When Walt Disney created Disney studios I'm sure he had no idea just how big the company would become. For almost a century the Disney name has been synonymous with producing feel-good animated films and television shows for both adults and children. Disney is responsible for creating iconic characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck while continuing to release emotional and involving films spliced with humor.
As Disney became more successful and technology improved, the amount of films released by the media company began to grow each year. Nowadays, Disney produces dozens of films each year but not all of them live up to the dizzying expectations set by the company's early forte into films.
This article will attempt to showcase many of the most underrated Disney films that fans forget while also highlighting those Disney films that are overrated and not deserving of a second watch. How many of these films have you seen and do you agree with the prognosis?
30 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Inspector Gadget
This film was destined for trouble when Matthew Broderick got cast as the clumsy Jonathan "John" Brown, otherwise known as Inspector Gadget. Not that I hate Broderick, it's just hard to picture him as anyone other than Ferris Bueller, even after all these years.
Broderick aside, Inspector Gadget is a woeful film with bad plotting, acting, and direction.
Throw in the infamous villain Dr. Claw revealing himself to be Rupert Everett and you have yourself a below-par adaptation of a terrific animated television series. The direct-to-video sequel starring French Stewart as Gadget is even worse and should never be mentioned again.
29 Fans Forget Are Great: A Bug's Life
Although a massive success at the box office upon its release, A Bug's Life has never gained the plaudits amongst fans like many other late 90s era Disney flicks. Released in conjunction with Pixar the computer generated animation is wonderfully detailed and the simple plot about misfit ant Flik trying to save his colony from the evil grasshoppers serves its purpose well.
The voice acting talent is also great without relying on one big name to tell the story, with the likes of Dave Foley, Hayden Panettiere, Denis Leary, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all involved in this entertaining film.
28 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Bambi II
There are many great mysteries in life. Who built the pyramids? Do aliens exist? Why did Disney make Bambi II?
Released an astonishing 64 years after the original this unnecessary sequel deals with the aftermath of Bambi's mother's end and his relationship with is father, voiced by the great Patrick Stewart. The film doesn't add anything to the legacy of the first Bambi and appears more of a cash-in from Disney playing off people's feelings of nostalgia. Avoid at all costs.
27 Fans Forget Are Great: Tron: Legacy
Another sequel on this list, Tron: Legacy actually lives up to the original. The critics were mixed in their views of this film but Legacy continues the exciting story of The Grid first seen in 1982s Tron.
Visually the film is spectacular and draws you into the world, while Jeff Bridges reprising his role as Kevin Flynn/Clu adds great continuity to the film. While the plot can get weighed down at times, the acting from Bridges, Micheal Sheen, Olivia Wilde, and protagonist Garrett Hedlund, is terrific. Throw in Daft Punk's futuristic soundtrack and you have yourself a fantastic flick.
26 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Teen Beach Movie
Unless your a teenager and obsessively watch the Disney Channel you've probably been spared from watching this disaster. Teen Beach Movie has a slightly ludicrous plot surrounding two surf lovers who somehow find themselves in a 1960s musical and have to try and save their relationship while finding a way back to the present.
Teen Beach Movie is basically a riff on High School Musical that fails to deliver.
The songs just aren't as catchy and the young actors and actresses lack the charisma of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. Despite this, a sequel arrived a few years later and is possibly worse than the first film.
25 Fans Forget Are Great: The Emperor's New Groove
Despite a troubled production the 40th animated Disney film is a riotous slap stick comedy about Inca Emperor Kuzco who is turned into a Llama and must find a way to restore his former self.
Originally designed as an epic musical riffing on The Prince And The Pauper, The Emperor's New Groove ended up a musical comedy with some terrific voice acting and credible animation. The story of Kuzco finding himself and becoming a more humble and empathetic character is classic Disney while the jokes are funny for all ages. A wonderfully hilarious film that restored Disney's reputation after a few poor releases.
24 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: John Carter
The acclaimed series of science fiction novels (the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burrows) John Carter is based on are spectacular, unlike this putrid film. The wooden Taylor Kitsch is cast in the role of Carter and is tasked with trying to stop a war breaking out amongst the various inhabitants of Mars.
It must be said the film is visually stunning and the Mars environment breathtaking, but the actual storyline is a diluted version of the events from the book which hampers the film. The less said about Kitsch's acting the better, with John Carter a space opera lacking anything memorable besides a few nice locations.
23 Fans Forget Are Great: Treasure Planet
Pitched as Treasure Island In Space, Treasure Planet bombed when it was released in 2002. Even though it made over $100 million and received mainly positive feedback from critics the film failed to recoup its budget and was deemed a failure.
In retrospect, Treasure Plant should have been a smash.
Setting Treasure Island in space is a genius twist and allows a new generation of kids to experience the classic tale in a science fiction environment. The voice over work is strong and the soundtrack and music really enjoyable, making it worth a second viewing.
22 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Flubber
I love Robin Williams as much as the next person but Flubber isn't one of the late great comics best decisions. A remake of the 60s classic, The Absent-Minded Professor, this film doesn't hold many laughs, with even William's infectious personality not able to save this one.
The special effects are only average and the script contains too many gags that pay homage to the original film and just aren't that funny. You're better off tracking down a copy of The Absent-Minded Professor and giving this one a pass.
21 Fans Forget Are Great: The Sword And The Stone
One of the final films released before Walt Disney's good-bye, The Sword And The Stone is based on the book of the same name and borrows heavily from the legend of King Arthur. Orphan Arthur (know as Walt) comes under the tutelage of the wizard Merlin and eventually transforms into the man who removes the ancient sword from the stone.
Although the film is over 50 years years old the animation holds up well, the characters interesting, and the story familiar enough for young kids watching it today to be able to follow what's happening.
20 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Blank Check
Throughout the 90s Disney's strike rate when it comes to live action films is debatable at best. For every The Mighty Ducks there's a dozen horrible kids flicks with Blank Check leading the charge.
The outrageous plot concerns a young boy finding a check for $1 million dollars that he spends like there's no tomorrow while being chased by gangsters led by the creepy Miguel Ferrer. There's not much fun to be had with this one and the lack of big name actors certainly doesn't help. It currently holds a rating of 11% on Rotten Tomatoes so best not invest your time in this one.
19 Fans Forgot Are Great: Meet The Robinsons
Loosely based on the children's book, A Day With Wilbur Robinson, this science fiction comedy is a rather neat computer-animated flick from Disney. With a plot involving time travel, wild inventions, and a man in a bowler hat, Meet The Robinsons has a great balance of drama and comedy.
The digital animation is impressive and when coupled with the absorbing storyline and intriguing characters makes for a fantastic and underrated modern-day Disney flick. The soundtrack is also top notch and contains songs from Rob Thomas, Rufus Wainwright, and Jamie Cullum.
18 Fans Forgot Are Great: Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo
While I'm sure most people will lean towards The Love Bug as their favourite Herbie film, Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo will always have a soft spot in my heart. It's one of the few films I can remember watching with my Grandma and brings back great memories of my childhood.
Nostalgia aside, this flick is another laugh out loud adventure featuring everyone's favourite non-talking VW, Herbie.
Don Knotts is great as the comedic offsider to straight man Dean Jones and the subplot about stolen diamonds works well within the race setting. This is just a brilliant kids film even car enthusiasts will enjoy.
17 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: G-Force
G-Force earned over $292.8 million at the box office in 2009 but is widely regarded as a disaster. Although fans packed the cinema when it first hit the screens watching it now it's hard to imagine why people wanted to see this piece of rubbish.
The plot, about a group of specially trained hamsters sent to take down Bill Nighy's former weapons dealer, is ridiculously dumb. Watching hamsters interact in real life situations is hard to comprehend and is just really weird. The biggest surprise with this film is the amount of talented actors and actresses wasted. This is not a good film. Full stop.
16 Fans Forget Are Great: The Black Cauldron
Another fantasy set Disney flick in the vein of The Sword In The Stone, The Black Cauldron is a classic tale of good versus evil and the first Disney movie to feature computer-generated imagery.
The film was poorly received upon release and almost put an end to Disney's animation department, earning the nickname, "the film that almost [ended] Disney." Rewatching it today The Black Cauldron is actually a pretty decent animate film with some obscure characters and an amazing soundtrack. It's hard to know who the film is aimed at but that aside, The Black Cauldron is a neat fantasy epic that's much more rewarding on repeat viewings.
15 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: High School Musical
I don't care what people say, High School Musical isn't a good film. It might be the most successful Disney Channel Original Movie ever produced but it's an absolute drain to sit through.
A supposed adaptation of Romeo & Juliet (although I find that hard to believe) this film contains some vapid and boring musical numbers, characters with little depth, and a plot that's almost absent. This is pure trash marketed at impressionable teens that spawned two woeful sequels and an even worse spinoff. Yuck.
14 Fans Forget Are Great: A Goofy Movie
A much loved character of the Disney universe Goofy got his own film in 1995. A Goofy Movie takes place a few years after the hit series Goof Troop and follows Goofy and his son Max on a fishing trip as the two try and connect.
It's quite a heartwarming animation and the father son plot is a nice touch not often seen in your average Disney film. The animation is nice and colourful and the music generally appropriate for what's happening on screen. This is a fun movie all the family can enjoy.
13 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Chicken Little
Very loosely based on the fable of the same name, Chicken Little is not one of the best films in Disney's extensive catalogue. The plot about an alien invasion being stopped by a chicken is utterly ridiculous and Zach Braff's (Chicken Little) voice gets more irritating as the film goes on.
Chicken Little isn't a compelling character either and there's no reason to invest in him or the story.
This one is filled with cliches and some fairly average animation, along with the already mentioned weird storyline that just doesn't work. There's not much here to make you laugh, cry, or think, with Chicken Little a disappointing effort.
12 Fans Forget Are Great: Hercules
Not to be confused with the Kevin Sorbo starring Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Disney's animated crack at the Hercules legend is a highlight of the companies 90s slump. It's another musical comedy that works well by incorporating Greek mythology with funny jokes and great voice acting.
There's lots of action in this one and the cracking pace keeps the story moving towards its exciting climax. The vocal work from the entire cast is noteworthy, although special mention must be made of James Woods and Danny DeVito who both steal all the scenes their characters are in.
11 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Snow Dogs
It's hard to believe there was a time when Cuba Gooding Jr. was touted as the next big thing. Ever since his star turn in Jerry Maguire Cuba's career has gone from one disaster to another, with Snow Dogs just one of his many horrible choices.
It's another strange plot about Cuba's dentist who inherits a team of sled dogs and must learn to lead them or lose them to James Coburn's crusty old mountain man. There's nothing about this film worth commenting on and the Metacritic score of 29/100 should be enough to ward you off this one.
10 Fans Forget Are Great: Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Ditching the musical numbers for an action adventure vibe, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is inspired by the works of legendary science fiction writer Jules Verne. Young adventurer Milo Thatch (voiced amazingly but Michael J. Fox) hooks up with a gang of explores to find the lost continent of Atlantis.
Critics weren't kind to the film but if you get past the occasional plot hole Atlantis: The Lost Empire is an enjoyable romp featuring fantastic animation. It might not offer anything too different from a host of similar Disney animations but it tells a cohesive story with great characters and enough humour to keep you interested. Job well done.
9 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Alice In Wonderland (2010)
There was no reason to remake Alice In Wonderland so it's no surprise this film fails to live up to expectations. Director Tim Burton brings his brand of unusual directing and visuals to this one and Johnny Depp is miscast as the Mad Hatter.
The story doesn't really matter as it's all about the visuals with this one, but not even that's enough to save this mess.
Mia Wasikowska is far from convincing as Alice and the already mentioned Depp is over the top and kinda creepy. Anne Hathaway is also incredibly annoying as the White Queen. You're much better off watching the original animated film than this live action car crash.
8 Fans Forget Are Great: Mulan
Mulan is one of the few Disney films with a detailed and emotional plot that matches the likes of fan favourites The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Mulan is also a strong female lead and her evolution as a character and eventual acceptance amongst her male peers is wonderfully illustrated during the film.
The combination of musical numbers and action set pieces is done well and Eddie Murphy's comedic timing adds that something extra to Mulan. With a live action remake set to hit screens in 2020 there's no better time to reacquaint yourself with this Disney favourite.
7 Fans Pretends Don't Exist: Planes
After the success of Cars Disney decided to expand into aircraft with the imaginatively titled Planes. Cropdusting plane Dusty Cropduster has a fear of flights but manages to overcome this and compete in a famous around the world aerial race.
Similar to a number of Disney films this one was a winner at the box office but didn't go down well with the critics.
It feels more like an advertisement for Disney toys and Dane Cook as the voice of Dusty is a horrible choice. The film was originally meant to be direct to DVD and after watching you can see why.
6 Fans Forget Are Great: Robin Hood
This 1973 musical comedy finds Robin Hood played by a fox in this animated adventure focusing on the Nottingham legend. In fact, all the characters are played by animals, with Little John a bear, Maid Marion a vixen, and Friar Tuck a badger.
While the animation is less than stellar at times the overall feel of the film is great, with the plot driven by great musical numbers and intelligent humour. While it's not going to win any awards for being one of the best Disney flicks it certainly has the right mix of action and humour to keep kids of all ages entertained.
5 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Home On The Range
An animated western about a group of farm animals searching for a an outlaw to save their farm is about as entertaining as it sounds. It's a rather dull film with average animation and a poor soundtrack.
The western setting is a nice change of pace but none of the main characters connect enough for you to want to get emotionally involved in what's happening on screen. The humour isn't really that good either, with Home On The Range another bad Disney film featuring Cuba Gooding Jr.
4 Fans Forget Are Great: Tarzan (1999)
There are a heap of films out there based around Tarzan but none quite capture the essence of the character like Disney's simply titled Tarzan. The abandoned orphan is raised by apes but when he encounters an expedition led by Jane Porter realises he is actually human and has to decide where he belongs.
Unlike many Disney films Tarzan has quite a few action set pieces that help push the film along at a rapid pace while still allowing for character exposition. It's certainly much better than the recently released The Legend Of Tarzan.
3 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Mars Needs Moms
You probably haven't seen this one before and you should keep it that way.
Mars Needs Moms is computer generated science fiction adventure based upon a book of the same name. The plot revolves around an alien invasion and a boys mom going missing and some other random things but it's not really worth mentioning.
Some kids might like it but overall Mars Needs Moms is 88 minutes of your life you won't get back.
2 Fans Forgot Are Great: Hunchback Of Notre Dame
While this version of the classic fable emits certain sections of the original it's still a great take on the Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Keeping the kids in mind, there's a great combination of musical numbers, laughs, and emotional plot points that bring the film together in a well rounded way.
The film does contain a few darker themes but overall it's light enough for kids to enjoy without getting scared or failing to understand what's going on. The soundtrack is also outstanding.
1 Fans Pretend Don't Exist: Fantasia 2000
Here's an unnecessary update of a Disney classic. Fantasia 2000 is the first animated film to be released in IMAX and quite possibly the worst. Costing close to $85 million and featuring celebrities including Steve Martin, James Earl Jones, Bette Midler, and Angela Lansbury, it's a bloated effort that adds nothing new.
New musical arrangements are used to soundtrack the animation but none are that spectacular and there doesn't seem to be much backbone to the actual story. It's an ambitious film with a couple decent sections that fails to live up to the original.