Ah, the wonderful world of Disney... Where would we be without the magical empire that is the house of mouse? The creative geniuses at Disney have brought to life some of the most beloved characters the world has ever known. From Mickey and friends to the plethora of princesses, there is very little chance anyone has ever not been exposed to Disney at some point in their life. From our early days with Winnie the Pooh to our obsessions with Star Wars and Marvel, Disney has had us spellbound since our earliest memories. It goes without saying that the brand has a special place in our hearts, but as famous as the name is, Disney does have a few titles fans would rather forget.
As magically wonderful as Disney is, it is not without sin. While they have produced and unleashed many a marvelous title, there are still those that either just missed the mark, fell toward the wayside, or became dark marks on the studio's record. As odd as it may sound, Disney does have its share of unpopular projects. Some of these films may not necessarily be bad, but they're definitely not what some audiences consider best and brightest. That being said, some of the studio's films are less popular not because they're bad, but because they are either forgotten or simply less known. So we're here today to drag some skeletons from the Disney vault and share with you 20 of Disney's biggest bombs and 10 of their hidden treasures. So sit back, relax, and enjoy 20 Disney Movies Fans Pretend Don't Exist (And 10 Hidden Gems Everyone Forgets).
30 FORGET: THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE
Though not exactly a bad film, it's definitely not the best adaptation of the inspiration. Those who enjoy the antics of Nicholas Cage will be satisfied, but for those of us wanting something with a little more Mickey, not so much. Though there are living brooms, there are no ties to the source material.
A teenager learning to be a wizard sounds awesome on paper but under this title, it sinks like a sorcerer's stone. With creative effects and a plot suited better for a TV movie, it lacks some Disney magic. At least we see Mickey's hat at the end.
29 FORGET: DINOSAUR
At the time, Dinosaur was cutting-edge and visually interesting. Now, the animation is dated, the story is long, and it's lost its wide-eyed effect on viewers. At least it gave us a thrill-ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
The film is essentially a prehistoric retelling of the Exodus and though that may interest some adults, kids will surely fall asleep. The visuals are dated, but still worth a look. Animated dinosaurs on real backgrounds were certainly novel in 2000, but nearly twenty years later, it becomes a fossil.
28 HIDDEN GEM: THE BLACK CAULDRON
This is why we don't let Katzenberg play Dungeon Master anymore. The Black Cauldron is by no means a perfect film. In fact, it almost ended Walt Disney Animation Studios and was nearly rated R in its early production days. No, we're not joking on that one. So why does it have a cult status?
The film is one of the darkest things ever to come out of Disney, and though the plot is a mishmash of fantasy tropes, it's still worth a watch. Considered Disney's Blacksheep, its material is definitely not something you'd pair with Mickey and pals.
27 FORGET: THE RESCUERS
We're stepping on toes here, but let's be honest. How many people think of The Rescuers when talking about Disney Classics? Yes, the performances were good, the animation was fine, and the story well-written, but it's just not that memorable. A society of anthropomorphic mice in a large human world, where have we seen that before?
The film isn't bad by any means, it's just forgettable, follows a standard family-film-formula, and doesn't leave the audience with anything that fantastic. Even some seasoned Disney fans forget about this film, and that says something. Our advice, wait for the sequel.
26 FORGET: 102 DALMATIANS
If it weren't for Glen Close and Eric Idle, this movie wouldn't exist. A sequel to the 1996 adaptation, 102 Dalmatians is a screwball comedy with Disney cashing in on the cuteness of a legion of canines. Throw in a parrot voiced by a Monty Python star and you've got a kid's flick.
The performances are funny and enjoyable, but it lacks the heart and mystery of the first film. The stunts, jokes, and sequences are like something out of a cartoon, and that adaptation exists. Watch for more of Close's Cruella but otherwise, send it to the dog house.
25 HIDDEN GEM: THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER
Remember what we said about waiting for the sequel? The Rescuers Down Under is the hidden gem of the Disney Renaissance, with gorgeous animation, big names in the cast, and a high-flying adventure in the Outback to tie it together. Why wasn't it a hit? Two words: Home Alone.
The film certainly has a larger fanbase now and is considered one of the most underrated Disney classics, along with a few more on our list. The characters, visuals, and performances are all colorful and exciting, easily worth a watch. It's no Lion King, but we can certainly get behind it.
24 FORGET: RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN
Aside from creating a Dwayne Johnson meme, how many people actually remember this movie? A pair of alien kids on the run from a Jason-esque bounty hunter accompanied by The Rock is a great idea, but it seems to get swept under the rug. Simply put, it's standard action movie fodder, and underwhelming compared to later Disney projects.
The movie is okay but compared to its inspiration, it's not the most groundbreaking. The UFOs, bounty hunters, and driving stunts are alright for a while, but it gets generic and soon falls in with the other films of its genre.
23 FORGET: TOMORROWLAND
Tomorrowland is not a bad film, we'd even call it fascinating. The problem with the film is that its audience is a select group of people. The film is a love letter to Disney Imagineering and classic science-fiction, and not every movie-goer fits that niche.
Despite having big names like George Clooney, it fell to the wayside at the end of the day. It has your typical dystopian/save-the-future plot with robots, gadgets, and everything else, and there's an audience for that like there's an audience for westerns. It's a very genre-based film only some will understand.
22 HIDDEN GEM: THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE
Who knew Disney could do a classic detective story so well? The Great Mouse Detective is one of those films that needs a bigger following. With the countless Sherlock fans, Basil of Baker Street would be a hit with modern audiences today.
With engaging characters, a slightly-dark-for-Disney plot, and a phenomenal performance by Vincent Price, how can you not love this film? The scale of both the characters and the set pieces really help the film stand out, not to mention the incredible-for-80s animation. Mickey isn't the only mouse in the Disney game, ya know?
21 FORGET: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Disney's first live-action foray into Wonderland was a mixed bag of hit and miss. The sequel, while visually impressive, was convoluted and confusing. Time travel and Alice simply do not mix.
The elements of the movie were all incredibly weird, and not in that quirky Tim Burton sense. Besides Johnny Depp's Hatter and Sacha Baron Coen's Time, the performances aren't really that different from the first film. Moreover, the film feels like an unneeded continuation than anything else. Costumes and visuals aside, there's not much here for the standard fan. Even Disney prefers Burton's misguided original to this shattering sequel.
20 FORGET: THE HAUNTED MANSION
We're a little forgiving of this one given the circumstances. With the success of Pirates of the Carribean, Disney thought maybe there was potential for films in more of their rides. The Haunted Mansion is certainly a goldmine of opportunity, but the film adaptation certainly disturbed a few spirits.
What should have been a gothic masterpiece ended up a dated goofball comedy. Eddie Murphy is not someone who should be leading a film about The Haunted Mansion. Thankfully, the film is supposedly getting a reboot led by Guillermo del Toro. We hope he gives the ride the film it deserves.
19 HIDDEN GEM: TRON
Though it's slowly climbing its way out of cult status, Tron is still not as popular as it should be. Yes, the effects are dated and totally 80s, but they were revolutionary at the time. It's a sci-fi period piece that demands rewatching for Disney fans and gamers alike.
If it's popular enough to get its own roller coaster, it's popular enough for all fans. Dripping with neon and packed to the brim with classic 80s awesomeness, it is the very definition of a throwback. Part allegory, part sci-fi epic, all Disney, it's more than just 80s cheese.
18 FORGET: PETE'S DRAGON (2016)
Now we're getting into the bad stuff. The original Pete's Dragon was a goofy, lighthearted musical that established the Disney film stereotype. The remake featured a boy and his dragon, and that was the extent of the relationship to the previous film.
This movie wasn't just in the wrong, it made many fans of the original, some of us included, absolutely furious. The story felt more like a finding-bigfoot scenario and Eliot the dragon's redesign was a moss-green mess. Dissatisfied doesn't even scratch the surface with this one.
17 FORGET: THE LONE RANGER
Loved by some, disliked by others, Disney's take on The Lone Ranger wasn't exactly a bullseye. With budget cuts, a lengthy script, and several artistic liberties, it wasn't a proper representation. Johnny Depp and Arnie Hammer might have given great performances, but even their star power couldn't stop the film from hanging.
You know your film's a flop when Despicable Me 2 is more successful. It's not the worst film on our list, but it definitely could have been better. The action was great, but there was little room for development. It was simply too much of a good thing.
16 HIDDEN GEM: SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
Based on the masterpiece by Ray Bradbury, the film is definitely one of the eeriest things Disney has ever released. Dark magic, a spooky carnival, and a sinister ringmaster are just a few of the things Bradbury unleashes in this frightening flick. Though not as great as the novel, it still bears the same twisted flavor.
With a script written by Bradbury himself, spooky imagery, and a fun but diabolical villain, this film deserves more attention. A box office bomb when it premiered, but a spooky favorite of many, we highly recommend this film at your next Halloween viewing party.
15 FORGET: RETURN OF JAFAR
We could devote a whole list to bad Disney Sequels, but we'll stick to a select few. The first of these animated atrocities is The Return of Jafar, a sequel to Aladdin. The movie isn't entirely awful but compared to what came before, it's an Arabian nightmare.
The animation is cheap and the songs are hit and miss, but the capital sin was recasting the Genie. Due to a contract dispute, Robin Williams briefly left the studio and they replaced him with Dan Castellaneta. Castellaneta does his absolute best, but Aladdin without the Genie is a disaster in the making.
14 FORGET: HOME ON THE RANGE
A Disney flick so absurd and forgettable it verges on parody, Home on the Range was not the studio's proudest achievement. A trio of cows trying to save their farm from a rustler with a hypnotic yodel sounds more like a cartoon special than an animated feature. It was a minefield of cliches and corny jokes.
Granted, the soundtrack was good, the villain and his henchmen were funny, and some of the side characters were charming, but this is not Disney royalty. It might have had the ingredients for a decent Disney movie, but someone forgot to follow the recipe.
13 HIDDEN GEM: ROBIN HOOD
Possibly the most favored adaptation of the character, Disney's Robin Hood has always been a fan-favorite. That being said, it's not as popular as it used to be. Simply put, it's one of those films newer Disney fans need exposure to.
With swashbuckling action, loveable characters, and a 70's folk soundtrack, there's a lot to love about this film. The foxy Robin Hood paired against the bratty Prince John is always fantastically hysterical, and more people should see them in action. We highly encourage all efforts to bring this film out of the 70s and onto our screens.
12 FORGET: THE CARS SEQUELS
Cars was a fun romp with anthropomorphic cars from the creative minds of Pixar. We appreciated the auto-based puns, racing humor, visual gags, and a lovable performance by Larry the Cable Guy. It wasn't Toy Story, but it wasn't bad. We wish we could say the same for the sequels.
Cars 2 and 3 were sequels nobody really asked for. Did we really need to see Mater as a spy, or Lightning take a comeback quest? Aside from the kids who wanted all the toys, who were these sequels really for?
11 FORGET: BELLE'S MAGICAL WORLD
Speaking of sequels nobody needed, how about Belle's Magical World? Beauty and the Beast was the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture, of course, it needed a sequel, right? With dimestore animation, ridiculous side characters, and a watered-down Beast, this is no fairytale.
The direct-to-video feature looks more like a cheap TV pilot than anything else. Though it maintains the original cast, the dulcet tones of Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson do nothing to soothe this savage sequel. Believe us, there's nothing magical about this messy feature.
10 HIDDEN GEM: TREASURE PLANET
One of the most overlooked Disney films in the library, Treasure Planet is considered one of the most highly underrated animated films of all time. A futuristic retelling of the Stevenson novel, it goes beyond the stars in its delivery and presentation. It's a reimagining worth its weight in gold.
The blend of sci-fi and historical fiction pairs amazingly with the computer and traditional animation. The cast consists of big names and big talents, and the characters are charming and well designed. If you're into retro-futurism, steampunk, or classic sci-fi tropes, set sail for Treasure Planet.
9 FORGET: CINDERELLA 2 DREAMS COME TRUE
Good gravy, who on earth approved this bibbidy-bobbidy-bomb? No wonder nobody talks about this "disasterpiece" anymore. If you are one of the few people who weren't satisfied with the happily-ever-after of the Disney original, strap in for an anthology of juvenile stories and sequences told by our favorite sewing mice.
This is why some people think Disney is childish. Cinderella 2 makes Winnie The Pooh sound like Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare. It's almost diabolical how little effort and drive went into popping this thing out, a crime against Disney if there ever was.
8 FORGET: AIR BUDDIES
The Air Bud series of movies are enjoyably ridiculous with more '90s cheese than a Domino's commercial. That's all it really needs to be. Unfortunately, someone thought it was a good idea to let these movies breed.
The Air Buddies series are a set of direct-to-DVD movies starring the sickeningly cutesy spawn of the original Buddies. The series currently has nine entries. You heard us, nine! The Buddies do everything from stopping a dognapper to going to outer space. Seems like Bud's athletic prowess skipped this generation.
7 HIDDEN GEM: A GOOFY MOVIE
With the resurgence of '90s nostalgia, A Goofy Movie has slowly made its way back into the public eye. Old viewers are seeing it with new perspectives, and new viewers are touched by its humor and heart. It definitely shows a slightly more serious side of our favorite Goof.
For what might seem like a Goofy cartoon with a bigger budget, the film actually has a lot of well-thought jokes and even some mature moments. It's quite a dynamic tone for the dopey dog to take, and it's more than wonderful to see its gradual return.
6 FORGET: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
Everyone had an awkward highschooler phase growing up, Disney had three. Essentially pandering to the drama club kids at the time, Disney created a fad sensation that lasted three Disney Channel Original movies. For its select fans, it was fun. For the rest of us, it was a chink in Disney's armor.
For a time, you couldn't go anywhere without running into this mess. Troy Bolton and the Wildcats were everywhere, and Disney made a mint in merch. Though it started the careers of stars like Zac Efron, we are not all in this together.
5 FORGET: CHICKEN LITTLE
What do you get when you cross Aesop's Fables with War of the Worlds? You get this Disney-animated bomb. A creative concept with a dumb delivery is what resulted in this film. To put it bluntly, Chicken Little is a deceased duck.
Where do we begin with this movie? The story is mean-spirited, only a few of the characters are likable, and the animation feels like a poor attempt at Pixar. Aside from some clever designs and a few celebrity appearances, there's not much going on here. Next to Home on the Range, it's one of Disney's weakest releases.
4 HIDDEN GEM: ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE
The only film that could beat Treasure Planet in terms of underratedness is Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Essentially Disney's answer to Indiana Jones, Atlantis is an unsung sci-fi masterpiece. It's a testament to the genre that Jules Verne would be proud of.
With classic sketchbook-styled animation, huge steampunk-esque set pieces, mystical lore, and a diverse cast of colorful characters, what's not to like about this film? The problem was the marketing, it didn't reach enough fans to stand out like some of its peers. It's a cult film today, but one that definitely deserves a place in the mainstream.
3 FORGET: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME 2
We can already feel you clenching on this one. Some Disney sequels are okay, some warrant a collective groan, then there's this one. Hunchback 2 isn't just bad, it's insulting. Like so many of its breed, it was a sequel nobody asked for, and quite frankly, nobody wanted.
The animation is beyond hideous, the plot is forced and cliche, and the entire concept is ludicrous. The first film was mature and thought-provoking. This monster makes us want to jump from a belltower. Do us a favor Disney, keep this one in the vault.
2 FORGET: SONG OF THE SOUTH
We've talked about a few Disney controversies in the past, but this is the big one. There's a reason why B'rer Rabbit and his friends are stranded on Splash Mountain. Believe us, it's no Zip-a-dee-doo-dah day.
With stereotypes, contradictory historical settings, and a list of other cinematic sins, Song of the South has definitely not aged well. The animated sequences are actually the highlight of the film, but the rest has been a dark mark on the Disney company. It deserves watching from an academic or a historical perspective, but it is definitely not something Disney talks about today.
1 HIDDEN GEM: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Considered by many to be the unsung hero of the Disney animated features, The Hunchback of Notre Dame has gained more popularity on home video than its theatrical debut. It was a success, but nothing like other films of the Disney Renaissance. But believe us when we say it was ahead of its time.
Without a doubt the most mature film to ever come from Disney, HoND is an incredible film that delves into prejudices, corruption of power, religion, and even more grown-up themes. With a resurgence on Freeform and an Off-Broadway musical, it's slowly getting fame it deserves.