Disney+ Streaming Service: The Monopoly Grows
Disney+ streaming service hype has swept the internet with the promise of an extensive library that spans the entire Disney catalogue. November 11th marks the date on which 400 Disney titles will be presented to the public for streaming in North America. The success of Disney+ streaming service hinges on the content it will provide. There is no shortage of it in this case.
Netflix has opened a door and the masses have now followed suit. None have deeper pockets than that of Mickey Mouse’s company. From the runaway mainstream appeal of Star Wars and Marvel to the satisfying throwback nostalgia of Saturday morning Disney cartoons, their monopoly on the industry is a stranglehold like no other. It’s one we all willingly partake of due to the level of high-quality content they provide. Say what you will about them, they have produced among the most iconic material ever presented to the mass public. The company crafted a family-friendly image from humble roots in the early 1920s, sowing the seeds of a global brand with recognisable characters.
We all know the story of Simba and Mufasa. We know the story of Aladdin and his magical lamp. However, in their tenured history, Disney has produced a heavy helping of stories that never reached the heights that they should have. Today, I’ll be covering a handful of overlooked properties that will be available November 11th on Disney+.
Movie – Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
Certain ideas, on paper, don’t really work. An enchanted bed that can fly to anywhere, because witches exist. It sounds unfinished. Although, it is essentially the gist of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, an early example of Disney really hitting it out of the park in the medium of live-action cinema.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a feat of true inspired madness. A witch who takes in two children during the German bombing raids of the 1940s seeks out a spell that will aid in the Allied forces in the war. It sounds absurdly dark in this modern age, yet Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a truly surreal, madcap movie. An adventure through the eyes of children during a time of war with an enchanted makeup that predates Harry Potter. This is a unmissable movie for those who indulge in magic and monsters. The realms of possibility with the premise are explored to a surprising scale. We get a taste of Britain, a pinch of animation and a sprinkle of magic.
Save this one for a rainy day, as it will unfailingly raise a smile with its sense of childlike wonderment.
Movie – Pete’s Dragon (1977)
When you think of Disney, live-action doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Their track record with live-action is undoubtedly profitable, but nowhere near as prolific as what they have done in the field of animation. When you dive into the prior decades of their storied history, you can find genuinely one-of-a-kind charming pieces that stand alongside their animation.
Pete’s Dragon is a simple story, brimming with heart. It blends cartoon and live-action, carrying the quirks of both in its execution. It is a wholesome story of a young boy that finds an unlikely friendship with a dragon.
Elliot the Dragon has Pete’s best interest at heart and aids him in escaping a family that doesn’t truly love the boy. Through their journey together, Pete befriends a family living in a lighthouse, all the while keeping his fire-breathing friend hidden.
In the age of musicals, Pete’s Dragon is a catchy and jaunty experience featuring memorable villain songs and heart-warming sentimental tunes. For those inclined towards films about friendship and for those with a proclivity for musicals, Pete’s Dragon is a wonderfully fun time. Special note has to be given to the song “Every Little Piece”. It stands up against any villain song in the Disney library.
In the most recent years, it was remade for modern audiences, but you can’t quite capture a certain time period in a bottle unless you go back and experience it.
Movie – Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Adolescence is a tough time. You are developing yourself as a person, which can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Hormones are raging and the world seems largely intimidating. The people that are looking out for you the most can often incite a backlash from the irritation of being unfree to do what you want to do.
Flight of the Navigator explores the idea of a 12-year old boy waking up in a world that has grown up without him. David is an unruly child who doesn’t appreciate his sibling or his family telling him what to do. One day as David is walking in the woods alone, he happens upon a ravine. Losing his footing, he falls into the hole, and when he comes to everything has changed. Unbeknownst to David, 8 years have passed in a blink of an eye. The new world presents the strange outcome of celebrity status given his curious circumstances. His little brother is now older than him and his parents are recovering from the grief of having lost him. His story has spread and his newfound fame breeds an overwhelming sense of uncertainty around him.
This is a unique film. Flight of the Navigator is a story of self-discovery with a science fiction wrapping. The way you think this film will go is not the way you expect. There is drama and comedy in perfect harmony. To save the biggest reveals, I will refrain from mentioning any further detail. Rest assured that this one will leave an impression that is hard to shake. A strong familial message for a curiously comedic film.
Series – The Incredible Hulk (1996)
When citing Marvel television in the 1990s, the first series that is mentioned is X-Men: The Animated Series and the second is Spider-Man. In a period of time where DC Comics was the dominant company, these two series were bright sparks fighting against a titan in the hugely popular Warner Bros. Batman production.
One such criminally-overlooked series of this time period is The Incredible Hulk. Prior to the Marvel cinematic universe, The green gamma machine would have been most recognisable from the 1970s series starring Lou Ferrigno. This animated series took a bolder approach than the campy style of the ’70s. Emulating the success of Batman: The Animated Series, it took a darkly serious approach to the role of Bruce Banner. As a cartoon, it is in equal parts action-packed and harrowing. The pain and the hurt of feeling without control has never been illustrated better for that character than in this series.
It’s a far cry from the modern-day comedy version of the MCU. The Incredible Hulk lays it on heavily in terms of the effect that this transformation has on the life of Bruce Banner. It was standardly a villain-of-the-week affair but, more times than not, a very clever metaphor for exorcising your inner demons. This beautifully-animated series has a bite to it that X-Men: The Animated Series and Spider-Man never quite leaned into. Featuring additionally is She-Hulk, an empowered and chaotic Goliath that adds a brilliant dynamic to the idea that the way you approach your demons doesn’t have to be in a negative light.
This series is well worth a visit for those seeking a strong take on the Incredible Hulk, and is worth the watch for the phenomenal opening intro alone.
Series – Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure (2017-)
Disney movies with sequels are a hit-or-miss affair. If you check any of the 1990s library of sequels, there are, realistically, only one or two that have genuinely stood out to fans. It is hard to replicate the feel of a first-time viewing for certain worlds. Recapturing that magic is like acquiring lightning in a bottle. Tangled: The Series keeps the bottle tightly bound so as not to let the lightning out.
Overlooked due to the high-profile Gravity Falls being at the forefront of Disney TV at the time, this follow-up to the movie Tangled doesn’t take pride in simply riding on coattails. The series builds upon pre-established characters and boasts music that would not have been out of place in the movie. In some cases, the series writers handle the character of Rapunzel more strongly than the cinema version. Traditionally, sequels attempt to double down on jokes that are past their sell-by date after the first they are heard. Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure carves its own niche in the world established by Pixar. It is funny and full of character. A must for fans of the film, and definitely not to be overlooked due to its change of animation. Give this one a chance as soon as possible!
Hopefully, you have found something to check out when the Disney+ streaming service releases in North America on November 11th. A full list can be seen here. Will you be getting Disney+ streaming service? What property are you most excited to see? Comment down below!