Disney’s animated classics are a staple to everyone’s childhood. They have produced some of the most compelling animated features over the years, so much so that even now they’re capitalising on the nostalgia and timelessness of classics in their live-action adaptations. There’s no denying that features like the Lion King and Beauty and the Beast deserve the praise and attention they get. However, there are several Disney animated classics that have an equally compelling story yet seem to fly under the radar. Here are some of the underrated Disney animated films that deserve more attention.
Oliver and Company
A classic twist on the tale of Oliver Twist, this film follows the shenanigans of an orphaned kitten, Oliver when a ragtag group of dogs adopt him into their family. Billy Joel lends his voice to the character of Dodger, the charismatic leader of this gang of thieving dogs and he oozes charisma which bleeds into his catchy musical number. This film also has a heartwarming message about the family you choose.
The Princess and the Frog
When you think of the more recent line up of Disney princesses, most will point to Frozen and Tangled first. However, before Rapunzel let down her hair and Elsa let it go, we were introduced to Tiana, a waitress determined to fulfil her dreams through hard work and persistence. Tiana is not the type to kiss a frog in the hopes of finding her prince, yet in a clever twist, Tiana finds herself transformed into a frog after her kiss to save the arrogant Prince Naveen. What follows is a charming adventure throughout the vibrant city, New Orleans. The Princess and the Frog definitely deserve more attention as the film has an abundance of jazzy songs and a smooth yet menacing villain makes this story even more compelling.
Basil the Great Mouse Detective
Released just before Disney’s renaissance era, Basil the Great Mouse Detective is basically Sherlock Holmes animated into crime-fighting mice. This film has developed somewhat of a cult classic status over recent years, and rightly so as the film is crafty in its storytelling and effectively creates a cunning villain that makes you fear for our main characters.
Let’s be real, when it comes to Disney villains, Hades actually has one of the more compelling justifications for his actions and thoroughly relishes his villainous ways with all the sass. On top of that, Hercules has a classic hit in ‘Won’t Say I’m In Love’ and the entire film is just a fun, and surprisingly sassy take on Greek mythology.
You can argue all you like about the best adaptation of Robin Hood, but the animated version will always be the best. Taking these legendary characters and turning them into outlawed creatures has got to be one of the most brilliant ideas ever. With a rooster Alan-a-Dale narrating the film, Robin Hood is the perfect film for a laidback afternoon. It’s low drama, it’s comical, and easily the most faithful adaptation of the Robin Hood legend, as this merry band of creatures perfectly captures the essence of this heroic figure while bringing a smile to everyone’s face.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
By far the most underrated Disney animated film, Atlantis is the one that really caters to both kids and adults. The undersea adventure draws the awe and wonder from the youngster, but the mature exploration of themes such as greed and profitable exploitation of archaeology. What’s more is that it features a stellar cast of voice actors with Michael J. Fox providing the voice for our lead character, Milo, a definitive nerd whose historical intellect is the teams biggest asset. There are no superhero showdowns in this film, just a passion to understand, restore, and preserve the legacy and civilisation of Atlantis.
Honourable Mentions: The Black Cauldron | Hunchback of Notre Dame | Treasure Island | Fox and the Hound
Which Dinsey classic do you think deserves more attention?
What is your favourite Disney animated film?