8. Treasure Planet
The early noughties was another strange period for Disney and whilst the quality of films in that period may be mixed, the one thing that is certain is that it was a hugely creative and experimental time for the studio, something that perhaps not all fans give it credit for.
The idea for Treasure Planet had been floating around the studio since the 1980s, with directing duo Ron Clements and John Musker desperate to make their pirates in space adventure story, however it wasn’t until 2002 that it eventually made it into cinemas.
With that history and passion behind the project, the film feels like a real labour of love and is one of the best examples of Disney combining hand-drawn animation and new CGI technology, something they had been doing since the renaissance of the 1990s.
7. The Black Cauldron
This film has gained some notoriety as being one of the most overtly frightening and distinctly un-Disney offerings from the studio.
There’s very little about this film that looks or feels like a Disney film for the most part, and it marked an experimental direction for the studio where they tried to pitch a film at an older teenage market. The Black Cauldron was an expensive experiment though and was a HUGE box office flop when released, but has subsequently gained a bit of a cult following as a more “adult” Disney offering for those who prefer their films a bit darker.
With some genuinely nightmarish sequences, and some really groundbreaking special effects, The Black Cauldron holds up as probably the strangest and darkest film Disney have ever made. It’s not up there with their best but it is certainly worth a watch as there isn’t another Disney film like this one!