Disney+ original movies are what we will kindly call a mixed bag… unkindly we can say I’d like to put a mix of them into a bag and then throw that bag in a river. They aren’t good, and today I will be talking about another not good one because apparently somehow we started with a movie called Magic Camp that was meant to be written and star the iconic Steve Martin and ended up with a discount TV movie starring Jeffrey Tambor… fun.
Were it not for Howard Ashman, there’s a chance that Disney studios wouldn’t be the behemoth that it is today. The legendary lyricist is partially responsible (in conjunction with his friend Alan Menkin) for the songs from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beastand Aladdin which would be the three films that began the Disney Renaissance and, effectively, saved the company. He also wrote one of the greatest musicals of all time with Little Shop of Horrors, a masterpiece no one expected to work. His career was the stuff that icons are made of but judge as Howard was reaching his peak, he was taken from us. Now, in this hell year, we are given a documentary to honour a legend who should never be forgotten.
In 2001, Eoin Colfer released Artemis Fowl which was the first in a series of eight novels surrounding the adventures of the titular Artemis as he fights fairies, tries to save his father and… uh… do his taxes? I’ll be honest, I never read the Artemis Fowl book series as around that time I was just getting into the Harry Potter series (Yes, I’m aware that I bet on the wrong horse there. Sure Harry Potter had a good run of movies but… well, now I have to deal with liking the work of a transphobe so the Artemis Fowl fans won this in the long run) and didn’t have time for another book series about a 12-year-old in a battle with fantastical creatures stories, When I heard there was going to be a film of Artemis Fowl released this year I was mostly just happy to see Disney making a film that wasn’t just a remake of their earlier work. Then the apocalypse happened and Disney seemed almost eager to move this film to their streaming service… and having seen it, I can see why because oh god this one isn’t good.
In 2000, Jerry Spinelli released the novel Stargirl to critical acclaim. The book was a New York Times bestseller, won multiple awards and even had a sequel called Love, Stargirl. It even got adapted into a stage play and has led to the creation of groups known as Stargirl Societies, designed to encourage young people to be themselves. With all this acclaim and cultural impact, a film adaptation was somewhat inevitable and since Disney is a mega-corporation with a streaming service in search of original content it seems only logical that they would be the ones to take the ball and run with it… or, in this case, take the ball and casually walk down a footpath with it while whistling music by The Go-Go’s.
You know, I’ve tackled a fair few streaming networks over the years. I’ve dealt with Netflix originals, Stan originals and Shudder originals but I’ve somehow managed to avoid Disney Plus originals because none of them really leapt out at me. I almost watched that Lady and the Tramp remake but… well, I suffered through three Disney Remakes in one year, I’m allowed to skip one of them. There are a few original films on there but I figured they weren’t going to be that important for me to need to look through… and then the world decided to malfunction and every cinema closed, so I may as well throw the Disney Plus originals into my diet because why the hell not?