animation film Reviews TV

Disney+ Review: More of the Same So Far, No Surprises Yet, Still a Great Streaming Service

I have been anticipating Disney+ for months. Upon learning that the entirety of the Disney Animation and Pixar libraries will be available for streaming, how can an aficionado like me not be excited? Now that it’s out, while I’m enjoying it a lot, it didn’t surprise or wow me like streaming services like Netflix have over and over again. It’s still early days, but I think that the launch should have given us more. More specifically, more original content and a more expansive and diverse library of previously released film and TV.

Now, just to get one thing out of the way. This launch was a mess. The first day was very glitchy, with loads of problems, and even now, a couple weeks later, there are not any streaming standard things like a “Continue Watching” feature, which is honestly ridiculous. That should have been there on day one. Another issue, I currently cannot stream Disney+ onto my TV. My Chromecast, built inside a year-old TV, is not supported. And there have been plenty of reports of things like this, with issues with streaming onto TVs and such. This is a huge issue, one that Disney probably will not even fix. I need to come up with a different solution to stream to my TV. It’s definitely frustrating, and it shows a lot of laziness on Disney’s part regarding support for this streaming service.

In terms of original content, there is nothing truly surprising about its launch lineup, except for Pixar’s Sparkshorts which have each genuinely blown me away. Aside from the Sparkshorts, There’s a lot of different original shows and films, but it just feels like the run-of-the-mill Star Wars series, the predictable Disney World documentaries because of course there would be something about the parks, the live-action remake, and the Disney Channel dumpster fire. But, it’s not all bad. I am enjoying The Mandalorian, Forky Asks a Question, and the Pixar Sparkshorts are amazing, but I wish they gave us one truly surprising, completely unexpected series at launch.

One thing that is crucial for a streaming service is a diverse library. This is perhaps Disney+’s biggest issue. At least at the moment, if you want to watch something outside of the Disney/Pixar/Marvel/Star Wars umbrella, you will find an insanely minimal selection. Disney seems to have forgotten that they bought out a massive media corporation by the name of Fox. There should be a boatload of diverse, non-Disney umbrella films and TV shows. Those golden-age Fox musicals, for example. Where are they? We only have The Sound of Music at the moment which, granted, is an amazing movie, but it’s not enough to diversify the Disney+ library.

There is so much more that they gotta put in to diversify this streaming service. And for that reason, I believe that absolutely no one is ever going to use Disney+ as their one and only streaming service. It will always be a secondary streaming service because it’s so limited to what Disney owns. Unless there is someone out there who watches nothing but Disney films, which would honestly be kind of sad, people want a diverse library. And Disney+ doesn’t quite have that, and with them capping their content rating at PG-13 (a ridiculously stupid idea seeing as how you can simply set up a kid’s account for younger audiences), I don’t think their library will ever be truly diverse, which is upsetting because now it will always just be a secondary streaming service to the juggernauts that are Netflix and Prime Video.

Also, one massive issue that has been frustrating a lot of media buffs such as myself is the changes in aspect ratio to a bunch of different TV shows. The biggest victim, The Simpsons. My collection of Simpsons DVDs is expansive, I have every season that is available on DVD, so I don’t need this to be streamed specifically, but it’s certainly convenient! If I’m somewhere where I don’t have my collection with me, I’m going to find a lot of convenience in having this streaming option. But, they absolutely dropped the ball by cropping and stretching out seasons 1-20 from the original 4:3 to 16:9.

But, despite all this possible negativity, it is by no means a bad streaming service. I think it is definitely worth the price, and I can’t emphasize this enough, it works best as a secondary streaming service. If you want to watch all the Disney-umbrella content, its library is filled to the brim with Disney films and TV shows, both classic and new. But if you want to watch anything outside of the Disney umbrella, Disney+ is not the place to get that.

Overall, it’s a great streaming service, but its lack of a diverse library and its crazy restrictions will always keep it from being a primary streaming service. But if you want a place to get all your Disney content streamed to any device, you will want Disney+. Just keep your expectations in check and don’t expect much more than a whole lot of Disney. I’d like to do another review a year from now and see where Disney+ is at, but for now, there is not much here that is overly surprising.

Grade: 7 out of 10

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