10 ~Nostalgic~ Animated Films From the 2000s to Rewatch on Disney Plus

by Pat Villarica for Spot.ph   |  Jan 31, 2023
Image: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Lilo and Stitch/Disney, The Princess and the Frog/Disney
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If this article's main image triggered something in your brain and prompted you to click, well, you're probably feeling a little nostalgic. Not to sound like a nagging parent, but seriously though, you’ve got to admit, animated films, whether they be hand-drawn or rendered via software, aren’t quite made like they used to be. Most of the flicks nowadays are sent direct to streaming platforms, taking away that feeling of stepping into a dark theater, sitting in anticipation as you hear the telltale intro of Disney. Gone are the days when you had to repurchase a ticket or wait until it goes to DVD, or better yet, land on Disney Channel if you had cable—remember that?—in order to rewatch a cartoon.

The current generation may have their Elsa, Anna, and heck, even Bruno, but nothing beats getting acquainted—or reacquainted—with stories about discovering hidden civilizations, adorable blue aliens, and a baseball-playing chicken. Now that Disney Plus is finally on our shores, what better way to spend your weekends or sleepless nights than reminiscing over some classic toons from the House of Mouse.

Also read: 10 TV Shows From the 2000s You Can Watch All Over Again on Disney Plus

Here are the Disney Plus animated movies you can watch if you want to really feel your age:

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

Atlantis: The Lost Empire tells the origin, subsequent demise, and rediscovery of the lost civilization of Atlantis. Voiced by veteran actor Michael J. Fox, lead character Milo Thatch is a linguist with high hopes of finding the lost city. Together with a rag-tag crew of mercenaries led by Commander Rourke (James Garnder), the team successfully rediscovers the city and its secrets, only to be met with trouble, and we're not just talking of the mystic kind


Why watch it again: The animation style was very reminiscent of comic books that we grew up reading thanks to comic artist Mike Migola. Add in Cree Summer’s Kida swaying her hips as she goes about teaching Milo the way of the Atlanteans? Classic love story trope right there.

Treasure Planet (2002)

This is actually Disney’s third adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. In this version, we get outer space, a cyborg space pirate, ships powered by solar sails, and a handsome young lad who has issues with authority and goes by the name of Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Nominated for best picture at the 75th Academy Awards, Treasure Planet is the most expensive traditional animated film to date with its technique of using 2D hand-drawn images on top of 3D computer animation.

Why watch it again: Have you seen how gorgeous Jim Hawkins is considering he is a cartoon character? ‘Nuf said. But if you aren’t convinced, rewatch it for Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik’s I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme). (Amen)

Chicken Little (2005)

“The sky is falling!” Ah yes, nothing like a panicked chicken screaming at the top of their lungs as chaos is introduced in the first few minutes of an animated film. The second highest-grossing animated film of 2005, Chicken Little is loosely inspired by the folk tale of the same name. It teaches the audience the consequences of inciting mass hysteria through the eyes of the titular character Ace “Chicken Little” Cluck (voiced by Zach Braff) as he tries to save the town from an alien invasion.

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Why watch it again: Abby (Joan Cusack) and Runt’s (Steve Zahn) karaoke performance of the ultimate girl power song "Wanna Be" is enough to have us wanting to replay the movie over and over again.

Brother Bear (2003)

Brother Bear is your classic Disney self-discovery story. In this one, a boy named Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix) is transformed into a bear after killing one. In order to turn back into a human, he must go on a journey and find the mountain where the Northern Lights touch the earth. Upon its release in 2003, it received mixed to negative reviews from critics but was still nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 76th Academy Awards only to lose to its sister title, Pixar’s Finding Nemo.

Why watch it again: Phil Collins songs and an animated movie, is there even a reason to not rewatch this?

Bolt (2008)

Bolt gives us the classic adventure story albeit with cute animals as the lead characters. The titular character (voiced by John Travolta) is a White Swiss Shepherd puppy who believes himself to have superpowers after appearing on a TV show with his owner, Penny (Miley Cyrus). After a cliffhanger episode of the show makes him believe that his owner was kidnapped, he goes on a cross-country adventure with Mittens the cat (Susie Essman) and Rhino the hamster (Mark Walton) in an attempt to save Penny.

Why watch it again: Bolt’s love for his hooman is enough to make us want to cuddle our pets and have them watch the film with us. After all, they weren’t allowed inside the cinema when it premiered back in ‘08.


The Emperor's New Groove (2000)

The oldest movie in this list, The Emperor’s New Groove employs an uncharacteristically (for Disney at the time) slapstick comedy approach when it comes to its storytelling. It follows a young and self-centered Incan emperor named Kuzco (David Spade) as he tries to return to being human after being turned into a llama by his evil advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt) and her dim-witted sidekick Kronk (Patrick Warburton). Despite it being a bomb at the box office, it has found success on home media (yes, that means DVDs) and with the humorous acting of both Kitt and Warburton.

Why watch it again: “Pull the lever, Kronk.” and of course, the kitten version of Yzma.

Meet The Robinsons (2007)

Meet The Robinsons follow the story of 12-year-old orphan inventor Lewis (Jordan Fry and Daniel Hansen) as he meets 13-year-old Wilbur Robinson (Wesley Singerman) from the year 2037. He then meets the extended Robinson family and their eccentric family members—singing frog choir included—as he and Wilbur try to stop the Bowler Hat Guy (Stephen Anderson) and his nefarious robot, DOR-15 (Ethan Sandler).

Why watch it again: There are just too many nice things about this movie but to name a few we have, Franny’s (voiced by Nicole Sullivan) singing frog choir, Rob Thomas’ song called Little Wonders, and probably the mantra that we’ve kept for the rest of 2007 and beyond: “Keep moving forward”.

Wall-E (2008)

Wall-E (voiced by Ben Burtt) tells the tale of a solitary robot that lives on a desolate and deserted version of Earth where he was left to clean up the garbage. Left to his own devices—and being the last functioning robot of the entire planet—he develops a personality similar to that of human behavior. He meets and subsequently falls in love with an egg-shaped robot named EVE (Elissa Knight) who was deployed to the planet to search for signs of sustainable life. However, things take a turn for the worst as both robots try to escape EVE’s mothership, Axiom.

Why watch it again: Despite having limited dialogue, watching the movie becomes a treat seeing how expressive and interactive both robots are, proving that actions are better than words even on the big screen.

The Princess and The Frog (2009)

Loosely based on the novel The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker, The Princess and The Frog tells the story of New Orleans waitress Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) as she works towards her dreams of owning her own restaurant. In a sudden twist of fate, she gets turned into a frog after kissing Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) who was in frog form at the time. In order to revert back to her human state, she must journey and find voodoo practitioner Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis).

Why watch it again: If not for the story and its various fairy tale tropes, the movie is actually a good musical with tons of jazz-inspired elements and songs that act as good storyline progressors. Plus, you gotta admit, while scary-AF, Dr. Facilier (Keith David) is one hot witch doctor.


Lilo and Stitch (2002)

If it’s not obvious by now, Disney had a sci-fi obsession during the early years of the 2000s with Lilo and Stitch being one of the more successful ones. The film revolves around a misunderstood human girl named Lilo (Daveigh Chase) and a blue furry alien named Stitch (Chris Sanders) as they navigate a newfound friendship when the latter is unexpectedly trapped on Earth.

Why watch it again: It’s one of the very few Disney films that outright discuss familial issues and have it add depth to the story which is the case between Lilo and her sister-turned-guardian Nani (Tia Carrere). Don't lie, you've used that Ohana line more than once.

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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