Disney Animated Classics: A Great Christmas Tradition Part Two

In my last article, I shared some of my memories of seeing some Disney animated films that released right around the Holidays. This has been an on and off tradition going back to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” that has been interchanged with summertime releases. I left off last time with some memories of “Beauty and the Beast” so I’ll pick up from there.

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November 25, 1992 we were given the opportunity to visit a warmer climate in Disney’s “Aladdin”. I remember it was a cool fall day on the Saturday that I journeyed to see this movie. I had high expectations with Robin Williams playing the genie, and I only vaguely remembered the story of Aladdin from an old read along cassette tape and book set I had when I was just a lad of six or seven. This movie had a very different story from the traditional one told in the classic “1001 Arabian Nights” and of course featured a lesson about being yourself.

Although the movie treats the prince wish as Aladdin in disguise, I always thought that if you wished to be a prince and had that wish granted by a genie, then you really were a prince, period. There was no deception other than telling everyone that you weren’t born into being a prince. The original tale saw Aladdin amassing a great fortune with the help of more than one genie, so having him become a legitimate prince is not a far stretch.

Clearly, Robin Williams stole this show and friends in high school were set upon quoting the Genie to impress friends. His contribution cannot be understated to this film.

The next year began a switch as Touchstone released “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on October 29, 1993. This was as close as we’d get to a Disney holiday release for the next six years. Disney began releasing films over the summer, and PIXAR was given the usual holiday spot. Perhaps later I’ll take the time to go over some of these hit films released by some of Disney’s outside companies and partnerships, but for now we jump ahead.

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“Fantasia 2000” released on December 17, 1999 carrying on the idea that Walt Disney himself had wanted to add new pieces to the classic “Fantasia” film. I remember this film released in IMAX theaters and was hoped to be big event release. I wasn’t very interested in this release, although I do enjoy it whenever I pull the DVD off the shelf. There is a delightful piece where flamingos dance around one of them playing with a yo-yo that has me laughing every time I see it.

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“The Emperor’s New Groove” debuted on December 15, 2000 continuing in the vein of great Disney animated comedies. Though there is a notable musical number at the beginning featuring the legendary Tom Jones, this was not the animated musicals we’d come to enjoy year after year. This movie is perhaps less thought of by movie goers, but it’s heartfelt comedy gold. Patrick Warburton gives a stand-out performance as Cronk and we’ll never forget Eartha Kitt hollering, “Wrong lever!”

That’s all the time we have for today, but I’ll share more memories very soon!

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