Disney Animation: Trivia Fun, Part 4

Disney Animation: Trivia Fun, Part 4

Walt Disney Studios proudly presents its 50th animated feature, Tangled, which opened Thanksgiving weekend to rave critical reviews and a strong $48.8 million opening weekend, just shy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One’s second weekend haul of $49.1 million.

If you are like me and you grew up with the best of Disney dominating your movie shelf (The Lion King, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Bambi, etc), you may still have a hard time naming 25 of these animated films, much less all 50. Below is the full list of Disney’s Animated Classics, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Tangled, with trivia about each film.

Part 4 of 5 (Aladdin through The Emperor’s New Groove)

Screenshot from Disney's Aladdin (1992)

31. Aladdin (1992)

  • The film is based on the Arab folktale of Aladdin and the magic lamp from One Thousand and One Nights (also known as Arabian Nights)
  • One of the controversial versus of the opening song “Arabian Nights” (Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face / It’s barbaric, but, hey, it’s home) was changed (Where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense / It’s barbaric, but, hey, it’s home) on home video releases following protests from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
  • Because of a conflict with Walt Disney Studios, Robin Williams did not voice the Genie in the first direct-to-video sequel, The Return of Jafar (1994), but later rejoined the cast in the second sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), inspired by the tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”
  • A musical theater adaptation of the film is in the works and set to premiere in Seattle in 2011

Screenshot from Disney's The Lion King (1994)

32. The Lion King (1994)

  • The film still holds the record of the highest grossing 2D animated film of all time with more than $783 million at the international box office
  • The film won Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (“Can You Feel the Love Tonight”) and is one of three Disney animated films to win the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, along with Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Toy Story II (1999)
  • Although the filmmakers claim that Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” inspired the original story, there has been controversy over whether the film actually borrowed characters and thematic elements from a popular 1960s Japanese animated series, Kimba the White Lion
  • The infamous wildebeest stampede during which Mufasa falls to his death took animators more than two years to create using computer animation
  • The hit Broadway musical The Lion King is one of the longest running Broadway shows of all time (currently at #7), with more than 5,500 performances since its 1997 premiere

Screenshot from Disney's Pocahontas (1995)

33. Pocahontas (1995)

  • The first Disney animated film to be based on a historical figure
  • Hollywood megastar Mel Gibson voiced the lead John Smith while a young Christian Bale (who would later play John Rolfe in The New World) voiced Thomas, a settler and friend of John Smith
  • The prolific voice actor Frank Welker voiced Pocahontas’ pet hummingbird Flit as well as numerous other Disney animal characters including Abu (Aladdin films and TV series), Pegasus (Hercules film and TV series), Mulan’s horse Khan (Mulan), and Lucifer the Cat (Cinderella II and III),
  • This was famed Broadway lyricist Stephen Schwartz’s first Disney animated film; he would later also write the lyrics for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) and Enchanted (2007)

Screenshot from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1997)

34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

  • Based on the classic novel by French writer Victor Hugo, the kid-friendly Disney adaption spared the lives of several characters who died in the book, including Quasimodo and Esmeralda (voiced by actress Demi Moore)
  • Two of the three featured gargoyles in the film, Victor and Hugo, were named in honor of the novelist
  • Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander voiced the gargoyle Hugo as well as characters in several other Disney projects, including Abis Mal in The Return of Jafar (1994) and the Aladdin TV series, and Poseidon in (1997) and its spin-off series
  • The film was adapted into a gothic German musical, Der Glöckner von Notre Dame, which ran for three years from 1999 to 2002

Screenshot from Disney's Hercules (1997)

35. Hercules (1997)

  • Although most of the characters based on mythological figures use their Greek names (Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, etc), Hercules is actually the Roman name for the Greek demigod Heracles
  • The direct-to-video prequel Hercules: Zero to Hero (1998) served as an introduction to Hercules: The Animated Series, which takes place when Hercules is in school at Prometheus Academy while in training to be a hero
  • When Hercules poses for a portrait in a lion’s skin, the skin is the pelt of Scar from The Lion King (1994)
  • When Pain and Panic are trapped under a boulder in the guise of kids, they yell for someone to call “I, X, I, I” which are the Greek numerals for 911, an emergency number used in the United States

Screenshot from Disney's Mulan (1998)

36. Mulan (1998)

  • The film is one of several adaptations of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, the most recent being a live action film starring Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s (2000) Zhang Ziyi, which is scheduled for release in 2011
  • Broadway star Lea Salonga provided the singing voice of Mulan in Mulan and its sequel, Mulan II (2005), as well as the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in Aladdin (1992)
  • Pop singer Christina Aguilera’s first song released in the US was a pop version of “Reflection” from the film’s soundtrack, which led to Aguilera’s being offered a recording contract with RCA Records
  • The writing on the polished stones in Mulan’s father’s temple are the names of the animators who worked on the film, written in ancient Chinese

Screenshot from Disney's Tarzan (1999)

37. Tarzan (1999)

  • Along with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes is one of the most adapted stories of all times, and as the novel now belongs to the public domain, many more adaptations are likely
  • The last film belonging to the period known as the Disney Renaissance, a decade of critically and commercially successful films that began with 1989’s The Little Mermaid
  • The film’s animators created an award-winning 3D painting and rendering technique known as Deep Canvas which allows 3D brushstrokes to look like traditional paintings and was used again in Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and Treasure Planet (2002)
  • The moves of pro skateboarder Tony Hawk were used as inspiration for animating Tarzan sliding skillfully down a log

Screenshot from Disney's Fantasia 2000 (2000)

38. Fantasia 2000 (2000)

  • Made 60 years after the original, Fantasia 2000 is the only sequel other than 1990’s The Rescuers Down Under to be included in Disney’s Animated Classics cannon of films
  • The film features compositions by the composers Ludwig van Beethoven, Ottorino Respighi, George Gershwin, Dmitri Shostakovich, Camille Saint-Saëns, Paul Dukas, Edward Elgar, and Igor Stravinsky, as well as one animated segment from the original film: the famous Mickey Mouse short, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
  • Joe Grant, who was credited in story direction on the original Fantasia (1940), conceived “The Carnival of Animals” segment in Fantasia 2000 and worked in the writing, animation, and art departments of numerous other Disney films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) through Home on the Range (2004), before his death in 2005 at age 96
  • Unveiled just after the clock struck midnight on December 31st, 1999, Fantasia 2000 was the first film of the new millennium, and the first feature-length animated film released exclusively in the IMAX format
  • Early trailers for the film showed an excerpt from “The Nutcracker Suite”, but the segment was later cut from the film before its release

Screenshot from Disney's Dinosaur (2000)

39. Dinosaur (2000)

  • The film was originally written without the dinosaurs having any dialogue to distinguish it from The Land Before Time series, but that decision was later overruled by Disney CEO Michael Eisner
  • To achieve the look of the film, live action backgrounds (including a number of Venezuelan landscapes) were combined with computer generated characters
  • This was composer James Newton Howard’s first score for a Disney animated feature, followed shortly by scores for 2001’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire and 2002’s Treasure Planet
  • The “Countdown to Extinction” ride at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park was re-themed and re-named “DINOSAUR” and uses a track identical to Disneyland’s “Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye” ride

Screenshot from Disney's The Emperor's New Groove (2000)

40. The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

  • Early in development, the film was called Kingdom of the Sun and featured a storyline in which the spoiled Emperor switched places with a look-alike peasant, inspired by Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper
  • Pacha’s wife Chicha is pregnant for most of the film, and according to the DVD commentary, ths was the first time a pregnant woman was featured in a Disney animated feature film
  • Llama imagery appears throughout the film, from a cactus that becomes llama-shaped after the potion is poured on it, to llama-shaped salt and pepper shakers
  • A direct-to-video sequel, Kronk’s New Groove was released in 2005, followed shortly by The Emperor’s New School, an animated series set during Emperor Kuzco’s school-aged years

See also:
Part 1 of 5 (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs through Melody Time)
Part 2 of 5 (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad through The Aristocats)
Part 3 of 5 (Robin Hood through Beauty and the Beast)
Part 4 of 5 (Aladdin through The Emperor’s New Groove)
Part 5 of 5 (Atlantis: The Lost Empire through Tangled)

February 26, 2011 - Latest News, Movies - Read More

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