Top Ten: Underrated Disney Movies

All right, this is, as is most “top ten anything”lists, completely subjective. When I say “underrated”, I’m not speaking about the respective movies box office earnings, or Rotten Tomato score. This is purely based on how I feel the movies are available to us, the audience, by way of products in the stores and representation in the parks. I’m rating them by how much I enjoy the movie, how unique they are, AND by how confused I am that these movies have been lost in a “Frozen” sea of silly snowmen. All love to the Ice Queen aside, I strongly believe that these movies had some – if not all – of the same fabulous elements that could have perpetuated them into celebrity status. Tell me what you think!

Top Ten: Underrated Disney Movies

#10. Enchanted

enchanted

 

Animation into reality. Magical worlds crashing into our own. The duality that the premise this film is based on is enough to reel me in!  But add awesome songs, choreography, and cameos to the mix, and you’ve got yourself the fabulous movie, Enchanted!

Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is a woman filled with songs, love, and all that cotton-candy stuff. Robert Phillip (Patrick Dempsey) is a pessimistic, structured, cold divorce attorney who is raising his daughter on his own, hoping that she will lead a life of logic and power. He learns that life without the freedom to love out-loud and be goofy is dull and… well, boring.

The all-star cast also includes Susan Sarandon and the Queen Narissa, James Marsden as Prince Edward, and Idina Menzel (yes, Elsa) as Nancy. Not to mention the cameo’s of past Disney princesses! This movie pokes fun at the stereotypical princess-in-distress movies in a new, creative way. If you enjoy a good love movie with a solid plot and lots of laughs, this is perfect!

 

 

#9. Home on the Range

home on the range

All right, let’s get real. This list is not going to contain a bunch of Princess movies, and here’s why. While princess movies are amazing (more will come up), if you focus on stories with heart, which is really what gets me, and forms my ratings, then you can’t stick to one “type”. You have to explore!

And while western-style movies are near, if not at, the bottom of my list of ones to rush and check out, Home on the Range pulled me in. It was so comforting, so homey, it’s hard to describe. Something about the Patch of Heaven, the serenity of nature, and the gumption these animals showed in honor to their owner that truly valued and respected them, got to me.

Roseanne voices Maggie, a smart-mouthed prized cow that stirs her new home up in a frenzy. She’s a big personality, in memory of her TV-debut character, perhaps? Anyways, the relationships and mission of these animals feels very heartfelt, and it’s difficult not to sympathize with their plight. This movie did poorly, but I really think it deserves a second-look.

#8. Wreck-It Ralph

wreck-it-ralph-central-station

Now this one really gets me! I was looking for a Vanellope SOMETHING, because she’s so adorable, and I can’t find anything! How about a Sugar Rush-themed baking set? Or a vintage-style Wreck-It Ralph handheld game?

In this day and age of videos games and electronics, I thought that this movie and its colorful characters would have been represented all over Disney World. But they’re not, unfortunately, and now they have landed on my list. This movie was great!

Super, super creative with the arcade games as different “worlds”, along with the funny references and comical voice actors, (hello – John C. Riley, Sarah Silverman, and Jane Lynch all have leading roles!!!) this movie was a wonderful surprise. I hadn’t heard of it, or seen it marketed at all, but one day my sister and I came across it and were intrigued. We literally could not stop saying “I love this” throughout the film. It’s amazing! Check it out, pleeeassse, and demand some Wreck-It Ralph merch along with me!

 

#7. Bolt

boltBooooolt! Have you ever even heard of it? Because I hadn’t. Not until years later when I was briefly discussing my sweet hamster, MacGyver, to an acquaintance. He blurted out to me, “Have you seen Bolt?!” I shook my head, what was he talking about? “Aw, you gotta see it. The hamster in the movie is freaking hilarious!”

He actually had a copy of the movie, and so, much at the disappointment of my travel companion, we spent the evening watching the movie. I fell in love! This is another movie about animals making their way, a sort of Homeward-Bound-esque film about the love of a dog for its human.

The premise is super original, and the story is incredibly smart and inventive. Bolt is a really-cool-dog who believes he has super powers. Mittens is your typical cat, indifferent and sort of cold. Matching the two up more then bends the cats-vs-dog ancient battle. John Travolta lends his voice to Bolt, while Miley Cyrus voices Penny, Bolt’s human whom he is so dedicated too. The movie has a great message as well. Penny starred on a famous TV-show, and could have any thing she wanted. But with Bolt gone, we learn that the only real important thing in life isn’t a “thing” at all. Animal-lovers will especially relate to the special relationships in this movie.

#6. Brother Bear

brother bearI’m getting too excited about this one! Fans of The Lion King would appreciate this movie. It’s a beautiful story, all about growth, learning from your mistakes, and taking responsibility for your actions. It also focuses on being open-minded and not making snap judgments about any one. I know. It’s deep.

But on a more materialistic, level, I have ask: Where are the adorable, plushy stuffed Koda’s? The silly meet-and-greet with the best Canadian moose-brothers, Rutt and Tuke?

The thing about this movie is that it forces us to ask ourselves if we are being honest with who we are. There’s also beautiful landscape shots, great music by Phil Collins, and one absolutely revitalizing, heart pounding, tears-in-your-eyes number that will make you feel “transformed” if you let it.

This musical piece alone is enough to make me scratch my head and wonder why Brother Bear was so underrated. Out of context, the song might not be as powerful, just go watch it already and tell me what you think!

#5. The Princess and the Frog

tianaOkay, okay. As you may or may not know, this Diva is constantly holding a candle for her – dare I say it – favorite Disney Princess of all time. Yes, Tiana is #1 in my book. Why, you ask? Well, thank you for asking, allow me to expand on my opinion. Tiana is completely different.

This women is focused, critically focused, on becoming her own boss and running a successful restaurant. She sees a bright future for herself, brought to her by herself, and because of this, she is an independent person trying to be the best that she can be. Now, does that not sound like the perfect role model? Coupled with Tiana throughout her… interesting adventure… is her polar opposite; Prince Naveen. This prince is awful!

He can’t do a thing for himself, and has a much more spoiled perception on how the world works than any Prince in any Disney movie, which makes him hilarious. Tiana doesn’t wait for him to help her – which is a good thing! If she did, I don’t think she’d every make it out of the swamp.

Anyways, this girl rocks, the music is so fun, and the New Orleans theme offers the perfect amount of magical and spooky. Why Princess Tiana dolls and cartoon-shorts are not popping up all over the place, really gets me. This movie has every element needed to be great, so what happened?! Check it out if you haven’t already, and prepare to announce your loyalty to Tiana as well!

#4. Tangled

tangledTwo princesses in a row? Yup. But this one comes up for different reasons. Tangled is a beautiful film based off of an old-fairy tale, Rapunzel. I believe it really kicked-off this movement of giving the male character a more prominent role in the Disney Princess films, and very successfully. Even though TPATF came out a year earlier, this film focused on marketing the male – Flynn Rider – by featuring only him in the trailers.

You had no idea what Rapunzel would look or act like. But how pleasantly surprised I was to watch a bare-foot, clumsy, wide-eyed girl as she tried to navigate her way through a brand new world. It’s a wonderful allegory that spoke volumes to me and other young girls/women, who were going through or had survived that confusing time of life when every thing felt new and strange and exciting all at once. Rapunzel is a curious, brave, and modest princess. The story is thrilling to watch, the songs and animation stunning, and the characters all so perfectly complement one another.

The comparisons of this movie to it’s younger “cousin”, Frozen, tend to drive me out of my mind. They are different movies with a different message. But I am equally perplexed by the underwhelming acceptance Tangled received, not only in comparison to Frozen but to many other movies. This one seemed to just skim the surface, and it’s a real bummer.

#3. Tarzan

tarzanAh. Ah! Aaaah! Eh hem. My wild-man call is a bit rusty. Um, hello? People. Why have we forgotten about this absolutely fantastic movie. You know, the one with the Phil Collins songs, heart racing adventure, tug-of-war between animal and man?

This movie, based off of the book, was truly not one of my favorites when I first saw it. But that’s because I was only focusing on Princess movies. When I watched again – ugh! The emotions! This movie really pulls on your heart strings. Tarzan’s relationship with his mother is enough to make you teary-eyed.

But the struggle he goes through, and the decision he finally makes, is somehow viciously relatable to what it’s like to grow up. To be curious about what’s out there. What’s different. And also, how it feels to not fit in, or be accepted, by those who you would expect to have unconditional love from. The movie has its silly moments, but truthfully it’s more of an empowering movie than I ever expected!

 

#2. Hercules

herculesYou just remembered that you love the movie, didn’t you? You are now humming “A Star is Born” while you read this, aren’t you? OF COURSE YOU ARE!!!

That’s because Hercules is an amazing movie. Fun, silly, sweet, epic, just great great great! Why has he been left in the vault, swiped off the face of all Disney everything? What happened? Did the Muses not amuse? Did the Fates not mystify? Did Phil, in his teary-eyed weakness while he stared at his own constellation, not stir up some foreign feeling of happiness+sadness that you had never experienced before, until this movie?

This movie has it all, and then some! So why can’t I have a meet-and-greet with Meg? Or breakfast with Pegasus? I don’t need to tell you about the movie, because I know you’ve seen it. Multiple times! So let’s demand the attention that a god like Hercules deserves! Rant over.

 

 

#1. The Emperor’s New Groove

kronk

Mm. Mm hm. Mm hm hm hm… now this little nugget, little diamond-in-the-rough, yes, this one, I’m not sure if you have seen it or not. This movie is hands-down my go to movie when I need to laugh. And I mean LAUGH so loud it hurts. What makes this movie so funny, so wonderful that I rated it #1 status? It’s the characters. The dialogue between them is so masterfully written yet so brillantly improvised, that the dynamics between the characters are unique only to this film.

The humor is surprisingly smart and quick-witted, thanks to the smart-talking David Spade who voices Emperor Kuzco. The sweet family-man Pacha evolves slightly enough to take on the new pain-in-his-side that was thrust upon him. But the best, the absolute BEST thing to come from this movie has got to be, hands down… Kronk. Kronk is such a unique character. Hilarious, painfully naive, endearing in his own, misguided way, he truly is one of the best-written characters I have ever seen in any animated film.

I’m flabbergasted that we haven’t dedicated an area to Kronk himself. This movie would be entertaining for kids, but I really think it was more enjoyable as I got older. I love seeing these characters react in such a realistic way to certain situations. This is a hidden gem, the movie that I recommend the most to people who are looking for something different and funny. I urge you to check this movie out. You will be singing my praises once you see it, I promise!

 

So, what did you think? Do you agree, or disagree, with my choices? Let me know! I’d love to hear what you all think! 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Top Ten: Underrated Disney Movies

  1. I think you did a great job. Hercules, Enchanted, Princess and the Frog, Wreck it Ralph and Tangled are at my top of must see movies from Disney.

  2. Ooo, and Tarzan. I think that one of the worst things Walt Disney World did was take out Tarzan from Animal Kingdom. It was an amazing show.

  3. Cool list! I’d disagree that Enchanted and Tangled are underrated. Enchanted has an impressive fan following and now they’re making the sequel. And Tangled is still very popular.

    You’re probably the first person I’ve seen speak positively about Home on the Range, lol! Most people dislike it which may be why you consider it underrated.

    For underrated, I’d put more older films: Robin Hood, The Aristocats, The Great Mouse Detective, etc.

    • I didn’t know they were making a sequel, awesome! I’m just going by my own little world, none of my friends have seen or heard of the movie?!?! Bonkers, right? I really did like Home on the Range. Maybe it just hit me differently. Movies can do that, which is why I’m obsessed! 🙂

      • Definitely agree with The Animation Commendation here. Enchanted, Tangled and even Tarzan should not be considered “underrated”. In fact, I was rather surprised that they made it to this list. Not that they are bad, but I think they are relatively quite popular in the Disney canon. Even Hercules. Anything in the Renaissance period should not be “underrated”.

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