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Animated Musical

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"Some day, my prince will come,
Some day, we'll meet again,
And away to his castle we'll go,
To be happy forever I know..."

One of the more well-known tropes associated with Western Animation, which like so many others was made and codified by Walt Disney.note 

During the 20th century, certain animated films tended to double as designated musicals in which, at certain points in the storyline, the characters would sing musical numbers that resonated with the overall theme of the moment. The heroes would mostly sing confidence/Power of Friendship-friendly numbers while the villains pretty much sung about how superior they were for their disrespect for the greater good. Did we mention there were also some love songs in there, too?

Due to musicals in general falling out of fashion in the late 1960s, the whole concept pretty much went Dead Horse Trope until it was revitalized in the 1990s by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (previously best known for Little Shop of Horrors), with the juggernauts of The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Notable that they were more like stage musicals than previous entries in the Disney Animated Canon, with more songs more integrated into the plots. All three were also later adapted into Broadway stage musicals.

Compare and contrast Musical Episode.


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    Disney (in chronological order) 

    Don Bluth (and sequels based on his films) 


    Golden Films 

    UAV Entertainment 

    Jetlag Productions 

    Other Examples 
  • Both Balto sequels, Balto II: Wolf Quest and Balto III: Wings of Change, though you might not notice it. According to an interview, Universal Cartoon Studios placed onto the sequels a quota of three songs per movie in order to compete with Disney (which explains why most The Land Before Time sequels are also musicals). The Balto sequel writers did everything to stick it to the executives: in Wolf Quest, two of the songs are on the same scene and are similar enough to effectively be just one song (the first even being short to boot), so they're effectively a single song, ergo reducing the amount of songs to two. In Wings of Change the first song is just an atmospheric piece singing over the intro, filling the quota but the last two numbers are very distinct and the animators clearly had more fun with them.
  • Several Barbie movies are this. Some of the most notable examples include Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper and Barbie as the Island Princess