Underrated Disney Movies: Part Two

Okay, so it is time to return to the countdown of the top 10 underrated movies of Disney….

5. ENCHANTED

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Released in 2007, Enchanted is quite simply a Disney movie like no other. Narrated by the one and only Julie Andrews and featuring an all-star cast, it is a part animation, part live action movie that follows a typical Disney princess storyline, but in the most unconventional way. We follow the main character, Princess Giselle, as she is banished into the real world by the stereotypical evil Queen and forced to adjust to life in busy New York City. Enchanted boasts an excellent cast made up of Amy Adams, James Marsden, Patrick Dempsey, Timothy Spall, Susan Sarandon and Idina Menzel, (who has of course been blessed with voicing two Disney Princess/Queens as she was the voice behind Queen Elsa in Frozen). Both Amy Adams and James Marsden do an excellent job of taking on the roles of their over the top, melodramatic characters. What is so brilliant about Enchanted is the way it mocks typical traditional Disney movies by pointing out their stereotypical features, such as engagements between characters that have known each other no more than ten minutes, and the fact characters often burst into song for no apparent reason. In fact, one of my favourite scenes in the movie is a scene set in the park, in which Giselle and those around her begin to sing the catchy number ‘How do you know?’. Whilst this is happening, Robert appears very confused at the fact everyone knows the words and choreographed dance routines. However, along with this satire, Enchanted also pays homage to its fellow Disney movies by subtly including traditional traits. The Evil Queen transforms into a dragon, in the same way Maleficent does in Sleeping Beauty, the Evil Queen’s choice of weapon is a poisoned apple, just like in Snow White and Giselle loses her shoe as she runs away from the ball, in the same way Cinderella does. Not to mention the wonderful and catchy musical numbers that make the movie even better. The movie also features a cameo from the original voice of Ariel, Jodie Benson! Enchanted incorporates the perfect balance of satire and celebration, with likeable and crazy characters and an even crazier plot, making it just a brilliant and underrated movie that everyone should see at some point in their life.

4. ATLANTIS: The Lost Empire

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Atlantis is a sci-fi adventure, featuring the talents of the brilliant Michael J. Fox in the role of Mylo Thatch, a cartographer and linguist who has his heart set on following in his Grandfather’s footsteps and finding the lost empire of Atlantis. As a huge fan of Fox’s work in Back to the Future, I may be biased, but I think that he was the perfect choice for the role. He successfully portrays Mylo’s passion for his beliefs and creates a loveable, if not slightly eccentric character who the audience route for throughout the film. His awkward and slightly bumbling nature adds humour and ensures that Mylo doesn’t simply come across as annoying, which could quite easily have happened without it. I also think that this makes his relationship with Kida all the more adorable, as he isn’t your typical Disney heartthrob, but he still manages to bag the gorgeous girl! The movie was released in 2001 and inspired by the writing of Jules Verne, being the first science-fiction Disney classic movie to be released. One of the great things about this film is the hugely mixed bunch of characters, who make up the team that undergo the mission to find the lost city. There is certainly no lack of diversity, from an Italian demolitions expert to a female teenage mechanic, there is someone for everyone! Atlantis received a mediocre response at the box office, which is a lot less than it deserves as it genuinely is an enjoyable film with a unique and interesting plot, that features just the right amount of humour, tension and drama.. and who doesn’t love a bit of drama? If you have yet to see this film, I highly recommend that you change that. Atlantis is an action-packed, tension filled movie, with a bit of something for everyone.

3. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

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The Princess and the Frog is Disney’s 49th animated feature, released in 2009. It is a modern day princess movie, set in 1920’s New Orleans, featuring the beautiful Tiana, an independent and strong willed young woman. The film has a particular focus on working hard and never giving up on your dreams, no matter how farfetched they might be. Tiana is portrayed as an admirable and inspirational character who never gives up on her dream of owning her own restaurant, a dream she shared with her late father. The plot of the film is set up when a colossal mix up occurs as the snobbish, vain and over confident Prince Naveen, who has been turned into a frog, mistakes Tiana for a Princess. This causes quite the dilemma, as rather than making Naveen human again, they both end up as frogs. One of the catchiest and most fun Disney soundtracks of all time is enhanced further by Louis, a talking, singing, trumpet playing, loveable crocodile that the pair meet on their journey to finding their humanity again. As the film develops, so does Naveen’s character as he begins to lose his selfish, egotistic qualities. Ultimately, the pair fall in love and are willing to remain as frogs if it means they can remain together. However, this princess movie has a darker side to it, with the creepy witch doctor, Doctor Facilier or ‘The Shadow Man’. Using voodoo magic for dark purposes and drawing help from his friends on ‘the other side’, Facilier is certainly one of Disney’s more eerie villains. Though of course, good prevails and the movie has a lovely ending with comical firefly Ray being united with his true love Evangeline as a star in the sky, and Tiana and Naveen are wed in what is one of my favourite Disney wedding scenes. The choice of setting is absolutely beautiful and once she kisses her Prince and returns to human form, Tiana looks totally stunning! Unfortunately, The Princess and the Frog seems to be one of the lesser recognised Disney princess movies, which is a huge shame as it is up there with some of the best. It is certainly underrated and deserves a lot more recognition.

2. THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE

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In my opinion, The Emperor’s New Groove is one of the funniest animated features Disney have ever made. Starring funny man David Spade as the egotistical, selfish idiot that is Emperor Kuzco, the movie was released back in 2000 and made use of slapstick style comedy and one liners in order to create the desired humour. Not only does the movie have one of the funniest Disney plots, but also one of the weirdest. Kuzco’s ex-advisor and the movie’s villain, is the eccentric Yzma, who whilst intending to kill Kuzco, actually turns him into a llama… Yeah, weird. She does this with the help of her slightly stupid henchman, Kronk, who often faces moral dilemmas about whether he is doing the right thing by following her orders. The pair act as a brilliant double act who are impossible to hate. On his journey to regaining his human form, Kuzco is joined by Pacha, voiced by John Goodman, somewhat of a Disney regular, although this was his first Disney role, and in my opinion his best! Pacha is a peasant from the village in which Kuzco plans to build his own ‘Kuzcotopia’. Despite Kuzco’s selfishness, Pacha trusts him and seems to believe that he can help him change. Throughout the film, Kuzco breaks the fourth wall and ‘pauses’ the movie, interacting with the audience, which is an interesting concept that I think only adds to the audience’s dislike of Kuzco at that point, as it reminds us of his self-centred nature. Which makes it all the more surprising for us when things change later on in the movie. Their journey takes them through jungles, over cliffs and into a restaurant, which is where the funniest scene of the whole film takes place.. but I’ll leave you to watch that yourself. Gradually, an unlikely friendship begins to form and their crazy adventure forces Kuzco to change his ways and of course, we get our Disney happy ending. Personally, I adore this film and I genuinely feel like it is massively underrated compared to most other Disney movies, and I’ll never really understand why. Again, anyone who has never seen The Emperor’s New Groove should be forced to watch it ASAP!

1. HERCULES

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Finally, Hercules! Hercules is easily up there with Disney’s greatest films of all time and is one of my absolute favourites. It has everything you could want in a movie.. and more! ‘Hunky hero’ Hercules, badass heroin Meg, hilarious sidekick Phil, sassy villain Hades and not forgetting the adorable baby Pegasus, for all those people that get excited over the cute things (I know one of those…), what else could you possible want? Not only is Hercules one of my favourite Disney movies, but it also has one of my all-time favourite Disney soundtracks. It is jam packed with inspirational and catchy songs, such as ‘Go the Distance’ and ‘Zero to Hero’, that carry the important message of never giving up. My favourite would have to be ‘I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)’.. what an incredible song! Before Hercules is aware of his Godly abilities, there is a focus on the fact that he is different and he is discriminated against for this reason, which I imagine is something that many people can unfortunately relate to. Although a fairly comedic film, it does have its serious moments! Danny DeVitto brings the comedy as Hercules’ trainer, Phil, who he enlists to help him become a hero (Phil is also responsible for the quote that named this blog). This film also introduces us to one of my favourite Disney villains, Hades. With his constant sassy comments and one liners its pretty impossible to hate him, despite his evil ways and plans to take over Mount Olympus and destroy Zeus! Finally, I have to mention Megara. One of Disney’s most badass women, she is such an independent and strong-willed character, and smoking hot for an animation! She is easily one of my favourite Disney women and I think we need more girls like her in Disney! ‘Men, they think no means yes and get lost means take me I’m yours’, is by far one of the sassiest lines in a Disney movie.. ever! She’s just fabulous. The movie was also praised for its positive portrayal of African American women as the fun and sassy gospel singers that pop up throughout the film. At the end of the day, there is just something or someone for everyone to love in Hercules. It’s the movie me and my best friend watch when in desperate need of a chill day. It’s the movie I’ll watch when I need a good laugh. It’s basically a movie for any occasion, with its comedy, sass, romance and everything else, it is just an incredible film that is overlooked way too often! I will never stop loving it!

So there we have it, the top 10 underrated movies of Disney. Of course, there are so many more Disney masterpieces that seem to end up over looked and forgotten, but I guess that’s what happens when you make so many movies!

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