Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Disney Music: Part of the Masterpiece

Let's start off with me admitting the fact that I'm not a big fan of musicals. I'm a story guy, and I feel that most musicals use their tunes in such a way that it disrupts the flow of the story. Take for instance Fox's "Glee." I used to like that show, and then they realized that the songs were a gold mine, so they sacrificed the witty dialogue in order to be a prime-time tribute band.

Pumba–Not in front of the kids
But there's an exception: Disney musicals. There's just something different about them. The most obvious thing may be that they're aimed towards children, who have shorter attention spans, and can smell funny play when they see/hear it and aren't shy about pointing it out. Adults can suffer through things that are boring if society has labeled them "pieces of art." Children know nothing but honesty. This could also be why everything else that Disney does is so engaging, but that's not the point.

The Disney movies I grew up with during the 90's animation revolution that Eisner and Roy E. Disney spearheaded were just plain fun. The groundbreaking format of broadway-esque animated films could have so easily failed, but thanks to the likes of Alan Menken, who is receiving a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, Tim Rice and the late Howard Ashman, among others, the films were whimsically fun.

Don't get me wrong, the classics of the Sherman Brothers still have a huge affect on me, but I had to dig those up out of the archives when I was a child, and the Menken Musicals were right there in the theaters, easily accessible for me and my generation.

It's the memorable lyrics that help enhance the story, the way they stick in your head, get you dancing in your seat. Other musicals just don't have that. And they've stuck with my generation: a friend put on a Disney musical show for her senior project, when I was in high school, a band I was in seriously considered playing "I Just Can't Wait to be King." They captured us as kids and stuck with us for the rest of our lives.

There's not many childhood things you can say that of.

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