In Review

The best shows and films on Disney+

From exclusive shows like The Mandalorian to old classics like Fantasia

the_mandalorian.jpg

Whether you need a break from home schooling or a comforting retreat into childhood, Disney+ has arrived in the UK at just the right time.

The new platform brings together content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, so you’ll be able to meet everyone’s preferences. You can stream on up to four screens – including TV, laptop, phone and tablet – simultaneously, or download to watch without wi-fi.

Its UK launch was brought forward by a week. The subscription video on demand streaming service costs £5.99 a month, or £59.99 a year, but there’s a seven-day free trial. Here are The Week’s top picks.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazineStart your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

The Mandalorian

Slotting in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, this original series been eagerly awaited because it introduces the wise jedi Yoda as a baby. But more than the cuteness, “it’s cool”, says Jack Seale in The Guardian. “The monsters are cool, the spaceships are cool, the robots are cool. The landscapes: whoa. The interspecies bar fights: crackin’.” The only drawback is that UK viewers currently have to wait for new instalments to come out weeky.

Frozen

Belt out Let it Go in the privacy of your own home, as you succumb to this “wide-eyed charmer of a film with terrific musical numbers”, as Peter Bradshaw puts it in The Guardian. Follow the epic search of one sister for another, in this twist on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, released in 2013. Frozen 2 is due out in July.

Black Panther

Set in a fictional east African country, this 18th Marvel instalment, released in 2018, stars Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa, facing a threat to the country’s precious-metal deposits from Michael B Jordan and Andy Serkis as part of a “wildly appealing ensemble cast without a weak link”, said Robbie Collin in The Telegraph. It picked up three Oscars - in a first for Marvel Studios.

Fantasia

Setting eight segments of animation to classical pieces of music, this was Disney’s third film, and seen as truly ground-breaking back in 1940. The New York Times review of the day enthused “Mr Disney and the boys have fashioned with music and colours and animated figures a creation so throughly delightful and exciting in its novelty that one’s senses are captivated by it.”

Finding Nemo

The first Pixar film to win an Oscar, this was a huge box-office success in 2003, starring fishy friends, Marlin the clownfish and Dory the blue tang, on an epic adventure to find Marlin’s son, Nemo. “A perfectly family-oriented pitch of adventure, humour and thinly veiled life lessons,” said Angie Errigo in Empire

The Jungle Book

Based, loosely, on Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli stories of a child being brought up by wild animals, this animation hit the big screen in 1967, since when many of its songs have become classics. “This barnstorming classic occupies a truly rewarding perch in the studio's history, repaying repeated releases in all formats, and ageing not a jot,” said Andrew Collins in the Radio Times. Walt Disney never saw the finished film as he died during its production.

Doug

This is the “perfect animated show if you’re a child growing up with anxiety”, says ColliderDoug, a favourite from the 1990s, follows the day-to-day life of Doug Funnie, a daydreaming schoolboy who has a crush on his classmate Patty Mayonnaise and tries to avoid the bully Roger Klotz.

Vulture nostalgically recalls the qualities of the show, saying that it “made for something special in the lives of those of us who years later are now stepping forward into building families, careers and futures of our own”.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazineStart your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Marvel’s Runaways

Runaways, originally a Hulu show, finished its third and final season last year. From the creators of The OC, this show is a ”riveting, naturalistic teen soap drama” about the children of a network of secret supervillains, says Den of Geek. “Runaways has a great time delving into the period in a parent-child relationship that is most stereotypically wrought with drama and conflict, and playing that out in a much more high-stakes manner.”

Forky Asks a Question

Fans of the Toy Story franchise will likely recognise Forky as one of the protagonists of the latest installment, Toy Story 4. He’s a plastic fork with googly eyes and pipe-cleaner arms that served as part of a kid’s craft project in the film, but now has his own little snack-sized series. GQ calls it “truly glorious”.

The Sound of Music

This much-loved family classic from 1965, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, really needs no introduction. In it, we follow the life of governess Maria and the von Trapp family in an Austria lost to the Nazis in 1938.

CNBC notes: “While new shows like The Mandalorian will drive subscribers to Disney’s service, much of its strategy is predicated on stirring up sentimentality around movies and shows that date back to the founding of the company nearly 100 years ago.

“That’s key to its strategy as it is entering a field that will soon become crowded with new rivals.” 

Penguins

Penguins is a fabulous nature documentary film directed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, telling the story of an adorable Adelie penguin named Steve. He joins fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family.

As Glamour magazine says, the show is “heartwarming and educational in equal measures”.

K.C Undercover

“KC seems to have a normal life as a math genius with a loving family, albeit an annoying brother,” says The Sun in its description of this fun, lighthearted show. “That is, until her parents recruit her into the secret organisation they've been working for as undercover spies.”

The show is also notable as providing the breakout role for singer and actress Zendaya, who plays the titular KC, long before her days on adult drama series Euphoria.

The Matrix trilogy

If just one film seems like too pitiful an offering of an eve, why not binge-watch all three of the mind-bending, genre-defining Matrix movies, all of which are available now on the streaming service?

As Insider says, with a fourth movie in the works, “now is the time to catch up on Keanu Reeves’ iconic trilogy”.

The World According to Jeff Goldblum

For something a little more laid-back, the discerning viewer can try The World According to Jeff Goldblum, a unique and quirky look into the mind of the Hollywood veteran.

Goldblum “clearly enjoys every second of his documentary series”, which sees the actor “deep diving into all the important things in life: we’re talking coffee, video games, trainers and ice cream”, says Radio Times.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazineStart your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Recommended

House of Gucci 
Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci
In Review

House of Gucci 

Doctor Who: is she driving men to crime?
Jodie Whittaker
In Brief

Doctor Who: is she driving men to crime?

Can Donald Trump and Nigel Farage save GB News?
Nigel Farage and Donald Trump
In Review

Can Donald Trump and Nigel Farage save GB News?

The best films of 2021
Andrew Garfield stars in Tick, Tick…Boom!
In Review

The best films of 2021

Popular articles

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?
Boris Johnson
Behind the scenes

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

19 advent calendars for adults
Selection of advent calendars
The wish list

19 advent calendars for adults

The Week Footer Banner