Disney films that are *actually* underrated
If you already know me, you could probably guess that this would be on the list considering I never shut up about it.
This film flopped at the box office, but I’m honestly not sure why? It has absolutely gorgeous animation. Like, they could have gone with a palette of grays and blues like most scifi films do, but Treasure Planet actually has a large color palette, especially when it comes to the scenery. It shows off all the beautiful colors of space instead of making everything chrome against a dark backdrop. There are likable characters, including a an anti-hero, disabled pirate, a female Naval Captain that’s a total no-nonsense badass, and a sulky teenager. Arguably one of the darkest films Disney has done in the last twenty years. Disabled main character with only one eye, one arm, and one leg. Literally all of the character designs are gorgeous. The plot is a little boring at times, but it’s fairly easy to get lost in the world that’s been created.
Plus, we get visuals like this!
Brother Bear was another box office flop but this one also had rather negative reviews. The early 2000′s was not kind to Disney animation.
Yes, it does have a transformation plot, which I know is kind of iffy depending on the person, but overall it’s a great film. The music is amazing, bless Phil Collins signing onto another Disney project. The characters are great, I don’t think there were any I didn’t like except maybe the moose (because as an adult I don’t find them as funny as I did as a child, but I don’t really dislike them either). The relationship between the brothers was amazingly done. Usually when people want to talk about animated sibling relationships, they mention Lilo and Stitch, which is also great, but I really like how the brothers interact in Brother bear. They’re all closer in age (which is like my sister and me, so I can connect with it more), and I think that worked well when they added in the anger and grief and self-blame in the story.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
There’s not really much I can say about this one, because truthfully I’ve only seen it a handful of times. Something about it kind of freaked me out as a child (I think it was that giant leviathan creature that attacked their submarine thing????), and I only recently found my old VHS player and haven’t had the time to watch it again.
Atlantis has it all. A beautiful world. Well-rounded, interesting characters. A romance that didn’t feel ridiculously forced. The voice talents of Michael J. Fox, Cree Summer, and Leonard Nimoy. A balances of a more adult plotline, while still retaining a kid friendly atmosphere.
Unfortunately, it does lack some coherency in the plot, and because of it’s fast-paced nature, there isn’t a lot of time for character development. The creators also borrowed a lot of elements from the Ghibli film castle in the Sky, but ultimately it’s still a great film visually speaking.
(PS: it was hard to pick a screencap that shows how visually stunning this film is. So much blue.)
The Black Cauldron
Honestly, The Black Cauldron is one of my favorite Disney films, but I can recognize that it has a lot of problems story wise. As in, they tried to stick the contents of two full length novels into an 80 minute film. Yeah, it didn’t work. The characters are interesting, albeit under-developed, visually it’s very beautiful, and it has just the right amount of creepy to give 5 year old me nightmares as a child (the Horned King was a brilliant concept). The author of the book series the Chronicles of Prydain, which the film is based on, found the film enjoyable on its own, but admitted it didn’t follow the books well. It was also another box office flop, making $21.3 million in revenue, which was less than half of the budget to make the film. This is the film that Disney pretends they didn’t make and is frequently referred to as the “worst Disney film” however we all know that that right belongs to films like Home on the Range, Chicken Little, and Mars Needs Moms.
There is speculation that Disney has plans to make a live action series based on the original books, so fingers crossed!
It’s underrated, but I can kind of tell why. Everyone already knows the story of Robin Hood, because there’s at least ten different films and TV series about the guy. He’s been on OUaT, and there was a parody movie with Cary Elwes!
The animation is, decent, but not great, but the budged was only 5 million, so??? Meaning that a lot of the characters action were redrawn from previous films such as The Jungle Book and Aristocats. However, this was pretty common in old Disney films because the animators were paid for shit and it’s not plagiarism if you’re ripping off yourself. It is a little sloppy though.
Either way, it’s still a decent film. The songs were fun and had a delightfully folk sound to them, if you’re into that! The characters are pretty cute, the story is straight forward, and there’s not actually anything to really dislike about the film. It’s just a silly comedy that has it’s ups and downs.
I don’t even know what to say about this film other than it’s gorgeous and no one ever talks about it. Like, this is the first true Disney film that relies entirely on CGI. No Pixar involvement. Just Disney and CGI. This is the most successful film of 2000 and I’ve never heard people talk about it even though it has great characters, an interesting story, and great visuals.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
While I personally don’t believe Hunchback is all that underrated (I usually see it in just about every top 10 or 20 list), it’s still a great film that deserves more praise than it gets.
Hunchback is beautiful, inspiring, dark, has excellent morals, amazing characters amazing music.It’s basically the complete package of everything you could want in a Disney film and it’s enjoyable for all ages.
The only thing I didn’t like about this film was the gargoyles and it’s kind of implied that they’re more like imaginary friends instead of real creatures, so they get a pass.