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6 unforgettable Disney classics from the geniuses behind Moana

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As if there weren't enough reasons to be excited about Disney's Hawaiian princess adventure Moana, did you know that its two directors are responsible for some of the greatest Mouse House movies of all time? Their names are Ron Clements and John Musker - and these are the childhood Disney classics that made such a powerful impression on all of us.

The Great Mouse Detective

Released: 1986

The movie: The Disney feature debut from Clements and Musker, we feel this deserves a fresh appraisal. After all, who could resist a reworking of Sherlock Holmes with mice? Both cutesy and enjoyably loyal to the fog-bound atmosphere of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories (long before anyone had put the words Benedict and Cumberbatch together), it also features movie legend Vincent Price in his own personal favourite role as cackling baddie Ratigan. And the climactic Big Ben battle is still awesome to this day, alluding to the classic Holmes/Moriarty confrontation at the Reichenbach Fall. Elementary!


The Little Mermaid

Released: 1989

The movie: Disney's fortunes were in a bad way throughout much of the 70s and 80s, the animation lacking vitality and the storytelling following suit. It was therefore nothing short of miraculous when Clements and Musker singlehandedly restored the company's credibility with this timeless fairytale adaptation, one that brought fond memories of Disney's heyday soaring back with a blend of lush visuals, memorable characters and infectiously upbeat songs from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.

It was because of The Little Mermaid that Disney were able to recapture people's hearts during much of the subsequent decade - can we expect the same revolutionary touch from Moana?

Aladdin

Released: 1992

The movie: OK, admit it - who practically demanded a genie as a friend after watching this Oscar-winning masterpiece for the first time? One of Disney's most enduringly popular and brilliant works, it's a vibrant, funny and emotional reworking of Arabian Nights whose slightly bland central hero (modelled on Tom Cruise, supposedly) is more than redeemed by sneery villain Jafar and, above all, the late, great Robin Williams as the Genie in the lamp. This was the first exposure to Williams' genius for many youngsters and for that reason alone, Aladdin earns a place in movie history.


Hercules

Released: 1997

The movie: So Greek scholars and experts may cringe but everyone else is willing to go the distance and lap up this fast-paced, witty mythology story. A starry cast includes the likes of Danny De Vito and Hal Holbrook but it's the unmistakeably snarky tones of villainous actor extraordinaire James Woods as Hades, Lord of the Underworld, that steal the show. Less acclaimed than the other Disney classics from Musker and Clements, it's still fondly remembered by those of a certain age.


Treasure Planet

Released: 2002

The movie: Come the new millennium Disney were again on slightly wobblier ground in terms of their hand-drawn animation, lagging behind CGI breakthroughs in the form of Toy Story and Shrek. But although Treasure Planet could hardly be described as a classic there are still great things about it, namely some truly eye-popping animation incorporating some nifty special effects and a sweeping score from James Newton Howard (soon to be scoring Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). A reworking of classic story Treasure Island, we reckon there's enough in the movie for it to be given a second chance.


The Princess and the Frog

Released: 2009

The movie: Following a glut of sub-standard CGI movies, traditional animation came back into the fold as the noughties beckoned, and few Disney offerings came finer than this sumptuous fairy tale feast. Set in the Deep South with lashings of richly authentic dialect, songs, landscapes and characters, not to mention a surprisingly scary injection of voodoo magic, it's a late-period Disney movie that really stands up. Amidst a great voice cast it's the silver-tongued Keith David as menacing villain Doctor Facilier who walks off with the movie, whilst also entering the ranks of all-time-great Disney baddies.


Has this made you even more excited for Moana? The movie's out on 2nd December so drop us a tweet @Cineworld and let us know if Ron and John's new movie is destined to become the next great Disney classic.