By Arlett Ramirez
Assistant Web Content Manager
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved watching movies. I remember my parents playing videos on our VHS (it was what we used before getting a DVD player). Even now, I love going to the movies to see new releases.
Most of us watched the iconic Disney movies like “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, “Beauty & the Beast,” but there are some movies that are considered underrated. I’ve compiled a list of underrated movies from my childhood that you may also think deserve more recognition!
“Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”
When I say this movie was my childhood, you best believe it was my childhood! If you’ve never watched it, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This movie is set in the Old West and it centers around a young horse named Spirit who is captured from his herd by the U.S. Cavalry.
Spirit’s journey warmed my heart and inspired me as a little kid. I showed this movie to my three-year-old niece and she absolutely loved it! She liked it so much we spent an entire afternoon rewatching it. The way this movie was animated made it different from others because the horses communicated through sounds and body language – like actual horses. Also, the music is extremely well done. Since Spirit and the other horses don’t talk to each other music and sound effects were essential to the movie.
“The Road to El Dorado”
This movie was underappreciated when it was first released but now some consider it a cult classic. Two con-artists (who are also best friends) Tulio and Miguel win a map that has the coordinates of El Dorado.
They escape Spain on Hernan Cortez’s ships traveling to the New World. They eventually find El Dorado and are mistaken as gods. Around this time, movie audiences weren’t interested in 2-D animated movies their attention was captured by 3-D movies. Also, parents didn’t like the message that the film portrayed about two con-artists lying to masses of people to take advantage.
However, this movie was more than that. It showed how people can change by being in a different environment and how being honest is always the way to go – which is a great message to send to youth.
Often mistaken as a Disney movie (before the Disney-Fox merger) this film was distributed by Fox Animation in 1997. The titular character Anastasia is the Grand Duchess of Russia who escaped the execution of her family. She becomes an orphan who suffers from amnesia. When she turns eighteen, she meets two con-artists who are trying to take advantage of her likeness to the missing Grand Duchess.
Even though Anastasia is a princess, she’s not a stereotypical princess. She’s sassy and rough around the edges. She’s independent and knows her self-worth. A true queen! Plus, she knows that a man won’t save her because she’s survived without a man in her life.
Anastasia also shows girls that it’s acceptable to like traditionally feminine things like dresses. What’s a better message to young girls to be independent and a dreamer?
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
Personally, I think this movie has been slept on. It’s known as one of Disney’s darkest movies since its narrative includes mature themes like bigotry, genocide, lust and sin. The beginning of the movie lets you know that it’s not going to be a cutesy and bubbly movie like other Disney films.
It gives you a first look on how evil and twisted the main antagonist Judge Claude Frollo really is with him killing a woman outside Notre Dame Cathedral and almost killing her infant son (Quasimodo). That whole first scene really sets the tone for the entire movie and it keeps building on it.
Even though this movie was intended for children, its mature themes were presented in a way that everyone could understand. Another thing about this movie that’s been highly underappreciated is the visuals. The animators who worked on this movie did a fantastic job at presenting Notre Dame Cathedral in all its beauty with vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. Plus the music in this movie – amazing!
“Prince of Egypt”
We are all familiar with DreamWorks Animation Studios. They’ve given us franchises such as “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” But back in the ‘90s, they were barely getting into the animated movie business that had been dominated by Disney. Their first traditionally animated movie “Prince of Egypt”, an adaptation of the Book of Exodus, was critically acclaimed for its visuals, music and voice acting, yet people tend to forget about it. How? I. Don’t. Know. The entire movie is a masterpiece. It’s emotional, inspiring and beautiful. This movie should be re-released in movie theatres so everyone can experience the beauty it exhibits.
If you haven’t seen any of the movies mentioned, do yourself a favor and watch them immediately! I promise you won’t regret it. These movies might not get the attention or recognition they deserve but they’re some of the best animated movies I’ve seen and they’re definitely worth the watch.
Featured image by Arlett Ramirez.