The Best Disney Movies and Shows on Netflix
Disney's upcoming streaming service has a name, Disney +, which means we're one step closer to the media company's decision to pull all of its films from Netflix. In case you didn't notice, Disney brands cover an enormous range of Netflix's catalog, including Marvel superhero movies, Star Wars projects, Pixar animated features and everything developed under Touchstone Pictures. And let's not forget that, under Disney's most recent acquisition, 20th Century Fox films will be leaving Netflix, too.
That means a significant portion of Netflix's catalog will vanish in a single year, transferred to Disney's upcoming streaming service. So if you're not willing to pay for yet another online subscription, this could be your last chance to watch the following excellent movies and TV shows from the House of Mouse.
Thor: Ragnorak (2017)
Thor: The Lost World, the second installment to feature the titular hero, is well documented as one of the most skippable films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s follow-up, Thor: Ragnarok, on the other hand, blows up everything we thought defined the character and his big-screen adventures. In the process of battling his evil goddess-sister, played with scene-munching swag by Cate Blanchett, Thor loses just about everything: his father Odin, his Asgardian friends, his home, his signature haircut, and his weapon, the hammer so powerful it has a name (Mjolnir). To give you a sense of just how far flung and fun the storyline is—that all happens in just the first hour.
Credit: Marvel Studios
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Netflix is negotiating with Disney to keep Star Wars in its collection, and let's hope it does - even if just for movies like Rogue One. This direct prequel to A New Hope follows a crew of rogues and scoundrels on a mission to find the Imperial Death Star plans, leading them to an explosive last stand at Scarif. From its gritty take on Star Wars action to a risky plot decision that doesn't allow for sequels (other than, you know, Star Wars itself), there's a lot to love about Rogue One that makes us hopeful for future spinoffs.
Disney's latest princess movie is almost the polar opposite of Frozen, swapping out snow-covered mountains for a tropical Polynesian paradise. Thankfully, it's just as fun and charming as its predecessor. This story follows the title character Moana (Auli'i Cravalho), a young girl chosen by the ocean to return a magical artifact to its goddess. Assisting her in this quest is Maui (Dwayne Johnson), the demigod who stole and lost the artifact in the first place. Between its solid storytelling and high-quality production values, Moana is a wonderful animated film for the entire family.
Doctor Strange (2016)
While not as risky as Guardians of the Galaxy once seemed, Doctor Strange's success wasn't a sure thing. This film promised to introduce magic and sorcery to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with all the trippy and bizarre parallel universes that entails. Thankfully, Doctor knocked it out of the park with visually arresting displays, a near-perfect performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, and a creative finale that avoids Marvel's usual explosive climax. All of it paced like your typical action-adventure movie. A sequel may not come to Netflix, but you should watch this one before it's gone.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013 - Present)
It took months to buildup steam, and the latest episodes leave much to be desired. And yet, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was once the best superhero show on television, starting from the last half of Season 1 to the explosive Season 2 finale. As S.H.I.E.L.D. collapses following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Agent Coulson and his secret agents join a quiet war to overthrow Hydra's evil forces. Mix in a few great Marvel tie-ins, and you'll understand why we were so excited to see this cinematic universe land on television.
Credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 - 2015)
It's not just movies on Disney's chopping block - strong TV shows might vanish as well. Take Clone Wars, a popular Star Wars animated series set between the events of Episodes 2 and 3. Unlike the disappointing films, this Star Wars cartoon actually managed to portray the epic conflict we dreamed of when Obi-Wan Kenobi teased the Clone Wars back in 1977. Merging impressive battles with surprisingly rich character development, this cartoon should be on your list as one of the best projects to emerge from the prequel trilogy. (Although you can probably skip the stand-alone Clone Wars movie, which is little more than a glorified pilot.)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The latest Pirates of the Caribbean films haven't quite lived up to expectations, but that's only because the original film was so exceptional. Along with introducing Disney's best antihero in the form of Captain Jack Sparrow, Black Pearl achieved widespread acclaim with excellent dialogue, fantastic action set pieces, and unsettling supernatural antagonists. Not bad for a pirate yarn based on a theme park ride. Now where's the rum gone?
Of all the disaster movies emerging from the 1990s, Armageddon, Michael Bay's excellent classic, might be the best. When a giant meteor threatens human civilization, Earth's last, best hope lies in an oil-rigger-turned-astronaut team led by Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. Between explosive action set pieces where meteor fragments destroy cities, and a strangely appropriate Aerosmith soundtrack, Armageddon is top-notch popcorn entertainment.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Atlantis flew under many audiences' radars during its theatrical release, which is a shame. It's Disney's first-ever foray into science fiction, and a solid action-adventure tale as well. The story follows a team of historians, archeologists and explorers on a quest to find the civilization of Atlantis. Along the way, they face dangers of bizarre robotic creatures, a deadly volcano and an inevitable betrayal from one of their own. What's more, Atlantis is heavily inspired by classic pulp serials, and uses a comic-book style developed by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, in case you needed more reasons to give this a watch.
The timeless tale of Mulan — filled with strong messages about family and honor — will soon be adapted to a live-action movie, so you better catch it on Netflix while you still can. While the phrase fun for the whole family gets tossed around carelessly by critics quoted in ads, this film's actually able to back up that claim, with values that parents will appreciate and a strong female protagonist that kids should be exposed to.