#21

#21 - Flynn's New World

In many respects, the release of Tron in 1982 spawned the beginning  of the comic book, computer programming, video game and all-around geek cool culture. The revolutionary visual effects, coupled with the hybrid animation and live action sequences created a stunning adventure into the computer mainframe, better known as “the grid.” While the film was met with mixed reviews, the sensational special effects and computer graphics were a milestone in the industry, gaining appreciation and cult status over the years. In an era when Pac-Man and Pong were the extent of many people’s “grid” experience, Tron’s illuminated Frisbees, light cycles, fluorescent tank mazes and “bit” and “byte” references may well have been beyond our grasp and ahead of its time.

Fun Fact: The beloved arcade game Tron, which we all stood in line for hours to play, was a massive hit and actually outgrossed the film.

#22

#22- Again

After five years of production, Pixar released Monsters, Inc. in 2001. The film is centered in Monstropolis, where super-sized furry James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman) and his one-eyed green partner and best friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) generate the city's power by scaring children. Then came Boo, the adorable child who wanders into Monstropolis, threatening to “contaminate” the entire city and striking fear into the monsters themselves. In early drafts, Boo was to be six years old, however writers ultimately decided to make Boo younger as it would make her more dependent on Sulley. Pixar animators also found new ways to render fur and cloth realistically for the film, which contributed to the instant box office success and popularity of the franchise.

Fun fact: About 3:26 into the movie, when the simulation is ended and the monster reaches for a knob on the control panel to review the videotape, just below and to the left of the knob is an indicator which reads "510-752-3000", Pixar's phone number.

#23

#23 - Some Imagination

Fantasia was Disney’s 1940 animated release comprised of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Those segments included live-action orchestral introductions. Most significantly, Fantasia was the first American film to use stereophonic sound.  Late in the production process, Disney decided to include an animated segment The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was designed to catapult Mickey Mouse’s waning popularity (believe it or not…). Here, Mickey Mouse, the young apprentice of the sorcerer Yen Sid (yes, it’s Disney backwards), attempts some of his master's magic tricks but doesn't know how to control them. For most, this segment represents the most memorable of the film due to the Mickey’s familiarity. Over the years, Mickey’s sorcerer costume has been parlayed into merchandise and the foundation for the Disney theme park Fantasmic! production.

Fun fact: To this day, Disney reports receiving complaints from parents claiming the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence terrified their children.

#24

#24- Nonsense

Disney’s 1951 unorthodox yet classic animated musical fantasy-comedy adventure Alice in Wonderland was based primarily on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with several additional elements from Through the Looking-Glass, which likely contributed to the film’s initial criticism and disappointing box office receipts. Accused of “Americanizing” classic literature, Disney’s adaptation was certainly abundant of memorable characters, including the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter. As Alice celebrates her “unbirthday” during the mad tea party, the “Very Happy Unbirthday” sequence is just curiouser and curiouser enough to remembered for a lifetime. 

Fun Fact: Kathryn Beaumont who voiced Alice, also voiced Wendy Darling in the 1953 Disney film Peter Pan.

#25

#26 - Stow Stopper

The Marvel blockbuster’s most notable highlight didn’t appear until two hours into the film: after the defeat of Ronan the villain, the redemption of Peter Quill and the unification of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Amidst the brilliant action sequences and salty language, Baby Groot’s innocent emergence and dance quickly became an instant adorable classic.

Fun fact: Groot could originally speak. In Groot’s first comic appearance (Tales to Astonish #13,) he arrived on Earth ranting and raving he would take an entire city back to his Planet X for study, even turning a nearby forest into his own personal army. His comic demise came at the hands of, ironically, a pile of specially bred termites….

#26

#26 - Forget Me Not
What do you get when you combine an Marlin, an overprotective clownfish and a regal tang named Dory? The highest grossing G-rated film of all-time (until Toy Story 3 overtook it), 40 million DVDs sold and three Academy Award nominations. Finding Nemo catapulted Pixar into another stratosphere, with critics overwhelmingly gushing over everything from the underwater animation to the unique play on parental anxiety. Ellen DeGeneres’ enchanting portrayal as Dory captured our hearts through a funny, touching and clever human – I mean fish – story. 

Fun Fact: A sequel, Finding Dory, is in production currently scheduled for release on June 17, 2016.

#27

#27- Never Had a Friend Like Me...

There’s good casting and there’s ideal roles. Robin Williams embodied the Genie in Disney’s 1992 release, Aladdin. That’s not surprising, as the part of Genie literally was written for Williams. Williams’ appearance in the feature also marked the beginning of a transition to the use of celebrity voice actors. As only Williams’ was capable of pulling off in an animated movie, much of Williams’ dialogue was ad-libbed. He was often given general topics and dialogue suggestions, translating into brilliant, timeless improvisation.  The quirkiness worked, as Aladdin was the highest-grossing movie of 1992 and the first animated movie to gross more than $200 million.

Fun Fact: During preview screenings, no one applauded after the songs, so as a joke, the animators added an “Applause” sign over Genie at the end of “Friend Like Me.” 

#28

#28 - What's This
When the dark, yet comical Nightmare Before Christmas hit theaters in 1993, most of us said “What’s this?” Founded through inspiration when he saw a Halloween display in a store being replaced by a Christmas one, the juxtaposition between Tim Burton’s two favorite holidays presented the perfect backdrop for the first full-length stop-motion animated fantasy. After three years of painstaking production, Nightmare premiered with Burton himself being used as a marketing tool, with his name above the title even though he ultimately decided not to direct the project. Composer Danny Elfman’s musical creativity drove the storyline, as much of the movie is told through song. 

Fun Fact: The elaborate and painstaking stop-motion production process required an entire week of shooting to create one minute of film.

#29

#29 - Super Suit

In 2004, The Incredibles was Disney/Pixar’s sixth feature length film, but ironically the first to showcase an entirely all-human cast. Fans adored the first-family of “Supers” – Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack – during a retro-style “Golden” era alternate universe. Director and writer Brad Bird created a unique blend of action, inter-personal relationships, suburban life and humor, with Lucius Best, better known as Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) embodying it all! Super hero crime fighting one day, bowling another, with an occasional misplaced super suit is about as “real” – and adorable – a super hero film can get.  

Fun Fact: Brad Bird got the idea for the film in the early 1990s, basing the story on his own experiences trying to balance a career with family.

#30

#30 - Jack

Jack Sparrow’s endearing drunken quirkiness alone deserves a place on our top 30 moments. Add the Black Pearl, the action and theme park attraction tie-ins and we had an instant classic! The infamous pirate of the seas, Jack Sparrow and Pirates of the Caribbean resurrected pirate-mania, similar to that of the cowboy and western craze in the 1950’s. With Sparrow’s character based on a combination of Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew, it’s not surprising fans were captivated by Johnny Depp’s portrayal. The first release in 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, was an instant success, and has parlayed a franchise topping $3.7 billion worldwide with a fifth film currently in production.
 
Fun Fact: Robert De Niro was offered the role of Captain Jack Sparrow, but declined under the belief the movie wouldn't do well in the box office as many other pirate movies in the past. He was proved wrong and subsequently accepted the role of Captain Shakespeare in the movie Stardust (2007).

D.F.M (Disney Favorite Moments) Coming Soon

With 85 years of brilliant storytelling Disney moments in the vault, which rank among the most memorable? Those iconic images are emblazoned in our collective history. A core piece of America’s fabric. It would be truly difficult to talk at any length about any aspect of American culture without some reference to Mickey Mouse, Darth Vader or one of the timeless princesses. But which of those magical moments are our favorite? Don’t worry, we’ve done the work for you.

So from Star Wars to Marvel to Pixar, animation to live-action: Sit back, relax and let the nostalgia set in, as Mortown Magic counts down the top 30 moments in Disney film history.