/ The Disney Traveler
Disney — By Jenni Ingersoll on December 30, 2009 at 7:47 am

Looking Back at a Decade of Disney Movies

I love the week¬†before New Year’s Eve and the bevy of¬† nostalgic “looking back” programs that list all things imaginable that happened during that year.¬† This year is especially full of these shows as we are not only looking at the close of a year, but the close of a decade.film

In the true spirit of remembrance, let me take you back through the years with Disney movies and trends that affected the way we watched movies and the characters we came to love in this decade:

2001Monster’s Inc. becomes one of the top grossing film’s breathing new life into family animated films.¬† Also released this year was Dreamwork’s¬†Shrek, with it’s subtle¬†satire of Disney animation and¬†the Disney parks experience.

Intense competition between Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks helped to boost the high quality of  family movies. The trend of sly adult humor to entertain the parents, while captivating the children with stunning animation, keeps the entire movie audience happy and theater seats filled.

Using the voices of popular actors to voice animated characters is also launched this year, especially noted with the talents of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy in Shrek and John Goodman and Billy Crystal in Monsters, Inc.

2002 - Lilo & Stitch – introduced the most unlikely pair of Disney characters and probably the most difficult movie to describe — an orphaned Hawaiian girl meets a disturbed¬†alien from outer space and together they¬†share the love of Elvis music and each other.¬† Does that sum it up properly?

2003 – Who could forget this year and the birth of the pirate craze, as Pirate’s of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl hits theaters.¬†¬† Using the popular Disney parks attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean, as a backdrop, everyone’s curiosity and interest in seeing the film takes us to the theater, while the high action, thrills us, and leaves¬†us wanting more.¬†

Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the¬†flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow, reinvents his career, and suddenly every boy and girl is wanting to be a pirate.¬† A new staged attraction even pops up, as Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial teaches Disney Park guests the ways of a pirate life.

Since Disney aims to please, they oblige their audiences with Pirates 2 and 3, in subsequent years and are said to be currently working on 4.

And while we are splashing in the water this year, we can’t forget one of my all time favorites, Finding Nemo. This delightful movie had audiences talking for months like surfer dudes as it introduced us to Crush.¬†Even years later, stand in front of¬†a tropical¬†fish tank at any zoo or aquarium, and see how long it takes for someone to point to a zippy little blue fish or clown fish and proudly proclaim, “There’s Dory and Nemo“!!!¬† Trust me, it won’t be long!!

2004 – This year we were all searching for treasure and having scavenger hunts as National Treasure hit the big screen.¬† As a history major in college, I loved this movie and it’s sequel.¬†¬†Even if the facts weren’t accurate, I loved the exposure to so many of our nations treasures and hope that many families will investigate them on their own (Washington D.C.)

A whole new set of super heroes was also introduced this year as The Incredibles leaped onto the screen.¬† What mother wouldn’t love to have those elastic arms like Mrs. Incredible?!

2005 – brought us The Chronicles of Narnia and exposed new generations to the classic novels by CS Lewis.

2006 – Speaking of exposure and in one character’s¬†case, a little¬†over-exposure, yes, we were all in this together, when High School Musical¬†came to television. ¬†The movie that put the cool back in school and taught kids to try their best, shoot for their dreams and its okay to have multiple interests – was that as sappy as the movie? — still has throngs of cheering fans.¬†Who didn’t host a slumber party the night the sequel was released on the Disney Channel?¬† The only shocking thing about these movies was that they waited until #3 for a big screen release.

I got so carried away with HSM,¬†that I almost forgot another current classic released this year, Cars.¬† The scenery alone had me wanting to take a trip down Route 66.¬† You didn’t have to be a race fan to love this movie, with probably the best ensemble cast of stars offering their voices to these lovable characters. ¬†I have to admit that even as a car, Paul Newman’s eyes make me swoon!!

2007 РGiselle, the adorable, animated princess who discovers what real-life in New York City can be like brought a wonderful mix of animation and live action in Enchanted. While rats and cockroaches aided Giselle in completing her chores, who could forget the lovable rat, Remy in Ratatouille.  This unlikely rat turned chef taught us to once again follow our dreams and has become so popular that he even makes visits to patrons at the French restaurant in Epcot, Les Chefs de France. 

2008 - No movie has ever¬†made me want¬†to put down the popcorn and Junior Mints and start running up and down the aisles¬†of the theater as much as Wall E.¬† This slightly depressing movie was a real social commentary about where society is going if we don’t protect the environment, put away the electronic devises and socialize with one another and above all, get some exercise!

2009 – The 3-D craze is alive and well in Disney’s release of A Christmas Carol.¬† The 3-D effects in this¬†holiday classic¬†made the ghosts seem almost too real and many families with young children reporting “nightmares” that followed.

The highly anticipated release of The Princess and the Frog brought the introduction of a new princess into the Disney realm, as Princess Tiana becomes the first African-American Disney Princess.

¬†Finally, another favorite that I can’t really explain why I liked it, is UP.¬† Who doesn’t love those impossible dreams? When grumpy old Mr. Fredrickson ties thousands of balloons to his house and floats away, I remember how as a kid I always wanted to flood our basement so that I could have an indoor pool. Perhaps it is¬†the beautiful South American scenery or the¬†touching¬†revelation of¬†Mr. Fredrickson’s past in such a way that children see what is happening, but don’t truly understand.¬† Either way, I am not the only one who liked it as the American Film Institute has placed UP on their Top Ten List for 2009.

So if you don’t have plans for New Year’s Eve or aren’t really into non-stop football on New Year’s Day, then might I suggest picking up some of these decade old classics and hold your own private film festival.¬† Happy New Year!!

Photo Selection: flickr

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