When this post comes out, I’ll be on my way to Disneyland Paris to celebrate my birthday. So I’m scheduling a few Disney themed posts for your reading pleasure while I’m away.
There are so many Disney films out there, and typically, the majority usually get a lot of love. But to me, there are just a few which always seem to be overlooked. I could be wrong, and in Disney fan circles these could be worshipped as the treasures they are, but these are ones I personally don’t see mentioned a lot. Or which are perhaps fan favourites, but overlooked by Disney themselves.
Like all my lists and posts, these are just my opinions – I am more than happy if someone wants to ‘correct’ me and point out if a film isn’t overlooked, and feel free to tell me your own underrated favourites.
The Black Cauldron
I really enjoyed this film. It’s far from being one of Disney’s best, and came at a time when the studio was struggling. It was seen as a bit bleak and dark for a children’s animated feature, and if memory serves, they went way over budget on it. But it’s still enjoyable, with more of a Celtic fantasy feel than Disney’s over films. It’s a little bit reminiscent of Sword in the Stone, too. If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely check it out, and here’s hoping we eventually do get a live action remake of this one – it’d be great to see it a little bit redeemed. And if anyone is sort of familiar with Celtic mythology, I think they’d get a definite kick out of this one.
I only watched this one relatively recently, but I fell in love with it so much I watched the sequel straight away. The second film was supposed to lead into a TV series, and it’s such a shame we didn’t get that. Brother Bear is an adorable story, the characters are insanely loveable, and the focus on love, redemption, forgiveness and family make it so poignant. The soundtrack, too, is an absolute blast, bringing back Phil Collins – this and Tarzan are two of my favorite Disney soundtracks, and what’s not to love about the bears themselves? Safe to say, I laughed and cried at this.
Also, I have to admit, as the youngest of three – and the only girl – I can totally relate to Koda, especially when he’s excited and chattering away and won’t shut up because, yep, I was that kid. I bugged my brothers no end, and could talk the ears off anyone, who I was comfortable with, anyway.
A Bug’s Life
This is a classic and I won’t have anyone tell me different. A Bug’s Life is a fantastic story, and when it came out, I remember being absolutely blown away by the world created – the animation had only really been seen in Toy Story. A Bug’s Life was Pixar’s second feature film, coming out three years after Toy Story. And I loved it just as much. We now have four Toy Story films, a sequel to Incredibles, and a whole franchise from bloody Cars – where’s Bug’s Life 2, people? Considering how much I actually hate bugs and cringe away when they come near me, it’s a surprise this and James and the Giant Peach were two of my childhood favourites, and I still remember my friend, cousin and I arguing over which VHS cover each of us would get, after my aunt got one of each and we had to pick.
I love Frozen, but Moana is better. I will fight anyone who says otherwise, and I don’t think I really need to say more about this one, except I seriously hope we get a sequel to this eventually. Amazing music, brilliant cast, visually stunning and overall a fantastic film.
Oliver & Co
When I was a kid, if there was a dog in a film I wanted to watch it. This was no exception, I adored this film, and watched it constantly. I also very much liked the musical Oliver, so this was a perfect combination for me. What happened to Disney taking classics and doing them with animals? (More on that below) Oliver & Co is cute and fun, and the ending is….freaking dark. Talking of which, when did Disney stop doing the dark endings??? I miss them – villains just seem to…slink away now, or are dragged away. Frozen should have ended with Hans dying, really. But yeah – Oliver & Co, like Brother Bear, has a fun soundtrack, adorable characters, and is overall really fun.
Lion King 2 – Simba’s Pride
Yeah, I freaking love this film. Again, classics, retold with animals. Lion King is Hamlet, Lion King 2 is Romeo & Juliet. Lion King 1 1/2 also deserves a mention, for being a recreation of a Hamlet spin-off play. But 2 has a special place in my heart because damn, I freaking love it. He Lives In You is such a legendary song they worked it into the musical (and the live action version), Upendi is pure bliss, My Lullaby is an amazing follow up to Be Prepared, Not One of Us is creepy and dark and heart-breaking and We Are One brings a tear to my eye every time. Once upon a time, Disney sequels had a particular formula – either show what happened during the character-growing-up-montage, or character from original has a kid and their main want is the opposite to their parent’s – of course, parent completely doesn’t understand this and forgets what they were like at the same age. Ariel’s daughter wants to go into the sea, and Kiara really doesn’t want to be royalty. But they come to understand each other and everyone, of course, ends up happy. This film is a gem, and I can honestly watch it over and over again. And He Lives In You doesn’t make me cry like Endless Night from the musical does.
Honourable Mentions: Dinosaur, Enchanted, Lilo & Stitch, Little Mermaid 2, Fox & the Hound and probably many more I have forgotten.
Don’t forget, friends –
I am currently hosting a Disney book themed giveaway on Twitter. Just follow that link, make sure you’re following me on there, and retweet. Good luck!