Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Fourth Age of Disney

I believe that the fourth age of Disney has begun. Now, you’re probably scratching your heads as to what I mean by that. In my mind, there have been 3 previous ages of Disney movies: Classical, Neoclassical, and Pixar. Still confused? Allow me to explain myself a little further.

The Classical Age of Disney is also the longest. It began in 1937 with the release of Disney’s first animated feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and ended in 1986 with the release of “Oliver and Company.” It saw the release of 27 Disney animated classics and was the building of an empire.

The Neoclassical Age of Disney could also be called the “Golden Age,” when the Disney Empire was the strongest it ever was and produced some of its finest, most memorable work. It is also the age of Disney we grew up during. For me, this age begins in 1988 with the release of “The Little Mermaid” and ended 11 years later with the 1999 release of “Tarzan.” Though they made many noble attempts at continuing their 2-D animation roots, they couldn’t, beating themselves with their own third age.

The third age of Disney (the Pixar Age), was the age of revolution. Sharing some overlap with the Neoclassical Age, it saw its beginning in 1995 with the release of “Toy Story” and ended just two years ago with the release of “Wall-E.”

Now, after reading that last sentence you are probably confused, asking “Wasn’t ‘Up’ made by Pixar?” It was. But the release of “Up” actually marks the beginning of the fourth, and most current age of Disney. It seems after 10 years, Walt Disney Animation has finally figured out a way to harmoniously create in both 2-D and 3-D animation. “The Princess and the Frog,” released last fall, was only the beginning of this Age of Harmony. In the coming years we will see Pixar films such as “Toy Story 3” and “Cars 2” released alongside new 2-D films like “Tangled,” which is based on the “Rapunzel” story.

This marriage is something people like me have been long looking forward to. As a member of the “Golden Age Generation,” but as someone who loves Pixar animation, I’m excited to find myself in an age that will give me both. The Age of Harmony will give our children the best of both worlds we got growing up, allowing Disney to innovate the world while staying planted in their roots. What could be better than that?

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