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  1. #1

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    Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    I was watching a preview release of the Dumbo: Big Top Edition DVD that comes out June 6th (the overall package underwhelms, but more on that later). While marveling at the sheer inventiveness of “Pink Elephants on Parade” I started thinking about what are the best scenes in all of Disney animation. Not just the best movies or best songs (although great songs can and do make for great scenes), but the best individual moments that stand out from the great (and not so great) Disney movies they’re in.

    To keep this list under control (whittling it down to only ten seems a little cruel, doesn’t it?), I made a few ground rules: First, only one best scene per movie (otherwise Fantasia would make up five of my top ten). Second, the scenes must be from feature films (way too many shorts to choose from—and I love Goofy’s The Art of Skiing). Third, the scenes must be completely animated, no human interaction (good bye “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Jolly Holiday”). Fourth and finally, Disney only, no Pixar (see ya Monsters, Inc. door vault chase).

    So, here they are, Disneytim’s Top 10 All-Disney, All-Animated, All-Feature Length Scenes. Let the arguing begin!



    10. “Rhapsody in Blue” (Fantasia 2000) – The only new segment of the ill-conceived follow-up to Fantasia that Disney animators got right—and boy did they ever. At once a tribute to composer George Gershwin and cartoonist Al Hirschfeld, “Rhapsody” intertwines the hopes and aspirations of four Depression-era New Yorkers: a restless construction worker dreaming of playing drums in The Cotton Club; a down-on-his-luck mope in need of a job; a little girl, hustled by her governess from piano lesson to music lesson to swimming lesson, who only wants to spend time with her mom and dad; and a carefree husband stifled by his overbearing wife. Stylish, funny, poignant and joyful, “Rhapsody” captures the optimistic spirit of daydreamers everywhere.




    9. The Wildebeest Stampede (The Lion King) – Brilliant animation and sound editing create a scene that’s as exhilarating as it is disturbing. Young Simba’s uncle Scar lures him into the gorge where the hyenas start a stampede. As Simba’s father Mufasa struggles to rescue his son from the thundering wildebeests, Scar bides his time. When the moment comes to strike, Scar delivers a Shakespearean coup de gras that will make you gasp (voiced by Jeremy Irons, Scar’s “Long live the King” still chills). Seen mostly from Simba’s point of view, you’re not just looking at the stampede, you’re surrounded by it—and the end game is devastating.




    8. “Bella Notte” (Lady and the Tramp) – Who knew a mangy mutt nudging a meatball with his nose could be so romantic? Free-spirit Tramp takes refined Lady out for a night on the town his way. A stop at Tony’s Italian restaurant leads to the most heartwarming spaghetti dinner ever. Tony and his cook Joe serenade the canine couple as they eat and share that now famous strand of spaghetti. The evening ends as Lady and the Tramp take a moonlight stroll in the park surrounded by other loving couples and families. Sigh.




    7. Aladdin Meets the Genie of the Lamp (Aladdin) – The greatest entrance ever by a Disney character (“10,000 years will give you such a crick in the neck”). The Disney animators match Robin Williams’s rapid fire mind thought-by-frenetic-thought as he channels Ed Sullivan, Robert DeNiro, William F. Buckley, Jr., and countless other personalities into the magical blue Genie. The musical number “Friend Like Me” must be seen more than once just to catch everything that’s on screen. This scene inspired dozens of pop-culture heavy animated films like Shrek, Madagascar and Chicken Little—and no movie since Aladdin has done it as well.



    6. “Under the Sea” (The Little Mermaid) – Sung with tropical glee by Samuel E. Wright, this Menken/Ashman showstopper put Disney animation back on the map in the 1980’s and 90’s. As Sebastian the crab explains to Ariel the joys of ocean life, the screen fills with all manner of sea creatures singing and playing improvised musical instruments. The colors are vivid and the details exquisite down to the tiniest bubble. A joyous tour de force with Disney at the top of its game. “Under the Sea” won the Oscar for Best Original Song of 1989.



    5. “Pink Elephants on Parade” (Dumbo) – Dumbo gets a case of the hiccups and takes a drink from a water bucket laced with the circus clowns’ champagne. His buddy Timothy Mouse joins him and thus begins one of the most inventive animation segments ever created by Disney. In drunken revelry, Dumbo and Timothy see hallucinations of the titular elephants—and they’re not just pink. Some are spotted, some are striped. They play their trunks like trumpets. They step on and over each other. They march around the perimeter of the screen. They samba and dance a pas de deux. Fascinating to watch and even a little creepy, with a catchy tune you won’t be able to get out of your head.




    4. Ichabod Crane Meets the Headless Horseman (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad) – Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Cautiously, schoolmaster Ichabod Crane makes his way on horseback through the moonlit darkness of Sleepy Hollow. He’s heard the tale of the Headless Horseman, spun by Brom Bones, but it’s just a story, right? No evil apparition with a sword is going to cut off his head . . . . right? When Ichabod, tall, skinny, all arms and legs with a nose like a hawk, finally encounters the Headless Horseman, all terror and menace with a flowing crimson cape and that flaming jack-o-lantern, it’s one of the great chase scenes in movie history—but will we ever know what really happened to “Old Icky”?




    3. Jiminy Cricket Wishes on a Star (Pinocchio) – Is there a song in the Disney musical canon that brings as many chills as Cliff Edwards singing “When You Wish Upon a Star”? Heard over the opening credits, it segues into the first scene of an old Pinocchio storybook in spotlight. The spotlight moves up to highlight Jiminy Cricket sitting on a shelf, singing the final strains of the song. He hops down to open the storybook to the image of a starlit village. The camera zooms in and pans through the streets of the village before literally “hopping on over” to Geppetto’s shop. A scene of exquisite detail and depth never before seen in animation thanks to Disney’s revolutionary multiplane camera. And, oh, that song.




    2. Beauty and the Beast go Ballroom (Beauty and the Beast) – “When You Wish Upon a Star’s” emotional equivalent in Disney animation’s second golden age. A smitten Belle takes the tentative Beast onto the dance floor for a romantic and charming waltz. The camera sweeps from floor to ceiling and back again (how about that chandelier?) as the mismatched couple glides around the room. Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson had the hit single, but can anyone sing “Beauty and the Beast” like Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts? A serendipitous meeting of animation art, technical prowess and classic storytelling.





    1. “Night on Bald Mountain”/”Ave Maria” (Fantasia) – Walt Disney’s greatest animated masterpiece concludes with its greatest scene, a sublime juxtaposition of two entirely different pieces of music, Modest Moussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” and Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria.” Depicting “a struggle between the profane and the sacred,” the segment begins on Walpurgis Night, the Slavic equivalent to our Halloween. Chernobog, the god of evil and death, rises from the rocks atop Bald Mountain beckoning damned souls to gather and worship him. Vivid image after vivid image ensues: skeletal ghosts and ethereal witches drift from unconsecrated graves; winged harpies dart in and out; enflamed demons dance for Chernabog’s evil pleasure before he casts them into the eternal flames of Hell. Only as church bells toll with the coming of dawn is Chernobog driven back inside his rocky perch. Then, as the gentle strains of “Ave Maria” begin, we see a fog shrouded candlelight procession. Pilgrims are on their way to worship as sunrise through the trees takes on the appearance of a stained glass church window. The spirit of light has triumphed over the forces of evil.

    Best. Scene. Ever. Powerful and dramatic with stunning imagery and compelling music, "Night on Bald Mountain"/"Ave Maria" is the most profound piece of animation ever created--Disney's greatest moment.
    Last edited by disneytim; 06-04-2006 at 03:31 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Pretty good start; There are so many really good scenes(after all, this is Disney we are talking about) but if forced to narrow it down to just a few I would say Cinderella putting on the Glass slipper, Sleepy Beautys Prince battling the witch/dragon and the forest fire in Bambi would end in a three way tie.
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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    In no Particular Order:

    1. Ballroom Scene in Beauty and the Beast
    2. The Kiss in Sleeping Beauty
    3. God Help the Outcasts in Hunchback
    4. You Can Fly in Peter Pan
    5. I Can't Wait to be King in LIon King
    6. Dance of the Hours in the original Fantasia
    7. Pretty Pretty FLower in Bambi
    8. Fairygodmother in Cinderella
    9. A Whole New World in Aladin
    10. Under the Sea in Little Mermaid

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Great choices sleepy and cp (hey, that rhymes!).

    5. “Pink Elephants on Parade” (Dumbo) – Moved to post #1.
    Last edited by disneytim; 06-04-2006 at 03:21 PM.

  5. #5

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Let the arguing begin indeed- I totally disagree that Rhapsody in Blue is the only segment that they got right for Fantasia 2000. That movie was magic- and the Firebird Suite was amazing as well......

    Oh well.

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    All good choices! I have a few favorites and oddly, most have been from the past 10 years or so (spoiler warning?)

    1. In Lilo and Stitch 2 (I know, it was straight to video) when Lilo puts a flower on Stitch after he 'dies' and says to him "You were my whole Ohana."

    2. In Lilo and Stitch when Stitch leaves for the forrest with the Ugly Duckling book.

    3. The end of Brother Bear when Kenai puts his paw print next to those of his anscestors.

    4. Tarzan's fight with Sabor... especially the end!

    5. The "I'm Still Here" montage in Treasure Planet where Jim Hawkin's is abandoned by his dad. The shot of his mother crying at the table is very powerful.

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by Nephythys
    Let the arguing begin indeed- I totally disagree that Rhapsody in Blue is the only segment that they got right for Fantasia 2000. That movie was magic- and the Firebird Suite was amazing as well......

    Oh well.
    Indeed, I also loved the "Pomp and Circumstance" section with Donald Duck and Daisy.


    BTW, a truly favorite Disney story of mine is the Baby Weems story in The Reluctant Dragon. I love the way they tell it with storyboards!

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    One of my all time favorites is the scene in Mulan where she makes the decision to go in her fathers place. The music, the way the scene takes place without dialogue, the beauty of the animation and the emotion you feel in that short scene is very moving and powerful. IMO.

  9. #9

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by Nephythys
    One of my all time favorites is the scene in Mulan where she makes the decision to go in her fathers place. The music, the way the scene takes place without dialogue, the beauty of the animation and the emotion you feel in that short scene is very moving and powerful. IMO.
    Definitely ^^^

    Also, I have to say I immediately think of the ballroom scene in BatB when I saw this thread's title. Especially the ceiling.

    As well, the Circle of Life is possibly the most moving scene in any Disney film - ever.

    But my own favourite scene? Transformation, in BatB. The shimmering colored sparkles paired with the music which makes the hairs on your neck stand tall - awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedway

    As well, the Circle of Life is possibly the most moving scene in any Disney film - ever.
    Oh gods yes- that final down note when the title comes in gives me freaking shivers!

  11. #11

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Mustafa
    Um, it's Mufasa. Mustafa was one of the villians in Austin Powers (the guy wearing the fez).

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Hmmmm. I really don't care that much of scenes from more recent cartoons. The older shows are what really make the magic.

    When the hag offers Snow White the apple
    Steamboat Wille (where Mickey is at the wheel)
    Hercules fighting the hydra
    Jack skellington on the moonlit hill (if stop-motion is allowed)
    Mickey with his Sorcerer's hat in the original fantasia
    Alice at the tea party
    Roger singing/playing Cruela's song
    Jimney Cricket's "When You Wish Upon a Star"
    That trademark blue screen with shooting star creating a half-circle above the castle

    These are just of the few that come to mind. Many have already been stated in previous posts. I couldn't say the top 10 at this moment, but they all have probably already been mentioned.

  13. #13

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Darn, can't think of a full top 10 at the moment. But Sorcerer's Apprentice and Firebird Suite are totally in there though.
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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster
    Um, it's Mufasa. Mustafa was one of the villians in Austin Powers (the guy wearing the fez).
    ACCCCKKKK!!!!! I totally didn't catch that.

    It's fixed now.

    That was embarrassing.

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    Re: Best. Scenes. Ever. Disneytim’s Top 10 Moments in Disney Feature Animation

    Those are great! Some of the ones that might not get notice are when General Shang puts his fathers sword and helmet in the ground in Mulan and when John Smith first encounters Pocohontas.

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