Guest Post: Five Favourite Underrated Disney Movies!

I was talking to my friend recently about Disney princesses and other females in Disney films, when I mentioned that Pocahontas, Mulan and Esmeralda were my favourites when I was little. ‘What?!’ she exclaimed, ‘Those are the worst ones!’

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This got me thinking about Disney films which I love but don’t seem to have won over as many people as the BIG Disney films. These are the films which I will watch over and over, know the songs off by heart and adore the storyline and characters, but which would be easy to forget about if you visited the Disney Store or any of the Disney parks because they don’t seem to get a look in when it comes to merchandise, characters or shows.

While it was tough to narrow them down, here are my five favourite underrated Disney films (try saying that ten times fast):

Mulan

I watched Mulan over and over when I was growing up (and a few times since) and I don’t understand why this brilliant film – and brilliant female – isn’t appreciated more. While I was happy to see Mulan featured when I went to see Disney On Ice: 100 Years of Magic last year, Mulan isn’t included in any merchandise which features popular Disney females. Yes, okay, so she’s not a princess, but she only went and saved China from a Hun invasion – isn’t that enough to have her face on a notepad once in a while?! As well as having a kick-ass female lead who isn’t afraid to buck tradition and be the hero, Mulan has an exciting storyline, hilarious characters (Eddie Murphy as Mushu is genius) and, hands down, some of my favourite Disney songs. If you wake up in a slump one morning, blast some I’ll Make a Man Out of You while you get ready and I guarantee you’ll feel at least 60% more ready to seize the day.

Pocahontas

How can you NOT love Pocahontas? The animation, the songs, her hair. This film is absolutely wonderful. I practically idolised Pocahontas when I was little: she loves animals, is death-defyingly brave and sings Colours of the Wind, which I adore, if only for the ‘Come roll in all the riches all around you, and for once never wonder what they’re worth’ line. Anti-capitalism, son. While you’ll rarely see any Pocahontas merchandise or meet her in the parks, I was delighted when I went to Walt Disney World last Halloween and Fantasmic, the nighttime show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, featured Pocahontas so heavily. I almost (ahem) cried when Colours of the Wind played.

The Lion King 2

Right, I know some people seem to hate sequels on principle, but I definitely think you should give The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride a chance. While it’s not as good as The Lion King (which, let’s face it, would be tough) Simba’s Pride features characters you already know and love (who can resist more Timon and Pumbaa banter?), great new characters (is it wrong to find a cartoon lion sexy?) and new songs you will want to sing-along with – get a taste with my personal favourites Upendi and Not One Of Us.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

I read that The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was massively unpopular when it was released because parents thought it was inappropriate for children – considering it’s based on Victor Hugo’s gothic novel it’s not surprising that this film is dark, but my dad took me to see it at the cinema when I was little and I loved it. I don’t think it frightened me and I actually remember thinking it was really funny! When I watch it now I realise how grim it is – covering topics such as infanticide, genocide and ableism – but I think that’s what makes it so interesting. When it comes to Disney villains, there are none worse than Frollo: the revolting Archdeacon of Notre-Dame who tries to drown a baby, is on a one man mission to murder every gypsy in Paris and has an entire song dedicated to how much he wants to rape Esmeralda.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks 2

I love Bedknobs and Broomsticks so much that I accidentally bought myself two copies! This film is the only one on my list which combines live action with animation, making for lovely scenes such as an antique bed floating through an animated sea full of bubbles and fish wearing suits. The combination of live action and animation and the London setting means Bedknobs and Broomsticks reminds me of Mary Poppins, but, perhaps controversially, I much prefer Bedknobs and Broomsticks! I love the blend of magic (Eglantine Price, the main character, is a an apprentice witch and student at the Correspondence College of Witchcraft) and the Second World War setting – culminating in wonderfully bizarre scene of Eglantine directing an enchanted army of medieval armour against a German attack. I think a considerable amount of my love for this film also stems from my desire to visit Naboombu, a world of animated animals where no humans are allowed.


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About Charlene

Charlene is an English, Journalism and Creative Writing graduate and a marketing officer for a not-for-profit organisation. She lives in Glasgow with her boyfriend and their pet guinea pig. She set up tartanmouth to have a space to talk about the things she loves most – expect posts on books, charity, Disney and cake


 What do you think of my list? Did I mention any of your favourite underrated Disney films?

I’d love to hear which unpopular Disney films you love!

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28 thoughts on “Guest Post: Five Favourite Underrated Disney Movies!

  1. When I grew up I was always so surprised that they managed to get away with that song in the Hunchback of Notre Dame haha! And when he sniffs her hair and stuff… Very different to the normal Disney films haha!
    You can meet Pocahontas in Walt Disney World, she’s in the Animal Kingdom pretty much every day 🙂 But yeah, she and Mulan and even Esmeralda definitely need to feature in more merchandise!!!

  2. i agree i agree i agree!! i love bedknobs and broomsticks! i saw it again v recently and remembered how much i loved it! haha i also love beauty and the beast, 101 dalmatians, fantasia, peter pan, lady and the tramp, jungle book, aahh the list is endless!! =) xoxo

  3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is my favorite Disney movie, I could watch it a million times in a row probably. I love how dark and emotional it is. Simba’s Pride is amazing too, definitely my favorite sequel next to The Little Mermaid 2. I actually watched those two way more than the first movies when I grew up.

    • Aww, I love The Hunchback of Notre Dame! It reminds me of when my parents took me to Disneyland when I was 5 because the film featured heavily in the Main Street parade and we have an old video of it somewhere! Topsy Turvy is my mum’s favourite Disney song, too, so I always feel very homely watching it and a bit emotional really! (: xx

  4. “Mulan” is greatly loved over where I live. Anytime anyone starts up “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” on social media, everyone joins in.

    “Pocahontas” is a film I can see as being underrated. Yeah the songs are good and so is the animation, but let’s be real: It’s based on a real person who was actually 11 when she saved John Smith.

    I can also see when the “Lion King” sequel is underrated, apart from its status as a sequel. Ultimately with particular scenes, songs and characters, it’s like a carbon copy of the original film. I think the only thing I liked about it is that it opened with one of the songs Lebo M did for the “Rhythm of the Pridelands” album.

    I haven’t seen “Hunchback” enough times to be familiar with it and I have NEVER heard of the last film mentioned.

    As far as other underrated Disney films go, I think “Tarzan” and “Brother Bear” are two that fall in that category as well, but I really like them. The animation is great, so is the storytelling, and most importantly, they mark the beginnings of my love for Phil Collins.

    • You’ve never heard of Bedknobs and Broomsticks?! Omg, it’s amazing! Love that film. I can see where you’re coming from about Lion King 2 – following such an iconic, famous film is difficult. I love Tarzan as well, everything about that film and I guess it does seem to be a little underrated xx

      • I’m not surprised I’ve never heard of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. There are actually A LOT of Disney films I have never seen, let alone heard of, according to a survey I took one time on Buzzfeed where you check off every Disney film you’ve seen.

  5. I know I saw Bedknobs and Broomsticks as a kid, but I barely remember it now! You made me want to rewatch it 😀 I hate that Mulan, Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame are so underrated; they’re definitely among my favourites too! My favourite underrated Disney film is probably Treasure Planet 🙂 But it’s hard to choose one, because I feel like a lot of Disney films nowadays are underrated when I watched them a million times as a kid!

  6. I realise that I am a little late on the band wagon, but I have only just read this post. I agree totally about the underrated part! My favourite Disney Princess is Aurora, and although you can generally get hold of merchandise if you try because she was one of the original princesses, she is rarely featured in things like Disney on Ice!
    I agree with your comments about Mulan too, though for different reasons. I didn’t actually see this film until I was in my teens, and it was never one of my favourites. But after Frozen came out and they kept going on about how it was about time that Disney showed some strong female characters I was like, hold on a second. Mulan and Merida from Brave (along with some others) have already proved that not all women need a man to survive!
    Disney is very big on creating favourites of their own, but never take into consideration that they have made films that others love more than the most popular!

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