In a move that was hailed as a “game-changer” and a company saving grace and probably some other hyperbolic PR-type language, and much to the delight of subscribers nostalgic for a lost youth, Netflix will begin streaming Disney movies on its Instant Watch service. The bulk will be available in 2016, but a handful of titles are already available for your hung-over viewing or emergency activities if you ever find yourself in charge of a bunch of kids for a prolonged amount of time. But is it enough to get hyped about now?
At least two-thirds of the “Disney” page on Netflix Instant consists of the tween films and TV-to-feature-length adaptations that I know absolutely nothing about and therefore cannot assess, which makes sense because this decision was clearly made for Disney’s actual demographic and not young professionals in deep nostalgia K-holes. There’s also a pretty large collection of Air Bud sequels (and yet, not the original): Seventh Inning Fetch, World Pup, Air Bud Spikes Back—did you even know they made an Air Bud sequel about volleyball? Because they did. And you can watch it, and if you pitch it to the right Internet content place and make GIFs of it, they will probably pay you money to do that. Sequels make up the bulk of the collection, actually—you’ll find The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, but not The Brave Little Toaster.
“But what about the films of my youth?” you ask. “What about the ones with the songs I can still recite?” The handful of Disney Vault-grade animated features mostly predate that hot streak the studio had in the early ‘90s, so you’ve got The Rescuers Down Under (but not The Rescuers), Pocahontas, The Fox and the Hound and The Great Mouse Detective, which features Vincent Price as an evil rat professor, so that’s pretty alright.
The selection of the old-school ‘classics’ is slim, with the still lovely and frightening Alice and Wonderland, The Aristocats (not to be confused with a less safe for children movie) and Dumbo, which will launch many a good, cathartic cry-fest for old time’s sake, at least among people who can watch the movie without being bothered by all the insane and now super obvious cartoon racism happening. Outside of the “traditional” Disney animated sphere, the most exciting options are The Nightmare Before Christmas (at least among your ex-Hot Topic-goth classmates), the pretty-underrated James and the Giant Peach and The Muppet Movie.
Of course, if you’re in the mood for something of more mature taste less nostalgia-happy, the Netflix Instant ‘recently added’ section includes other things worth watching that aren’t from the Walt Disney animation house. If live-action nostalgia is more of your thing, Flashdance, Half-Baked and Bad Boys II (because in this day and age, I’m not going to be totally surprised if someone is nostalgic for a movie that was released less than a decade ago), and more recent critical favorites like The King’s Speech and the underappreciated Young Adult. And O.B.A.M. Nude, which of all the bizarre presidential slam jobs that made it into actual film festivals, seems just about the most bizarre, so if you’re one of those people that searches subscription film-streaming sites for movies that destroyed political careers, here you go.