The 10 best new movies to watch on Disney+ (updated April 2022)
Disney+ continues to add to its already large catalog of films, with the past two months releasing a variety of projects from different genres. March’s mix of releases includes a premiere of Pixar’s latest project, as well as Steven Spielberg’s remake of a beloved classic.
Updated March 28, 2022 by Guillermo Kurten: Content that was recently added to Disney+ and slated for release throughout March will help round out the extensive catalog to keep families subscribed. Another musical movie will debut in the form of the Disney+ Original Better Nate Than Ever, as well as a timely new Earth Day Original from Disneynature.
Better Nate Than Ever (2022)
Although Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning actor West Side Story remake was the biggest musical release, a smaller scale but fun new original will be released this week. Better Nate than ever is an adaptation directed by Tim Federle, author of the 2013 novel of the same name. The film is billed as a coming-of-age story for 13-year-old Nate Foster, who wants to make it big on Broadway.
However, the teenager struggles to get a role in a school play and decides to run away to New York with his best friend to try and prove his doubters wrong. Musicals are harder to find these days, so fans of the genre will probably want to check out this lovely new film. Better Nate than ever has, so far, received a warm reaction on social media ahead of its April 1 release.
Going Red (2022)
Disney Pixar is widely known for its outstanding animated films, and they are set to release their next project on March 11. turn red is a coming-of-age family comedy about a young girl named Mei Lee who struggles with her identity as she approaches adolescence.
Her naturally excitable nature at age 13 causes her to transform into a giant red panda, but Mei also tries to remain the obedient girl her overprotective mother once knew her. turn red has a promising cast, with Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh playing Mei Lee’s mother, Ming.
Polar Bear (2022)
Capitalizing on the Earth Day festivities on Friday, April 22, Disney+ is set to release a batch of original nature projects. There will be three productions slated for release, consisting of a special, a TV series, and a movie. This last one is Polar bearnarrated by Oscar-nominated Catherine Keener.
Released under the Disneynature brand and film studio, the film will follow the touching story of a new polar bear mother going through memories of her youth as she prepares to raise her own cubs in an increasingly difficult world. Polar bear will likely address the challenges posed to these animals by climate change limiting their environment, with the film – and all other productions – releasing on April 22.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
For those in the UK, the 2011 reboot film The Ascension of the Planet of the Apes will come to Disney+. The Rupert Wyatt-directed film was the first of a new trilogy, with the final two being helmed by The Batman director/co-writer Matt Reeves.
This first episode managed to launch an exciting and more grounded version of the classic film franchise, telling the origin story of the experienced chimpanzee Caesar from the perspective of the overthrow of Earth’s societal structure. The cast includes James Franco and Andy Serkis in another outstanding motion capture performance as Caesar. The Ascension of the Planet of the Apes arrives in the UK on Friday 29 April.
West Side Story (2021)
It’s unfortunate for fans of musicals that the genre isn’t as popular as it once was, but Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake West Side Story will be released on Disney+ on March 2. The story centers on Tony and Maria; two high school students in love caught between the street brawls of two rival gangs of different ethnicities.
Spielberg’s take on this beloved musical classic won critical acclaim for its acting (which won Rachel Zegler a Golden Globe) and musical performance, but ended up being a box bomb- office. However, streaming services like Disney+ have managed to salvage other films that have been critically or commercially disappointed by giving them a boost in viewership.
Drive Home 2 U (2022)
Singer Olivia Rodrigo was one of the biggest musical sensations of the past year, releasing her landmark album Acid last May. The album has received critical acclaim and is up for multiple Grammy nominations, and Rodrigo is set to release a documentary film titled drive home 2 u (a SOUR movie).
The documentary is set to chronicle his journey through writing and creating the famous album as well as his coming-of-age story to reach this new point in his life. drive home 2 u (a SOUR movie) was released on Disney+ on March 25.
Free Guy (2021)
Last Year’s Video Game-Themed Movie free guy was without doubt one of the greatest theatrical surprises. Given the premise and what the early trailers showed, it didn’t seem like it would have a positive impact and would likely be quickly forgotten. However, the Ryan Reynolds-directed antics ended up becoming one of the best comedy movies of 2021 for many moviegoers.
While the references and fan service can be unsurprisingly heavy, free guyThe brand of ironic self-awareness in its comedy made for a fun, laid-back watch. The film is available to watch now on Disney+.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Added in early January, then-Fox’s X-Men: First Class remains one of the best live-action efforts for mutant heroes. The X-Men have always had a layer of tragedy in the comics, and First class balances a great origin story with an emotionally impactful chronicle of the team’s first – and major – ideological break.
Part of the hit of this perfect thematic mix was due to its outstanding cast, with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender providing two more iconic incarnations of Professor X and Magneto. While this series died out once it arrived at apocalypse, First class is a welcome addition to Disney+’s Marvel legacy catalog with its acclaimed direct sequel, days of future past.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Tim Burton’s directing style is instantly recognizable in all of his films, from the aesthetics to their thematic approaches. Many of his films revolve around an eccentric outcast of a protagonist, including some of the most commercially successful Batman films, and Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands is one of Burton’s most notable characters.
The film casts Depp as an incomplete artificial humanoid who is taken in by his family, only for Edward to fall in love with their daughter Kim Boggs – played by the talented Winona Ryder. It was released theatrically in 1990 to strong critical reception, with the heartfelt story, Depp’s expressive acting, and blend of fantasy and romance being particularly praised.
Originally released in theaters late last year, Disney’s Encanto brought back the animated musical for a vibrant multi-generational story about the Latin American experience. Specifically, the film is set in a rural town in Colombia, enveloped in an atmosphere of magical realism akin to that of auteur Gabriel García Márquez. A hundred years of loneliness.
Encanto follows Mirabel Madrigal as she sets out to find out why her family is in danger of losing their magical abilities used to help their community. The film’s emotional impact and exploration of themes concerning emotional trauma were well received from a narrative standpoint, while its musicality and stunning art design received visual acclaim. All these elements combined and made Encanto one of the biggest animated movies of 2021.
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