Everyone knows Disney. You'd have to live under a rock to not know about it. But like any prolific creator, they have good movies and bad movies, and movies that get overlooked. The last one is what this post is about.
When I say underrated, what I mean is those movies that don't get enough attention, or are often overlooked for the more popular movies. I came up with so many, this is going to be a two part post, with the next part going up next month. If you've been looking for movies to add to your summer watch list, look no farther.
The Emperor's New Groove
What it's about: A selfish teenage South American king named Kuzco is turned into a llama by his adviser Yzma when he fires her. He gets stranded in the jungle and must rely on the help of a friendly villager named Pacha to get back. Kuzco and Pacha have to get back to the palace and reclaim the throne before Yzma does.
Why you should watch it: For starters, it takes place in an Incan kingdom. How many movies do you know that takes place there? The humor is spot on, and the casting is great. You will probably be falling off your seat with laughter the whole time. I also like the character arc that Kuzko goes through.
What it's about: In this space re-telling of Treasure Island, Jim Hawkins finds a map that will lead to the treasure of a space pirate. He sets off across the stars to find the treasure and learns to be a stronger person on the way.
Why you should watch it: Treasure Island in space. It is amazing. It's both a funny and touching coming of age story with some pirates and space galleons thrown in. It also has a great cast, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, and Martin Short. And Jim's mom is the best. Plus there's this adorable creature named Morph.
|I promise he's not as gross as he looks|
What it's about: Bolt is a dog who grew up thinking he has superpowers due to the special magic of a TV show. When he get's lost in New York City, he discovers he's perfectly normal. He sets off to be reunited with his owner, Penny, with the help of a cat and a hamster.
Why you should watch it: This movie is so sweet, with themes of family and belonging. It also talks about people not abandoning their pets. It's a fun adventure that people of all ages can enjoy. Even if Miley Cyrus plays Penny, Bolt's owner.
The Reluctant Dragon
What it's about: A small boy is quite excited when he learns that a dragon has moved in nearby and a knight is going to kill it. He goes to see the dragon only to learn that the dragon is a pacifist and doesn't want to fight anyone. Neither does the knight. The three of them must find a way to get around killing each other.
Why you should watch it: Though it's only a half hour film, it's cute and funny. The dragon loves to compose poetry and is so prissy. And the way they get around the fight is great. You'll have to watch it to see what happens.
The Adventures of Ichbod and Mr. Toad
What it's about: This is actually two different stories. The first is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and is narrated by Bing Crosby. The second is a shortened version of "The Wind in the Willows".
Why you should watch it: Bing Crosby narrating and singing. That alone is great. Plus, both stories are fun versions of the original, full of songs and humor. This is a great one if you need something to lift your mood.
The Three Musketeers
What it's about: Mickey, Donald, and Goofy want to join the Musketeers, but are rejected because of their bumbling. Pete concocts an evil plot to take the throne, and hires them to guard the princess so he can take her. However, they learn of his plot and have to stop him.
Why you should watch it: Well, it's classic Disney for starters. For another thing, it only uses classical music for their songs. Once you've watched it, you'll never hear songs like Beethoven's 5th Symphony (This Is the End), the Can Can (All For One and One for All), or In the Hall of the Mountain King (Petey's King of France) the same.
What it's about: A young god named Hercules is turned mostly mortal and left on Earth so Hades can take over Mount Olympus. When Hercules reaches teenagehood, he sets out to find who he truly is a prove himself worthy of Mount Olympus. But Hades' plan and a pretty girl named Meg get in the way.
Why you should watch it: Lots of humor and sarcasm, mixed with Greek myths. Hades especially is a riot. It also has some beautiful music, including songs from the Muses, who sing gospel music.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
What it's about: Milo is a linguist who gets recruited to help in an expedition to find Atlantis. He and his team find the city, only for him to be betrayed by one of the team. He must protect the city and the princess from being extinguished.
Why you should watch it: It's got this amazing steampunk vibe for one thing. It's also a cool speculative piece with a touch of magic. It's got a gorgeous look. And I like how Milo isn't your normal hero. He's skinny and nerdy, yet he has the biggest heart.
The Sword and the Stone
What it's about: A young boy named Arthur stumbles across a cabin in the woods while out with his brother Kay. It turns out to belong to Merlin, who takes him under his wing. When Arthur goes to London, he discovers he is the king by pulling the sword from a stone.
Why you should watch it: Mostly for Merlin. He's the best character in this movie. He can pack his whole house into one bag. Furniture and everything. There's also some great music.
Oliver and Company
What it's about: Oliver is a young kitten that nobody wants. He falls in with a pack of dogs and their soft-hearted owner. The dogs are thieves, trying to help their owner who owes a crime boss. While on a job, Oliver gets adopted by a rich little girl. This leads to a lot of trouble for both the girl and the dog's owner.
Why you should watch it: For one thing, this is an Oliver Twist retelling set in New York City. It's nicely done, and has some fun music. And Jenny, the little girl is super adorable.
Babes in Toyland
What it's about: Mary Contrary and Tom Piper are about to marry, when he is kidnapped by the villain Barnaby so that Mary will marry him. Tom escapes and comes back for Mary, only to have the children she watches disappear. They go after them and find a toymaker in the woods, who becomes a pawn in Barnaby's next scheme. (This sounds confusing, but it makes sense if you watch it.)
Why you should watch it: This movie came out in the 60's, and it contains some classic actors like Ed Wynn and Annette Funicello. The music is quite fun, as are the sets. We're talking classic Disney here. And you can't forget the classic bumbling villain sidekicks.
I hope this list gave you some ideas for new movies to try. Don't forget to watch out for part two next month.
Let's talk! What Disney movies do you think are underrated? Have you seen any of these? Tell me in the comments.