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The Illustrious Jerry

Best Disney Classics and Disney Pixar Scores?

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Jerry here!

I have taken a strong interest in the scores of Disney Pixar movies recently, namely Giacchino's Ratatouille, Newman's Finding Dory, and Beck's Frozen. I would like to further explore this branch of scores from Disney Pixar collaborations, Disney classics, and other movies of these sorts. I am going to try WALL-E this weekend, another work of Newman.

Suggestions are much welcome. 

 

Please note that I am open to anything, and while I have enjoyed the scores of Disney movies, other movies outside of that umbrella are welcome. 

 

Thanks!

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I'm surprised you listened to Finding Dory before its superior original, Nemo (the score, that is. I actually like Dory, the movie, a little more than the original).

 

Anyway, the obvious suggestion is the much beloved Menken/Ashman stuff. Of that branch, my favorite was always Little Mermaid, but the majority seem to be partial to Beauty and the Beast, so what the hey.

Of the Walt Disney classics (as in, the ones Walt himself was involved in and all that), I'd point to Dumbo, Bambi and Pinocchio. 

My favorite Pixar score is probably Randy Newman's Monsters Inc. Up is such a good score, I'm still baffled it's a Giacchino (who I otherwise enjoy fine, but Up remains the only score of his I outright LOVE). 

There's a gorgeous wealth of good scoring in Disney films of all era, though. This is just the tip of the iceberg. 

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The Incredibles

Up

Moana (don't skip the songs - the one song includes a triumphant reprise of the score's hero theme which is sort of a culmination)

Anything with Alan Menken's name on it (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Hunchback, Hercules, etc etc)

 

It may be sacrilege, but pre-1990s I've never really enjoyed a Disney score outside of a surrounding for the songs.

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For me, the main Disney thing is Alan Menken. No one better. But there are some great things in the past too. I did a webcast special on Disney music awhile back:

 

http://celluloidtunes.no/celluloid-tunes-50-disney-spesial/

 

You won't understand a word, as it's in Norwegian, but you can see the playlist to see what we select.

 

I've never been that enamoured with Pixar efforts, but there are some great things there too (especially Randy Newman's stuff).

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11 minutes ago, Batman's Diet Coke said:

EPCOT Center

 

Gee, EPCOT Center in Florida. That's kinda pale compared to our trip... we're goin' to England. AHAHAHA! Here, lemmie get another "Whoa England"... WHOOAAA ENGLAND!

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20 hours ago, mstrox said:

may be sacrilege, but pre-1990s I've never really enjoyed a Disney score outside of a surrounding for the songs.

 

Not even The Great Mouse Detective? It's got a singing Vincent Price, and this:

 

 

2:53 on? Crank it, baby.

 

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THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE is fantastic, both score and film. I interviewed Musker and Clements about that film and their other work last year. Alas, translated to Norwegian, but you can always Google Translate: http://montages.no/2017/02/en-helt-ny-jord-en-samtale-med-de-legendariske-disney-regissorene-john-musker-og-ron-clements/

 

Anyways, plenty of great pre-90s Disney scores, of course. I wouldn't know where to start or stop.

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for me:

 

Best disney classic score: Snowwhite

Best disney renaissance score: The Hunchback of Notre Dame-Beauty and the Beast-The Lion King (almost tie between the 3)

Best pixar: I'd say The Incredibles but I'm not sure

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I think Pixar films have fantastic scores, they play very well in context and elevate the film. The films also typically provide lost of opportunities for the scores to shine. Gia is a great beneficiary. Inccredibles, Ratatouille, Up and even Inside Out all have tremendous impact in the film. The score of Up is effective beyond all imagination. You could say it is very manipulative but boy does it wreck people.

 

I think Randy Newman's work on the Toy Storys is also good. Not super distinctive but nice specially since the Toy Storys are the talkiest and the most script driven Pixar films so they more need underscore and stuff.

 

And lastly Newman has done nice work for them on the Finding films. The work is nice, gentle, elegant and sophisticated but a bit restrained. No large bursts of melody. Wall-E on the other hand is a more strident score. Again has terrific impact in the film specially since the film has very little dialog and the leads don't speak so large stretches function on the score. 

 

But all round super terrific work. Pixar is definitely committed to having great scores and hire quality composers.

 

12 hours ago, Koray Savas said:

Still no mention of The Lion King?

 

... The Lion King. 

 

You dare besmirch this thread by taking the German's name?

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1 hour ago, TheUlyssesian said:

I think Pixar films have fantastic scores, they play very well in context and elevate the film.

I don't know, they may have a couple of good themes, but on the whole most sound anonymous to me personally.

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Hmmm. THE BLACK CAULDRON doesn't get enough love, imo, and probably for good reasons. That being said, it still has a lot to offer (John Hurt, and a terrific score, by Elmer Bernstein, to name but two things).

@Arpy, did you ever see it in 70mm?

 

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6 minutes ago, Richard said:

Hmmm. THE BLACK CAULDRON doesn't get enough love, imo, and probably for good reasons. That being said, it still has a lot to offer (John Hurt, and a terrific score, by Elmer Bernstein, to name but two things).

@Arpy, did you ever see it in 70mm?

 

I saw it on VHS back when I was a kid in the late 90's.

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For Disney, it is all about Menken.  Beauty and the Beast, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame are his finest.

Must put in a good word for The Lion King and Mulan (but not the songs on either one).

Frozen's pretty good too.

For Pixar, nothing tops Finding Nemo.

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Well I'm pretty well set with Pixar.

I have listened to a wide range in the past few months- 

Finding Dory

Frozen 

Finding Nemo

WALLE 

Up

Ratatouille

As for Disney, Menken seems to be the best bet. I forgot about the great musical style of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which includes some truly superb songs. 

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Crikey! The youth of JWFAN strikes again. I mean, Menken is a great hero of mine, and late 80s and 90s Disney is probably my favourite too, but I'm surprised so few of you acknowledge the previous 60 years of brilliant Disney scores.

 

Of those, I have a particular fondness for "The Five" (SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO, DUMBO, BAMBI and FANTASIA [OK, classical music, but still]), as well as LADY AND THE TRAMP, SLEEPING BEAUTY (gobsmackingly beautiful!), THE FOX AND THE HOUND, THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE (arguably Mancini's best orchestral score) and THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER (one of Broughton's alltime best, coinciding time-wise with the Menken revival).

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After 4 months of listening I've decided the following for the Disney Classics.

Alan Menken's Beauty and the Beast score is fantastic. The songs are also quite delightful. It's probably tops for the classics. Jerry Rank: 1st

Alan Menken's The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a personal favourite. I call it Disney's choral spectacular. Jerry Rank: Close 2nd

Hans Zimmer's The Lion King is quite good, but I don't care as much for the songs, unlike the former two who are strong musically and lyrically. Jerry Rank: Slightly Distant 3rd

 

And for Disney Pixar...

Thomas Newman's Finding Nemo is a stupendous score, utilizing a wide range of instrumental textures and creating simplistic tunes that beckon for complex demonstrations. Jerry Rank: 1st

Michael Giacchino's UP is another standout. Many say it's his best score and that it very may well be. Jerry Rank: 2nd

Michael Giacchino's Ratatouille is a very fun French oriented score not afraid to be creative. It's a personal favourite. Jerry Rank: Close 3rd

Thomas Newman's Finding Dory isn't quite like its predecessor, but it was an instant love for me. Jerry Rank: Close 4th

Christophe Beck's Frozen is a spectacular score, often forgotten due to the popular songs of the movie. Jerry Rank: 5th

Michael Giacchino's The Incredibles is quite good, with a swinging big band style that's undeniable. Jerry Rank: Close 6th

 

Again for Pixar, it's all so close. There are many more I've listened too, but these have been the highlights. Thanks all for the suggestions!

 

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All excellent choices. Check out the James Newton Howard trifecta, too (Dinosaur, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Treasure Planet). The films aren't high on most people's lists of favorites, but the scores are excellent. In the live action realm, two that I love are Bruce Broughton's Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and the classic Mary Poppins.

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There are all these great, epic songs packed in the first 20 minutes of the movie, and after that it’s like they ran out of ideas or decided to switch genre — it’s all silly stuff like “Reindeers Are Better Than People” and “Fixer Upper” in the worst tradition of modern comic Broadway.

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24 minutes ago, Pellaeon said:

There are all these great, epic songs packed in the first 20 minutes of the movie, and after that it’s like they ran out of ideas or decided to switch genre — it’s all silly stuff like “Reindeers Are Better Than People” and “Fixer Upper” in the worst tradition of modern comic Broadway.

Oh, you refer to the songs?

Yes, they dropped the ball after "Let It Go."  Though I have a soft spot for the Olaf song.  Still, it all jars with the rather serious nature of the plot overall. 

 

As for the score itself, Beck delivers some interesting moments.  His action music is rather solid.  

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Best? Lion King or Dinosaur, by a significant margin.

From the oldies do not forget The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh (1977) though

What I found interesting, is that The Jungle Book was the last one Walt Disney worked on, and Winnie The Pooh was the last one he gave a green light . Both have great scores that were unsurpassed till Menken and the renaissance.

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Yes, because classical music is the root of film scores. I listen to scores more nowadays, but the classical composers of old (and even new) are always at the top for me. John Williams is the special exception- the only film composer who I'd esteem up there with my favourites of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century.

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The score of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs is quite good as well, particularly the music involving the Queen/hag.  I just wish the music sounded better but that's what you get for an 80+ year recording.

 

 

 

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