Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney. Y’know, after writing almost 500 articles in this series, I’m starting to think that maybe I need to adjust my perspective. Maybe movies like Sleeping Beauty, The Incredibles, and Pinocchio really aren’t that overrated, and maybe I’ve been giving too much credit to Tangled.



Actually, no, I would never say that. I just wanted to get my obligatory April Fool’s Day joke in. What we’re really doing today is talking about Disney’s greatest tropes and which animated movies created the best moments from them. Disney has its share of classic tropes, and some of them have been used to create the greatest Disney scenes of all time. So with that out of the way, let’s begin.



The Hero’s Dream Song


6. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King – The Lion King


Now The Lion King was one of the first movies I saw in theaters, and all of the songs from it are awesome. This one isn’t really my favorite, because Simba doesn’t really know what it means to be king. He just wants to be like his dad. But having said that, the song is just so catchy that you still get into it anyway. It might not be Simba’s real dream yet, but wanting to make his dad proud is important later in the movie. It’s one of the reasons that becoming the king really does become Simba’s dream.



5. Someday My Prince Will Come – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves


Snow White did it first, and in my opinion, it’s still one of Disney’s best dream songs. Now, I did already go over why it’s my favorite moment in the movie in Power of the Princess with Ratin8tor (http/www.manic-expression.com/apps/blog/show/41761553-a-look-at-disney-power-of-the-princesses-snow-white-with-ratin8tor-), so I’ll just say that I still find it to be a really sweet number. Some people might look down on it because Snow White is just dreaming for a man to come into her life, but like I said before, she’s the youngest of the Disney princesses, so it kinda makes sense. But otherwise, yeah, there’s no need for me to waste time repeating what I already said.



4. I Can Go the Distance – Hercules


I really enjoy this song and I feel that it helps to set up the character of Hercules quite well. He wants to know if there is a place in the world where he belongs. I feel that we’ve all been there, wondering where we belong on this earth. Hercules takes a step towards finding out by going on this journey, knowing it might be long, to get an answer. I really feel that this is a beautiful song that does the character of Hercules justice.



3. Belle – Beauty and the Beast


This song does a splendid job of introducing to the audience to the character of Belle. We get to find out what she likes and what she is like, which makes her not unlike the other Disney protagonists I like most. It shows her as a smart young lady with a good head on her shoulders, and she dreams of having adventures beyond her life in the little town that doesn’t understand her. This song to me is one of the best from the film, and they couldn’t have picked a better way to open it.



2. Part of Your World – The Little Mermaid


There’s still not much to say about this one that hasn’t been said. It’s one of the greatest “I want” songs ever made, and it gives us such a powerful sense of who Ariel is. Jodi Benson’s vocals are also amazing, and it’s no wonder she was invited back for further projects at Disney, or so she thought;


One of these things is not like the others.


As a bonus, of course, the above shot from the reprise is absolutely iconic and still the first image that comes to mind whenever I think of Ariel. It just proves that the child test audience who almost got this cut from the movie was dead wrong.



1. When Will My Life Begin – Tangled


As soon I heard this song, I knew that I was going to love Rapunzel. This is a great song, and it makes Rapunzel so endearing and it helps me to love her. It’s more than just another one of those “I Want” songs because it sets up the very foundation of Rapunzel’s character, letting us in on what she really wants out of life as a whole.




Finding Success at First


6. Prince Ali – Aladdin


This song is a just a lot of fun. It’s a great showcase for Robin Williams to demonstrate his comedic skills, and with the parade thrown in, that’s just all there is to say about it. It was fun (except for the part where the guards dance and say “He’s got the monkeys”. Granted, we all know that he was replaced with Dan Castellaneta in sequel and the TV show, so instead of great improv comedy, Genie was just random half the time. And no, JUST BEING RANDOM IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING FUNNY!!! Still, it wasn’t as bad as something like the Pinkie Pie problem (why did they think it was funny for her to embarrass Cranky like that? You don’t do that to best donkey!!!), in which they change the whole character just to force some laughs.



5. One Last Hope/Zero to Hero – Hercules


What’s unique about Hercules is that he actually has two songs about rising to the top. In the first one, he masters his training, and then in the second one, he actually gets to become a hero, because the training pays off. They both have fun montages with all the different things Hercules has to go through, although the songs, especially One Last Hope, do leave something to be desired.



4. I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Mulan


This is not my favorite song in Mulan, but I do see why everyone likes it so much. It demonstrates how Mulan starts off, as best put, meek at best but grows to be more assertive over time as Ping, as we see during the course of this song in which she starts to become assertive, because she was very smart and bright and intelligent and not stupid before but also just, I don’t know if I’d say introverted, but I’d be comfortable saying she was uncomfortable in the situation she was situated in, but, as described, she grows and we see her character stop being introverted in the inverted scenario she is placed in over the course of the film, and one of the song’s greatest strengths is how well it summarizes these character traits in a brief time frame. And I’ll admit, it’s pretty catchy too.



3. Son of Man – Tarzan



This song is awesome, and the montage taking place over the entire course of Tarzan’s childhood makes it even more triumphant. It’s also engaging because Tarzan’s reason for wanting to become strong is to prove he belongs, which is more interesting than some of the other ones. It shows how hard Tarzan worked to fit in, which also lets us know later in the movie why he can’t leave the jungle. And the transformation where he jumps out of the water is enough to make the list on its own.



2. Let it Go – Frozen


I’ve talked about this song so much that I’ve already said that there’s nothing left to say about it! But it really is the best song in Frozen and one of the best Disney songs of all time. This is Elsa’s finest hour, saying this is who I am, and if you don’t like it, that’s your problem. I’ve listened to this song 474 times by this point, and I still love it, although I like the Princess Luna version just as much, which you can listen to below if you want. (I lost track of which one it was on my playlist, but it’s definitely among the ones below.)












1. When Will My Life Begin (reprise) – Tangled


If you know me, you know I love a good reprise, and this version is just as good as the first one, if that’s possible. It actually manages to add another layer to Rapunzel and what she really wants. She didn’t want to disobey Gothel, who she still saw as the only mother she ever knew, but she couldn’t go on barely even living anymore, because we all need more than that.




Standing up to the villain



Now we all know that the hero usually has to fight the villain at the end, but this is the trope when the villain thinks they have control over the heroes and expects them to go along with what they’re telling them, but the hero surprises them by standing up to them instead.



6. Basil/Olivia standing up to Ratigan – The Great Mouse Detective


I used to think this film was forgettable compared to some of the other Disney films, but it can be a pretty fun time. And it does have an interesting take on the hero standing up to the villain, as it actually divides it in two. First, when Ratigan captures Basil and makes fun of him, Basil holds his ground and calls Ratigan a sewer rat. (Ratigan’s reaction to that alone is worth it). But it doesn’t work that time because it looks like Ratigan has won, so Basil almost gives up.


But when Basil proves him wrong and stops his evil scheme, Ratigan kidnaps Olivia, still expecting Basil to give up easily. This time, Olivia stands up to him while he’s getting away, telling him that Basil is going to stop him. Ratigan thinks she’s just being annoying and yells at her to be quiet, but then Basil’s balloon suddenly appears, proving that she was right and finally forcing Ratigan to accept that Basil is just as smart as he is. Now he tries to run for it, but it’s too late, and Ratigan finally has to face Basil once and for all.



5. Roger stands up to Cruella De Vil – 101 Dalmations


This is actually a really important scene in the movie, because before this, Cruella De Vil was still pretending to be friendly, even though Anita was the only one who really thought she was. (And, to be fair, that was because they were childhood friends.) But Cruella still thought she could get them to do whatever she wanted.


In this scene, she tries to buy the family’s new puppies just so she can kill them and turn them into fur coats, and when they tell her they don’t want to sell them, she tries to make them feel like they’re too poor to keep them. But finally, Roger gets fed up and tells her she’s not getting any and that’s final. We can see how nervous he is too, but he’s so focused on being serious that he’s still frozen in the position when Cruella leaves, throwing a tantrum and screaming about how she’s through with all of them. Good riddance!



4. Timothy standing up to the Elephant Matriarch, Prissy, Giddy, and Catty


Still one of my favorite movies and still packed with satisfying moments like this. Dumbo is a beautifully simple movie about an elephant everyone picks on or ignores just because of his ears, and we feel especially bad for him because he’s just a baby with no idea what to do about it. But when the other elephants decide to shut him out of their meal time, Timothy overhears them and decides to do something about it, marching into the circle and scaring everyone straight. But what really puts them in their place is this line:


“So you like to pick on little guys, huh? Well, why don’t you pick on me?”


Like anyone who thinks they’re too good for someone else, they’ll only keep it up as long as they think they can get away with it. But Timothy puts them in their place and kicks off a great friendship with Dumbo, the baby elephant so adorable that he might even be cuter than Fluttershy. (And ignore what the weird guy with the freaky bird avatar who helps me on Trotting Through Life says about too much cuteness. Fluttershy is best pony!)



3. Quasimodo standing up to Frollo – The Hunchback of Notre Dame


Quasimodo is one of two Disney characters who had to face down the only parent he ever knew, and it’s a chilling moment. Frollo has apparently killed Esmerelda, the only person Quasimodo ever truly loved, and now he wants Quasimodo out of the way as well. He pretends to comfort him and tells him that he’s going to “end his suffering,” raising a knife to stab him in the back. But his shadow gives him away, and Quasimodo catches the knife, seeing the hate in Frollo’s eyes, and throws him back. Frollo tells Quasimodo to listen to him, thinking he can still control him, but Quasimodo tells Frollo to listen and says his most important line:


“All my life you have told me the world is a dark, cruel place! But now I see that the only thing dark and cruel about it is people like you.”


This proves that Quasimodo has risen above being controlled by Frollo and is ready to live in the real world. He’s not afraid of it anymore and realizes that he is good enough for it no matter what he looks like.



2. Simba standing up to Scar – The Lion King


The entire movie was building up to this moment, and it is awesome. Simba finally goes back to pride rock to face Scar and his past and take his awesome stand as the rightful king. But Scar desperately accuses him not just of causing Mufasa’s but deliberately murdering him. This turns the crowd against Simba and starts to turn the tide in Scar’s favor, but then Scar thinks he’s won and tries to torment Simba more with the truth, causing Simba to recover his awesome strength and force the confession out of him. This awesomely kicks off the awesome battle that overthrows Scar and his hyena pack. The circle of life is now complete. Awesome!


I’ll admit, I almost gave first place to this one, but after spending a long time thinking about it, I decided there was one other moment that deserved it even more. Drum roll please…



1. Rapunzel standing up to Mother Gothel – Tangled


This scene works from beginning to end. The lighting is perfect, darker than it was in the beginning of the movie to highlight the seriousness of this scene, the way it ties back to earlier in the movie is perfect, and altogether, it just demonstrates how Rapunzel has grown up at last.


Rapunzel realizes that she’s the lost princess and stumbles out of her room. When mother Gothel tells her to stop mumbling to herself, she comes back at her with


“I am the lost princess, aren’t I?… Did I mumble, Mother? Or should I even call you that?”


When she realizes she can’t deny it, Gothel tries to uphold the lie she’d been making both of them believe, that she loved Rapunzel and was doing everything for her, but Rapunzel pushes past her, finished with being manipulated. Desperately, Gothel tries to scare Rapunzel into listening, telling her that Flynn is going to be hung and everything will be as it should be (if Rapunzel accepts her). But as she goes to stroke her hair, Rapunzel grabs her hand and makes her stand, telling her, like Quasimodo with Frollo, that Gothel is the one she should have been avoiding her whole life and she will never let her use her hair again. Gothel pulls away and accidentally breaks her favorite mirror, signifying that her prized pet has broken free, and she no longer has a free pass to indulge her vanity anymore.




I was also going to add the moments about falling in love, but since I already did a similar list of the top love songs, I’ll just list them really quick:

1. I See the Light – Tangled

2. Beauty and the Beast – Beauty and the Beast

3. Kiss the Girl – The Little Mermaid

4. Bella Notte – Lady and the Tramp

5. So This is Love – Cinderella

6. A Whole New World – Aladdin



There you have it, my look at some of the biggest Disney tropes and the best examples of them. If you need me later, I’ll be listening to this song: http/www.youtube.com/watch?vvCVjaig9DQ


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