4. Brother Bear
Sometimes unfairly referred to as the “other” Phil Collins musical one, Brother Bear certainly falls under the shadow of Tarzan, but it’s a surprisingly good film!
It has all the elements we know and love of Disney, including some very cute animals and a neatly woven morality tale amongst the silly sidekicks and action. The noughties really took a turn downwards for Disney after this, but it seems that Brother Bear is sometimes perhaps unfairly lumped in with films such as Chicken Little and Home on the Range.
It does feel a little “Disney by numbers” at times, but it isn’t as bad as a lot of people make it out to be. Plus the songs are great, and Collins proved he could strike gold twice.
3. Melody Time
You would be forgiven if you’ve never heard of this film before as it is another from the often overlooked wartime period. However, whilst the quality of the package films is mixed, this collection of short musical numbers is a fantastic example of the output Disney were giving during the difficult war years and features some of the better shorts of this era.
There’s seven short segments to enjoy, and particular highlights include Bumble Boogie, one of the many shorts that was considered to be part of Fantasia but didn’t make the cut, and Little Toot which features delightful musical accompaniment from The Andrews Sisters. One of the most visually pleasing shorts is The Legend of Johnny Appleseed, the concept art for which was done by Disney’s legendary Mary Blair, whose beautiful art inspired much of Disney’s output in the 1940s and early 1950s.
Melody Time isn’t coming for any of the films in the Disney renaissance or modern era, but it is certainly one of the stronger films from this period, and a fascinating introduction to what Disney were producing at a difficult time.