So without further ado, my list of Top 10 Underrated Disney Animated Features, in no particular order.
- Bolt - This was the film up for tonight, as Avalyn had not seen it. She felt the need to alert me to this fact several times in the beginning of the film. This film had an odd development that left people a little wistful for what could have been, but the final product still has a good structure and story. A dog that plays a superhero on television, who thinks the show is real life. Worth a second look.
- Meet the Robinsons - Of the post-Disney renaissance period, this film probably has the strongest heart and message. About the longing for family and finding family. The families we make in particular. Some oddball comedy, but still a great message at its core.
- The Princess and the Frog - I adore this movie. Beautiful hand-drawn animation. Excellent music by Randy Newman. Wonderful New Orleans setting. And one of the best all around princesses in Tiana (plus the best best friend character in Charlotte). It's a shame this didn't do better as to keep hand-drawn animation going.
- Make Mine Music - I'm a sucker for the package films and the music films in particular. Make Mine Music has one of my favorite segments in The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met by Nelson Eddy.
- Melody Time - I love this film for similar reasons as to Make Mine Music. Standout segments in this package film are Bumble Boogie, Little Toot by the Andrews Sisters and Pecos Bill by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers.
- Treasure Planet - This is a beautifully animated and well told version of Treasure Island. The animation of space in particular is a standout. And Brian Murray gives one of the best performances of Long John Silver in any adaptation.
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire - Another men's adventure animated film that is grossly overlooked. The animation design by comic great Mike Mignola, in particular, deserves much praise. A great assortment of character actors and an entertaining premise.
- Home on the Range - This film gets blamed for the initial demise of hand-drawn animation, but I find it still has a few bright points to offer. To me, the silly-ness is part of its charm. Randy Quaid as a yodeling cow thief with his dimwitted nephews is particularly fun.
- The Sword and the Stone - One of the best post-Walt films. It has a very episodic nature, but the interplay between Merlin, young Wart, and Archimedes is great. One of the first Disney films to bring in anachronisms as part of the story.
- The Great Mouse Detective - A great version of a Sherlock Holmes story, with a bonus snippet of a Basil Rathbone Holmes adventure occurring simultaneously. A film that signaled the beginnings of the Disney renaissance before the official start with The Little Mermaid.
What are your under-appreciated favorites? What other animated classics do you feel deserve a second look?