Disney has had it's fair share of big hits, and has created cartoons that we all know and love. But there are times when other movie companies have come in and, at times, out Disneyed Disney with beautiful cartoons, stories and songs that are so well done they often get mistaken for Disney movies. Here are some of the best:
1. Anastasia (1997) - Released by 20th Century Fox
If there was ever a movie that gets mistaken most for a Disney classic, it's this cartoon. As loosely based on history as you can possibly get (though Pocahontas also comes to mind in that category), Anastasia tells the story of a girl named Anya, an orphan who is looking for her family. Along the way she comes across two men, Dimitri and Vlad who are looking for someone to pose as the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Anya bares an uncanny resemblance to her, so they go on a journey to fool the grandmother, only to realize that Anya actually is Anastasia.
The visuals are absolutely stunning, with an amazing voice cast including Meg Ryan, John Cusack and Christopher Lloyd. It's definitely a must watch for any family.
2. The Swan Princess (1994) - Released by Turner Home Entertainment
The movie that spawned more direct-to-dvd sequels than any Disney movie (no seriously, look it up) this movie didn't stand a chance at the box office of being released at the same time as many other big named movies... and Disney re-releasing The Lion King in theaters 5 months after it's original release date (funny how that worked huh?).
It's a film based on the classic ballet/story of Swan Lake. Odette is a princess who can only be turned into a human when the full moon touches the lake. Only a declaration of true love can break the curse, though, in the case of Derek and Odette it does seem strange because they only liked each other when they got hot.
Still, it does have great songs, a gorgeous transformation from swan to princess and vice versa, and hilarious sidekicks. Definitely a good watch for any princess.
3. The Prince of Egypt (1998) - Released by DreamWorks
Probably the most accurate cartoon that depict historical events, this movie is incredible on all accounts. With it's voices, including Ralph Fiennes and Val Kilmer, the acting is just incredible. The artistry almost feels like you are looking at real people and at times you can forget that in the moment. It isn't afraid to go dark, showing the plagues of Egypt and even the pharaoh's son is killed.
You also do get that feeling that Moses and Ramses were brothers. They were raised in the same house. When Moses comes back you can SEE the relief on his brother's face. They embrace, they are happy to see each other. You don't get that with any other telling. When they are fighting, especially in the song "The Plagues" you feel their pain in their fighting, honestly asking how it came to this.
It's an incredible story, heart breaking and honest and a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the story of Moses.
4. The Secret of NIMH (1982) - Released by United Artists
The directoral debut of Don Bluth, this movie is based on the novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.
Mrs. Brisby (her name changed to avoid lawsuits with the Frisbee brand) is a mother who is trying to cure her sick son. She is led to the Rats of NIMH, who escaped the facility they were being tested at, and who have higher intelligence, and are able to use electricity.
Because her husband had a relationship with the rats, they say they will help her move her house before it can be demolished. Through her own power and will, Mrs. Brisby is able to lift her house with the help of an amulet and save her children.
Amazing art, and the perfect movie to watch and appreciate with your mom.
5. Ferngully: the Last Rainforest (1992) - released by 20th Century Fox
An interesting story about a group of fairies who live in the rainforest trying to protect the ecosystem when humans come in to destroy it. Crysta accidentally shrinks one down to fairy size and tries to teach him about how important the environment is. The humans chop down a tree that was holding Hexus, this smoke gas metamorphosis of pollution, and Crysta and Zak have to defeat him.
The cast alone makes this movie worth watching, with voices like Christian Slater, Tim Curry and the late Robin Williams. It's both funny and sweet, and kind of creepy to be honest, when it comes to Hexus.
Definitely worth a watch and a good laugh.