After seemingly finding their groove in the Disney Renaissance in the decade prior, Disney was entering a new era of film for their company. One that ended up being full of experimentalism, risks, and breaking the traditional mold of their storytelling and film concepts, though ultimately to mixed critical and box office success. However, the final result was a combination of films that Disney probably would never have taken a chance on today, with even a few hidden gems on the roster. Below is a Top 10 list of theatrically released films made by Walt Disney Animation Studios in the 2000s.
While also not an underrated movie, Lilo & Stitch truly deserves every bit of praise it has received. After a violence-prone alien, later named Stitch (Chris Sanders), crashes onto the tiny island of Hawaii, he is adopted by the struggling sisters, Lilo (Daveigh Chase) and Nani Pelekai (Tia Carrere), as their new “puppy”. While Stitch is forced to learn what it means to be part of a family, Lilo and Nani are struggling with Child Protective Services who are threatening to take Lilo away.
Every aspect of this film works so perfectly in unison, creating an experience that is both hilarious and heartbreaking (if you say you don’t cry during “Aloha ‘Oe”, you’re lying). Because of how much it cost to make Treasure Planet, which was released in the same year, this film had to be made on a strict budget, but these limitations gave the film its uniquely stylistic photo-painted backdrops. If you had told me that Disney made a movie about a space alien in Hawaii that is adopted by two sisters struggling to stay together despite CPS, and that a majority of the soundtrack is Elvis Presley music? I’d have to see it to believe it, as something like this could only have been made in this very experimental period of Disney’s animation history.
10. David Kawena Svg