Is Disney + Worth It?
Updated: Mar 31
'You can get lost in the storytelling genius of a Pixar classic or experience the entire Infinity Saga from start to finish; there are pirates, fairies, emotional tales and galaxies far far away!!'
Disney + has arrived in England at last and offers a glimmer of hope and joy during these troubled times. It is a sign that all will be well. I have been eagerly awaiting this streaming service for many months and it has not disappointed me now that it is here. Offering a mix of Disney, Marvel, Pixar and more it is like a virtual heaven for a cinephile like me but is it worth it for everyone else? At £5.99 a month you can purchase a trip down memory lane in the form of the classic Disney films and TV that we grew up with but does this make it worth it, my rose-tinted glasses make me want to say yes, but is this the right answer?
I enjoyed my last week scrolling through Disney + watching everything from Lilo and Stitch to modern Pixar ventures like Toy Story 4. I have relived my favourite cinematic moments gifted by the behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and I have re-experienced childhood memories. Featured on my Disney + post are the three favourite films watched this week in lock-down and hopefully my reviews on them will encourage you to delve further into this fantastic franchise.
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang are at a new home with owner Bonnie. Woody struggles to adjust to not being the main toy as he begins his new life; he has to help welcome Forky (Tony Hale) and assimilate his new life with his memories of the old one. The toys are whisked away on family vacation which takes turn after unexpected turn. Forky struggling with his own existence leads the gang of toys on a holiday of a lifetime where they meet old friends and new enemies. The fun filled journey takes the toys we all know and love in a new direction as Pixar explore just what it means to belong.
This film is funny! The whole cast are hilarious and Forky is utterly ridiculous making you laugh out loud at everything he does. This is in part due to the wonderful voice acting of Tony Hale and the screenplay written by Josh Cooley, which is refreshingly original. The other standout performances come from Keegan Kay (playing Duck) and Jordan Peele (Bunny). They effectively perform Key and Peele sketches. I found myself searching for them on screen hoping for more side-tickling humor on their part.
The main cast of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Annie Potts (Bo) are not as funny because they do the heavy emotional lifting in this film, and they do it very well. These characters bring into question what it means to belong and the idea of consciousness. These moments make the film carry some serious weight and the fun characters get bogged down in this. However the light and heavy elements of this film play off each other nicely and it is both funny and challenging throughout.
If you are looking to unlock the childlike wonder hidden inside yourself then Disney Pixar have done it again with Toy Story 4, this is the film for you! I found myself transported to my youth with characters that I know and love finding themselves in new and exciting stories. The animation is of course incredible! The water in the film seems real and the faces have deep and moving emotions that play out on them. If you haven't already seen this Oscar winning film on Disney + you will not be disappointed by it.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
This is the second standalone instalment of Captain America and we find him in modern day Washington completing covert operations for an organisation known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) grapples with the murkiness of modern espionage. There is no black and white only shades of grey and Rogers starts to question if his own organisation is even one of the 'good guys' in this cut throat world. This is all thrown under the microscope when his ally Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is assassinated by The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan.) Steve and Natasha (Scarlett Johansson, Black Widow) must go on the run to find out the truth, a truth that will hit too close to home for Steve.
This is not your classic superhero film. It is spy thriller meets gritty action film with a sprinkle of the MCU thrown in. This film feels like a complete departure from other MCU films and signalled a real change for the franchise; the films begin to feel grounded and gritty which is a welcome change. This is due to Anthony and Joe Russo (the Russo brothers) who take this franchise and make it their own. Rogers as a character is less self-righteous and cocky, and his character becomes almost likeable. He is a great lead and this is partly due to the script writing and partly the stellar acting of Chris Evans. He shows us nuance and emotion while still delivering the big action scenes that the MCU are known for.
Compliments should be given to the entire cast though, Scarlett Johansson's character seems real and has a deep personality that the MCU are still exploring and growing now. The only performances that still seem very archetypal comic book are that of Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan. The classic shady leader and textbook villain. The score of this film deserves a nod, it is brilliantly spine tingling and the theme for The Winter Soldier is something I could never hear enough.
This film is a great way to get into the hype-train that is the MCU. It is the first MCU film that I ever watched. I can remember being completely entranced by it while sat on a plane home from America and I went straight into watching the rest of the films in the following days. It is one of the strongest second films in the MCU and it drives the entire franchise forward. The world of the Russo brothers has brought us some of the biggest films of all time and now every single one of their MCU movies are available at the click of a button with Disney +!
Lilo and Stitch (2002)
Lilo (Daveigh Chase) lives with her older sister in Hawaii and is a free-wheeling spirit that’s both opinionated and feisty. After Nani her big sister (Tia Carrere) is told she only had three days to prove she can provide Lilo with adequate care they decide to adopt a dog. Lilo in a typical Lilo move falls not for a cute puppy but the troubled alien (experiment 626, Chris Sanders.) On the run from intergalactic agencies, 626 decides a human shield could be the perfect way to remain free and so masquerades as a dog earning the name Stitch. The two of them are set on a journey of love, friendship, healing and self-discovery especially as Stitch begins to learn that he is more than just his programming. Nani, Stitch and Lilo learn from each other and begin to understand what family really means to them.
This film feels like a celebration of Hawaii: music, culture and belief system are intertwined in this tale of friendship and family. The concept of 'Ohana' is the beautiful heart beating at the centre of this plot. It means family, it means that no one gets left behind. This sentiment is a nod to the Hawaiian natives and a central theme that though cheesy is heart-warming. The character of stitch is unbearably cute during this film as he learns what it means to have a place where you belong. The animation of his massive eyes and emotive face are wonderful and his puppy dog eyes could work on anyone.
The rest of the cast are all great there are no real standout performances! It is the animation that is the real winner as well as the whimsical writing. The result is some hilarious scenes like Stitch impersonating Elvis at the beach. The plot feels timeless, the story was just as relevant as it was in 2002. It is just as original as well. This crazy plot holds up and I feel like it is due to the magic Disney is so good at creating. This film gave me a true walk down memory lane. I would highly, highly recommend giving it a go. It will make your day, your week and your year!
There are so many fantastic pieces of entertainment available on Disney +! They have put a lot of thought into content and there is something for everybody. You can get lost in the storytelling genius of a Pixar classic or experience the entire Infinity Saga from start to finish; there are pirates, fairies, emotional tales and galaxies far far away. This platform is available at a click and you might have realised by now that my verdict was always going to be that Disney + is overwhelmingly worth it.