Disney+ has a number of exclusive films that are only available on the streaming service and each month, I update my list of the best Disney+ Original movies.
Here is the “What’s On Disney Plus” Top Disney+ Originals for October 2021:
20) Playing With Sharks
A true pioneer in both underwater filmmaking and shark research, Valerie Taylor is a living legend and icon in the underwater world whose life’s work has become the basis for much of what we know about sharks today. Through remarkable underwater archival footage, along with interviews with Valerie herself, “Playing with Sharks,” from twice Emmy®-nominated director Sally Aitken, follows this daring ocean explorer’s trajectory from champion spearfisher to passionate shark protector. From the birth of cage diving to “Jaws” hysteria to the dawn of cageless shark diving, Valerie became a trailblazing advocate for the ocean’s most maligned and misunderstood creatures. If you love sharks, you’ll love this documentary.
19) Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds. He soon finds himself in an epic battle against a race of powerful underground fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.
This might be an odd first choice for many, but since I had never read the books and I went into watching this movie with any existing thoughts on the character or franchise. I found it to be a fun and entertaining family-friendly adventure movie, with some great special effects that I wasn’t expecting. It’s not perfect by any means, since there are many issues I had with it. But at the end of the day, I enjoyed watching it and during the first national lockdown, having anything new to watch was great. Click for my full review
In Disney+’s holiday comedy “Noelle,” Kris Kringle’s daughter is full of Christmas spirit and holiday fun, but wishes she could do something “important” like her beloved brother Nick, who will take over for their father this Christmas. When Nick is about to crumble like a gingerbread cookie from all the pressure, Noelle suggests he take a break and get away…but when he doesn’t return, Noelle must find her brother and bring him back in time to save Christmas. This is a fun holiday movie that’ll bring a smile to your face.
17) Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
This Disney+ Original movie is based on the best-selling book of the same name, follows the hilarious exploits of our quirky, deadpan hero, Timmy Failure, who, along with his 1,500-pound polar bear partner Total, operates Total Failure Inc., a Portland detective agency. An elementary school oddball, the clueless but confident Timmy must navigate the world of adults around him, including his overburdened mother, her well-meaning boyfriend his teacher/nemesis and a school-mandated guidance counselor, all in his quest to become the best detective in the world. Well worth checking out!
16) Secret Society Of Second Born Royals
“Secret Society of Second Born Royals” follows Sam, a teenage royal rebel second in line to the throne of the kingdom of Illyria. Just as Sam’s disinterest in the royal way of life is at an all-time high, she discovers she has super-human abilities and is invited to join a secret society of similar extraordinary second-born royals charged with keeping the world safe. With guidance from their Secret Society instructor James, Sam and a new class of royal recruits must first learn to harness their new powers at a top-secret training camp before they can save the world. A charming “Disney Channel” movie that I really enjoyed, it’s very much a “Marvel” light superhero movie, but still enjoyable.
“Stargirl” from Disney+ is a tender and offbeat coming-of-age story based on the critically-acclaimed, New York Times’ best-selling young adult novel about an unassuming high schooler who finds himself inexplicably drawn to the free-spirited new girl, whose unconventional ways change how they see themselves…and their world.
Leo Borlock (Graham Verchere) is an average student at Mica High School. He gets decent grades, is a member of the school’s marching band and has always been content flying under the radar. But all that changes when he meets Stargirl Caraway (Grace VanderWaal), a confident and colorful new student with a penchant for the ukulele, who stands out in a crowd. She is kind, finds magic in the mundane and touches the lives of others with the simplest of gestures. Her eccentricities and infectious personality charm Leo and the student body, and she quickly goes from being ignored and ridiculed to accepted and praised, then back again, sending Leo on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
14) Magic Camp
A group of misfit campers help a down-on-his-luck magician rediscover his love of magic in Disney’s “Magic Camp,” a heartwarming comedy about finding joy and confidence in self-acceptance. As a boy attending the Institute of Magic, a secluded mountain retreat that plays host to a bevvy of aspiring young magicians each summer, Andy Duckerman (Adam Devine) was a camp legend. Now, at 35, he’s struggling to make ends meet as a professional illusionist and is frustrated and depressed by the direction his career has taken. But when the Institute invites Andy to return as a counsellor, he finds himself in charge of the greenest and most awkward wannabe magicians, and having to deal with his former partner and current arch-rival, Kristina Darkwood (Gillian Jacobs), who’s also a counsellor. As Andy slowly gains the respect of his team of ragtag artists, they, in turn, inspire him to nurture each of their unique talents while preparing them to compete with the camp’s more experienced magicians in the Institute’s annual Top Hat magic contest. A simple but enjoyable family-friendly movie.
Directed by Don Hahn (“Beauty and the Beast”), “Howard” is the untold story of Howard Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind Disney classics like “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and creator of musicals including “Little Shop of Horrors.” Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, personal films and photographs, as well as interviews with Howard’s friends and family, the film is an intimate look at the Disney Legend’s life, his creative drive, and the process behind the music. Spanning his childhood in Baltimore, to his formative years in New York, and his untimely death due to AIDS, “Howard” goes in-depth to explore his journey to become the lyricist behind some of the most beloved and well-known classic family films in the world.
“Safety” is a drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves), a young man facing a series of challenging circumstances, whose dedication and persistence help him to triumph over repeated adversities. Aided by his teammates and the Clemson community, he succeeds on the field while simultaneously raising and caring for his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson). A very lovely family drama that is well worth checking out. Check out my review of Safety
11) Black Beauty
The film follows Black Beauty, a wild horse born free in the American West. Rounded up and taken away from her family, Beauty is brought to Birtwick Stables where she meets a spirited teenage girl, Jo Green. Beauty and Jo forge an unbreakable bond that carries Beauty through the different chapters, challenges, and adventures of her life. It’s a lovely family-friendly movie that is very enjoyable. Check out my full review here
10) Phineas & Ferb: Candace Against The Universe
Stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb, their older sister Candace, Perry the Platypus and the Danville gang are back together again in “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe,” an out-of-this-world animated adventure from Disney Television Animation. Executive-produced by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (creators and executive producers of the long-running Emmy Award-winning series “Phineas and Ferb”), the movie centers on Phineas and Ferb as they set out across the galaxy to rescue Candace, who after being abducted by aliens, finds utopia in a far-off planet, free of pesky little brothers. For fans of the original show, this one is a no-brainer.
Set at Christmas time, “Godmothered” is a comedy about Eleanor, a young, inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training (Jillian Bell), who upon hearing that her chosen profession is facing extinction, decides to show the world that people still need fairy godmothers. Finding a mislaid letter from a 10-year-old girl in distress, Eleanor tracks her down and discovers that the girl, Mackenzie, is now a 40-year-old single mom (Isla Fisher) working at a news station in Boston. Having lost her husband several years earlier, Mackenzie has all but given up on the idea of “happily ever after,” but Eleanor is bound and determined to give Mackenzie a happiness makeover, whether she likes it or not. A lovely holiday film that is perfect for the whole family.
8) Lady & The Tramp
This adorable live-action retelling of the animated classic from the 1950’s tells the love story between a pampered Cocker Spaniel named Lady and a streetwise mongrel named Tramp. “Lady and the Tramp” is a lovely family-friendly movie, it’s simple but effective. It’s not anything groundbreaking or original, it might not have worked at the cinema, but it’s the perfect Disney+ movie, as it’s a fun enjoyable film to sit down at home, grab some snacks, pull the blanket over, since its fun, full of cute dogs and has a simple love story.
7) The One And Only Ivan
This is an adaptation of the award-winning book about one very special gorilla, Disney’s “The One and Only Ivan” is an unforgettable tale about the beauty of friendship, the power of visualization and the significance of the place one calls home. Ivan is a 400-pound silverback gorilla who shares a communal habitat in a suburban shopping mall with Stella the elephant, Bob the dog, and various other animals. He has few memories of the jungle where he was captured, but when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives, it touches something deep within him. Ivan begins to question his life, where he comes from and where he ultimately wants to be. The heartwarming adventure, which comes to the screen in an impressive hybrid of live-action and CGI, is based on Katherine Applegate’s bestselling book. It’s another great soild family friendly movie that I really enjoyed. Click for my full review
6) Flora & Ulysses
Disney’s “Flora & Ulysses” is a delightful comedy-adventure based on the Newbery Award-winning book about 10-year old Flora, an avid comic book fan and a self-avowed cynic, whose parents have recently separated. After rescuing a squirrel she names Ulysses, Flora is amazed to discover he possesses unique superhero powers which take them on an adventure of humorous complications that ultimately change Flora’s life–and her outlook–forever. This one is full of comic book easter eggs and is a fantastic movie for the whole family.
Check out my review of the film by clicking here
This was one of the most personal and emotional movies from the past year, inspired by an incredible true story, “Clouds” is a vibrant ode to the life of singer/songwriter Zach Sobiech (Fin Argus). Zach is a seventeen-year-old, fun-loving student with raw musical talent living with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. At the start of his senior year, he is ready to take on the world, however, when he receives the news that the disease has spread, he and his best friend and songwriting partner, Sammy (Sabrina Carpenter), decide to spend Zach’s limited time following their dreams. With the help of Zach’s mentor and teacher, Mr. Weaver (Lil Rel Howery), Zach and Sammy are given the chance of a lifetime and are offered a record deal. Along with the support of the love of his life, Amy (Madison Iseman) and his parents, Rob and Laura (Tom Everett Scott and Neve Campbell); Zach embarks on an unforgettable journey about friendship, love and the power of music. A heartwarming movie that brought me to tears on many occasions and shows Disney+ can have some maturer themes by offering a selection of content. Click for my full review
“Togo” is the untold true story set in the winter of 1925 that takes you across the treacherous terrain of the Alaskan tundra for an exhilarating and uplifting adventure that will test the strength, courage and determination of one man, Leonhard Seppala, and his lead sled dog, Togo. This is easily one of my favourite Disney+ Original movie and will certainly give your heartstrings a tug, you might need some tissues, I did!
“Soul” introduces Joe Gardner (voice of Jamie Foxx) – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (voice of Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions. This is one of the most heartwarming Pixar movies that will make you question what you’re doing with your life and the meaning of life, pretty deep stuff for adults, while having plenty of fun characters to keep children entertained. Check out my review of Soul/. And if you enjoyed “Soul”, why not check out the prequel short “22 vs Earth” too.
One of the biggest and most popular Disney+ Originals released, it’s an unforgettable cinematic stage performance, the filmed version of the original Broadway production of “Hamilton” combines the best elements of live theater, film and streaming to bring the cultural phenomenon to homes around the world for a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience. “Hamilton” is the story of America then, told by America now. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, “Hamilton” has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre—a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education.
Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s original feature film “Luca” is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca (voice of Jacob Tremblay) shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, Alberto (voice of Jack Dylan Grazer), but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface. This is a lovely feel-good Pixar film that I adored.
What Disney+ Original movie is your favourite?