Updated: Jan 14
Disney+ launched this year in the UK in March to some very interesting market conditions, namely that everyone was stuck at home because of the pandemic. With 2 Marvel movies scheduled to come out this year, and a plethora of other studio-films, Disney played a game of musical chairs with its releases. Some were shifted to the service and rebranded as "Disney+ Originals", and some were just moved to a time when the pandemic should (hopefully) be over. With that said, the company made some questionable decisions with what it chose to release this year, and I'm going to do this "Best Of" a little bit differently. You'll see what I mean.
I desperately wanted so much to love this movie; I didn't care that the company put it behind a £20 paywall, I already made the decision to pay for it as soon as it was announced. But, Mulan had a lot of things that it just didn't do right. The 90s animated classic remains my favourite of the princess movies for its style, the voice cast and its story. This movie, it felt like a middling action flick and, if you took away the name "Mulan", it would be viewed as such. I also can't justify supporting a production that worked with (and thanked) a totalitarian concentration camp just for a few shots.
This is a funny one. The movie was a launch title for the service back in its US launch in November 2019 because it was close to Christmas, so Disney cucked the UK and other regions by keeping it for November 2020. It was a cute one but I don't think this film is making its way into anybody's traditional Christmas viewing just yet. That said, I love Anna Kendrick so much.
We have been starved of the self-awareness that Enchanted gave us, and this was a step in the right direction for Disney. It didn't have the charm and innocence of Enchanted, but it had a pretty light tone and the lack of a villain was pretty refreshing for a princess movie. I don't think this is going to be on anybody's favourite movies, but it's an easy watch which I think is what we all need.
How does a stage show, filmed in front of a live audience make a British man fall in love with musicals? Turns out, stick it on Disney+. Hamilton was the one show I made an explicit plan to watch in the summer of this year after I finished law school. Funnily enough, I even mentioned to my sister and brother-in-law that I was going to go for a Fourth of July viewing in the West End, I just needed to get a ticket. I loved Hamilton. I listened to the soundtrack and never really had the context, but as soon as I watched it, I kept on imagining what a Hamilton series would look like. A big budget, musical series.
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe
I don't think there's a series as widely beloved as Phineas and Ferb, from the humour, to the characterisation, to the meta-references; this was a show that almost everyone could watch. This movie felt like coming home, and it was good to see the platform of Disney+ used for good. It had a good message that really dug deep into the ennui people who grew up with the show now most likely feel.
Everything I wanted to say about this film, I've said in my review (go check it out here). The TL;DR of that is that this is Disney's most conceptually (and technically) ambitious film. It's a movie that really digs deep into what it means to be a human and is a film that I think will get better and better with each rewatch. Disney/Pixar movies have a tendency to really lean into the "child" side of a "made-for-everyone" movie, whereas this one feels like a movie that will delight kids with its bright colours, great characters and funny moments, but also one that will force the adults in the room to think about it for long after it ends.
If you haven't taken the plunge and got Disney+ yet, we're still running our giveaway for one year of Disney+ on us! Details in this post; winners announced on 14 January 2021 (one day before the premiere of WandaVision; one month before the price hike for the service!) so go on and enter - the more entries you have, the greater your chance of winning!
Until then, happy streaming!