Hi guys. I know John Musker is not dead, but since he's retired, you are never going to hear the advertisement line "From the directors (as in plural) of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid” again. Besides, their films are quite a remarkable category. They have worked together since 1983, and they have taken part in various great Disney films, most people considering The Little Mermaid and Aladdin their favorites.So in honor of John Musker, I am counting down the 7 films he and Ron Clements directed together. Since I have reviewed them plenty of times in the past (mainly one in particular) I am mostly going to talk about how I viewed them and connections to the social commercial world. Also, there is one thing I want to make quite clear; I am ranking these films as to how I view them, not how the world ranks them. After all, Disney is always teaching people to follow their hearts, so that is what I am going to do. So, Let's begin.
#7: Treasure Planet
Unfortunately for Treasure Planet fans, I consider this the weakest of John Musker and Ron Clements Works. The main reason is because I find the characters unbelievably weak, particularly John Silver and Jim Hawkins. For part of the movie, they seem like a close growing friendship, yet in the middle of the movie, they are enemies-yeah, it's really confusing. I would prefer John Silver was a good guy OR a bad guy, not both. I'm not even sure if Long John Silver from the Treasure Island book was like that or not. Even his dialogue seems off and random. As for Jim, he's just some typical teenager you usually see in real life. He sounds bland and bored most of the time, not really that cheerful awkward or clumsy protagonist that I usually prefer such as Pinocchio, Anna, or Spongebob. For me, the real characters of focus should have been on Ben the robot, Morph the blob, and Scroop the evil spider guy. I wanted to see more of them. I admit I liked this film for a little while when I first saw it on Disney Channel in 2006, but the novelty wore off a year later. Also, this is back when I had trouble in middle school and in the social convention. Since this is a space movie, I feel like it's kind of a commercial movie where boys buy space toys and shoot in play, which of course leads to arguments about violent play-although I don't think it's nearly as commercial as Lilo and Stitch which most of you know I hate. It's a nice start adapting it from a literature book, but Treasure Island I find a weak book. There are some decent action scenes in the movie here and there, but not enough for me to consider it a classic.
I know a lot of Disney fans like this movie, but I put it pretty low on the list for a couple reasons. One, if you have read some of my past blogs, you'll recall that this film frightened me as a child. Second, I thought the CAPS 2-D animation from this point forward other than The Lion King was more for older kids or for adults as opposed to the older classics in the Nine Old Men era. I mean don't get me entirely wrong, I never hated its existence or anything like that. I did enjoy some of the characters like Genie, Jasmine and Jafar and there were classic Disney songs in there particularly A Whole New World and Friend Like Me. Unfortunately, there was a huge issue that harmed the film greatly; the Cave of Wonders, both inside and out. The cave-in lava scene scared me-at the time I thought it was the scariest Disney moment ever! Plus, CAPS lava and fire made me uncomfortable. I didn't mind the outside too much because I thought it was just another character, and Aladdin and Abu were safe on the magic carpet. However, once I learned that Aladdin didn't meet the Carpet until after he went in the tiger head's mouth, that's when it started scaring me. I mean come on-going inside a talking cave's mouth. That just shudders me! And those of you who have seen the movie know what happened to Gazeem and Aladdin when they both went in. But now that I am older, I have been able to tolerate this film more-mainly when the Genie enters the story. And like I said, I do like the characters and some of the songs. But like most Disney fans, I have NEVER forgotten childhood scars like....whatever that thing was!
You might be a little annoyed at me for this, but I put Hercules (slightly) over Aladdin on this list. While both films had similar comedic style, animation, epic-ness (and of course starred handsome hunks), there was not a creepy talking cave to scare me away. I did read the original greek myths, but some of the characters were not very likable-especially Hera. There was also too much death ressurection stuff I couldn't understand. I haven't watched this movie a lot as a kid but I did follow it with a MouseWorks book and of course the Animated Storybook. It had a somewhat traditional handsome hero, a damsel in distress, monsters to battle, and other enjoyable characters. I'd say I like the villains the best. Hades was funny when he babbled like an agent and Pain and Panic were GREAT henchmen. Most of the greek mythology stuff was like a fractured-greek-myth sort of thing like a pre-Shrek sort of thing. And you know that I love the first two Shrek films. I remember my cousin loved this movie when she was younger. I'd say this was one of the only post-Lion King hand drawn animated movies I enjoyed before....well, you know-it's decline.
#4: The Princess And The Frog
Speaking of which, that leads to The Princess And The Frog. Walt Disney Animation Studios films between Mulan and this film didn't interest me very well. Not to mention the public was investing more in computer animated films. The sad truth is, I'm one of those animated moviegoers who automatically preferred CGI animated films, Shrek 1 and 2, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and ESPECIALLY Kung Fu Panda to name a few. But I enjoyed this film because it was starting to retrace their classic fairy tale steps. That made me feel like it was okay to go for products and novelties from the good past. I have to admit though, I haven't enjoyed this films as much as I did when it came out. I guess it's because I feel like it's trying a little too hard-at least compared to it's further films like Frozen and Moana which feel more naturally flowing (see what I mean about my CGI comment?). Nowadays I don't think I can follow the money takeover loophole thing very easily. But hey, I'm personally grateful that it wasn't too bizarre or commercial like some of the past films. But when it comes to this film I still think Dr. Facilier is an enjoyable villain and I ESPECIALLY love Louis the alligator. I mean come on, how often do you come across an alligator or crocodile who's a good guy? So, while I don't like it as much I did in the past, I still do look at it fondly. It was the start of newly refound interest in new Walt Disney Animation Studios products.
#3: The Little Mermaid
Ok, you know all know the history of the Disney Renaissance. Films between The Jungle Book and this (minus Black Cauldron) were okay hits, but not spectacularly beloved like Snow White or Pinocchio. Then this film came, huge box office hit, critically acclaimed, awards for music, ecetera ecetera ecetera. I never feared this film as much as Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, but the scene where King Triton destroys the grotto did scare me on a medium level. Also keep in mind, there was the Disney Princess merchandise line. Back then, I thought this was meant to be a "girl's movie", and that I'd be made fun of if I watched/enjoyed this movie. So I couldn't get into this movie because of that gender crud. But of course, like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, I never hated its existence. There were some good songs and characters. Sebastian often reminds me of Jiminy Cricket and Bagheera. He's like a babysitter who is always trying to keep a naive character out of trouble. Ariel is pretty fun. She's sweet and she has an adventurous personality. Although a alot of ex-fans think she's a bad influence on girls; going to Ursula because she had a crush on a guy, putting her kingdom in danger, and still getting what she wanted in the end. I never found that a problem. It's not like she put her kingdom in danger on PURPOSE. Besides, it's a fairy tale, let the kids enjoy their fairy tales. Also, Ariel did protect her kingdom quite a lot in the prequel TV show. Infact, one could argue that she's a smarter character there than in the original. Similar to Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, I enjoy this film better than I did as a child, like a "cult-classic" sort of deal in my own way.
I never thought John and Ron would make a computer animated film, but this film proves me wrong. Most past films about culture haven't interested me greatly (mainly Pocahontas), probably because they always made me feel like I was in school. But this movie had so much more to offer! There was culture to it, good comedy that was not overdone, an epic adventure, enjoyable musical numbers, and great animation! It was funny to see the Ocean as its own character and I really liked Mini Maui playing off Maui. That is hand drawn animation that makes this film balanced for John and Ron.I loved the dialogue in this film, especially some of Moana and Maui's arguments off each other. Although the only thing that kind of bothered me was the fact that Pua the pig did not accompany Moana on her quest as advertised. I thought he was such a cute little guy! Oh well, I also liked Tamatoa's eye quote and Te Feti giving Maui that scowl. How often do you see Gods do that? I also have a little goddaughter who loves this movie and has sung the songs cutely. That's all I can say about the last film directed by John and Ron together.
I think you all know which one I have put at the top.
#1: The Great Mouse Detective
Yep, I've gotten too predictable nowadays. But I don't care! I love this movie too much! And besides, this was John and Ron's first Disney film directed together. And it was a good start back in 1986 (er, despite getting financially overshadowed by another certain mouse movie that I find decent but also mediocre) and of course it's decent critical and box-office success led to your beloved classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. As you know, I loved the characters, the orchestra, the Jim MacDonald cartoon sound effects used in this film, the moments, a boat load of things! It's also one of the few films where I can't picture people around me knitpicking at story flaws-like Mowgli being foolish for running away, Ariel for her actions in trying to get to Eric-things like that. Also, this film is one of the most perfect examples that I can think of that did NOT have any of that commercial influence on me during my childhood. There were no princesses, not "cool-action", not outer space, nothing like those! I thought it was a cute mouse movie told out of actual passion. That's one of the reasons why I was more of animal person as a kid. I don't think there' much else I can say. I've talked about this film SO MANY times on this Wiki. I just adore it! And The Great Mouse Detective was only the first animated film directed by Ron Clements on John Musker for years to come.
Thank you very much for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog on two of the greatest film directors of all time. I hope you liked this list. Take care.