Well, first off: are we talking song score or underscoring? Or both?
At any rate, the first six films are all extraordinary musical achievements; the last three are only very good.
“Mermaid” combines an exceptionally versatile song catalogue with a wonderfully wistful longing (who will forget that tinkling pianissimo as the runaway fish dives beneath the surface, swelling to the majestic choral overture as the merfolk approach the palace of Triton?).
“Beauty”‘s song score drives the narrative of its film even more keenly than “Mermaid,” and combines a lush emotionalism with a piquant sense of humor; comedy and drama are served equally well by the emotional underscore.
“Aladdin” encapsulates dynamic adventure, romanticism and high satire with a sprinkle of Arabin nights mysticism; the score cuts this unwieldy epic down to greater accessibility without sacrificing the stakes of the action involved.
“The Lion King” breathes fire and majesty into an already sturdy story; the combination of both creates a soaring aural spectacle that throbs with the soul of Africa. And for all the drama that the score unfolds, there’s still fun to be had.
“Pocahontas” aims for the ethereal rather than the visceral, and the music pushes the viewer to think as much as feel it. The swelling strains of “Colors of the Wind” distill the movie’s message as much as any line of dialogue.
“Hunchback” rises to the challenge of meeting a venerated literary classic with a score that goes for everything at once: purple with emotion, the score shimmers with rays of Disneyfied light while sallying unafraid into very real darkness… the maturation of everything the Disney score has ever tried to be.
Beauty and the Beast….fairly easily.
Close second is Aladdin….then Little Mermaid….then Lion King.
Well the first four of these are all pretty marvelous…I want to vote ALADDIN so bad, but am going with THE LITTLE MERMAID. The winning edge for MERMAID??? “Les Poissons” & “Poor Unfortunate Souls” hands down are my top two favorite Disney songs ever!!!
” ‘Cause it’s gonna be hot in my big silver pot!
Tout-aloo mon poisson