Disney+ is here! We’re sure you already have a list of favorite Disney movies you’d love to rewatch. But one of the advantages of this streaming service is the chance to enjoy (sadly) forgotten classics from the world of Disney. Here are 10 underrated gems to add to your list.
1. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
After the success of Mary Poppins, Disney decided to produce a similar movie, that is, one with scenes of real-life actors interacting with cartoon characters. The result is the charming Bedknobs and Broomsticks, an adventure whose incredible animated sequences and visual effects continue to amaze us. Especially noteworthy is the film’s climax, when Eglantine Price, the protagonist newbie witch (played by a young Angela Lansbury), will conjure up a very curious army to face a legion of Nazis. It also has catchy musical numbers such as “Portobello Road” and “The Beautiful Briny.”
2. The Great Mouse Detective
Many believe the Disney Renaissance began with The Little Mermaid, but that’s not entirely true. Three years earlier, The Great Mouse Detective already mixed most of the ingredients that would make Disney succeed in the ’90s: an agile script, a charismatic hero (who can resist the mouse version of Sherlock Holmes?), excellent animation and, of course, a great villain. The final battle, in and out of London’s iconic Big Ben, is still quite spectacular. It was also one of the pioneers in introducing computer animation.
3. The Great Muppet Caper
We all remember the endearing The Muppet Christmas Carol or The Muppets reboot from 2011, but The Great Muppet Caper has been largely forgotten. It was the film that launched the absurd, self-referential comedy style that now permeates everything related to the Muppets. In fact, the movie opens with a song that acknowledges it’s a movie (“Hey a Movie!”) and explains how Kermit the Frog and Fozzie will play two journalists who are identical twins. This moment sets the tone for the entire film! The adventure is full of misunderstandings, trickery and stellar actors like Monty Python’s John Cleese.
4. Hocus Pocus
Hocus Pocus was released in 1993 with limited success, but in recent years it has luckily become regarded as a cult classic. And for good reason: the film is the quintessential ’90s movie in which genres are mixed without a problem. It offers 96 minutes of horror, comedy, fantasy, suspense… as we follow a teenager, Max Dennison, who inadvertently resurrects the Sandersons, a trio of fearsome witches played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker.
5. Darby O’Gill and the Little People
Darby O’Gill and the Little People is a must-see movie for fans of old-fashioned special effects. The homemade kind, without computerized tweaking. The story of an Irishman who captures the king of the leprechauns and gets him to grant three wishes is the perfect excuse to deliver magical scenes with great special effects and editing.
6. Waking Sleeping Beauty
Here we’re breaking the rules a bit and recommending a documentary instead of a fiction film, but it’s well worth it. Waking Sleeping Beauty tells the story of how Walt Disney Feature Animation returned to the fore of entertainment after multiple box-office failures and productions that dragged on forever. Specifically, after the disaster that was The Black Cauldron, the situation was so dire that many analysts of the era believed Disney was finished. How did it go from that to The Little Mermaid, The Lion King or Aladdin? Watch the documentary to find out!
7. 10 razones para odiarte
10 Things I Hate About You is a modern-day adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, one of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. In its day, the film’s romantic misunderstandings and hidden life lessons managed to resonate with the ’90s generation. What will happen when you watch it now? You may wonder why today’s teen romantic comedies can’t be as smart and mature as this one. And if that doesn’t convince you, you can always satisfy your curiosity by checking out a young Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Julia Stiles.
8. The Parent Trap (1961)
The title of The Parent Trap may bring to mind a movie from the late ’90s with Lindsay Lohan playing twins separated at birth, but we’re referring to the original ’60s film with Hailey Mills in the same role. The adventure is the same: twins who learn of each other’s existence at summer camp and then try to get their parents back together. But this version is better than its remake because it doesn’t consider itself a kids’ movie: it’s endearing without being cheesy and smart when it needs to be.
9. The Princess and the Frog
The Princess and the Frog was Disney’s last movie with traditional animation… because when it was released, it went largely unnoticed. And that’s a shame, because it’s an excellent remake of a classic tale, now set in New Orleans. Tiana is not only the first African-American Disney princess, but her strong, proactive personality makes her an excellent role model for the little ones in the house. Oh, and in case you were wondering: yes, the villain’s song lives up to expectations!
10. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is still one of Disney’s best live-action films thanks to its stunning special effects (the movie won an Oscar for them in 1955), its massive dose of adventure, James Mason’s portrayal of Captain Nemo and Kirk Douglas as whaler Ned Land. The adventure begins when a mysterious sea monster is sinking ships in the Pacific Ocean. An expedition sets out to discover if the beast exists, receiving help from Nemo and his iconic submarine, the Nautilus.