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March Madness: The Animated Films From Our Youth Version

Welcome to a very special edition of The Quest For The Single Finest Film Of Our Generation. A genre that has oft been absent from my monthly musings on the nostalgic films of years past is the animated children's/family movie. Above you will find a tournament bracket (click it for full size) of the 32 animated films from our youth. Now I may be missing some (All Dogs Go To Heaven, Anastasia, and The Rescuers Down Under all come to mind; also, computer animated films were preemptively disqualified), but you weren't at the Triple Rock on Saturday to offer your two cents when this topical idea came to me, so you lost out on brainstorming the key players for this bracket. I highly encourage you to copy/save the JPEG and fill out your bracket (I used MS Paint as my weapon of choice). If you do, email me a copy! Sure you won't be able to wager anything as these films aren't actually going to hit the b-ball court anytime soon, but if you send me a copy, I will use your input to help decide future films to screen at a movie party at my place, attended by Blogulator friends and family in the Twin Cities.

Below you will find my bracket, almost completely filled out, save for the championship spot. It was actually fairly easy to decide the victor of most of these match-ups, but this final epic battle between my two favorite animated films of all time, is quite the dilemma. Robin Hood is the ultimate classic Disney flick based on a timeless tale, and before they were so concerned with having human protagonists! On the other hand, An American Tail proved that you don't need Old Man Walt's blessing to make a touching story with anthropomorphic mice as Russian immigrants succeed! Oh the conflict boils in my abdomen like hellfire! So you there, even if you don't plan on filling out your own bracket, help convince me which is the better film, or rather, which you have more of a nostalgic attachment to. One a lot of saw in the theaters vs. watched solely on VHS, so I wonder if that will end up having something to do with the final championship winner. We will see...in the comments!

How did I organize the initial first round "games" you ask? Well, I pretty simply divided the films into four divisions based on epochs. I even gave them names in my head, which I shall recount for you thusly. Division #1, or The Classics, covers the oldest Disney flicks, from years 1937-1953 and focuses largely on the movies that indisputably carry the most historical and cultural weight from the legendary company. Division #2, or The Baby Boomers, spreads from 1955-1973 and embraces the post-war era of largely animal-centric plots, even when their original stories basically demand a human cast (such as in my beloved Robin Hood, I mean c'mon he's a fox and the king is a lion!). Division #3, or The Renaissancers, from 1981-1995, are a league of Disney movies that run the gamut from true Renaissance pieces that helped rebirth the company's popularity, such as The Little Mermaid and The Beauty & The Beast, but also quieter, earlier fare that over time has gained momentum and support as part of this important movement, such as Oliver & Company and The Fox And The Hound. Last, but certainly not least, we have a couple Disney movies that while successful did not maintain a lot of appeal (at least not by yours truly), along with the non-Disney movies from our youth (and once again by "our" I mean those present during my devouring of a Minneapolis Po'Boy this past Saturday evening) such as The Land Before Time and The Chipmunk Adventure. This, division #4, is known as The Others.

Other notes on the fairness (or lack-thereof) of the first round: some of these match-ups were just plain unfair. If it weren't for the abstract awesomeness of Fantasia, surely Dumbo would have made it at least into the Sweet Sixteen, if not the Elite Eight. I mean, seriously, who can forget how big his ears were? Pretty big! Also, I am quite sad that The Aristocats got beat right out of the gate, because if it weren't for the sheer existence of Tale Spin, Baloo wouldn't have convinced me to let The Jungle Book win that first round, especially because Mowgli and co. got their asses beat in the very next round to the impregnable master of thievery (with a tail!), Monsieur Hood de Robin. Finally, I must mention that A Goofy Movie is only here because I imagine a one P. Arty would be sad if it weren't at least given credit where credit's due. Even before that kinda lame/kinda wonderful College Humor live-action recreation vid went viral, that movie was aces to all the kids that knew, and all yallz didn't even KNOW. You know?

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  1. Anonymous Dan | 7:23 AM |  

    Oh man, there are some great match ups on here! To me, the championship game would happen at the Sweet 16 between The Lion King and Aladdin, which are 2 of my favorite Disney movies ever. The Little Mermaid is pretty close too, but alas, I'm too much of a guy to let The Little Mermaid beat either Aladdin or The Lion King. I think my biggest criteria here is whether I would still enjoy watching that movie today. That may not be a fair way to do it since these are meant to be kids movies, but there are a lot of movies on here that I would still really enjoy if I watched it today. I actually did see The Little Mermaid again not too long ago and I still loved it. You can expect a filled-out bracket from me!

  2. Blogger Unspar! | 8:54 AM |  

    Chris, this was a wonderful idea. Who doesn't love brackets?

    Notes on my bracket (to be sent to Chris shortly):
    -The two most difficult matchups for me are the one Dan mentioned (Aladdin vs Lion King in the second round) and Secret of NIMH vs Land Before Time in the first round. I honestly could have had three of those movies in my final four.
    -Alice in Wonderland beat Fantasia on a really tough call. While the abstract awesomeness of Fantasia was great, the exploration of the imagination in Alice is slightly more fascinating to me. They're probably the two least "kids movie" animated movies Disney has ever done.
    -Picking any one of Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and the Lion King really depends most on my mood at the time. While Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie, Little Mermaid wins this time because the plot is slightly more interesting and the villain is slightly more sinister.
    -Robin Hood, while enjoyable, only made it to the Final Four because the competition in the Baby Boomer bracket is garbage. Much like how Duke is probably going to make it to the Final Four this year.
    -Final Four is Little Mermaid, Secret of NIMH, Alice in Wonderland, and Robin Hood. Little Mermaid wins it all (even though I'd rather watch Secret of NIMH), based almost entirely on the songs.

  3. Blogger qualler | 9:52 AM |  

    My bracket:


  4. Blogger qualler | 10:10 AM |  


    -I like that Robin Hood is at least in the Final Four for three of us, and in the championship game for two of us.
    -Dan, I am not too much of a guy to put The Little Mermaid in my Final Four. Come on, she's got shells in all the right places!
    -Fantasia, minus the Sorcerers' Apprentice segment, is a SNOOZEFEST!
    -SOOOOO SAD when all those people (or were they mice?) blew in Dumbo's ears because they were so big. It still kinda makes me tear up just thinking about it.
    -It pains me to say it now, but The Lion King, as a film, is far superior to Aladdin. 13-year-old me didn't understand the beauty of the "Circle of Life" quite as much as 13-year-old me liked The Genie. Wait, did I say 13? Totally meant 11. Yeah, that's the ticket...
    -I'd complain about how The Land Before Time was able to make it to the Final Four solely on the basis of being the best of the other mediocre titles in its bracket, but every bracketologist knows that there's always controversey somewhere. Just let the bracket happen and things even themselves out, and they truly did in the epic championship game, narrowly won by The Little Mermaid by a splash of the water that splashed when the prince guy's big fluffy dog jumped in and licked Ariel a bunch.

  5. Blogger chris | 2:14 PM |  

    Christine's bracket!

    Unspar's bracket!

  6. Blogger qualler | 2:19 PM |  

    It makes sense that 3 of the 4 in the Final Four for Christine largely feature anthropomorphic animals.

  7. Blogger P. Arty | 2:33 PM |  

    I appreciate including A Goofy Movie, but it deserves so much more than a pity entry!!! Sending my bracket now!

  8. Blogger chris | 2:36 PM |  

    P. Arty's Bracket!

  9. Blogger chris | 5:10 PM |  

    DoktorPeace's Bracket!

    He also sent this link along with his email...creepy/awesome!

  10. Anonymous Christine | 11:38 AM |  

    When I finished my bracket, I was ultimately very bored with my winner...but I vote for An American Tale in Chris' final battle!

  11. Blogger Unspar! | 9:32 PM |  

    Why does everyone hate The Secret of NIMH? Has anyone even seen it?

  12. Blogger chris | 1:33 PM |  

    I think NIMH is at a disadvantage because it's also a mouse movie, like Feivel. I do remember enjoying it though, though I think I tried to watch it at the House That Fun Built in college and lost interest. I would love to try again though.

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