Treasure Planet & 9 Other Underrated Disney Movies

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The Walt Disney Studios have gifted the world some of its most precious cinematic treasures, but whilst these films were adored and celebrated, a few greats slipped under the radar.

Disney can be considered the gold standard when it comes to the movie screen. Walt’s illustrious empire has taken over the entertainment world in a way that many never thought possible. Six of the top ten highest-grossing films of all time have come from Disney, and the studio continues to release new content in the form of movies and TV shows at an astounding rate.

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With so much output, there are bound to be movies that don’t quite live up to the expectations many fans have when it comes to the studio, and though they may not have been appreciated by all in their time, some of those films deserve another look.

10 Treasure Planet Is An Intergalactic Adventure That Everyone Can Enjoy

Jim talking to B.E.N. in Treasure Planet

Despite being nominated for the Best Animated Feature Academy Award (and only losing out to all-time great Spirited Away), Treasure Planet rarely gets a mention when it comes to classic Disney movies. Its stacked cast can be rivaled by few in Disney’s catalog, with the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Hyde Pierce, and Emma Thompson all lending their voices to the picture.

Treasure Planet utilizes a mixture of hand-drawn and 3d computer animation, resulting in spectacular visuals that greatly enhance the film’s science fiction and fantasy elements.

9 Watch A Master At Work In 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

kirk-douglas in 20000 leagues under the sea

Cinema fans unfamiliar with the work of screen legend Kirk Douglas can start their exploration into the actor’s career with 1954’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. A true Disney classic, especially when it concerns live-action, the sci-fi adventure film wowed audiences with its thrilling story and special effects.

It’s a daring dive into the deep ocean, and Douglas gives a performance worthy of his legacy alongside fellow Hollywood icon James Mason.

8 Bolt Was A Very Good Boy For Disney’s Animation Studio

Bolt in Bolt

First came the Disney renaissance, then came the revival, and Bolt’s adorable title character is often credited with starting the latter. Bolt‘s critical and commercial success put Disney’s animation studios on course for a tremendous win streak that included the likes of Frozen, Moana, and The Princess and the Frog.

Bolt is no slouch either. The puppy on a rescue mission is adored by many fans, and despite the film not being held in as high regard as some of the other Disney hits of the time, Bolt is still a greatly amusing and gentle movie for the whole family.

7 Iron Will Delivers Thrills, Chills, And A Few Sled Spills

Mackenzie Astin in Iron Will

Disney’s Iron Will is a riveting adventure film based on the true story of a 1917 dog-sled race. Teenager Will Stoneman, played by Mackenzie Astin, embarks on a 500-mile mission to save his family’s farm.

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The race sequences are exceptionally shot, creating an intense, edge-of-your-seat ride through the unforgiving wilderness.  Even against the icy backdrop of the Minnesota snow, the relationship between the titular Will and his trusty dogs will warm the coldest of hearts.

6 John Carter Is Movie Magic On Mars

john-carter-taylor kitsch

Box office bombs don’t come much more costly than John Carter. Despite its aggressive marketing campaign, John Carter left Disney $350 million poorer and made the movie an easy target for criticism. It ultimately led to Disney canceling the sequels they had planned for the film.

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The stellar cast alone warrants viewers taking another look at the film, as strong performances from Taylor Kitsch, Bryan Cranston, Willem Dafoe, and Samantha Morton all add to John Carter’s appeal. On the whole, the movie is an ambitious but thoroughly enjoyable science fiction adventure.

5 There’s Great Disney Stories, And Then There’s Tall Tale

Patrick Swayze in Tall-Tale

When Disney went to the old west, Patrick Swayze and his magnificent mustache hopped on for the ride, and the result was a joyous, heartwarming gallop through the American Frontier. Disney’s Tall Tale makes use of a fantastic mix of real-life legends and folk heroes, including Calamity Jane, John Henry, and Swayze’s Pecos Bill.

Sadly, Tall Tale ended up losing money for the studio, though it holds a place in many fan’s hearts for its fantasy elements, emotional story, and Wild West-worthy sense of adventure.

4 The Goof Troop Went Hollywood With A Goofy Movie

Max Goof And Goofy In A Goofy Movie

Disney asserted such dominance in the 1990s with films like Aladdin and The Lion King that a few of their movies were bound to get lost in the shuffle. A Goofy Movie arguably suffered this way, and upon its release in 1995 critics weren’t all that kind to the animated comedy. However, in recent years, Goofy’s time in the spotlight has gained a massive cult following.

A Goofy Movie is a touching father and son tale, and its wonderfully upbeat R&B soundtrack is one of the best of any Disney movie.

3 Operation Dumbo Drop Presents A Loveable Elephant For A New Generation

Ray Liotta and Elephant in operation dumbo drop

Even casual Disney fans are familiar with Disney’s famous cartoon elephant Dumbo, but there is another giant-eared mammal that deserves just as much attention. It was a bold choice to set a Disney movie during the Vietnam War, but with 1995’s Operation Dumbo Drop the studio did just that

Danny Glover and Ray Liotta star as Green Berets given the tremendous task of transporting an elephant through the jungle. Fans had seen an elephant fly before, but never quite like this.

2 Little Mice Have Big Adventures In The Rescuers Down Under

Having been released in between such Disney classics as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, The Rescuers Down Under had huge shoes to fill, and to make matters worse, the film was released on the very same day as a rather memorable Christmas movie: Home Alone.

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The Rescuers Down Under is an Australian outback escapade that fits right in amongst Disney’s early ’90s classics. As well as the film itself lacking the praise it deserves, George C. Scott’s Percival C. McLeach may just be Disney’s most underrated villain.

1 Tomorrowland Is A Great Big Beautiful Theme Park Movie

Britt Robertson and city in tomorrowland

Movies inspired by theme park attractions are rarely surefire hits, and Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is sadly considered a miss by many, mainly due to the colossal amount of money that it cost the studio.

Yet Tomorrowland is a magical adventure through time (which includes a stop at the 1964 New York World’s Fair) and with the help of Michael Giacchino’s uplifting score, the movie perfectly captures the aura of Walt Disney’s famous park on the big screen. Add in a typically charming effort from George Clooney and a star-making turn from Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland absolutely deserves a second look.

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