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Greatest Disney Fairy Tale Classics (Volume 2)

Over the years, Disney has successfully created unforgettable images of well-loved fairy tale heroes, as well as producing their own new stories with appealing and lovable characters. And though 3D animation is presently the most popular form of animation, we cannot set aside the fact that we grew up with the traditional ones, had been fascinated with them, and had truly loved them. I had previously presented the first volume of Greatest Disney Fairy Tale Classics with the tales of the five Disney princesses. But Disney is not all about princesses and girly tales, there are tales about pirates and animals and sword-fighting that boys alike would love. Well, here are more of the best and memorable Disney classic fairy, or I should I say magical, tales.

Pinocchio. First released in February 7, 1940, Pinocchio is the second animated film produced by Walt Disney, next to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is based on a story by Carlo Collodi entitled The Adventures of Pinocchio. 

In the beginning, Geppetto, an old wood-carver makes a wish on a falling star that Pinocchio his wooden marionette boy would become a real boy. That night while he is sleeping, the Blue Fairy appears and grant Geppeto’s wish. She brings life to Pinocchio, yet, he remains as a puppet. The only way he would become a real boy is if he can prove himself to be brave, truthful and unselfish. But Pinocchio is such a naughty boy that through the course of the story, he is abducted several times and faces many misadventures. When will he learn to be truthful and unselfish? Will he finally become a real boy?
At its initial release, Pinocchio was a financial success only in the United State. This is because the film’s release in Europe and Asia was delayed because of World War II. Despite this, the film received generally positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a positive rating of 100%. In 2008, the American Film Institute (AFI) acknowledged the film as the second best animated film of all time, next to Snow White. The film’s theme song, “When You Wish Upon a Star”, was also well-loved and multi-awarded.

Dumbo. This film is based on the storyline written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. It was released on October 23, 1941 and was the fourth animated film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. 

In a particular circus, Mrs. Jumbo the elephant receives her baby from a stark and named him Jumbo Jr. The baby elephant is unique because of his large ears that the other elephants taunt him and nickname him “Dumbo.”He grows up being ridiculed, and because he regularly fails elephant stunts due to his ears, he is made a clown. One day, Dumbo wakes up in a tree and soon discovers he can fly with his large ears if he holds the “magic feather”.  Back at the circus, Dumbo must perform his stunt of jumping from a high building. However, Dumbo loses the feather while he is falling. What will happen to Dumbo? Will Dumbo be able to fly on his own? Will he finally redeem his pride?

Dumbo is one of Disney’s shortest animated films at 64 minutes time.  Despite its simplicity and economy of production, the film was able to recoup the financial failure of Fantasia, Disney’s third film.  Both audience and critics love the film. The humble and simple little elephant has successfully touched the hearts of everyone.

Peter Pan.  Based on the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by J.M. Barrie, the film is released in 1953 and is the fourteenth in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. Like other Disney adaptations, some portions of the original story were altered to lighten it and make it friendlier to the young audience. 

The film is about the adventures of Peter Pan and the Darling siblings in the Never Land. One night in the neighborhood of Bloomsbury, Edwardian London, John, Michael and Wendy are visited by Peter Pan who teaches them to fly and later takes them to the island of Never Land. There they meet the mermaids, the Indians, the Lost Boys, and Peter Pan’s long-time enemy – Captain Hook with his band of pirates. What adventures will they encounter? Will the Darlings go home?

Peter Pan was the highest-grossing film of 1953 and was a huge commercial success for Walt Disney so it was re-released in 1958, 1969, 1976, 1982, and 1989. In 1953, it was also entered into the Cannes Film Festival. Moreover, Michael Jackson had cited Peter Pan as his favorite movie of all time, from which he derived the name for his estate, Neverland Ranch. A sequel titled Return to Never Land and a prequel titled Tinker Bell were released in 2002 and 2008, respectively.

The Jungle Book. Released in 1967, this film is the 19th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It is inspired by the book of Rudyard Kipling of the same name, though the Disney version has veered far away from the original story.

In the beginning, there is a baby in a basket found in the deep jungles of Madhya Pradesh, India. He is Mowgli. Bagheera, the black panther who discovers the boy, takes him to an Indian Wolf who raises him along with her cubs. Ten years later, Mowgli has become a grown boy and is then threatened by the return of Shere Khan, a man-eating Bengal tiger, to the jungle. The animals realize that Mowgli must be protected and so Bagheera volunteers to escort him back to the “man village”. But going to the “man village” will be a long journey. What adventures await Mowgli along the way? What friends and enemies will they encounter? Will Mowgli reach the “man village”?

The Jungle Book is the last movie to be produced by Walt Disney (the man himself) who died during its production. Incidentally, the movie opened with huge success ten months after his death. The movie received generally positive reviews from critics and its musical numbers were well-loved by audiences.

Aladdin. This is the 31st animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It is released in 1992, and is based on the Arabian folktale Aladdin and the Magic Lamp from “One Thousand and One Nights.” 

In the fictional kingdom of Agrabah, there lived a beautiful daughter of Sultan named Jasmine. One day while she is in the marketplace disguised as a common citizen, she meets street rat Aladdin and his monkey Abu. When Aladdin is captured and jailed for thievery, Jasmine orders his release, but Jafar, Grand Vizier to the Sultan, lies by telling her that Aladdin has already been executed. Moreover, Jafar tricks Aladdin into stealing a magical oil lamp from the Cave of Wonders. But Aladdin discovers the deception and manages to sneak the lamp from Jafar. When Aladdin rubs the lamp, the Genie comes out and offers him three wishes. What will Aladdin wish for? Wealth and prestige? Jasmine’s love? Or the Genie’s freedom? And will Jafar stand in his way?

Aladdin was the most successful film in the box office of 1992. As of 2010, it is the eighteenth highest grossing animated film and the third highest grossing traditionally animated feature worldwide, behind The Lion King and The Simpsons Movie. The film also received generally positive response, with 7.9/10 average score at Rotten Tomatoes. Personally, this is one of my most favorite Disney films of all time, and I particularly love the characters of Abu, the Magic Carpet and the Genie. Moreover, the movie’s theme song “A Whole New World” had gathered numerous awards, making it equally great and unforgettable to other Disney music. Due to its success, two sequels had been created – “Return of Jafar” and “Aladdin and the King of Thieves.”

The Lion King. Released in 1994, The Lion King is the 32nd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics. It is one of Disney’s original creations and its creation was influenced by Bible stories of Joseph and Moses, the Epic of Sundiata and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. 

Simba is the only child of lion King and Queen, Mufasa and Sarabi. Scar, Mufasa’s younger brother, has always wanted to have the kingship and he is displeased with the new heir. One day, through the help of some ruthless hyenas, Scar finally realizes his secret plot to kill his father. Mufasa falls off a gorge after rescuing Simba. Scar blames Simba for his death which drives the young lion off the Pride Lands. Eventually, Scar declares himself ruler of the land. Years later, Simba has grown up to be a strong lion, yet he still feels the guilt. Until he sees again Nala, a childhood friend. Will he go back to Pride Lands? Will he learn the truth about his father’s death? Will he finally become, as he should be, the lion King?

The Lion King is a huge success for Walt Disney. It is the highest grossing film worldwide in 1994, and is one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time (actually highest for all 2D animated films). It is also highly-acclaimed as critics love it. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an approval rating of 92%, while Metacritic gave it a score of 84. It was also hailed by the American Film Institute as the 4th best animated films of all time. The movie and its soundtracks, especially Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, had gathered several nominations and wins in different award-giving bodies, including the Academy, Golden Globe, Annie, and Grammy Awards.

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