Reviews / 05.08.2020

By the mid-1980s, Walt Disney Feature Animation was on its last legs. After the catastrophic box office failure of 1985's ambitious disaster The Black Cauldron, many within the Disney studio feared the once-illustrious animation department was on the verge of being shut down. It would take the herculean efforts of a dream team of collaborators to resurrect Disney animation and it would be spearheaded by a man whose influence was compared to Walt Disney himself. Arriving almost three decades after songwriter Howard Ashman's tragic premature death, Howard is a...

The House of Mouse Project / 05.06.2020

After 58 days and 58 films, The House of Mouse Project has drawn to a close. A dizzying journey through the soaring highs and crushing lows of Disney animation, the project has been a beautiful distraction from the uncertainties of the world. As initially promised, it's time to rank all 58 films and uncover which Disney animated film is the greatest of all time. Place your bets, it's time to start the countdown. 58. Home on the Range (2004) - full article Well, there has to be a low point,...

The House of Mouse Project / 03.06.2020

The one that strengthened a phenomenon. After 2013's Frozen became the highest-grossing animated film of all time, a genuine cultural phenomenon, the calls for a seemingly inevitable sequel began to grow. Fellow animation studios like Pixar and DreamWorks had been crafting successful follow-ups to their most popular animated films for years, but Disney had long resisted the urge to greenlight theatrical sequels for any of their 21st-century films, namely due to the mistakes of the past. In the 90s and early 00s, Disney had actually been consistently churning out sequels...

The House of Mouse Project / 02.06.2020

The one that proved Disney could do self-deprecation. Sequels are a dime a dozen in the animated genre. From Shrek to Toy Story to The Lego Movie, if an animated feature film performs even remotely well at the box office, a follow-up is all but assured. But in their eight-decade history, Walt Disney Animation Studios had essentially ignored this practice, with 1990's The Rescuers Down Under oddly standing as the only animated sequel in their canon (I don't consider Fantasia 2000 and Winnie the Pooh to technically be sequels...

The House of Mouse Project / 01.06.2020

The one that felt like a breath of fresh air. When Walt Disney premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, he also inadvertently (or possibly entirely intentionally) launched one of Disney's most successful pseudo film franchises and merchandise lines; the Disney Princesses. In more recent decades, the very definition of what constituted a typical Disney princess character had been pushed outside the limited box of Disney's earlier princess films. While the earlier Disney princesses were little more than one-dimensional lovesick damsels in distress like Snow White, Cinderella, and...

The House of Mouse Project / 31.05.2020

The one that dared to tackle bigotry. One of the cornerstones of the decades of Disney animated films has been crafting adorable talking animal characters that not only capture the hearts of audiences but also lend themselves to an endless stream of profitable merchandise. Whether it was a cute baby circus elephant in Dumbo, a family of jazz-loving felines in The Aristocats, or two dogs forming an unlikely romance in Lady and the Tramp, Disney consistently fell back on its tried and true formula of placing animals at the...

The House of Mouse Project / 30.05.2020

The one that fused Marvel Comics with Disney animation. In 2008, the release of Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe in spectacular fashion. After years of DC Comics heroes like Batman and Superman dominating the cinematic landscape, Marvel was suddenly everywhere you looked and The Walt Disney Company wanted a piece of the action. In late 2009, CEO Bob Iger purchased Marvel Entertainment for a staggering $4 billion and the studio subsequently acquired the distribution rights for future Marvel Studios films. After the acquisition, Iger encouraged the entire company...

The House of Mouse Project / 29.05.2020

The one that became a cultural phenomenon. Let it go. Three little innocuous words that took on a new life of their own post-2013. The history of Disney animation is dotted with films and characters that captured the pop culture zeitgeist, but none quite like the unprecedented phenomenon that was Frozen. With box office figures, soundtrack sales, and merchandise revenue not seen since the early 1990s, Frozen was the cultural sensation Disney had been chasing for the better part of two decades. While it inevitably became nauseatingly overexposed, it...

The House of Mouse Project / 28.05.2020

The one that took a leaf out of Pixar's playbook. When Pixar animator/director John Lasseter became the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006, he went searching for new projects to push the studio into new territory outside their traditional princess fairy tale fare. In his hunt for something unlike anything Disney had previously produced, he stumbled across a promising project that had been stuck in development hell for over 15 years. In the late 1980s, Disney began developing an animated action-adventure set inside the chaotic world...

The House of Mouse Project / 27.05.2020

The one that brought an era to a close. Throughout its seven decades of animated features and shorts, Walt Disney Animation Studios had created some of the most indelible icons in pop culture history. While it was all started by a mouse named Mickey, Disney's cavalcade of animated stars had ballooned to dozens upon dozens of adorable animals, brave heroes, and nefarious villains. But if there was one character to challenge Mickey's status as the face of the studio, it was undoubtedly that chubby little cubby all stuffed with...