Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast could perhaps be described as the Pinocchio to The Little Mermaid’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It followed in a way that nobody thought possible, carrying on with that high-quality Broadway inspired soundtrack but this time bringing back the dark and foreboding forests of Disney’s fantasy-based stories that hadn’t been seen since Sleeping Beauty. This was the point in which Disney had truly rekindled their magic quality and created what was in fact the first animated film to ever be nominated for the Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It is also important to note that this film was the first to be based on a story by a female author.
The Lion King
If you weren’t sold on the ‘90s being a second golden age for Walt Disney Studios before then surely there can be no question of the statements truth when we see that it was the era in which The Lion King was released. This film was a success in every aspect, it was a masterpiece in animation, soundtrack and revered by both audiences and critics alike. The Lion King again drew on echoes of the companies past projects, revisiting the darker tones of death in a scene that is still one of the most emotionally involving in animation history, the death of Simba’s father. The film was a huge success at the box office drawing in just under a billion dollars, making it the most commercially successful hand drawn animated movie ever made, something that would influence everything in its wake.
Snow White kicked off this entire industry and since then we’ve seen so many changes to, we’ve seen it evolve time and time again. But no film has made a more glaringly obvious change to animated movies as Pixar’s Toy Story in 1995. This was first ever animated feature length movie to show off CGI technology as a viable option and since then the rest of the industry has stepped in line, in fact we rarely (if at all) ever see hand drawn animation anymore, for better or for worse this was the turning point. If that wasn’t enough Pixar’s unique approach to character and storytelling also caused a huge shift, with an emphasis on comedy and heart animated films would never be the same again.