Whether young or old, Disney films are some of the most nostalgically ingrained films in our psyche. Whether it’s Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast or Sleeping Beauty, many of us have been reared to breathe and live Disney. Over the studio’s 75-plus years of filmmaking, we’ve seen many cherished classics come to life: 101 Dalmatians, Robin Hood, The Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book, just to name a few of the lesser classics.
But while most of us are on very familiar terms with these films, there are a few works of animation that most people have either never seen (and barely heard of) or don’t give them the credit that they so deserve.
The Sword in the Stone
Despite being released in the midst of 101 Dalmatians and The Jungle Book, this film has simply become a forgotten treasure. While many critics at the time derided it as mere silliness — where a bumbling, eccentric Merlin substituted the more “true to lore” all-powerful wizard — it’s understandable in hindsight that this film, on the heels of Sleeping Beauty, would have seemed underwhelming.
It shouldn’t be considered an all-time great, but Sword in the Stone is certainly more deserving of attention and appreciation. Merlin — bumbling though he may be — is still loveable, and his oddity is tribute to 75 years of taking characters and putting the old Disney spin on them. And, almost every time, their characters have become the more well-loved and preferred.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Jules Verne once popularized the legend of Atlantis, and it’s been reworked and re-envisioned ever since. Disney’s version of the legendary story is a bit more caricatured than Verne’s more prosaic approach, but it’s no less thrilling. It blends the mystical with the practical and has an eerie aura, which only adds to the mysteriousness of the tone.
Perhaps the best scene in the film — probably one of the most unnerving scenes in any Disney movie — is when the explorers’ enormous submarine is being stalked and attacked by the Leviathan-like sea creature. With pulsating action and a boldly adventurous style, Atlantis is definitely a film worth re-watching if you haven’t already seen it. Add on top of that a truly lovable voice performance by Michael J. Fox as the main protagonist and it becomes clear that this is one Disney movie that’s shamefully underrated.