So, let's kick this off with an edit to my original draft! I've had this idea 'sketched' out for quite a while (I write posts 1-3 months in advance of them going live) and then a few weeks ago I was tagged in a post by Jamie, which I think was originally started by Amy! Of course, I always feel the need to include a disclaimer of sorts so people don't think I'm a copy cat, as well as links to the people who have written similar things before me. It's a small world after all ;) and it's possible that we'll all come up with similar ideas at some point.
On with the show!
Disney 'eras' can be defined as unofficial, specific periods of time within the history of the Disney Animated Canon aka the original classics series. They are currently split into 7 sections/waves, separated by either breaks the studios took or dips in popularity, so to say, due to current events like wars or other important issues. Below is a little breakdown of each age or era and what they involve.
The Golden Age // 1937 - 1942
These movies are : Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi
For the most part, these movies are thought of as some of the darkest, evident in many scenes through out all of the movies but most prominently Pinocchio and Bambi. This, in my opinion, as well as other certain subjects within the movies make them not suitable for all ages but more suited to adults and older children - opposing most people's views of Disney being just for children.
This is my personal favorite era and not only just because it houses my favorite Princess!
The Package Era // 1943 - 1949
These movies are: Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
All of these movies are made up of shorts and although are widely known to be the least popular out of all of the current 54 classics, there really are some great gems in the mix.
My top pick from these is The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad which I love to watch around Halloween time as well as Fun and Fancy Free for obvious reasons!
The Silver Age // 1950 - 1959
These movies are: Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book
As you'll be able to tell from the popular titles above, these productions marked a turn in production - more amazingly done, feature length, higher budget animations. Evident in the painting-style scenes of Sleeping Beauty and the elaborate backgrounds in One Hundred and One Dalmatians, the Silver age was stunningly fantastical.
Personified, talking animals and creatures feature heavily through most of these movies mirroring, though moving forward from, the likes of Bambi from the Golden age.
Sadly this era ended with the loss of our beloved Walt. The last movie he personally worked on during the period that he fell ill was The Jungle Book.
I'm sure most people will agree it is rather difficult to choose a favorite from this bunch, but I think it'd be Alice!
The Bronze Age // 1960 - 1988
These movies are: The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver and Company
After the loss of Walt the studios apparently entered a decline which included a lot of trial and error, however, I personally believe these movies are very underrated. Many of them have the darker theme that we saw in the Golden age, so much so I would say they also aren't as suitable for younger children and are even still slightly scary in my eyes (The Black Cauldron anyone?).
Technological advances in the form of the introduction of xerography (essentially a method of dry photocopying) not only reduced the time and cost it took to make the movies, but gave them the 'black line' sketchy characteristic.
Similarly to the package era, the Bronze age didn't receive as much love as it's predecessor at the time, minus Winnie the Pooh.
Oliver and Company certainly stands out for me as a must see from this age, with a brilliant soundtrack to compliment the whole picture.
The Renaissance Era // 1989 - 1999
These movies are: The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan
The word 'renaissance', in this sense, means 'a revival of or renewed interest in something' so describes this wave to a tee. Obviously with these movies being between the years of '89 and '99, it's the era with some of the most popular movies for my generation and peers and is also regarded as the pinnacle point in Disney animation seeing great successes at the box office.
Being the first proper 'fairytale/Princess' movie for them, The Little Mermaid won many awards - particularly for it's soundtrack.
For me, The Lion King is one of the main movies I'm emotionally attached to from my childhood and I still have my Simba soft toy that I got in 1994 so that and the Rescuers are my top choices here.
The Post-Renaissance Era // 2000 - 2009
These movies are: Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, The Wild, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt
This is where these little lists can get a bit confusing as they differ from the US to the UK, 'Dinosaur' being excluded from the UK Disney Classics list and 'The Wild' being immitted from the US list. 'Dinosaur' was actually the studio's first attempt at CGI and so this began the transitional period from their traditional method of animation to computer generation which I think is so cool which is why I wish it was included in the UK canon.
So overall this is the era I favor least, Lilo and Stitch, Brother Bear and Bolt being the main three for me.
The Revival Era // 2010 - Present
These movies are: Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia
You're probably aware that the Revival era has only gone from strength to strength especially when it comes to 2013's Frozen. Nothing I can say will sum up it's continued success, even 3 years on from it's original premiere. A crazy $1.2 billion at the Box Office made it the highest-grossing animated feature of all time. It also received many awards!
A notable point to mention here is Winnie the Pooh from 2011 is actually #51 in the classics list for the US though doesn't appear in the UK line up.
Wreck it Ralph is my favorite so far from this era, including Zootopia (Zootropolis in the UK) which is not pictured as it isn't available on DVD yet obviously haha. The next scheduled release in the Disney Canon is Moana, in November this year, followed by Gigantic in March 2018.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Amy of Scariel's Grotto created a few tag question posts based on a few of these ages in animation, so make sure to pop over and check those out if you fancy it!
Thanks for reading!