Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Day I Talk About Disney Cartoons & Disney Songs

While we were coming out of the cinema from watching the Pixar animated film, Cars, my little cousin Xavier, six, asked me this question, "Liwei kor kor, why are the Disney songs not nice anymore?"

Well, I wanted to reply, cos Pixar's cartoons are just distributed by Disney and are therefore, not exactly Disney cartoons, so you can't expect them to have nice songs. But he wouldn't have understood me anyway, so I said,"Why don't you grow up to be a nice song-writer and write nice songs forDisney cartoons next time?"

I smiled and turned around to his sister, Shelia, nine, and said, "Don't you think so?"
She just smiled back.

After sending the kids home, I pondered about his quesion for a little longer. Then I thought, hey, that little kid is right. Disney doesn't have nice songs in their cartoons anymore. Heck, they don't even produce decent cartoons anymore. Have they really lost it?

History of Disney Animation & Music
When Walt Disney's first animation feature, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs was first released 1937, it contained songs that were inspired from the era of the 1930s, which were still styled pretty classically. Think opera and you'll know what I mean. Then in 1940, the classic Disney film, Fantasia was premiered. It was very creative and appealing because orchestra masterpieces of the grandfathers of classical music, from Bach to Beethoven, were reinterpreted by artists into different animated shorts that told many fantasy-themed stories. The music was beautiful and the art was equally magnificent.

In 1967, a blues-inspired film, The Jungle Book, was released. This movie was also the one which introduced the world to two of the timeless Disney classics, "Bare Necessities" and "I Wanna Be Like You".

Success & Downfal & Uphill climb (again)
The movie that began Disney's decade-long period of successful animated movies premiered in the late 80s. The Little Mermaid, which came out in 1989, grossed over US$200 million worldwide. Subsequently, hits like Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Hercules, Mulan and Tarzan were churned out from Disney's studios.

These movies also spurned Disney hits like "Beauty and The Beast", "A Whole New World", "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", "Colours of the Wind" and "Reflection", to name a few.

In the late 90s (I'm sure all of you remember), began Disney's downhill topple from "top animation studio". It began producing what we would affectionately call a "chain of flops", from The Emperor's New Groove to Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Remember the cringe-worthy Lilo & Stitch in 2001? Not only did the music suck (think Taiwanese now-defunct boyband F4), the movie was half-baked, uninspired and unappealing, to say the least.

Late last year, a little chicken began Disney's revival. Chicken Little was not fantabulous, but it was a good start, other than the fact that the whole "mai-ya-hee-mai-ya-hoo" from the stupid chicken dance adverts was irritating the shit out of every sane person.

Pixar's Help & Future of Disney
Thank God for Pixar.

By merely distributing the renowned digital animation studio's movies, it has saved their butts countless times. While they were busy making crap that is Brother Bear and the unforgettable (not in a good way) Home on the Range, Pixar's toys, bugs, monsters, fish and even superheroes raked in big money and awards.

So I guess getting poorer by US$7.4 billion's worth it.
(PS: If you don't already know, they paid that price to buy Pixar over)

Now, let's just hope that they can start making good music again. To start, they could seek help from Alan Menken (composer of songs from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas etc) again.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

By the way, Cars was really good. What will Disney do without Pixar? Heh.

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