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Disney Plus Top 10 Hidden Gems

Sarah Casserley



Three men and a baby image
Disney Plus

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.

Wrap up

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

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Movie News

The Good, The Bad And The Classic

Sarah Casserley



Star From Disney Plus

Disney Plus Star image
Disney Plus

Disney Plus introduced Star to the service a little while ago now with loads of highlights. We’re sure, like us, you’ve had a good old delve into the catalogue and watched some of your faves. But, just in case you’ve missed anything, we have put together a little guide on what’s good to get stuck into. Also what’s bad and could do with being swiped past, and the classic must-see TV series and films that you probably didn’t even realise were there.

So, when you find yourself looking for something to watch on a Friday evening or binge for a couple of weeks, don’t scroll endlessly, just take a look at our guide of Disney Plus Star recommendations.

The Good

These are the films and series that have been released within the last 10 years, which you need to watch or should at least be on your ‘to watch’ list.

Series on Disney Plus Star

Atlanta (2016 – Present)

If you haven’t watched this series yet, why not? The creative and talented Donald Glover heads up the show as the main character ‘Earn’, and on the writing credits too (among 6 others, including his brother Stephen Glover), in this funny, gritty and realistic series which follows a rapper ‘Paper Boy’ and his manager Earn (Glover) as they navigate the rap business. If you have watched the show before, you may want to re-watch for a recap as season 3 has been promised to us very soon.

9-1-1 (2018 – Present)

This isn’t just any emergency service drama, this series covers the lives of several Los Angeles first responders: police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and dispatchers. It also has some big names involved, including Angela Bassett and, later in the series, Jennifer Love Hewitt. For some reason though, there’s only two of the four seasons of 9-1-1 on Disney Plus Star so far, but it’s well worth a watch and we’re sure the other two seasons should be along soon.

Doll Face (2019 – Present)

By the title alone, and the fact that it’s a weekly release, it initially looked like this series was set around a stereotypical break up and was destined for the bad list. However, the witty script, amazing female actors and relatable storyline made me put this series firmly within the good pile as I can’t wait to watch more. Kat Dennings takes the lead in the series and really brings to life upcoming writer Jordan Weiss’ story of female friendships after a breakup.

Films on Disney Plus Star

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

This beautiful coming of age story, based on a book with the same name, is a great watch for all ages, not just teens. Be ready for oodles of romance, as well as teary and heart-warming moments, as you follow two teens affected by cancer as they set off on a journey of discovery.

The Favourite (2018)

We love a period drama, and this quirky look at the reign of Queen Anne is no exception. With starring roles from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult, it’s no wonder The Favourite had 336 nominations in award season and 182 wins. It’s definitely one of the best films from the last 5 years on Disney Plus Star.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

There are some examples coming up in these lists that give sequels a bad name, however, Deadpool 2 isn’t one of them. If you were putting off watching this one because of the sequel curse, don’t, it’s just as good – if not better – than the first. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is back as the foul-mouthed superhero and, this time, he brings some new friends: Domino (Zazie Beetz), Fire Fist (Julian Dennison) and Weasel (T.J. Miller) among others.

The Bad

There’s not as many on this ‘bad’ list as Star has done a pretty good job with their chosen titles. However, like any service, there are always a few bad eggs in our opinion… This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch these, it’s more of a warning that there may be better things to press play on.

Series on Disney Plus Star

Lost (2004 – 2010)

To be completely honest here, the first two seasons of Lost are very entertaining and interesting to watch, as you follow several people who try to survive a plane crash and have to adapt to life on a strange island. But, by the middle of season three, things start to get a little confusing and we found ourselves getting lost (pun intended) in the plot until the final sixth season, only to be hit with a heavily reported disappointing end… even worse than some people’s feelings about Game Of Thrones. So, we recommendation delving into some of the other series rather than this one.

24: Legacy (2017)

Trying to build another series from an established series can be very hit or miss – and this one was a huge miss. So much so that Fox axed it just after one series.

It takes on the same format as the original 24 series, where one season is just one day, however, this time they are trying to stop a terrorist attack. The format just doesn’t work with this storyline and you lose a lot of momentum and excitement, plus the acting just isn’t the best.

Films on Disney Plus Star

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Just like building another series off a series, sequels can also be tricky beasts… some are good, some are bad and, when it follows an absolute classic like ‘Independence Day’, it needs to be amazing. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite live up to the legacy of the first film; I mean, not even ‘Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth couldn’t get this to match up with the original. But it is still entertaining, so if you do decide to watch this one, just do so with caution.

The Classic

As you have probably already noticed there are some absolute classics on Disney Plus Star, so this is going to be the longest list, full of series that you can binge from start to finish and films that stand the test of time and can be re-watched repeatedly. Most of these titles don’t need much explanation as you’ll have already watched or heard about them, but you might not have spotted them yet on Disney Plus Star as some were buried deep in the archives.

Series on Disney Plus Star

X Files (1993 – 2001)

If you were born in the 90s or 00s, this one may have gone under your radar; however, once you watch the first season full of aliens, wired going ons and the brilliantly disjointed relationship of FBI agents, conspiracy theorist Fox Mulder and realist Dana Scully, you won’t want to stop watching. Granted some of the special effects are a little dated and unbelievable, but you will soon forget about that as you get sucked into the narrative.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2002)

I know, I know, it’s hard to think there are people out there that haven’t watched a single vampire slaying, kick-ass, sci-fi loaded episode… but there is. If you are one of those people, what are you waiting for? Every single episode is here wating for you to binge. If you don’t fancy delving into the full thing, I would recommend at least taking a peek at the seventh episode of the sixth series (Once More, with Feeling: Buffy the Musical).

24 (2001 – 2014)

Before Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) burst on our screens in 2001, this kind of format for a series had never been attempted before and it just worked, so much so it ran for 9 seasons. It may seem odd at first, as each series is just one day, but you really do get sucked in.

Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – 2018)

Within its almost 13 years of being on air, this series has offered every heart-warming and breath-holding moment you need from a hospital-based drama. This would be a perfect series to start if you want something that will last you a while.

Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014)

Bikes, leather and action: what’s not to like? This series ran for a glorious 7 seasons, and within these episodes, there is storyline upon storyline that will keep you hooked and wanting to know more about the motorcycle club that straddles the line between legal and illegal.

Films on Disney Plus Star

(We’re pretty sure you will have watched most of these films, but they are well worth a re-watch)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

The film that started them all. Since the release of this film in 1968, there have been seven more sequels and remakes of the original sci-fi movie, two of which you can also watch on Disney Plus Star: Planet Of the Apes (2001) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).

Jewel of the Nile (1985)

It could possibly be that the countless TV showings over the have passed you by, but if you’ve not seen Jewel of the Nile, you should definitely give it a go. Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito are fantastic in this pure 80s romantic action comedy.

Cocktail (1988)

Sticking within the 80s romantic comedy realm, you’ve also got Cocktail, which is full of love ultimatums, with a dash of cheese. Come on, you know you want to watch a young Tom Cruise at work.

The Fly (1986)

One name – Jeff Goldblum. Watch it.

Pretty Woman (1990)

We were just as excited as the first time we watched it when we saw this classic on the service. To not watch this again would be a big mistake. HUGE.

Toys (1992)

This wonderfully wacky story by Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson comes alive with the help of one of the best comedic actors of all time, Robin Williams, alongside the wonderful Joan Cusack and, bizarrely, LL Cool J.

What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993)

Whether you love Tina Turner’s music or not, it does not matter. This is one of the most interesting and inspirational biographical movies that you will ever watch. Word of warning, the incredible Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishburne are so great at their roles that some of the more sensitive scenes are very realistic.

Braveheart (1995)

With any new service, there are glitches, and we found one! Whilst watching this absolute classic a few weeks ago, about two and a half hours into the film the screen when to the small screen format as if the credits had come up, making it difficult to watch the last part of the film. However, when we went to finish the film off a week later the glitch had been fixed and you can now watch the whole film without interruption… FREEDOM!

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)

We all know that when it comes to film, Baz Luhrmann is a genius and he doesn’t disappoint with this abstract take on the story. It’s worth watching for the soundtrack alone.

Independence Day (1996)

90s Will Smith doing what he did best: lots of running, fighting and shouting – need I say more? Oh yes, you can also watch another one of his masterpieces, Enemy of the State (1998) on this service too.

Con Air (1997)

‘Put the bunny back in the box’ and sit down and watch this classic… we all know Nicholas Cage films can be a little unpredictable, but this film is definitely a hit, especially as he is joined by other legends of the screen, including John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, John Cusack and Ving Rhames.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Well if it’s at our fingertips, why not watch this film for the 56th time… this year.

So, there you have it, these are some of our highlights and must-miss titles from Disney Plus Star. Are there any that we missed? If so, comment below and let us know what category they belong in.

Check out the top 10 hidden gems in the other Disney Plus feeds HERE.

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