By Connor McCoy
Copy Editor

 

Sometimes, when a movie is released, it doesn’t get recognized for its strengths, even if it’s actually really good. I’m sure we all have an underrated movie that we love whose bad reviews leave us flabbergasted and confused. On that note, the following are my top five most underrated Disney films whose poor critical and/or commercial performances leave me a bit dumbfounded.

The Oliver & Company movie poster. Photo courtesy of Disney.

  1. “Oliver & Company” (1988): “Oliver & Company” is a hidden gem in Disney’s content library that also happens to have an awesome soundtrack. It’s a retelling of “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens set in modern-day New York City. Well, relatively modern. The film is set around the time it was released (1988), so the setting was modern at the time, but not so much anymore. Honestly, there’s not really much else to say about it. It’s just a really charming movie with great music.

  1. “Brother Bear” (2003): What I like most about “Brother Bear” are its central themes and how masterfully those themes are woven into the film’s plot. The themes, the importance of considering the perspectives of others and the consequences of causing unnecessary death, are most skillfully demonstrated shortly before the climax of the film. In this scene, the main protagonist, Kenai, who earlier in the film was transformed into a bear as a punishment for killing a bear in revenge for his brother’s death, is sitting with a group of bears listening to a story from Koda, a bear cub with whom Kenai has been traveling. As Koda tells the group about how he got separated from his mother, Kenai realizes, to his horror, that the bear he killed was Koda’s mother, who was trying to protect her cub. It’s an amazing twist that I didn’t see coming.

  1. “Haunted Mansion” (2023): This is NOT the Eddie Murphy film from 2003. I want to make that very clear, because the 2003 film was not good. What I love about the 2023 film is that it actually delves into the attraction’s lore and features multiple Haunted Mansion characters playing integral parts in the film’s plot. The 2003 film, on the other hand, is a generic horror comedy movie with Haunted Mansion references shoehorned into it that can’t decide if it wants to be scary or funny. The 2023 film manages to achieve the right balance of humor and horror. My only real gripe with the film is the rampant product placement throughout.

  1. “Wish” (2023): I’ll be honest. I don’t understand why people hate this movie. Yes, some of the dialogue is a little awkward, but that’s true of literally every movie ever made. Every movie has at least one line that has something off about it. Other than that, the movie is fantastic. Its songs are catchy, the art style looks really good (especially the backgrounds), and the villain’s psyche is fascinating. For a more in-depth look at the film, check out The Clackamas Print’s review of “Wish.”

  1. “Pinocchio” (2022): Here’s a hot take: This movie is actually better than the 1940 animated film. I’m not kidding. One big gripe that I have with the 1940 film is how much the Blue Fairy helps Pinocchio throughout the film. In the animated film, after Stromboli locks him in a cage, Pinocchio is set free by the Blue Fairy. She then tells him that she can no longer help him. However, when Pinocchio returns home to find Geppetto’s workshop empty, the Blue Fairy sends a letter down from the sky informing him of Geppetto’s whereabouts, which is helping him. In the remake, Pinocchio escapes the cage by deliberately telling repeated lies in order to make his nose grow long enough for him to reach the key to the cage. The Blue Fairy does not assist him at any point in the film. The 2022 film also has a really fun Easter egg: many of the clocks in Geppetto’s workshop are references to other Disney films.

 

Watch these movies. They’re good. They deserve some love.

Connor McCoy

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