Disney movies are an undeniable part of our childhood. With the advanced animations and engaging storylines, many older children and adults are huge fans of Disney movies as well.
While some might say that the top Disney movies of the 90s were the best ever, the 2000s had their fair share of excellent works from this company. Plus, the 2000s was the decade when Pixar and Disney joined forces (2006, to be exact), so there was a whole new style coming out at that time.
There were scores of movies released from 2000 to 2010, but not all of them were equally brilliant. Here are some of our top picks for Disney movies from this decade:
1. Wall-E, 2008
This movie has adorable characters, but it carries a very serious message alongside. We start off in a dystopian world, are confronted with what happens when humans are given too much comfort, and learn to empathize with a robot.
The visuals here are stunning, while the storyline is a gripping and fascinating one. No wonder this work ended up being the highest-rated Disney movie on IMDB within the 21st century (so far).
2. Up, 2009
This movie might technically be a cartoon, but its poignant first five minutes had us completely empathizing with the characters. We even feel genuine grief at a couple’s struggle with infertility, old age, and unfulfilled dreams. They’re not even the main focus of the movie, so that’s just a testament to the brilliance of this work.
The story of ‘Up’ is fairly new in the Disney world, especially as it doesn’t involve princesses. Instead, it deals with the very real concept of old people facing many struggles as they try to cope in a changing world. When the grumpy old man literally takes off in his balloon-powered house, we’re all set to follow him on his long-awaited adventure.
3. Monsters Inc., 2001
This movie took a simple concept and turned it into a memorable story. Kids often think there’s a monster under their bed or in their closet. Showing them this movie might help them with their fears. Here, monsters are not just mostly cute, but they’re actually scared of the kids!
The characters are what make the movie here, perhaps even more so than the storyline. The monsters themselves are witty and human-like, while the little girl Bo is absolutely precious.
4. Ratatouille, 2007
This work might not be for the faint-hearted, as it features a rat that has a passion for cooking. The concept is quite interesting to begin with, but the story itself is about gaining acceptance for your own personality and quirks. Overall, it’s a different kind of story with a familiar Disney-esque moral.
5. Finding Nemo, 2003
This is another movie that’s spawned a whole franchise for Disney. There’s a video game based on this movie, while the much-anticipated sequel was also a success at the box office.
There are also several celebrities behind the voices of the characters. Overall, the success of the movie is proven by its nomination in several categories for the Academy Awards. It then went on to win the Academy Award for the Best Animated Feature that year.
6. The Emperor’s New Groove, 2000
While it features an old-fashioned 2-D animation, this movie is a must-watch for anyone who loves Disney and laughing out loud. Get ready for witty dialogues and several crazy twists, along with unforgettable characters such as a narcissistic emperor, a humble peasant, and a super-skinny villain with a bumbling sidekick.
While the story itself might seem dark when you think about it—one long, crazy assassination attempt on the emperor—the execution of the plot will have you in stitches. While it might not be one of the greatest hits Disney ever came up with, the movie was popular enough to spawn a whole series on Disney channel as well as a sequel and video game.
7. Lilo & Stitch and Treasure Planet, 2002
The 2000s decade certainly saw Disney moving away from its usual princess and prince formula. That’s quite a positive change, especially as we like to relate to our favorite movies as much as possible. This cartoon movie shows us an ordinary Hawaiian girl, dealing with a dysfunctional family and warding off social workers as well.
From there on, things get interesting as Stitch enters the scene. He’s basically a failed illegal experiment, but Lilo makes a friend out of him soon enough. The story then progresses with each character learning an important lesson along the way.
8. Bridge to Terabithia, 2007
This work is based on a popular children’s book, but it’s gained a following in its own right. Children who found things hard at home and at school found this movie immensely relatable. With the main characters, we can escape to fantastical worlds and have all the adventures we want.
The reviews for this movie were mostly positive, especially as it stayed more or less faithful to the novel. The visuals were dynamic, and the children’s performances were reported to be delightfully natural. The success of this movie is proven by the fact that it was nominated seven times at the Young Artist Awards and won five of them. That’s certainly no mean feat!
9. The Princess and the Frog, 2009
Everyone’s familiar with the classic tale of the princess who kisses a frog and finds that he was a prince under a spell. However, the modern twist here takes us on an exciting ride where the princess is a hardworking waitress and a POC to boot. Throw in a villain who practices black magic and a chilling sequence with voodoo dolls, and this cartoon has a lot to offer.
The overall style of this movie is also worth talking about. It’s not the kind of animation we see in ‘Finding Nemo’ or ‘Wall-E’ but falls in the hand-drawn style of the older cartoons. You might see similar work in the best Disney movies of the 1960s, though this 2009 offering is far more streamlined.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean; The Curse of the Black Pearl, 2003
This is one of the longest-running and most successful Disney franchises to date. In fact, some might not even know that it was a Disney movie. “The Curse of the Black Pearl” was the first movie in this saga, and is still upheld as a classic among modern pirate movies.
This work is a must-watch if you like pirates, stormy seas, and a bit of laughter in your entertainment choices. With iconic actors like Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp, not many people would be fine with missing out on this one.
A lot has changed for Disney over the years, but their movies are still a great hit with their audiences. Some of the best ones can stay with us for a lifetime, especially as they keep coming out with sequels and live-action versions. As adults, we can now revisit the magical worlds that Disney gave us when we were kids.
Of course, these modern movies might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re looking for a vintage Disney experience, you might want to check out the best Disney moves of the 1950s.