If you need a little pick-me-up, you can’t get much better than the love, laughter and much-needed distraction a Disney movie can give you.
But forget the Disney classics, it’s time to hero the underdogs, the Disney movies which aren’t top of mind, but 100% should be.
You won’t find The Lion King, Aladdin or Frozen on this list. We’ve (happily) trawled and sung through the latest offering on Disney Plus to find our top five picks for you to indulge in this weekend. Maybe you’ve seen them (once or twice), or perhaps not at all… But you can turn it around one fabulous film at a time. Sink into the lounge, switch on Disney Plus and give these the watch they deserve.
5. The Emperor’s New Groove, 2000
The name may put you off, but this Disney movie is one of the smartest and funniest they’ve made. Voiced by a hilariously funny cast of David Spade (Emperor Kuzco), John Goodman (Pacha) and Patrick Warburton (Kronk), the story takes place in the Incan Empire, where the young, selfish and arrogant Emperor Kuzco reigns. After firing his manipulative adviser, Yzma, for trying to run the country behind his back, she and her muscular yet simple henchman Kronk (who is one of our most favourite Disney characters of all time) plot to take his throne. They try to kill Emperor Kuzco by poison, however, thanks to Kronk’s mishap, they instead turn him into a llama. After knocking Kuzco out, Yzma orders Kronk to dispose of him in a river. However, loveable Kronk has a crisis of conscience at the last second and saves Kuzco, but misplaces him on a cart belonging to Pacha, a local friendly family-man. The story then turns to a comedy-filled adventure of llama Kuzco and Pacha in the hopes to restore his reign. The best part though is the character development of the emperor; watching him transform into the leader he should be.
4. Anastasia, 1997
Not technically Disney, but rather produced by Fox Animation Studios, Anastasia is one of our forgotten princesses, yet one of the coolest. This loose adaptation of the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, sees an 18-year-old amnesiac orphan named Anya, searching for some trace of her family. Along the way she sides with con men who wish to take advantage of her likeness to the Grand Duchess, unbeknownst to them that she is indeed the real Anastasia. Their journey is filled with ups and downs, many of which are thanks to the evil Rasputin, who destroyed her family and kingdom in the first place. We have to mention the absolute true star of the film, Bartok, an albino bat (Rasputin’s sidekick) voiced by legend, Hank Azaria. Funny, clever, nerve-wracking and simply enjoyable, make sure Anastasia is on your must-watch list.
3. Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, 1997
Yes, a sequel to the 1991 all-time favourite, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas should be on your watch list – but you can save it for December if you prefer. It all starts with a Christmas party held at the Beast’s castle sometime after the spell is broken, whilst Lumiere and Cogsworth reminisce about the previous year’s Christmas and who saved it…thankfully Mrs Potts comes to the rescue to take us back in time to see the story. Belle discovers that the Beast hates Christmas and does whatever she can to change that. With the help of the regular crew, it looks to be promising, until Forte (the evil pipe organ) and his annoying, but kind of cute minion, Fife, sabotage things. You’ll meet sassy angel tree-ornament, Angelic and hear a number of tunes sure to play over and over in your head. Heads up, singing “As long as there’s Christmas” at the top of your lungs in the shower sounds superb.
2. The Fox and the Hound, 1981
If you are craving a good cry, we’ve found it. But be warned, it might stay with you forever. The Fox and the Hound (loosely based on its 1967 novel of the same name) tells the story and unlikely beautiful friendship of a red fox named Tod and a hound dog (taught to hunt foxes…you can see where this is going) named Copper. As the two grow up, they struggle to maintain their friendship, thanks to social pressures and expectations, made worse by an accident which sparks the wrongful blame of Tod. Our favourite fox is then abandoned (which is one of the most painful scenes to watch) and on the run from Copper and his extremely unlikable owner. Even more action unfolds, and the story becomes everso enthralling, but how does it end? You’ll have to watch to see.
1. Oliver & Company, 1988
Yes, we’ve called it. This is one of the best Disney movies of all time, yet, disgracefully, so many people haven’t even heard of it. Disney’s 27th animated feature, Oliver & Company, is based on the classic Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist, except in the world of pets. Oliver, possibly the cutest animated cat of all time (yes, even cuter than Marie from The Aristocats or Puss-in-Boots), is a homeless kitten wandering the streets of New York. The opening few minutes look pretty dire, until he meets the uber-cool mongrel named Dodger (voiced by Billy Joel) who takes the little kitty under his wing. Oliver joins Dodger’s street gang, filled with fabulous characters like Tito the Chihuahua, Einstein the Great Dane, Rita the Saluki and Francis the Bulldog, and adventure ensues, including run-ins with a loan shark and catnapping as well as brilliant musical numbers which will stay in your head… (“why should I worry, why should I care“) and make you forget what’s happening in the world, if only for a moment.
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