Dan: Your three favorite internet debaters wrote this article in our off time at PAX Prime, so you can all warm your collective hearts to the mental image of me writing this in my Spider-Man boxers. Deal with it, that image is in there. I have to say, with this being my first expo of any type, this is one fun son of a gun on a bun. Pretty cool way to meet people who share similar interests, and debate geek culture with them. It's like No Right Answer every 10 minutes and I don't have to do any editing.
How do you define "Best" when talking about Disney films? Is it which one works for both children and adults, girls and boys? Is it which one is both critically acclaimed and entertaining for the masses? Is it in which one Disney decided not to kill a parent figure? We actually asked several groups of people here what their answers were, and the results were identical to the comment sections for the video. Nobody could agree on which was best, mostly because they couldn't get past their own loyalties to ones they watched when they were young. Perhaps if we interviewed a local group of all the same age clones, we might be able to find an answer, but even then it wouldn't apply to anyone else. This is one of those debates that really brings out the emotional fight in people, and I love it.
On to the points, before the busty mistress that is PAX calls me back for another round in the sack ...
Kyle sang a song and got the first point with the argument of villains. I think one thing everyone can agree on in regards to Disney films is that they know how to make you love to hate. Between Ursula, Jafar, and the myriad of others, Disney knows a fun villain. What made Beauty and the Beast so interesting is that Gaston is not the one stopping Belle from reaching her goals until the very end of the film. He doesn't even try to hurt the Beast until the last 10 minutes, with the majority of the film showing him dealing with being rejected by Belle and getting his groove back. Beast, on the other paw, is the one who imprisoned Belle at the beginning, yells at her when she disobeys him, and from whom most of the conflict arises. Making a film where the antagonist is also the secondary protagonist is really novel, and shows some storytelling chops.
Chris got the next point because of Robin Williams. Oh, you want more, baby birds? Oh, I'll feed you. Go onto IMDB.com and flip through the man's work history. Try to find a film that you think Robin was funnier in than Aladdin. Can't do it. Now think of a short list of great comedians. Robin is probably on there, right? So if one of the great comedians does his best work in a Disney film where he's basically allowed to do whatever he wants, it's going to be a fan favorite. The sequel to Aladdin and TV series didn't feature him, but the third film did. He actually came back to a series that he had since left because the character what just that good. That's something special.
Kyle comes back with his Yiddish words and gets another point because I loves me some Yiddish. No ... well I do, but that's not why he got the point. He got it because Beauty and the Beast is absolutely an ensemble piece. Mr. Clock, Candlestick man, the old lady tea pot, Chip ... they're basically what's left of Beast's humanity. In that sense, they also function as a main protagonist because breaking the Mcguffin-curse is in their interest too. It should have been called Beauty and Everyone-In-That-Castle. Having a group of people instead of an individual as striving for the end goal makes the story richer. Imagine if Flounder, Sebastian and all of Ariel's sisters also got turned into mute humans, and everyone was trying to get her to kiss the prince. Different movie, is all I'm saying.
Chris got a point for the shear magnetic pull of every character in Aladdin, which is pretty staggering. People can say that Genie was the core, but think about this: Did you like Carpet? Realizing that Carpet didn't talk, years before the first half of Wall-E was celebrated for doing the same, having a completely silent character that didn't even make noises really speaks to the story telling that was going on. You have Gilbert the parrot trying his hardest to out-funny the Genie, you have Jafar being evil yet charismatic, and you have the King being so plush and kind ... I could go on. Every character that has lines or don't brought their A-game. Everyone tried to steal the show and it feels like they all succeeded. We win in that fight for sure.
I didn't award points for the mentions of music because both movies have iconic songs and they cancel each other out. What did deserve a point is Kyle's final argument that Beauty and the Beast was indirectly responsible for Pixar. Many of you have commented that it wasn't the first film to use computer generated effects. While that is true to some extent, Beauty and the Beast was the first to really go all out. By that I mean an entire background and set with a virtual moving camera was used to create a romantic, sweeping musical number that showed the greater viewing audience that this was a new way to animate. Other movies may have had aspects or effects that were made on a computer, but this was the first film that was critically acclaimed for the usage.
Now we have Pixar which, in my opinion, will be regarded as the source of childhood classics for the next generation that these two films are in ours. Now I have to go have my son watch The Lion King, because evidently all of you like it. Why are you so hung up on fathers dying? It's scary. I'm a father. Do you want me dead? Are you my uncle? I don't have a brother. No, none of this is adding up.