Meet the Robinsons and 16 Other Underrated Disney Movies to Watch on Disney+
As I powered through Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and other Disney classics when I was a kid, I also found myself enchanted by movies that have since been lost amid the ever-expanding collection of princesses and talking animal sidekicks. Meet the Robinsons, Sky High and The Great Mouse Detective are just a few of these underrated films, but there are so many others that shaped my childhood just as much as The Lion King.
Quirky, cute, and sometimes straight-up amazing, these underrated Disney films might not make it onto any “Top Disney Movies of All Time” lists, but they’re great movies in their own right and deserve a little bit of recognition. While they might have slipped past your radar if you didn’t own them on VHS growing up, here are a few Disney films still worth watching on Disney+ today.
In Flubber, Robin Williams stars as Professor Philip Brainard, a scientist who accidentally creates a sentient rubber-like substance he calls “flubber.” Distracted by this new discovery, Brainard misses his own wedding and his fiancée leaves him. As he tries to win her back, flubber causes some unexpected mischief.
Oliver & Company (1988)
An animated take on the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist, Oliver & Company is the story of an orphaned kitten who comes across a pack of street-savvy dogs in New York City. After being adopted by a wealthy little girl named Jenny, Oliver is kidnapped and held for ransom by a loan shark bent on getting his money back, so Oliver’s new friends set out on a mission to save him.
Sky High (2005)
Will Stronghold is the son of two of the world’s most well-known superheroes, but he doesn’t have any powers of his own and he keeps this a secret from his family. When he arrives at Sky High, a high school made especially for teenagers with superpowers, he develops a crush on a girl named Gwen. Will soon learns that Gwen is more of a villain than a hero, and it’s up to him to stop her from destroying the school.
Brother Bear (2003)
Kenai is a young First Nations man who dislikes bears. When his brother is killed by a bear, Kenai takes the animal’s life as revenge and wakes up to find himself transformed into a bear. Yes, this is pre-Brave. With the help of a bear cub named Koda, Kenai has to find his way to the top of a magical mountain to change back into a human.
The Ugly Dachshund (1966)
When Mark and Fran Garrison take their beloved dachshund to the vet to deliver her litter of puppies, the veterinarian convinces them to take home another tiny puppy that was abandoned by its mother. The puppy soon grows into a full-sized Great Dane that doesn’t exactly fit in with its dachshund brothers and sisters.
A Bug's Life (1998)
The second Pixar movie ever released, A Bug’s Life tells the story of a clumsy ant named Flick who accidentally destroys his colony’s food store, which they were saving up to pay off a group of menacing grasshoppers. Hopper, the leader of the grasshoppers, threatens to destroy the entire ant colony if they don’t produce double the amount of food they originally owed. In an effort to fight back, Flick recruits an eccentric group of circus insects to help him scare off the grasshoppers.
The Cat From Outer Space (1978)
Fans of Captain Marvel‘s Goose the cat, meet Jake, a cat-like extraterrestrial being who pilots a UFO. When Jake’s ship is intercepted by the US military, he enlists the help of a scientist named Frank Wilson to track down a substance called Org 12 that will help him to fix his UFO and reunite with his mothership.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Before Avatar was even a thought, Atlantis: The Lost Empire was wowing us with a mystical planet that seemed too good to be true. The film follows the story of a young and naive cartographer who dreams of continuing the journey his grandfather left behind and searching for the legendary lost empire of Atlantis.
Treasure Planet (2002)
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, the film is about a 15-year-old named Jim Hawkins who discovers a map to the legendary “loot of a thousand worlds.” Jim then sets out on a journey through a parallel universe aboard a flying pirate ship to hunt down the treasure.
Blackbeard's Ghost (1968)
When a school track coach named Steve Walker accidentally recites some magic words, he summons the ghost of an infamous pirate named Blackbeard who was cursed to roam the earth until he does one good deed. Because he summoned him, Steve is the only person who can hear or see Blackbeard, and he reluctantly sets out to help the ghost accomplish his goal and cross to the other side.
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
A play on Sherlock Holmes, The Great Mouse Detective follows the story of a mouse detective named Basil who must defeat his arch-enemy Professor Ratigan after London’s master toymaker is kidnapped.
Holes stars Shia LaBeouf as Stanley Yelnats, a boy who is wrongfully sent to a brutal camp where teenagers are forced to dig holes all day long in the desert. Soon, Stanley starts to question what the holes are for and if there’s something more sinister happening at the camp than any of them realize.
Robin Hood (1973)
A great film for kids of all ages, Disney’s animated take on the tale of Robin Hood is a series of musical stories about the hero and his sidekick Little John. When the prince of the kingdom begins to issue unreasonable taxes, Robin Hood and his merry men playfully go to battle with the prince’s men.
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
The sequel to Disney’s The Rescuers, The Rescuers Down Under is the story of Bernard and Bianca, two mice who are part of the Rescue Aid Society that helps save people who have been kidnapped. Set in the Australian Outback, the film follows the pair as they help to rescue a little boy named Cody and stop a villainous poacher on a mission to capture endangered birds.
Meet the Robinsons (2007)
Humorous, heartfelt, and unique in its animation style, Meet the Robinsons hits everything you want in a feel-good Disney film. Lewis is a 12-year-old boy who lives at an orphanage and has a passion for science. When Wilbur Robinson finds Lewis at the school science fair and takes him to the future in a stolen time machine, he realizes he can go back in time to meet his birth mother, but Wilbur has other plans.
James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Tim Burton’s take on the classic Roald Dahl novel uses a combination of live-action filming and stop motion animation to tell the story of an orphaned British boy named James who is forced to live with his two cruel aunts. Luckily for James, he comes across a giant enchanted peach that rolls into the sea, where he escapes from his aunts and comes across a group of friendly talking insects.
The Parent Trap (1961)
Lindsay Lohan‘s Parent Trap will always be one of my favorite movies, but the original 1961 version of the film starring Hayley Mills as the twins is so worth a watch if you’ve never seen it before. The movie follows almost the exact same plot line as the 1998 film, and features just as many silly and heartwarming moments as you might expect – plus a fun sing-along song scene!