20. THE WILD (2006)
It may have been released after Madagascar, but much like Despicable Me or Flushed Away, The Wild is superior to its animated twin. Not only is the animation much better than its DreamWorks counterpart, the jokes are sharper and the script more rewarding for any adults watching.
19. TARZAN (1999)
Perfectly acceptable, as far as adaptations of Edger Rice Burroughs’ story go, but fails to make a strong enough case for its existence amongst the bevy of jungle tales already out there. The splendid animation mostly makes up for the overly saccharine Phil Collins soundtrack and lacklustre comic relief.
18. BOLT (2008)
A clever premise, a talented voice cast, and vibrant animation fail to coalesce into more than the sum of their parts in Bolt. It’s an incredibly enjoyable movie in the moment with plenty of belly laughs from its comedic sidekicks, yet fades from memory faster than you can say, “Is that Miley Cyrus?”
17. FANTASIA 2000 (1999)
Walt Disney original conceived of Fantasia as a movie that could be revisited every decade with new music and animation, but it took nearly 60 years for it to happen. Thankfully, Fantasia 2000 is a wonderful successor with dazzling visuals, done disservice purely by underestimating its audience’s intelligence with insulting interruptions of introductions.
THE LOST EMPIRE (2001)
A riveting story and amusing characters come together in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, but are done a disservice by a lack of confidence in its general direction. Smashing several art styles together in a discordant jumble, the movie feels too loose for its own good, although Michael J. Fox’s vocals keep the whole thing nicely energetic.
15. BIG HERO 6 (2014)
Not quite the Pocahontas of the current period of Disney animation — more the Rescuers Down Under of it — Big Hero 6 is way more enjoyable than its mostly hollow story really has a right to be. It doesn’t hurt that it has one of the best modern creations of Disney, the caring robot Baymax, at its heart.
14. TREASURE PLANET (2002)
For how clever an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island it is, Treasure Planet doesn’t get nearly enough respect. Boasting excellent voice acting from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, and Martin Short, it also claims the title of Disney’s most successful blend of hand-drawn and CGI animation.
13. MULAN (1998)
Disney’s response to the increasing North American success of Studio Ghibli movies like My Neighbour Totoro and Princess Mononoke, Mulan keeps taking imaginative flight but then unsurely pulling itself back down. A visual style that stands apart from its siblings and a wonderfully spirited performance from Eddie Murphy are among the highlights, but it never quite reaches the heights it aims for.
12. WINNIE THE POOH (2011)
While 1977’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh remains the high-water mark for Disney adaptations of the memorable characters, the self-titled film that went unnoticed by many in 2011 is the best modern interpretation by a huge margin. By retaining Milne’s witty humour and playful narrative rule-breaking, it creates what is very probably the best entry point for children into the animated series.
11. CHICKEN LITTLE (2005)
Far more complex than many expected from its title and the most amusingly self-aware of Disney’s computer-animated stable, Chicken Little’s failure to connect with audiences who were more interested in Pixar’s output by 2005 is due in no part to the movie’s overall quality. While it moves too fast once it gets going, Chicken Little’s refreshingly anarchic energy and wonderfully loose dialogue paved the way for the strong works to follow.