When Disney plus came into our lives in the middle of lockdown, parents across the globe were united in relief. Here, every single Disney production is available to stream anytime, anywhere. But don’t think it’s just for lovers of Frozen and the Jungle Book, Disney also brings us the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, incredible documentaries and hidden gems you might have missed at the cinema.
Here is my pick of what to watch.
Hamilton is one of those musicals we had all heard was incredible and yet was almost completely inaccessible, until now. Written by Broadway powerhouse Lin-Manuel Miranda, it tells the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with songs and raps depicting his life.
As someone who worked in theatre and loves musicals I am a bit biased, but to me this is one of those performances that brings you to tears, not because of sadness or happiness, but because of how utterly brilliant it is. You also need to accept that you will be buying the soundtrack as soon as it’s finished.
To those of use who are over 30 and stopped watching Disney films after A Bug’s Life, there are a few things we may have missed. One of these is Moana, set on the Polynesia-inspired island of Motunui, it follows a young princess whose heart yearns for adventure and the call of the sea. With voices from Dwayne Johnson and a Bowie inspired song from Jermaine Clement as a giant crab (of course), the visuals are stunning and the songs are catchy. And if you ask me it’s much better than Frozen.
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It may have come out in 1999, but this film is still one of the greatest coming of age comedies you will ever witness. Based on William Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ the film stars a young Heath Ledger alongside Julia Stiles as he tries to tame her teenage angst so that Joseph Gordon Levitt can go out with her sister. The soundtrack will have you pulling out your old CDs from your teenage years but the fashion can very much stay within that era. It’s simply brilliant and almost ‘just too good to be true’.
If you haven’t seen any Marvel films at all, or if you perhaps watched a couple and didn’t like them, watch Thor Ragnorak. Directed by the insanely talented Taika Waititi, he injects some much needed comedy relief and storytelling into the franchise. Along with quirky characters such as Jeff Golblum’s Grand Master and Korg, made of rocks, the film follows Thor as he tries to defend his home planet of Asgard against his evil sister Hella, played by Cate Blanchett in full black leather. Its visuals are stunning, the writing is perfect and Chris Hemsworth is on fine form (or should that be ‘in fine form’) as the god of thunder.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
If you’re not a fan of the animated classics but you’re in need of a bit of escapism then look no further than this series. Put simply, it’s Jeff Goldblum learning about different sub cultures and industries and sharing his thoughts. If you’ve never seen an interview with Jeff then you know you’re in for a treat, his eclectic nature and genuine interest in his subjects makes this joyful.
The first live-action series of the Star Wars franchise, it begins five years after the events of Return of the Jedi and stars Pedro Pascal as the title character, a lone bounty hunter who is hired to retrieve a child who we all now recognise as ‘baby Yoda’. What sets this series apart is its flawless special effects and epic storytelling. Produced by Jon Favreau, the series is what drew a lot of people to Disney plus in the first place, and if you ask me, it really is worth £5.99 for the Mandalorian alone. Although the series follows one narrative the episodes do work as stand alone stories. Listen out for familiar voices from the likes of Richard Ayoade and Taika Waititi as well as guest appearances from some old friends…
Gone are the days when the Simpsons were on Channel 4 at 6pm everyday. I’ve found that catching the odd episode reminds me how funny and ahead of its time it was. With 29 seasons of Matt Groening’s animated series, there is plenty to keep you entertained now that we all have more time on our hands. Maybe start at series 3 though, the animation in those first few episodes along with Homer’s voice is enough to put anyone off!
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