Walt Disney Studios produced classic after animated classic in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. The 60s and 70s were a leaner time, but there are still some good films here and there. The 80s? When the best you can say about the decade is "The Great Mouse Detective", it's better to say nothing at all.
But then, something happened at the very end of the 80s. A little film called "The Little Mermaid" his theaters, and just like that, Disney of old was back. "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin" quickly followed, ushering a Disney renaissance.
So what happened? Well, Disney put emphasis on the plot, returning to the classics for source materials. More complex characters became the norm. Oh, and the music! How can we forget the music?
The man behind the music was Alan Menken, who scored "Mermaid", "Beauty", and "Aladdin", and penned numerous unforgettable songs. He won Best Score and Best Song Oscars for each of the three films, as well as for "Pocahontas", which followed soon after.
Other than a brief reprieve for "Tangled", Menken stopped scoring Disney animation in the late 90s, and the quality hasn't exactly been back.
Well, at least Disney knows whom to call in case it needs to usher in another renaissance.