If you watched Bambi as a child, then you no remember this heart wrenching tale of a young deer who loses his mother to the bullet of a hunter and is forced to grow up alone. This film was an ambitious new entry for Disney, the film is set entirely in nature with only animals for cast. As such they produced some beautiful visuals and detailed plant life that would once again push the envelope in the medium. It was perhaps that traumatic scene with Bambi’s mother that makes this one of Disney’s most important films, this showed that animation wasn’t always about happy good times but showed real problems and in this case the concept of death. Without this we would likely have never had films like The Lion King and Land Before Time.
In the years following the Second World War Walt Disney Studios saw itself coming face to face with the prospect of having to shut down once and for all. Profits began to steadily decline since the success of Snow White and as the war raged on a lot of entertainment companies suffered. Disney decided to risk what the company had left with a hail Mary pass; Cinderella was a multi-million-dollar gamble that despite the odds paid off big time. This was the highest grossing Disney film since its first release. The film didn’t just ensure that the company would be making films for years to come, it also allowed them to branch out into live action movies as well. In fact, the profits from Cinderella were so copious that from them spawned Disney’s distribution company, television productions and the early construction of Disneyland. So basically, no Cinderella, no Disneyland.
For many years following the success of Cinderella Disney carried on creating some excellent works such as The Jungle Book and The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh however things began to take something of a nosedive in the animation department as following the Death of Walt Disney Himself. Disney’s animated features had begun to wane in popularity and didn’t quite match the mark of Walt Disney’s work. Interest in the medium sank until 1989 when Disney transformed the face of their animated movies once more, this time with The Little Mermaid. This film saw the company look at their movies and figure out how to take them to next level, as they used to do so early on. Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences is the music. Previously many of the films featured musical soundtracks (many of which are still loved today) however for the first time Disney employed people who were working on Broadway in order to turn the musical aspect up to 11. The approach to character saw a complete overhaul too, seemingly for the first time Disney had created a princess in which people could actually identify with as opposed to simply sympathising with. This film ushered in a second golden age for the company and saw many of the companies most popular films to date follow.