July ,28 2014
8 Underrated Disney Films

Not too long ago, my friend Melissa and I were reminiscing about all the great television shows and movies we use to watch as kids. It's amazing how much you can still remember about a show you haven't seen since you were five, but all in all its a great walk down memory lane : ) But the most interesting thing I found is that she said its weird how even though there are so many Disney movies she watched when she was little, it was amazing how some are definitely shoved to the side in comparison to others. Not long after, my sister, Courtney, mentioned the same thing: "How many kids do you know that say 'The Aristocats' is their favourite movie? Yet, they know all about 'The Little Mermaid'!" Point well taken, sis : ) I decided to compose a list of underrated Disney films that are some of my favourites that I often wish got more recognition. Compared to the amount of publicity movies like 'Frozen' have gotten these days (thank you social media!), some of these films are relatively obscure, but have all the great Disney magic, just the same : )

robinhood1. Robin Hood

Release Date: November 8th, 1973 Animated Feature Film: 21st

"Marion, my darling, I love you more than life itself."

That line is enough for me! Not only do I usually find the character of Robin Hood and extremely sexy literary character (I mean, he's charming, he's caring, and he's a good man), but Disney takes this classic English legend and makes it fun, action packed, and yet, still true to its roots. A lot of the original characters like: Little John, Prince John, and Friar Tuck are all included as well as the legendary romance between Robin and Maid Marion! It is one that I return to time and time again, just to enjoy that fill of a dashing hero and his mission to rob the rich and give to the poor.

therescuers2. The Rescuers

Release Date: June 22nd, 1977 Animated Feature Film: 23rd Based on: 'The Rescuers' and 'Miss Bianca' by Margery Sharp

A Janitor: The Most Unlikely Volunteer

One of my absolute favourites, this story follows two mice, Bernard (voiced by the incredible Bob Newheart) and Bianca as they go an a rescue mission to find the kidnapped Penny. I find the movie doubles as a romance and adventure and has some adorable cast members that are hard to forget. The movie was so successful it spawned a sequel, yet remains relatively obscure. Nonetheless, it is a fun ride through New York and eventually the Louisiana bijou which really connects to the older, elegant fashion of Disney movies prior to the '90s.

Fox and the hound3. The Fox and the Hound

Release Date: July 10th, 1981 Animated Feature Film: 24th Based on: 'The Fox and the Hound' by Daniel P. Mannix

'Bambi' isn't the only animal movie!

Compared to the awe inspiriting scenery of Bambi and of course the tragic demise of Bambi's mother (pretty sure everyone's cried at that once in their life), I find 'The Fox and the Hound' is never as widely mentioned and I wish it was. I LOVE this movie (and cried when my VHS broke)! Showing the unlikely friendship of Todd (the fox) and Copper (the hound) as they grow up into their respective roles as a wild fox and hunting dog makes a touching story. Not only does Disney take it to a deeper level when the characters face the realization that they're supposed to be 'enemies' but also show genuine loss and heartache in the film. It's definitely close to my heart.

blackcauldron4. The Black Cauldron

Release Date: July 24th, 1985 Animated Feature Film: 25th Based on: 'The Chronicles of Prydain' series by Lloyd Alexander

Step aside, Princess Eilonwy!

Princess Eilonwy is most unknown of the Disney princesses and definitely always excluded from all their royal photo shoots, haha! I think out of all the ones I'm mentioning, this is the most obscure. Despite having a darker tone overall to its composition (an aspect I love to see in Disney films), the film is often sidelined in favour of more popular Disney movies and definitely more popular Disney princesses. I doubt a day will come when Princess Eilonwy will be added to the Official Disney Princess lineup (much like recent additions, Merida or Ana) but her name should be remembered, at least for originality : )

greatmouse5. The Great Mouse Detective

Release Date: July 2nd, 1986 Animated Feature Film: 26th Based on: 'Basil of Baker Street' by Eve Titus

Shrink down Sherlock Holmes and there you have it!

My best friend, Ana, would insist I mention this one : ) A miniature, mouse, version of the world's greatest detective, 'The Great Mouse Detective' follows Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson's resident mice detectives living comfortable in 221B and 1/2. If the adorableness of that factor doesn't have you, it sure will soon enough : ) Being a sucker for a good detective story, especially anything Sherlock Holmes based, this Disney adaptation is fun and a great ode to one of the greatest detective series ever!

tarzan6. Tarzan

Release Date: June 18th, 1999 Animated Feature: 37th Based on: 'Tarzan of the Apes' by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Phil Collins, no questions asked.

With a soundtrack that is impossible to forget, I find it really difficult to understand why this movie is always pushed to the sideline, despite its placement in the '90s. Not only is this movie full of emotion and a genuinely good story, the modern aspects of Tarzan's enemy, Clayton, and the strength of Jane, Tarzan's love interest, make good supporting characters as Tarzan struggles to find his place in the world. I think everyone has struggled trying to fit in, and to see the transformative journey of Tarzan realizing he can be who he is and still find a home with both the ape society and the human society is a great life lesson.

emperors_new_groove_ver1_xlg7. The Emperor's New Groove

Release Date: December 15th, 2000 Animated Feature Film: 40th Based on: 'The Emperor's New Clothes' by Hans Christian Anderson

"Oh yeah, it's all coming together."

In my personal opinion, I find this one of the funniest Disney movies I have ever seen! The dialogue between the characters, especially the hilarious Kronk and the evil Yzma, are priceless and have me laughing time and time again. The style of the story, a narrative by the spoiled main character Kuzco, flashing back and forth between the past and the present is also a different aspect of this movie which is unique compared to other films and sometimes its a great burst of fresh air compared to storybook style : )

chicken little8. Chicken Little

Release Date: November 4th, 2005 Animated Feature Film: 46th

Are we avoiding closure?

Lastly, 'Chicken Little', not even ten years old, is a great underrated Disney film. With a beginning that starts off mimicking other Disney films (like Lion King), that alone makes this film mentionable! Taking after the folk tale about a little chicken who thinks the sky is falling (poor guy), this movie takes the basic plot in a whole new direction adding aliens, The Spice Girls (yes, the Spice Girls), and a whole load of hilarious dialogue to create a heartwarming father-son story of understanding. Zack Braff makes a great protagonist and his character of Chicken Little is both sympathetic and relatable. Hopefully upon its tenth anniversary, the film will get more recognition deserving of its greatest : ) So those are the the ones that I think are underrated. Do you agree? Disagree? What Disney films do you love but find are less commonly talked about? I'd love to know what you think : ) xo Novellette

12 thoughts on “8 Underrated Disney Films

    1. Yeah, I love how older Disney movies didn’t have to try so hard to be funny or emotional. They just were. No unnecessary characters needed. Thanks for the comment :)

  1. I love this idea – I watched the Black Cauldron over and over when I was a kid, but can’t find any copies of it anymore, because everyone seems to have forgotten about it! 101 Dalmatians is another one that people just seem to have forgotten about after the live-action one was made :( x

    1. I completely forgot about the live version! I always loved the style of ‘101 Dalmatians’ though, like how it looked almost sketched in nature. Good pick and thanks for the comment :)

    1. My good friend is a die hard ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fan too. Never been one of my favourites but definitely an awesome Disney movie nonetheless. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I have to say that this was a WONDERFUL first post to stumble upon because my love for disney knows no bounds! :) I totally agree that some of the best Disney movies get little attention and it is such a shame. Tarzan and The Emperor’s New Groove are some of my favorites! I quote The Emperor’s New Groove WAAAAY too often but the writing is just so good. Lovely blog you’ve got here! Can’t wait for more! Keep in touch :)

    1. Me Too! I definitely find myself quoting ‘Emperor’s New School’ way too much! It’s just so funny :) Thanks for the complement and taking the time to comment, much appreciated!

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