- Many Disney films have fared better with fans than with critics.
- “Cars 2” was a sequel beloved by audiences, even if critics weren’t feeling it.
- “Strange Magic” is a more recent film that has a loyal audience following.
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Disney is obviously a dominating force in the film industry. From groundbreaking animation and live-action films to adding the Marvel Cinematic Universe to its roster, it seems as if there’s nothing standing in the way of total Disney domination.
Even with all of its success, Disney still finds itself making movies that some critics just don’t love, especially when they’re stacked against hits like “Coco” or “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” But sometimes moviegoers disagree with critics and label films as true underdogs that are absolutely worth watching.
Here are some of the most underrated Disney movies, according to the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s worth noting that these scores were up to date as of publication but are subject to change.
Viewers loved “Robin Hood” even if critics could have skipped it.
- Robin Hood/Facebook
Critic Score: 54
This Disney classic that told the tale of “Robin Hood” through animals didn’t wow critics. In fact, film critic David Nusair called it “one of the worst animated films ever produced by Disney” but many fans continue to love it.
“Brother Bear” is often forgotten by critics, but fans love it.
- Brother Bear/Facebook
The 2003 film “Brother Bear,” which followed a boy named Kenai who is turned into a bear, may not be the first movie you think of when you think of Disney, but many audience reviewers think you should give it a try.
Viewers called it “fun” and “charming,” while praising its sweet songs. Though they acknowledged that the film could be a little predictable, audience reviews also called it moving.
“Cars 2” was a sequel appreciate by some audiences, even though critics weren’t feeling it.
The 2011 follow-up to the original “Cars” movies was not a huge hit amongst critics or audiences, with both wondering why Mater, usually the comic relief and sidekick, became the main character.
“Oliver and Company” is a fan-favorite despite not being loved by critics.
- Oliver & Company
“Oliver and Company,” the modern retelling of Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist” but with cats, is another film that hits a middle road with both critics and viewers. Still, fans have some love for it, giving it a positive audience score even though it currently has a “rotten” rating from critics.
“It’s got a lot of good songs, good actors doing the voices, and a nice story. I highly recommend it,” one user wrote.
“The Fox and the Hound 2” is another sequel that fared better with audiences than with critics.
“The Fox and the Hound 2” was the 2006 sequel to the 1981 classic film that followed the main characters taking on show business. Although neither critics nor audiences truly loved it overall, viewers seemed to appreciate it more.
While critics called it “stupid” and “[a] pale imitation of the original,” the audience feedback was much better with one user even calling this sequel better than the original film.
Audiences appreciated “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride” more than critics did.
“The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride” follows Kiara, the daughter of Simba and Nala as she navigates her life as a lion royal and her friendship with a lion, Kovu, from the shadowy place.
As with most sequels, it paled in comparison to the glory of the original in the eyes of many, but audiences generally seemed to enjoy it more than critics.
Whereas film critic Tim Brayton called it “an ineffective sequel,” one audience member branded it a “legit progression from the first film with actual effort put into it” and other reviewers praised the film’s songs.
“Strange Magic” is a more recent film that has a loyal audience following.
“Strange Magic,” the 2015 musical film that was based on William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” didn’t make a big splash with critics or audiences. Still, the movie is loved by more viewers than critics and according to one audience reviewer that’s more than enough.
“It was created to be a family movie, and that’s exactly what it delivered. Just because some fancy pants critics don’t like it doesn’t make it a bad movie,” one user wrote.
“A Goofy Movie” had viewers laughing, even if critics weren’t.
- A Goofy Movie/Facebook
“A Goofy Movie,” is a 1995 film that follows Goofy and his teenage son Max as they go on a camping trip. Although many critics didn’t enjoy seeing this Disney character get his time in the spotlight, this film delighted audiences and even helped spawn a sequel, “An Extremely Goofy Movie.”
“My favorite Disney movie. It’s a fantastic film with a great father son story,” one user wrote. “The songs in this film are also fantastic, some of the best in any Disney movie. I highly recommend this film if you haven’t seen it.”
“Mulan II” was ignored by critics but still has some fans.
“Mulan II,” the direct-to-video follow-up to the 1998 classic film “Mulan,” follows the titular character as she and her fiancé Shang escort three princesses to their weddings in order to keep peace through arranged marriages.
The film was virtually ignored by critics because of its video release, so that makes its even lukewarm reception by audiences all the more surprising. And even with a 42% audience rating, it has some die-hard fans.
“‘Mulan 2’ was a movie that got me through a lot as a child, it helped shape me to become the person I am today,” one user wrote. “Every time I hear that opening song I get so happy and nothing can ruin my day.”
“Maleficent” indulged fans in a dark fantasy.
- Walt Disney Studios
The only live-action film to make our list, “Maleficent” follows the villain from “Sleeping Beauty” and the events that caused her to become evil.
The film had a big draw for audiences thanks to star Angelina Jolie playing the titular role and although critics took issue with some elements of the film, such as its storytelling and the writing, audiences were taken by its cinematography and the quality of Jolie’s performance.