Top 5 Disney Movies of the Experimental Era



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After 1999 Disney started to experiment with all sorts of different styles and stories to see what would stick. This was sort of a hit or miss era for Disney and this list takes a look at five of the best.

Honorable mention-Meet the Robinsons


It’s saddening that this movie came out when it did because Disney was still struggling to get the hang of computer animation back when this movie came out. And a lot of the characters don’t have much proper development. However it has some great humor in its variety of wacky characters and environments. And the movie follows through with its weirdness with a great message about perseverance through failure. The movie has the right heart and humor but its characters and narrative could have been better.

5. Atlantis: The Lost Empire


This one is lowest on list because Commander Rourke was a rather predictable villain. But aside from that the world of Atlantis is shown beautifully combining both magic and technology. The leads, Milo and Kida have good and interesting chemistry and all the side characters bring very memorable humor (although they could have used more development). Although it has a couple of rough spots, Disney did well in trying to showcase something different. It’s just the fact that its narrative could have done far more.

4. Emperor’s New Groove


While not one of Disney’s most ambitious, this movie was brilliant in its humor. Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton as the villains Yzma and Kronk respectively give their voice acting talents to a peculiar and hilarious team up and some amazingly timed jokes. Every time these two villains are on screen they are guaranteed to make a viewer laugh. Pacha and Kuzco are basically two protagonists who hate each other but have to work together by circumstance and eventually learn to like each other. But once again the voice acting behind these two makes them enjoyable protagonists. The animation synergizes well with the quick pace of the movie and helps the jokes hit home.

3. Fantasia 2000


I’ve discussed this one in length before so I’ll try to keep it brief. When it comes to the animated segments it builds upon the strengths of its predecessor in many ways creatively experimenting with different animation styles. The celebrity appearances and Steve Martin’s performance as the host were rather pandering and felt like they were talking down to the audience. While not as good as the original, the movie still builds upon the strengths of the animation of its predecessor and helped introduce a whole new generation to one of Disney’s most wonderful experiments.

2. Treasure Planet

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This is really one of Disney’s more underrated movies. What really makes this movie is the villain, John Silver. Even though he’s a devious man who’s sacrificed so much to acquire the gold on Treasure Planet, he keeps a soft spot for Jim Hawkins and becomes the father that Jim never had. Hawkins himself is a likable character in that although he is a delinquent, both the audience and characters see his potential for greatness leading to Silver’s brilliant speech to Jim. And to Jim’s credit people like his mother and Silver leave an impression on him and he absorbs their words. The steampunk look of the movie is nice and breathes a new life into the story. And the backgrounds combining traditional and computer animation give their way to some nice visuals. The only real problem with this movie was BEN who keeps shouting but he’s only in the last third. Is it as great a pirate film as you can get? Probably not. But for pirates in space this is a movie worth admiring.

1. Lilo and Stich


Lilo is easily the best kid in any Disney movie. She’s mostly in her own world but we see how it’s basically her way of coping with the passing of her parents and being raised by her sister Nani who has a tough time looking after Lilo and being in between jobs. The relationship between the two sisters is wonderful. Even though they argue, the two at their core truly love each other and in spite of all their struggles they stick by each other’s side. This movie could have easily made Cobra Bubbles out to be a villain but you see him as a guy just doing his job and even he at times understands the difficulty of the situation. Stitch starts out as a creature of destruction but as time goes on he learns to care about his owners and in his own way, mends the broken ties between Lilo and Nani. Both Jumba and Pleakley are enjoyable side characters and the music fits the islander vibe. This movie spawned an engaging TV series and a couple of good tie-in sequels in the process making an all around memorable franchise.

Are there any others you would put on this list? Any rankings you agree or disagree with? Well leave your thoughts in the comments below.