Tonight it’s a triple feature as we take a look at the beginning of the Disney Renaissance with The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, and Beauty and the Beast.
The Little Mermaid is a very good film. Great songs, vibrant animation, and well written characters. While not everything has aged well, the stuff that works here really works. I do disagree with the whole Ariel solely becoming human for Prince Eric, she had a fascination with humans from the start, and it wasn’t until Triton destroyed her collection that really kicks it into overdrive. Ursula serves as a great villain, and Ariel’s animation when she becomes human can be pretty funny at times, especially during the dinner scene. Overall, a really good start to the renaissance, and a good way to end Disney’s 80s era.
The Rescuers Down Under is one of those theatrical sequels that should have been direct to DVD. The first one wasn’t even all that great. I’ll at least give the second one this, the animation of the flight sevens are good, and George C. Scott plays an intimidating villain, but aside from that, this did not do anything for me at all. It feels disjointed, it wants to be a Rescuers sequel, but it also wants to be this grand Crocodile Dundee type action movie, and it never finds a balance, it always feels like two different movies at war with each other.
Beauty and the Beast is a masterpiece. It’s not surprising to see it was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, the first and so far only animated movie to do this. It feels like a classic old school Disney fairy tale. A prince with no love in his heart is cursed to love and be loved before the last rose petal falls. Belle is a very interesting character, and so is the Beast. The side characters are all fun, and Gaston serves as a good arrogant villain. The opening songs is perfect at introducing us to the main character and the world she lives in. Much like Little Mermaid, I again disagree with the Belle has Stockholm Syndrome notion that some claim is here. I don’t think that’s the case. Belle is never treated like an actual prisoner, and it’s not like Belle was never allowed to leave the castle, she literally leaves it at one point. After Beats saves her, she realizes that Beast is more than well, a beast, and as their relationship grows, Beast realizes that there’s more to Belle than he previously thought. Every song is great, for that matter, and the animation is great and grand, the 4K remaster on Disney Plus makes this film look spectacular. But not only does this film look spectacular, it IS spectacular.
On to the Nightly.