Editor’s Note: in order to cover the incredible magnitude of Disney Plus’ content, I turned to the biggest Disney fan I know: my 14-year-old brother.
–– Wesley Stenzel, Arts Editor
The eagerly anticipated Disney Plus streaming service launched last week. As a lifelong Disney fan, I could hardly wait to try it out. My expectations were high — would it exceed my hopes or be a huge disappointment?
The first original movie on the service is the remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” which paled in comparison to its 1955 source material, yet had a charming vibe with a soothing score and quaint setting. This film was enhanced by the fact that the two lead characters were actual dogs, not just CGI versions like many other Disney remakes. Despite the cozy feel of this movie, it was mostly uninspired and bland.
Fans of the “High School Musical” films will surely find something to enjoy in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Although the title is grammatically complex, the show is simple and entertaining (though admittedly cringeworthy).
The creators took a unique direction with this show by presenting each episode as a mockumentary. The songs are exactly what you would expect from this type of series — cheesy, autotuned, and fun. The characters are surprisingly layered and not total caricatures.
Disney theme park enthusiasts will adore the six-part documentary “The Imagineering Story.” Disneyland aficionados like myself will especially appreciate the behind-the-scenes stories and original design and construction images. Filled with interesting facts and captivating footage, “The Imagineering Story” delivers a show as magical as the parks.
“Encore!,” hosted by Kristen Bell, is a delightful series about adults returning to their high schools to reenact their high school musicals. What starts as a hilarious comedy becomes more emotionally complex and moving. There is something powerful about a group of old friends reconnecting after many years.
“The World According to Jeff Goldblum” is a series that examines familiar objects people love — such as sneakers and ice cream — using science and history to explore why we are passionate about them. Goldblum’s quirky and dynamic personality brings this show to life.
Disney Plus also offers some shorter-form series, which aren’t as enjoyable as most of its other content. “Marvel’s Hero Project” features inspiring stories of real-life young heroes, but feels a bit self-promotional on Marvel’s part.
Additionally, the new Pixar shorts aren’t nearly as good as the company’s past work. “Pixar in Real Life” is entertaining, yet a bit forced. “Forky Asks a Question” proves that the beloved spork from “Toy Story 4” is much better as a side character.
Perhaps the most anticipated show, “The Mandalorian,” is a beautiful ode to the original “Star Wars” films, packed with action and stunning visuals (read our further review below). Disney Plus has additional “Star Wars” original spin-offs in the works, such as an Obi-Wan series and a “Rogue One” show.
Along with original content, Disney Plus has around 500 movies and 7,500 individual show episodes. A significant number of Disney films are available to stream, from “Beauty and the Beast” to the classic Mickey Mouse shorts.
If you are a “Star Wars” fan, Disney Plus is a must, for it offers almost every “Star Wars” movie and TV show. And any Marvel aficionado should be prepared to be blown away by the wide variety of content available, from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies like “Avengers: Endgame” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” to the classic cartoon shows such as “X-Men Evolution” and “The Spectacular Spider-Man.”
Disney Plus has the majority of the Pixar films and shorts, so keep a box of Kleenex handy! National Geographic documentaries are abundant on this streaming service as well. One final draw of Disney Plus is that it contains every episode of “The Simpsons.”
Is Disney Plus worth it? YES! At $6.99 a month, Disney Plus is a relatively inexpensive way to access the movies and TV shows you have grown up with and love, while also providing some fantastic new original content.