When it comes to movie recommendations here at TechRadar, we often like to focus on adult content – the dramatic thrillers, gruesome crime sagas, and decidedly unsafe documentaries for kids (we’re looking at you, netflix).
But among all new horror movies and Oscar-nominated photos in 2022 many family oriented features are available to watch on streaming services – and Disney+in particular, has the best of the lot.
This Easter weekend, therefore, we are reducing the violence and increasing the sense of adventure. Below you will find our selection of best Disney Plus movies to enjoy with the family (and don’t worry, all the films we’ve selected are available to watch wherever you are in the world).
Let’s start with Turning Red, the latest (and 25th!) animated image from the eternal magician Pixar Studios. Directed by Domee Shi (best known for directing the Oscar-winning Pixar short film Bao), the film tells the story of a young Toronto girl, Meilin “Mei” Lee (Rosalie Chiang), who transforms into a red panda. giant whenever her emotions boil.
However, saying much more about the plot of Turning Red risks spoiling the film’s most powerful moments. He makes courageous storytelling choices about adolescence and family responsibility, which director Shi and producer Lindsey Collins spoke to us in March. However, viewers should know that they can expect a beautifully rendered mix of anime influences, ’90s culture, and typical Pixar charm with something to offer all ages.
A making-of special, Embrace the Panda, is also available to stream on Disney Plus for those who want to see how this furry creation came to be (oh, and you’ll be adding 4*TOWN’s Nobody Like U track to your Spotify playlist immediately after viewing).
Have you ever been to Disneyland? If so, you’re probably familiar with the Jungle Cruise, a riverboat ride that sends punters down a stream full of animatronic animals and lost explorers. Well, Disney decided to turn this ride into a feature film – like it did with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise – and the result is the not-so-imaginative name. Jungle Cruise.
Starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, the film follows a doctor and a ship’s captain in search of an ancient tree with healing powers. If that doesn’t sound like the most original premise, that’s because it isn’t – but a great cast and high production values mean Jungle Cruise is still a great fun adventure (think of it like an expensive mix of The Mummy, Unexplored and Journey to the Center of the Earth).
Like with Black Widow before that, Jungle Cruise originally came to Disney Plus via the streamer Privileged Access Servicebut the film has since been freed from its old paywall and is now streaming for free.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in 2022, you’ll have heard Encanto by now. record earworm, We are not talking about Bruno. In all likelihood, you’ll probably know some of the lyrics too – but to help out, the good folks at Disney have now added a sing-along version of the film to Disney Plus.
After struggling to make waves in the halls against the power of Spider-Man: No Coming Home in November last year, Encanto hit Disney’s streamer a month later and became an almost instant hit. It tells the story of the Madrigals, an extraordinary family who live in a house steeped in magic known as the Casita. Every child in the family has received a magical gift, except for Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), who is called into action when the Casita is threatened by a mysterious force.
Despite its catchy songbook, Encanto is a top Disney animation in its own right, combining color and culture – in a similar way to Pixar’s Coco – to mesmerizing effect. For our money, Ratatouille is still the best of modern Disney Plus animationsbut Encanto is certainly among the most beautiful.
West Side Story
While not intended for the youngest members of the family, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story provides a rare excuse for you and yours to wallow on the couch for nearly three hours this weekend.
A big-budget retelling of the 1957 musical of the same name (and the second film adaptation after the 1961 classic), this new take on Arthur Laurent’s iconic story stars Ansel Elgot as Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria, whose forbidden romance is stifled by warring gangs (and singing and dancing…) in 1950s New York.
Spielberg’s Last Picture performed poorly at the worldwide box office when it was released last year, but excellent reviews and a some Oscar nominations made West Side Story an instant Disney Plus recommendation when it appeared in the streamer’s library in March.
Emma Stone stars as the titular villain in this origin tale of Cruella de Vil, the infamous dog-napper who first terrorized the spotted pooches of 101 Dalmatians in 1961.
Rather than painting Cruella as creepy fashionista audiences have learned, director Craig Gillespie’s film puts a refreshing anti-hero spin on the proceedings (much like 2019’s Joker – although it’s certainly not a family film ). Set in London at the height of the punk rock movement of the 1970s, this story finds a young Cruella – or Estella, for starters – flying through the city before landing a dream job designing dresses for a established fashion house. However, it doesn’t take long for Cruella to realize that she should be the one running the show.
In our opinion of the film, we said Cruella is “truly remarkable as a ‘premake’ that does justice to a notorious Disney villain, full of fresh and wacky ideas to keep it from looking like a check-in origin story.” ” Beyond those reasons, however, Cruella’s Oscar-winning costumes make it one of the most visually stunning movies in recent memory.