The Five - Underrated Disney Animated Features

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The Five - Underrated Disney Animated Features

Written by Okechi Apakama

Compiled by Okechi Apakama, Jose Castaneda and Kyley Warren

Welcome to the Phoenix Film Festival’s first daily Top 5, today we picked our list of Top 5 Underrated Disney Films. For this list, we agree on the boundaries of not well-known or underappreciated films within the Disney realm. This list does not include Pixar titles because those movies deserve their own list. We had a team of devoted critics (i.e a trio of Disney film nerds) discuss in extreme prejudice, but don’t worry no one was physically injured. The movie list spans as far back as the 1970s up until the 2000s. We tried to steer clear of early Disney movies because so many of them are well-known. That being said there was a long list of movies we had to choose from and unfortunately some movies we loved couldn’t make the cut. Here are some of the loved ones that did not make it: Treasure Island ,101 Dalmatians, The Rescuers, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, A Goofy Movie.




5. The Aristocats   

This movie is one of our jazzier ones on the list, with a story of Dutchess and three kittens having to travel to Paris with the help of some friends along the way. There is also a greedy butler who is after the cats the entire time. This movie has very catchy music and songs. The entire ensemble cast is great with the exception of the regressive representation of the Siamese cats. The movie is basically a light-hearted Disney musical rom-com and it completely sells you on that story line.     


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4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

This movie follows disfigured Quasimodo who is the bell-ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral and longs for a connection with Gypsy Esmeralda. Quasimodo’s master Frollo is also after Gypsy Esmeralda and it is up to Quasimodo to stop him from getting her within his clutches. This movie is about an underdog who is judged based on his looks and the movie tell us not to judge a person based on their looks. This movie tends to be overlooked when it comes to Disney princess movies. We consider Esmeralda as a Disney princess, don’t @ us. It had a great message that in our relationships with others, it’s from the heart that matters.


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3. Brother Bear 

This movie was about a tale of a man named Kenai who hates bears because his brother was killed by a bear and then he becomes a bear. He has to become human again so he journeys to a mystical mountain with a small cub. This is happening while his other brother is trying to kill him for being bear. It was a perfect movie of the dynamic between brotherly connection. Kenai gained a greater appreciation for bears and it was a movie that had a lot of heartwarming moments. It is definitely one of those movies that you have to watch again to appreciate it.  



2. Meet The Robinsons

It followed the story of a boy genius Lewis that gives up after one of his inventions doesn’t work then he is taken into the future by another boy Wilbur Robinson. He spends the day with an exotic family and is shown many wonders of the future. This movie could have been number one on our list with a message that has a great underlying meaning to never give up. It really taps into the wonders of Disney and it displays there is no limit to our creativity. It also serves as a solid time travel movie with little to no plot holes. This is definitely a movie that the whole family can appreciate. 



1. The Emperor's New Groove 

Taking the number one spot on our list is a movie that all of us agree was overlooked. It stars a selfish and arrogant Emperor Kuzco who is transformed into a llama by his adversary. Kuzco is then matched up with Pacha and his family and he learns compassion and caring for others. This is all happening as Kuzco tries to take the throne back from the sinister Yzma. This movie had great comic moments while also having a wholesome message about being friendly with one other. There is a great scene where Pacha warns Kuzco "Someday you’re gonna wind up all alone and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself." It is a very gut wrenching moment and it showed how well Disney can balance different themes within their movies.