Weekend Watchlist | Disney

By The Pitt News Staff

Earlier this month, Disney’s various film studios announced a whole host of new projects, including “Disenchanted,” the live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” with Halle Bailey, the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series and many more. However, as we prepare for the new, it’s important to celebrate what’s come before, so this week the Pitt News Staff are talking about our favorite Disney shows and films.

WALL•E (Disney+) // Patrick Swain, Staff Writer

In the 22nd century, there is no world but Disney World. The Mouse has crushed all competition – first entertainment, then technology, then the military industrial complex. First Florida fell, and the federal government soon thereafter. The Mickeyopoly knows no bounds.

One morning you wake up in your Pluto Pod, pour yourself a bowl of Minnie Wheats, and turn on the Tinkerbellivision. There’s only one channel – the Disney Channel, of course – and “WALL•E” is on. As images of a dystopian, corporate society and a rotting planet flash across the screen, you feel remarkably at home.

“WALL•E” tells the story of a lovable sentient garbage compactor escaping from an abandoned future Earth that looks a bit like present-day Gary, Indiana. It’s a heartwarming tale about our impending climate doom with a delightfully cynical hypothesis that humans will gladly forget the world that bore them and blissfully float through the void for eternity, provided they have a screen to stare at and a shake to sip on. Look around and tell me they’re wrong.

Cruella (Disney+) // Katelyn Kruszewski, Staff Writer

Based on the beloved Disney classic “101 Dalmatians,” Cruella presents the villain origin story of the infamous Cruella de Vil. This crime comedy follows the story of Cruella before she became the dalmatian-killing fashion icon. Cruella begins as the orphan Estella (Emma Stone).

In 1964 England, the young Estella is seen to be incredibly creative and skilled but has an inherent mischievous nature about her. After the traumatic event of watching a horde of ferocious dalmatians push her mother off a cliff, Estella resorts to a life of thievery with her friends Horace and Jasper. When presented with the incredible opportunity to work in a fashion house, Estella steals the opportunity. While working, Estella finds herself working directly with and eventually competing with fashion industry queen the Baroness (Emma Thompson).

As Estella works closer with the Baroness, she soon discovers various secrets surrounding her fashion idol causing her to adopt an alter ego as “Cruella.” As the plot unfolds, the audience discovers that there’s a whole lot more to the original “101 Dalmatians” story and finds sympathy for the iconic villain.

The Joker meets a fairytale in this crime comedy that borders on the edgy side for a Disney movie. The costumes are elaborate, detailed and vibrant, creating a fairytale world of gossip and prestige. Emma Stone delivers a fantastic performance showing the various nuances of Cruella’s villainous nature, proving that everything is not what it seems.

The Princess and The Frog (Disney+) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

Fine, I’ll say it. “The Princess and the Frog” is criminally underrated, and I’m not just saying that because I have fond memories of going out to see it with my dad or playing the tie-in game for the Wii with my little brother.

“The Princess and the Frog” reimagines the classic fairytale in 1920s New Orleans, where Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) is a young Black woman working to save up for her own restaurant. Unfortunately, because she is a Black woman in 1920s New Orleans, the restaurant is bought out from under her. Her friend Charlotte (Jennifer Cody) tries to cheer her up at a costume party, where Tiana meets Naveen (Bruno Campos), a prince-turned-talking frog. Thinking Tiana is a real princess because of her outfit, Naveen asks her to break the spell by kissing him, but it instead turns her into a frog as well. Now, the two of them must embark on a journey to find a way to return to their human forms.

This movie, being Disney’s last 2D-animated feature film, is gorgeous and holds up beautifully. The characters are fun, and in particular watching Naveen and Tiana’s relationship grow is really sweet. Keith David’s Dr. Facilier is one of the best Disney villains ever, and the soundtrack is great. Randy Newman provides several outstanding songs including “Friends On The Other Side,” “When We’re Human,” and “Almost There” — the last of which really gives Rose a chance to show off her Tony-award winning singing voice.

This movie holds a special place in my heart and it deserves all the love.