10 Forgotten Disney Movies Worth Revisiting
Amid all the live-action remakes, maybe it's time to go back to basics.
The Black Cauldron (1985)
An underrated gem in Disney's lineup, The Black Cauldron, follows the story of Taran, a young assistant pig-keeper, who embarks on a quest to prevent the evil Horned King from obtaining the magical Black Cauldron and ruling the world. Unlike many Disney films, this one didn't feature any singing animals, and its darker tone was a divergence from the typical Disney fare (it was actually the first Disney animated film to receive a PG rating).
Although its box office performance was less than stellar, the film holds a certain charm that's worth revisiting. Its courageous characters and eerie villains make for an engaging watch, even if there isn't a catchy tune to be found.
Treasure Planet (2002)
Combining sci-fi and a classic novel seems like a risky move, but Disney pulled it off with Treasure Planet, a futuristic retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island". It chronicles the journey of Jim Hawkins, a rebellious teen, as he navigates through space in search of the infamous Captain Flint's treasure.
Although the film underperformed at the box office, it was praised for its unique art style and dynamic characters. Plus, it has a 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn't too shabby! It took the filmmakers over four years to design and create the primary spaceship, the R.L.S. Legacy.
The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
With its slapstick humor and memorable one-liners, The Emperor's New Groove is a film that doesn't take itself too seriously. It tells the story of Emperor Kuzco, who gets turned into a llama by his power-hungry advisor, Yzma.
Despite the film's troubled production, it managed to become a box-office success. It may not be a conventional Disney movie, but it's a hilarious and refreshing change of pace. Did you know that it initially started as a much darker film called Kingdom of the Sun? It's almost impossible to imagine it without Kuzco's sass!
Oliver & Company (1988)
Based on Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist", Oliver & Company relocates the story to New York City and turns all the characters into animals. Who needs human actors when you have a bunch of adorable animated animals, right? Our protagonist Oliver is a homeless kitten who joins a group of dogs in stealing food to survive. While the film had moderate success upon release, it often gets overlooked. But with Billy Joel lending his voice and a score that'll have you tapping your feet, it's a charming take on a classic story.
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
The Great Mouse Detective presents a whimsical twist on the legendary detective, transforming him into Basil, a mouse living in the underbelly of London. The film follows Basil and his sidekick, Dr. Dawson, as they attempt to rescue a toymaker from the clutches of the villainous Ratigan. Although the film didn't reach the same level of fame as some other Disney movies, it did well at the box office and has a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Plus, the climax inside Big Ben? Pure animated genius.
Meet the Robinsons (2007)
A story that combines time travel, wacky inventions, and a family unlike any other, Meet the Robinsons is a delightful cinematic experience that often slips under the radar. It tells the tale of young inventor Lewis, who is whisked away by a mysterious boy in a time machine. The film didn't do spectacularly in terms of box office revenue, but it's gained a cult following over the years.
Critics lauded the movie's heartwarming message about never giving up on your dreams, and the film currently holds a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As the Robinsons would say, "Keep moving forward!"
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
As one of the less talked-about Disney sequels, The Rescuers Down Under presents a daring adventure set in the wild Australian Outback. Bernard and Miss Bianca, two charming mice from the Rescue Aid Society, return to save a young boy and a rare golden eagle from a wicked poacher.
Despite having less-than-stellar box office returns, the film is appreciated for its thrilling storyline and breathtaking animation, especially the sweeping flight scenes over the Australian landscape. It was the first animated film to be completely created digitally without a camera.
Brother Bear (2003)
Brother Bear, a heartwarming tale about transformation and perspective, often flies under the radar. After a boy named Kenai is transformed into a bear, he sees the world in a different light and learns valuable life lessons. Despite the somewhat tepid critical response (it currently holds a 37% on Rotten Tomatoes), the film has a unique narrative that really tugs at your heartstrings. Remember the scene where Phil Collins' "On My Way" plays as Kenai and Koda journey to the salmon run? Pure cinematic magic.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
A departure from the typical Disney princess storyline, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is an action-adventure film that revolves around a young linguist named Milo Thatch who leads an expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis. Despite its underperformance at the box office, the film has become a cult favorite, with a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans particularly love the film's stunning animation, compelling characters, and unique interpretation of the Atlantis legend.
Bolt, a story about a television star dog who thinks he has real superpowers, provides a touching commentary on fame, friendship, and reality. After getting lost, Bolt embarks on a cross-country journey to reunite with his owner and co-star, Penny. The film was well-received, garnering an 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it doesn't seem to come up much. Bolt's loveable naivety, coupled with the savvy street cat Mittens and the hyperactive hamster Rhino, makes for a fun, heartwarming adventure that's definitely worth another watch.