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With many, many people still in lockdown and quarantine, I thought I’d give something new a go here at The Quayside Review!
Streaming services have been a godsend during the time we’ve spent at home, so kicking off TQR’s ‘lists’ feature comes this: the 10 very best movies currently available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
Without further ado, I hope you find the following helpful, especially if you have kids!
#10: Up (2009)
We kick off with Pixar’s 2009 megahit, Up. This is a movie that I actually saw in theatres upon its release, and let me tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after that sequence. The story of an unlikely meet-cute between a young boy scout and an angry old man that will leave you feeling full of hot cocoa once you’re done with it, Up should definitely be considered one of cinema’s greatest modern classics.
#9: Finding Nemo (2003)
Finding Nemo is one of those movies that is remembered so fondly, especially amongst people my age who were around the age of 12 when it premiered. Not only is it extremely quotable, but it’s the first 3D animation set entirely underwater that captured the essence of ocean life brilliantly well. What’s more is, it’s unfathomably re-watchable, so although you’ve probably already seen it, a second or third viewing wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
#8: Pocahontas (1995)
You simply can’t have a best Disney movie list without including some of the classic 2D stuff, can you? Pocahontas draws its story line from real life events during the colonisation of the USA, delving into hard-to-swallow subplots including that of Native American displacement. Not only are the songs some of the most iconic in the Disney catalogue (shout out to ‘Colors of the Wind’), but Pocahontas herself is the first POC ‘Disney Princess’ with her own movie. (Of course, we already had Jasmine, but that was sadly Aladdin‘s movie, not her’s). Worth the (re)watch, if not only for the quintessential quote that is archetypal of all world history: ”These white men are dangerous”.
#7: Zootopia (2016)
Zootopia is one of those movies that did way better in the box office than anyone expected it to. This movie ended up becoming the fourth highest grossing movie of 2016, and comfortably passed the $1 billion mark worldwide. Why? Well, with near-perfect animation, cute characters at its forefront, and a plethora of gloriously ridiculous puns, this is a film that is aimed at people of all ages, not just kids. Keep an eye out for all of the The Godfather references too.
#6: The Princess & the Frog (2009)
Despite only seeing this movie very recently, The Princess & the Frog was a no-brainer for my top 10 list. Based on the fairy tale classic The Frog Prince, but re-imagined and reincarnated in New Orleans, this movie has some of the best songs in any Disney film. The movie’s villain has a menacing ditty of his own that rivals The Lion King‘s ‘Be Prepared’, and the animation is both classic yet modern enough for a 2009 audience. And did I mention that Tiana is the first African American princess ever? That’s pretty cool in itself, to be honest.
#5: Hercules (1997)
From The Muses singing original soul and gospel anthems, to Megara’s banger of a love ballad ‘I Won’t Say I’m In Love’, Hercules has always been one of my favourites because of how catchy its songs are. Based on Greek myth, kids got a history lesson from this movie, but in a palatable, technicolor way that kept them engaged. Out of all the classics (note that the top 4 in this list are all the more modern 3-D animated type), Hercules is the one that stands the test of time the best for me. Plus, who doesn’t want a Pegasus?
#4: Inside Out (2015)
In a time when we’re all being advised to talk about our feelings more, Pixar comes up with something groundbreaking: Inside Out. Never before had any ‘children’s film’ tackled a topic like mental health so appropriately and powerfully, and whilst the brain is broken down into easy-to-digest ’emotions’ so a younger audience can understand, it is simple and effective. A truly original concept with so many laughs throughout, Inside Out is one not to be missed.
#3: Moana (2016)
In the same ilk as Finding Nemo, Moana is one of those movies that is set in or beside the ocean through the entire run time. Debuting 13 years after Nemo however, Disney irons out any creases with that pesky notorious-to-animate water, and creates an absolutely beautiful movie. A feast for the eyes, Moana talks us though some Hawaiian culture before whisking us away around the Pacific and bringing us some masterfully written songs for the ride. This is a movie that I didn’t expect to enjoy so much, but boy does it deserve to be rated so highly. The highest ranking ‘Princess’ movie on the list, this one just has so much more heart than any of the others.
#2: Toy Story 1, 2 and 3 (1995, 1999, and 2010 respectively)
No, this isn’t a cop out. Look, the first three Toy Story films are so close to perfect that they’d all make this top ten, so bunching them all together like this is the best way to leave room for some other stuff. With my personal favourite being Toy Story 2 (which is apparently not the most popular opinion), I grew up with these toys. And even if you didn’t, they’re impossible not to love. Who ever though a cowboy and a spaceman could be best friends? Toy Story truly paved the way for Pixar to become the global giant that it is today, and each of the movies has a poignant message, which is essential to any good kids’ movie. (As a side note, I did enjoy Toy Story 4, but it just doesn’t have the same zest as the first three do. Do I want a Toy Story 5 regardless? That goes without saying).
#1: Coco (2007)
Surprise! Not sure what you expected to be at number 1, and of course this whole article is just a matter of opinion, but I felt as though Coco was worthy of the top spot here.
This is one of those magical movies for me; one that I did not expect to love so much, and certainly one that I did not think would stay with me for such a long time. As with other past Disney films, this one gives you a little insight into a different culture; this time, we are taken to Mexico to learn about Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) and the effect it has on the lives of its celebrants.
With music that is both fitting to the landscape and simply downright catchy, a gorgeous story of a young boy trying to learn about his ancestry, and the world’s most feel-good contagious feeling that you get from watching, there is no movie on Disney+ that I’d rather watch again right now. This is one of those movies that you just don’t want a sequel to: it’s just perfect the way it is.
Honourable Mentions: Mulan (1998), Big Hero 6 (2014), The Lion King (1994).
So what do you think? Could you compile a better top 10?
Let me know if you have any ideas for other Top 10s or Top 5s – I’d love to bring you more!