but all I can think of is the original hilarious horse (or part-horse) sidekick of a Disney film. I love his moodiness, his loyalty, his “helicopter” interpretation when interrupting Herc and Meg’s romantic moment (the whole theater nearly DIED OF LAUGHTER during that scene, I remember, and to this day, it still kills me…), and I just love Pegasus as a whole!

9) Morph, from Treasure Planet (2002). My only other mythical creature on the list, this is both from an underrated film and is the newest addition to my collection of favorites. Even films that came out 3 or 4 years ago, I saw within the year of its release. I did not see this movie till TEN YEARS after it came out. And I fell in love with it. And this pink little squirt is known as “Morph’ because, well, he can morph into anything! (Size limited, of course) But seriously, talk about an useful, if not entertaining pet!! If you need binoculars, a gun, a bow, a fork, a spy, this little guy is your man! And he’s adorable, too.. ^_^

10) Bolt, from Bolt (2008). Aaaaaaaaand, here comes the fangirl-mode: AWWWWWWWW, LOOK AT THAT ADORABLE BALL OF WHITE FLUFFINESS, AND THE WAY HE FREEZES, READY TO POUNCE ON A SQUEAKY CARROT, I MEAN, HOW FREAKING CUTE IS THAT???? Ahem… and he also grows up to be a badass superhero "character” on a TV show, and the most wonderfully loyal of all dogs since Homeward Bound. Though I chose the adorable puppy gif, I will admit, I do admire and love Bolt for more than just puppy-dog eyes. Despite being unknowingly blinded by his role, he goes on a crazy journey to find and “rescue” Penny, his co-star and real life owner, only to end up actually rescuing her in a way he never planned to. (The whole movie is hilarious, then THAT scene came up and I was blubbering like a baby. Only Disney can mess with my emotions so easily!!)

[Note: If you read through all that, well done, and my thanks ^^“]

8

Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge

Day 2: Favorite Princess (from the official list)

Well, Belle takes my number one spot always, so I had to go with #2…… which is a tie. Rapunzel and Tiana are both very different princesses, and yet both I love on equal grounds for different reasons. 

Rapunzel is basically my twin. If Belle carries my soul, Rapunzel got my personality down to a “T.” She’s hyper, excitable, paranoid, naive, longs for freedom (namely starting with seeing where and what those “lights” are that show up on her birthday every year), is kind to animals, and is rather childish in her own way. I have mixed emotions about the movie Tangled as a whole, though I do enjoy it, mainly because of Rapunzel herself (and the animation; it’s GORGEOUS). She also shares the same feelings of being trapped and scared as I do/have for years. The mutual feeling of wanting to belong somewhere connects us, and also how marvelous and magical of a feeling it is when we DO find that something. She has passion and exudes that through her dream. 

Tiana gets a high-up from me simply because I ADMIRE her. Right up there with Mulan and Kida (from Atlantis), Tiana is a wonderful role model. For one thing, she’s a work-aholic! For another, she doesn’t put up with any shit regarding her dream of owning a fancy restaurant or men trying to flirt with her. She’s sassy, smart, and passionate; one thing I got to give credit to ALL Disney princesses/heroines is their passion. But Tiana takes the cake overall because others passions are vague (Belle, Mulan, Snow White, Cinderella, etc) and still others are more simplistic wishes (Ariel, Rapunzel), Tiana has one consuming goal and will stop at nothing until she achieves it. The best part is she starts right away on her own accord, and doesn’t wait and dream about it until the right opportunity came to whisk her away. She just goes out and does it. If people had HALF of Tiana work ethics and motivation, nothing would get in the way of our dreams. I admire her for that and love her personality that goes so well with her character. 

Overall, I love both of these girls (as I love ALL Disney animated girls). <3 

7

Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge

Day 1: Favorite Character

Belle, from Beauty and the Beast. What can I say? Belle has been my inspiration and my role model since the very beginning. While as a kid, I had more preferences among the sidekicks, Belle’s inevitable beauty and admirable traits have stuck to me throughout my life. She’s smart, witty, independent, a bookworm (such as yours truly…), dreams of adventures outside her provincial life, is a loyal daughter to her daddy, and she looks for the beauty within others. She saw through Gaston’s physical good looks and knew what kind of a jerk he was, thus showed no interest; and she falls in love with an at-first-scary-and-hideous Beast because he shows his gentler side to her. I always loved her for not giving a damn of what the rest of the town thought of her, and yet couldn’t help but feel lonely without needing to be dependent on others. She loved reading and gaining new ideas and wisdom, and longed for adventures. She was and is the only Disney girl to fall in love with someone “not handsome” (I mean, come on, you can shout out Tiana and Naveen all you want, but they were BOTH turned into frogs, and Naveen’s a damn handsome-looking frog… as far as amphibian looks go…). Yes, the Beast transforms back into Prince Adam, but I always took that as a symbolic change: he finally stopped being the Beast and became the beautiful man Belle helped find and fell in love with. She’s a wonderful, remarkable character and I absolutely adore her. :) :) <3 <3 

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Disney’s 30 Day Animated Feature Challenge


Day 18: A Moment that Makes Me Mad


Another tie! Disney doesn’t have too many moments that affect me negatively (excluding 99% home video sequels and new Disney Channel; do not mention those abominations to me, I WILL go ballistic), but there are definitely those occasional moments in a Disney film where something sad, unfair, or cruel happens to the protagonist, giving the audience all the more reason to root for and sympathize with them. Here are three particularly distinct moments that made me mad as a child and made me sad as I grew older and saw the true tragedy behind each moment: 

1) The stupid kids who wouldn’t stop harassing Dumbo’s big ears, from Dumbo (1941). I say stupid not only because it’s messed up to pick on such a helpless little creature, but also because of the main bully in question has big ears himself!! As a kid, I never understood the logic of that, and always felt Mrs. Jumbo was hugely mistreated when literally all she did was lightly spank the crybaby bully because he was HURTING HER BABY. What’s even more tragic and horrible about this scenario is that Dumbo is being judged and ridiculed solely on his appearance, by someone who shares a similar trait. The bully must be insecure of his own absurdly large ears, thus uses innocent Dumbo as a scapegoat. He doesn’t get mad at Dumbo, per se, but does deliberately shove emphasis on the little elephant, in order to get a laugh from the other bullies. It’s so obviously cowardly and mean, and yet it is Mrs. Jumbo who is punished, not the obnoxious boys. The irony of this adds to the tragedy of Dumbo’s tale, and gives the audience further evidence of how discrimination can be taken too far…

2) Drizella and Anastasia tearing apart Cinderella’s ball gown, from Cinderella (1950). Similar to Gus’s reaction (wanting nothing more than to march out and give the evil step-family a piece of his mind), this scenario always maddens and saddens me. The one opportunity Cinderella had to enjoy one fun night of her life, after she finished all her hopeless chores without having the time to create a lovely dress, AND when she finds her animal friends made it for her…. ALL destroyed in a matter of seconds when Drizella notices that Cinderella wore left over beads and sashes that the stepsisters had earlier discarded as “trash” (courtesy of her mother subtly pointing it out to her). Being the spoiled brats they are, the stepsisters forget about hating their old clothes, and instead torment and yell at Cinderella for unwittingly reusing them as her own lovely ball gown, while ripping her gown to shreds. And worse of all, the stepmother just watches it all, in a sort of sophisticated evil manner. 

3) The Festival of Fools turning into a nightmarish mob scene, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). As I’ve said before on this challenge, I adored Quasimodo as a child, and still am a fan of him and the movie as a whole. So when I first saw the humiliation Quasi went through all because he was crowned King of Fools, and had the real-life face of hideousness (unlike previous Kings who simply weren’t very attractive looking and wore ugly masks), I was horrified. First, it becomes an one-sided food fight, till the hunchbacked bell-ringer is covered from head to foot with tomatoes, eggs, rotten vegetables, and more; then the cruelty piles up as the crowd goes wild and ties Quasimodo down and spins him round and round where another tomato or egg smashes against his face. What mostly infuriated me as a kid and an adult was how utterly cruel the crowd was and how EVERYONE was either only laughing and jeering or actually throwing food and garbage at the poor man. There was no level of sympathy or shock from anyone (except Phoebus, who asked Frollo to stop the cruelty), until Esmeralda actually stepped up and approached the humiliated Quasimodo. This movie is dark and controversial as a whole, but one of the main reasons why I love it so much is that it gives children a taste of some very real-life horrors. And yet, what is also sadly ironic is that it’s not that every single person in that mob was a cruel person, but mob mentality can be frighteningly overwhelming, despite what the individual may think. 

Basically, the scenes that infuriated me most a child were the cowardly ones, the bullies who seemed to have no heart, no sympathy for the main hero. Now, as an adult, I can see it was nothing more than insecurity fueled by discrimination (and in the case of Cinderella and Hunchback, a true villain who pulled the strings behind the cruelty).