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Headscratchers / Disney Animated Canon

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  • Are the classic Disney shorts and the Disney Animated Canon films in the same universe? Could you take into account any cameos from film to film (e.g. Belle in Hunchback)? Can stuff like Disneyland's Phillar Magic, that old canadian short with Pinocchio, Snow White and others and basic events where Mickey is seen with Disney films (including Disney products) count? There is House of Mouse, but that might take place in Toontown which, like Roger Rabbit, would take place outside of the shorts and films. Same with Stitch's appearances in films unless they're breaking the fourth wall (?). And Kingdom Hearts is a alternate universe...

  • Is it just me, or do all these animated films seem to have its pacing really pick up in the last third of the movie? After the nice pace of so many of the movies, why is it that some of them feel rather rushed towards the end?
    • The 90's Disney movies have been criticized for being formulaic; whether they are or not is up for discussion, but what is known is that they are always divided in three acts; Act I (there is no issue yet), Act II (the issue arises and creates a dangerous conflict / the villain steps in and endangers the heroes) and Act III (the hero deals with the villain / the lingering danger in an action sequence). Bonus points if before Act I, there's an introduction that tells the tragic tale of how the story came to be (in Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan...). So I guess your explanation is that the third acts would always have to violently deal with the villain/the issue and complete it quickly enough to not drag out, after the nice pacing and story build-up usually seen in Act II.
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    • As additional proof, the third acts don't usually last long. Pocahontas for example had it's third act pretty much stretched out over the course of Savages. Presumably the ones that took the longest are Hunchback and Beauty and the Beast.
    • Renaissance Disney movies that fit into this three-act "cliché" are listed in the note. note 

  • How come almost every Disney villain has to die? I mean there's the unspoken rule that most Disney villains have to die.
    • Almost every villain in almost every movie dies.
      • Lady Tremaine, Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil, and Governor Ratcliffe all survived their movies. They were defeated, yes, but none of them died. In addition, none of the villains from Pinocchio died.
      • As did Hans and the Duke of Weselton from Frozen (2013).
      • Villains in Disney movies getting killed is not as common as you might think, in fact it only seems to have become the norm during their 90s renaissance (and even there it's not an absolute rule, as Jafar, Ratcliffe and Hades can attest to). In fact, the only central villains to die before then from what I can gather were the Evil Queen, Maleficent, the Horned King, Ratigan and Sykes. Survivors from before that period include Honest John and Gideon, Stromboli, the Coachman, Monstro, the Headless Horseman, Lady Tremaine, the Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, Cruella de Ville, Madam Mim, Shere Khan, Prince John, Madame Medusa and Amos Slade.
      • On the subject of the Queen of Hearts, it can be argued that since it was All Just a Dream she in a sense "died" (along with anyone who wasn't Alice, her sister or Dinah) the moment Alice woke up. The idea of dream characters ceasing to be on waking was explored in Through the Looking-Glass.
      • Some of the pretendedly dead were also retconned to have survived: namely, the Evil Queen. An Italian Snow White comic by Romano Scarpa explains how she used her powers to make the rock disappear, and survived the mere falling with only some injuries, thanks to bushes beneath her. Yes the Vultures flied for her… And then ? They were wrong ! Also, she can't become the Evil Queen anymore; she understands too late that the spell that made her a old hag was irreversible also explains retrospectively all these comics of the fifties with the Witch. Maleficent was revived in a children's illustrated books. Rattigan too has been revealed in Italian comics to have fortunately fallen in the Thames instead of on full ground, and survived. Then you have the villains whose death is off-screen and deniable by fans who don't like it. For instance, Scar. You can think that after all the Hyenas just thrashed him without too seriously harming him ?

  • My officially bought reg 2 3d-blu ray of Wreck-It Ralph states on its spine that it is the 51st Disney Animated Feature, the list on the main page says 52nd. What is going on here? Is there an animated feature that doesn't count in Europe or something?
    • I know some countries leave either Dinosaur or Winnie the Pooh out of the canon, but I don't know which one Europe leaves out.
      • It turns out that both of those were cut, but then we added The Wild as the 46'th feature.

  • How come so few Disney characters have human friends and instead mostly have pets/magical creatures/animal sidekicks? It's kinda weird to see princesses like Ariel or Merida or even Moana getting along with animals more than human girls their age where they live.
    • Ariel has some better reasoning than the others, since the animals she's friends with are sapient, at least. Belle and Moana are both established as outcasts within their societies (though I originally thought that Moana's mother was just a close friend of her's, funnily enough), Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa all had extremely isolated childhoods, and Tiana seemed to have plenty of friends when she was a human - her befriending Louis and Ray was due to the circumstances of her being trapped as a frog.
  • Why do so many recent Disney films have to double down on the idea that “you can’t marry someone you just met”? I understand it’s a realistic take on the subject, but I don’t know if anyone who’s watched a film like Snow White and thought, “Yeah! I bet that’s how it works! The next time I meet a cute boy, he’ll sing me a love song, and then we’ll get married!” And while subverting the cliche definitely allows for more interesting characters, there’s a difference between that and actively mocking it for existing.
    • Disney wants to avoid negative press. For decades many concerned parents and feminist critics have teared up into Disney movies for containing problematic elements that they believe would influence badly onto children. While some are questionable, others can be admittedly bad (forcing a romance into every movie, portraying racial minorities as racist stereotypes, relegating many female characters to being just bland love interests, portraying just skinny beautiful white people as good and heroic while everybody else as evil, goofy or nonexistent), and Disney being aware of some of their old problematic cliches have led to improvements (better racial and body representation, tackling a variety of stories without relying on romance, and in general giving more traits to their female characters besides just "I only exist to make my mate happy"). The love at first sight cliche is one that Disney hasn't used since the Little Mermaid but it appears in four/five of their most popular movies, so critics will observe that and harp on it (because in real life, getting together with someone you barely know can often have negative consequences), so it can be Disney more of being aware of the criticism and playing with it. But has it been such a big thing? I only recall Enchanted and Frozen doubling down on it, while the romance-less Moana and Zootopia not even alluded to it.
    • To mine way of thinking, this wouldn't be an issue if parents weren't too lazy or distracted to just sit down with their kids & make sure they understand it's just a story & that love does not work like that in the real world, instead of pressuring creators to alter their stories into doing that job for them that they can focus on other things.