Disney launched its much-anticipated streaming service recently and in addition to animated classics, Marvel movies, and Star Wars, there’s some more obscure stuff hiding in the weeds. Here’s the most random Disney+ content for those who want to take a deep dive:
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000)
Did you know that there are quite a few sequels to classic movies like “The Little Mermaid” and “Cinderella?” Many Random Disney+ content consists of straight-to-video movies or movies that aired on TV. “The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea” was released on video back in 2000. In “Return to the Sea,” Ariel’s daughter longs for the ocean, despite not knowing of her mother’s true mermaid identity. The late Ursula’s vengeful sister Morgana – also voiced by Pat Carroll – serves as the film’s villain. The original Ariel, Jodi Benson, also returns, while Tara Strong plays her daughter Melody.
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (2007)
Speaking of Cinderella, there was actually not one, but two sequels to the animated movie. Things get real weird in the third installment when Cinderella’s bitter family get their hands on the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand. They go back in time to manipulate events, so the Prince chooses one of the wicked stepsisters. “Twist” earned a significantly better Rotten Tomatoes score (75%), than Cinderella II, which only got 11%. Jennifer Hale stars as Cinderella with Christopher David Barnes as Prince Charming and Susan Blakeslee as Lady Tremaine (the wicked stepmother).
Starring a creepy-looking creature known as a “fuzzbucket,” this made-for-TV movies is about a shy 12-year old boy who hangs out with an “imaginary friend.” Spoiler alert: the friend is not imaginary. This film is part of a long tradition of stores involving children and mildly-frightening, though friendly, creatures.
Director Norman Tokar made over a dozen films for Disney, but he’s probably not a familiar name to most people. In “Candleshoe,” a very young Jodie Foster portrays a con artist working with a group of older criminals. Their goal: steal from an elderly woman (played by Helen Hayes in her last movie) by finding a lost treasure on her estate called Candleshoe. David Niven also stars.
Strange Magic (2015)
Everything about this movie seems a little odd. It’s described on Wikipedia as “computer-animated jukebox musical fantasy romantic comedy.” That means you’ve got animated fairy creatures voiced by stars like Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming singing songs like Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” The basic premise of the film is a take on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and involves love potions and magical creatures (like fairies and elves) fighting. George Lucas began developing the story 15 years before its release, saying he wanted to make Star Wars for girls. Critics did not enjoy the film, however, so it has a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes and lost $40-50 million.
Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968)
Random Disney+ content includes a lot of movies well-received in their time, but they’ve since disappeared from society’s collective memory. That’s the case with “Blackbeard’s Ghost,” a fantasy-comedy film starring Peter Ustinov and Dean Jones. A track coach (Jones) accidentally revives the ghost of the pirate Blackbeard. Blackbeard informs his new friend that he’s been cursed to wander the earth until he can perform a single good deed. No one else can see Blackbeard, which is sure to provoke much hilarity as our hero tries to help one of history’s most brutal pirates.
Walt Disney was a shrewd businessman and when he wanted to build Disney World, he set a just technically-legal plan into motion. It involves swampland.