Let’s be honest, Disney Plus has added a touch of much-needed magic to a lot of homes since the service became available in March. But even though, by now, you may have seen most of what Disney Plus has to offer, there may be a few hidden gems that you’ve missed.
So, we’ve put on our Mickey Mouse ears and dived headfirst into the world of Disney, Marvel, The Simpsons, Star Wars and National Geographic and dug out some buried treasure.
Below is our list of Disney+’s top 10 hidden gems for you to discover and get watching. So, In the words of Walt Disney himself; “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
10. Three Men and a Baby
Looking through Disney’s vast back catalogue, it can be surprising to see a lot of forgotten ‘live action’ films. Most of which we probably didn’t even realise were part of the Disney Studios franchise. I know I didn’t. One, in particular, that lends itself to a cosy Sunday afternoon is ‘Three Men and a Baby’. Staring Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg and Tom Selleck. (who you’ll recognise as Monica’s attractive older boyfriend from Friends). It’s perfect to get those nostalgic feels, and if you have never watched it, you need too!
TIP: There’s also Three Men and a Little Lady, which you can watch straight after!
9. Newsies: The Broadway Musical
Now, at the beginning of summer, Disney+ made a huge song and dance about their newest offering – Hamilton. (quite rightly so – it is a must-see). But they also quietly added another stage show: Newsies: The Broadway Musical. Based on the New York City Newsboy Strike in 1899. It comes complete with a great soundtrack and some really loveable characters. Granted, it’s not as well-known as Hamilton or other beloved musicals but while we’re stuck indoors, missing the theatre, it does give you the chance to get a bit of that matinee or evening show feeling back.
TIP: According to Inside, the magical Aladdin: The Broadway Musical might be added soon too.
8. The Reluctant Dragon
This 74-minute feature film is easily swiped past, especially as the cover art for the film can just look like an old children’s cartoon. But, it’s a lot more, not only is it the fourth feature length film ever released by Disney in 1941. It was also their first attempt at a live action script with animation.
The first 53 minutes of The Reluctant Dragon is more like a documentary of sorts, as you follow Robert Benchley on a tour around the Disney Studios. Robert Benchley was a then famous American humourist and columnist. Within the studio tour you get to see all the inner workings of a 1940s animation production studio. You get a sneaky peek into the drawing processes, character voicing, storyboarding and the modelling stages. As well as a glimpse of models from past and upcoming (at the time) 40s and 50s Disney films. There’s also a meeting the main man, Walt Disney, himself as he talks to Benchley about his ventures. The last 20-or-so minutes features the titular cartoon about the Reluctant Dragon. It’s well worth the watch for people who love Disney and looking at how the animations all came together.
TIP: Don’t be put off by the fact that it starts in black and white, as that doesn’t last for the full feature.
7. Disney’s nature documentaries
A fact not widely known: Disney Studios have been making animal and nature documentaries since 1948. It all started with a series of short films called ‘True Life Adventures’. Between 1953 and 1960 Disney then released seven feature-length documentaries under the same name. Six of these utter gems you can catch on Disney Plus. In the 50 years since then, Disney has kept a steady stream of animal documentaries going. All set to music in way that seems like the animals are keeping in time with the music, not the other way around. If you love entertaining animal programmes, these are for you.
TIP: Most of the nature documentaries are under the National Geographic tab. The names of the six full length features from the True Life Adventure series on Disney+ are: The Living Desert, The Vanishing Prairie, The African Lion, Secrets of life, Perri and Jungle Cat.
6. Marvel’s Hero Project
If you love Marvel like we do, you will be pretty clued up on all the movies, series and cartoons that are on offer. Yet, there is a little gem, in the shape of Marvel’s Hero Project, that you may have missed. Currently, it is one season long, with 20 30-minute episodes. Each episode follows the story of a young person, highlighting how they’ve inspired and influenced change.
At the end of each episode, the Marvel team inducts them into The Marvel Hero Project and gifts them a few items which all Marvel fans would love: a pretty cool Marvel Hero jacket and their very own special collector’s edition comic all about them. It’s an incredible series that shouldn’t be overlooked when you are searching for your next binge-watch.
TIP: Don’t forget the tissues, even Thanos would shed a tear at these inspiring children.
5. Treasure Island
Want to see where all the Disney live-action films started? Look no further than Treasure Island! Released in 1950, it was the first full-length feature film released by the studios, with no cartoon elements. It’s a great story, which sticks closely to the original Robert Louis Stevenson book. It also paved the way for other pirate-themed films, such as The Pirates of the Caribbean. So, if you’ve never seen it before, give it a go, you might find a little hidden treasure of your own.
TIP: Warning – there are no female cast members in this film, and there wasn’t in the book either. Boo!
4. Strange Magic
When Disney bought out Lucasfilm Ltd, it not only acquired Star Wars and Indiana Jones, there were a lot of other amazing films too. Arguably, one of the most visually and musically appealing was the 2015 computer-animated fantasy, Strange Magic. Loosely based on the William Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the film features many famous musical bangers, such as Can’t Help Falling In Love, made famous by Elvis Presley, Three Little Birds originally by Bob Marley, and Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance… It’s hard not to sing along.
TIP: Along with Strange Magic, it is worth looking at the Lucasfilm back catalogue, as there are some amazingly unique films.
The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride
We’re all a little sceptical about sequels, I get it. But, if you love The Lion King, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride simply shouldn’t be missed.
It follows on from the first film and is focused around Simba’s daughter, Kiara, voiced by Neve Campbell, and another lion called Kovu, voiced by Jason Marsden. Matthew Broderick, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella are all back once again to voice Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa. Even James Earl Jones lent his voice to the film, making him the only cast member to have been in all 3 full-length films. Annoyingly, the only voice not to return is Rowan Atkinson.
If you’ve seen the stage show, you’ll recognise the title track ‘He Lives In You’ – hey, it’s got to be good if the stage show are stealing tracks from it!
TIP: There’s also The Lion King 1 ½, however, these are a lot of little stories, not a full-length film. The Lion King series is absolutely one of the gems on Disney Plus.
2. Queen of Katwe
One of the best-hidden gems on Disney Plus has to be Queen of Katwe – that’s why it’s almost made our top spot (and it was a very close call)! This true-life story is set between 2009 – 2012, based on Phiona Mutesi, a gifted national chess player from Uganda. It stars Madina Nalwanga, who plays Phiona, Lupita Nyong’o, who plays her mother, and David Oyelowo, who portrays her coach. If you want to be inspired, moved and entertained, search and press play on Queen of Katwe.
TIP: Don’t be put off because it’s about chess… there is a lot more to it and the acting is second to none.
1. The World According to Jeff Goldblum
We know him best from Jurassic Park, The Fly, Independence Day and a whole host of other great movies. But, it’s safe to say you don’t really know the real Jeff Goldblum until you watch The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
When Disney+ first went live, this 12-part series was on the main page of things to watch with good reason. Yet, over time, it may have very well got lost or moved down on your list.
Goldblum is such an intriguing character and he is so infectiously curious about things, making the episodes addictive and easy to watch. Each episode you learn about the science and origins behind things we take for granted, such as sneakers, denim, coffee and much more. It’s very interesting!
TIP: Try not to binge them too quickly, as they are so good and who knows when the new series will arrive.
So, there you have our list of hidden gems, so pop on your Mickey Mouse ears and get watching… or is it just me that wears my ears to watch Disney films?
That’s our list of hidden gems on Disney Plus, thanks for reading. Have you seen any of our recommendations before you read this list? Do you agree or disagree with our points, or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
More of our Disney Plus articles HERE
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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