Scrooge McDuck’s Trove: Underrated Disney Gems | Lighttrain

Hello and welcome aboard the Lighttrain! My name is G.h Nowak, I’m the train’s conductor. Not too terribly long ago the live action adaption of the Disney animated classic Mulan was available on the company’s streaming service for a $30 rental. If you hadn’t already known, I highly recommend… Not watching these remakes. Pulled a fast one on you there, didn’t I? They are all hollow, lifeless shells profiting from the original’s reputation in my opinion. Feel free to have a different mindset; that’s what makes it cool! Special thanks to the passenger Pono for suggesting this catalog here today, which is a list of however many underrated Disney films for you to check out instead of Mulan. Unless you genuinely want to watch Mulan, in that case to ahead. You know what I mean. Let’s get this show on the road!

The Black Hole (1979)

“A journey, that begins, where everything ends… ” Doesn’t that just send chills down your spine?

Strange I know, seeing as this very movie was Disney’s most critically slammed and commercially flopped at the time of its release. Hear me out! Even though it may not be a newfound classic in any regard, the special effects in the film hold up miraculously. I’m also just a big sucker for sci fi; it’s definitely not everybody’s style, though it applies to my interests for sure. It demonstrates to being surprisingly crisp, radiating somewhat of a comic-esque parallel with both the story and overall tone. Another remarkable feat from the crew is its alurring originality regarding various elements and plot directions. To be frank, it’s no where near being a hidden gem, nor am I advocating for a critical reappraisal. I just feel that it was better then what many have come to toss out. If you’re a fan of science fiction like myself, I’d say give it a shot. Otherwise, there is not much for you to get from it. The acting and dialogue may be lukewarm, but with a cosmic adventure this snappy, I can’t get rewatch it enough.

RATING: 5/10 “Flawed, but a Good Watch”

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

“Actually it’s elementary, my dear Dawson.”

Ah, yes! The type of film the studio is known for: an animation. Released shortly before the Disney Renaissance that took momentum in 1988 with The Little Mermaid, I believe that this movie was left out in the Renaissance’s shadow. Although the feature isn’t as long as you may come to expect from a motion picture (clocking in at only a hour and fourteen minutes), it is to the movies advantage, keeping this mystery short but sweet. As always, the murky underbelly of London as well as rodent characters are wonderfully animated, and the pace is brisk. It lacks a single musical number, a staple of Disney animations, but the charming cast and dialogue certainly fill in those empty gaps. Ratigan proves to be one of the company’s most underappreciated villains to date, too. It is genuinely a challenge to scavenge for tidbits to nag at, so why are you hearing me yak on about Great Mouse Detective any further, go watch it!

RATING: 7/10

Cool Runnings (1993)

“Your bones won’t break, no… They’ll shatter. So, who’s in? “

Now, you may be wondering: what’s so amazing about Cool Runnings? Good question, and I’m here to answer it! I’m my eyes, Cool Runnings in particular is an example of quaint and wholehearted charisma. The acting from around the clock is magnificent, fully understanding the tone and nailing it with every delivery. I especially like John Candy as their coach; there’s just a warm, friendly feeling that he gives off in films like this and additionally in Home Alone. It’s hard to place a finger why exactly I feel this way, but I suppose dissecting that isn’t integral. The humor is set at a simmer, almost comparable to the Peanuts comic strips and specials. I sort of hoped bobsledding would be more explored, and even despite my praises the movie is a family friendly sports comedy from Disney that sticks to the formula. All in all though, it is an incredibly enjoyable and uplifting sports film with great performances and a heart in the right spot.

RATING: 7/10 “A Positive Experience”

We’ll return with more unsung gems after these messages…




Settle back into your seats, the Lighttrain now returns!

The Zorro Series (1957)

A Disney Channel promo from the late 90s. Vault Disney was their late night block that showcased classic Disney properties including Walt Disney Presents, The Mickey Mouse Club, their old B&W movies, and of course Zorro!

And now for something completely different! This is a bit of an odd choice, as it isn’t technically a Disney film, rather a series. But eh, I wanted to spread the mark of Zorro, so here it is. Along with The Green Hornet, this is one of the 50s and 60s most underappreciated action adventure programs ever. Most modern audiences may know him from his remake installment flick made in the late 90s. In fact, I only discovered this version by watching old Disney channel commercials, as shown above. The swashbuckling crusader Zorro is the epidimy of a timeless protagonist, and the action is fun. Even if the black and white turns your interest off, the swinging theme song most definitely will ignite it. I don’t have too many strong opinions on Zorro in general, but it’s a comforting, valiant delight that you should indeed give a watch sometime.

RATING: N/A “Recommended”

Treasure Planet (2002)

And now the film to cap today’s post off, it’s Treasure Planet, a 2002 animated film based off the novel Treasure Island and blending traditional animation with 3D techniques. This movie was suggested by Pono in particular, who states that Disney is his “enemy” for basically killing this flick . Shout out to him, and remember you can be like Pono and suggest posts too! Another passenger named Hunter did as well, and I’ll be getting to those very soon. Anywho, back on track with Treasure Planet. Unlike the others on this list, this feature has a massive cult following from fans of animation especially, since it bombed on release and went under the radar of mainstream viewers. They think that it should be held in the tier of the Disney Renaissance, and while I wouldn’t go that far Treasure Planet is still pretty spectacular. Crafting a work of your own style while additionally remaining faithful to the source material is no easy task, although this movie does just that. The characters and the designs are great, even if some side players come off as unnecessary to the story or grading. But the relationship between the cyborg John Silver and Jim Hawkins in a sort of father-son dynamic, mwah! Chef’s kiss. That is where the heart of the film is rooted. The animation, making use of the growing CGI at the time, is exquisite. Like, this trailer doesn’t do the movie’s artistic qualities any justice.

So in the end, while it’s not my personal go-to from the catalog, Treasure Planet stands tall above it’s mistreatment and has been discovered, just like the gold, for the wonder it is. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it right after this review. You will not regret the lost time, for sure.

RATING: 8/10

That’s all folks! Thank you bunches for visiting the Train today, and best wishes to you all. Farewell and ado.


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10 thoughts on “Scrooge McDuck’s Trove: Underrated Disney Gems | Lighttrain

  1. Hey Gavin! Hope things are going great for you. Today is not my day! Long story…I’ll spare you the details. Brain isn’t working either, but I did manage to focus in on Cool Runnings. I did see that movie! Good movie! One day when my brain is cooperating I will give your blog some more attention. Take care till then! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I’m so glad to have discovered your blog! :). I have barely glanced at most of the movies you reviewed here because I was so excited to see The Great Mouse Detective. I saw it in a drive in theatre on my ninth birthday, lol. I am going to have to rewatch it minus the drive in theatre this time. Thanks for reminding me about this gem.

    Liked by 1 person

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