20 Weeks of Disney Animation: A Viewing Guide
Last year, we watched the entire Pixar catalog to prepare for the release of Toy Story 4. This year, we watched all of the animated sequels made by the DisneyToon Studios. Starting next week, we are doing a similar thing again, this time with the 58 films that make up the “Disney Animated Canon”. This is an unofficial term used to describe films that have been released from the Walt Disney Animation Studios, beginning with 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Over the course of 20 weeks, we will be watching 58 films to prepare for the release of Raya and the Last Dragon in March of 2021, which will be the 59th film in the canon. The big difference between this and the 25 Weeks of Pixar is probably apparent: we are watching quite a few more movies in a shorter period of time. Despite the pace that we will be going, please feel free to go at any pace you like. Every film (apart from Make Mine Music) is on Disney+ so this will make it easy for everybody to be able to watch along, if you are so inclined.
One of my goals for this series is to discuss the various iterations that these films and stories have appeared within the Disney brand. This includes providing alternate ways that people have experienced these properties over the years, whether that be in the parks, on stage, or in a live-action remake. This means that each entry will be less of a formal review and more of a guide. I will, of course, be sharing my thoughts but my focus lies more on how to present the film to a casual viewer. Think of it more as an introduction. With every entry, I will be providing some historical context to the film, how it fits into the canon overall, and my brief contemporary thoughts on the movie itself.
The dates and films are listed below. Because there are usually three films a week, I plan to have my discussion posted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Please note: this does NOT include films such as A Goofy Movie, Mary Poppins, or The Nightmare Before Christmas. Though these are all partially or completely animated, they have been either produced by other studios or are not included as part of the canon for other reasons. More details on each film can be found on the official website here.
Week 1 (Oct 19-25): Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio
Week 2 (Oct 26-Nov 1): Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi
Week 3 (Nov 2-8): Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros
Week 4 (Nov 9-15): Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time
Week 5 (Nov 16-22): The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland
Week 6 (Nov 23- 29): Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty
Week 7 (Nov 30-Dec 6): One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book
Week 8 (Dec 7-13): The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Week 9 (Dec 14-20): The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron
Week 10 (Dec 21-27): The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver & Company, The Little Mermaid
Week 11 (Dec 28-Jan 3): The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin
Week 12 (Jan 4-10): The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Week 13 (Jan 11-17): Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan
Week 14 (Jan 18-24): Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor’s New Groove
Week 15 (Jan 25-31): Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet
Week 16 (Feb 1-7) : Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little
Week 17 (Feb 8-14): Meet the Robinsons, Bolt, The Princess and the Frog
Week 18 (Feb 15-21): Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck-It Ralph
Week 19 (Feb 22-28): Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia
Week 20 (Mar 1-7): Moana, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Frozen II
I hope that you all can join along with us as we take a look at almost 100 years of animation history!