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12 merry movies to stream on Disney Plus this Christmas
Disney hooks up the holiday binge...
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Over recent years, the advent of Netflix has made the Christmas movie marathon a breeze. Gone are the days where you’d wipe the grime off a bootleg copy of Mr Popper’s Penguins that you found loose in your Mum’s entertainment cabinet and pray that the dusty old ALDI DVD player could handle Jim Carrey’s over-the-top performance. These days, all you need is an internet connection and a laptop or tablet to accompany the last nightcap on Christmas Eve.
Netflix has done a stand-up job of providing us with the usual suspects over the years, like Die Hard and Home Alone and more recently it’s released a bonafide Christmas classic-in-the-making with the wonderful Klaus.
But as we all know, sometimes the best Christmas movies have nothing to do with Christmas at all; animated classics like Aladdin, Hercules and The Little Mermaid provide all the merriment without any of the overt Christmas messaging. Now that Disney Plus has launched in Australia, Walt’s vault will be at your fingertips this Christmas (with most of it in crisp 4K resolution).
So whether you’re after the obvious Christmas picks or simply something warm and fuzzy to send you off after too much mulled wine, these are the best Christmas movies on Disney Plus.
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The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas gave wee little goth babies something to celebrate when everyone else was busy spreading Christmas jeer.
If Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t already part of your holiday routine, there’s no better time to follow the Pumpkin King’s quest to bring some festive joy to the frightful folks of Halloweentown. There should also be something new for returning guests too, as Disney Plus includes a selection of extra content, with deleted scenes and storyboards, such as a deleted scene of Oogie Boogie’s Shadow Dance.
Let’s be real. You’ve seen this one every Christmas since it first released and if you’re still holding on to some resentment from last year’s forced sing-a-long, it’s time to Let It Go.
Because Frozen 2 has officially released and while it won’t be home by Christmas, Disney Plus has the next best thing: the first Frozen movie. But that’s not all, folks. Disney Plus also has Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Frozen Fever and four episodes of Lego Frozen: Northern Lights.
There’s also a bunch of fun extras the kids probably haven’t seen before, like deleted scenes and something called Disney As Told By Emoji: Frozen? I don’t know, I’m just the messenger.
Another unmissable classic that gets a workout over Christmas, Macauley Culkin’s holiday caper has done the rounds on alternative streaming services like Netflix over the years but now it’s come home to Disney Plus.
If you’re planning on catching Joe Pesci in Scorcese’s The Irishman this year, Home Alone is an essential supplementary text. Pesci plays one part of a burglar duo who pick the wrong Culkin to mess with one fateful Christmas (Kieran would have been a straight pushover).
Best of all, you can follow-up with Home Alone 2: Lost in New York immediately after on Disney Plus. Just give the Culkin-free Home Alone 3 a miss.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, De Niro and Pesci; some of cinemas’ greatest couplings of all time but none hold a candle to the dynamic duo of Michael Caine and Kermit The Frog.
Few straight-up Christmas flicks stand the test of time like The Muppet Christmas Carol but it’s not only the most fozzie-bearable version of the classic Christmas tale, it’s one of the most enjoyable holiday films for young and old.
Not only is The Muppet Christmas Carol available to stream in 4K/UHD, but there’s also a bonus deleted song “When Love is Gone” from Ebeneezer Scrooge (Caine) and Belle (Meredith Braun).
For better or for worse, the holiday season is about spending some quality time with the fam. Whether you’re a tightknit squad or forced together by the festive season, there’s nothing like a heartwarming Disney family flick to bring everyone together.
And what better way to feel the love than with the family-focused animated musical Coco?
Coming hot off the heels of a couple of Pixar flops (by Pixar’s standards), Coco came at a time where fans might have been experiencing a bit of fatigue from the revolutionary animation studio. If you did give this one a miss at the time, we can’t recommend it enough.
Coco follows Miguel, a young Mexican boy and gifted musician who ends up trapped in the afterlife after he disobeys his dispirited family. Set in The Land of the Dead and based on the Dia de Los Muertos festival, this is an adventure that’s bursting with colour and banging tunes.
Iron Man 3
Some people would argue that Iron Man 3 is a weak point for the series. Some people would argue that Iron Man 3 isn’t a Christmas movie. These people probably say the same about Die Hard but, thankfully, these people are wrong. Plain wrong.
Iron Man 3 is set in the aftermath of the first Avengers flick where Tony Stark had a close shave with death in the vast emptiness of space. Naturally, Tony’s having a bit of a rough time back on Earth.
Nothing that a bit of Christmas magic can’t fix.
Up against it, Tony’s past comes back to haunt him in a devastating way, forcing him to reconnect with his roots and piece himself back together again, like the very suits he now uses as a safety blanket. As we know from later movies, things don’t get much easier for Tony as time goes on, but that’s showbiz, baby.
Street rat? Riff-Raff? At this time of year? You bet. Not only is the original animated Aladdin streaming in glorious 4K on Disney Plus, so are its direct-to-video sequels, which as far as direct-to-video sequels go, are actually pretty damn good.
At the very least, do yourself a favour and check out Return of Jafar. It’s worth it for the epic showdown with an evil Genie.
Though, you will miss Robin Williams’ Genie. No doubt a little too high-profile for a direct-to-video release, Robin Williams sat this one out, handing the role of Genie over to Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson).
Once again, there’s a few extra goodies on hand, most notably Jafar’s deleted song from the original, “My Finest Hour”.
Secrets of Christ’s Tomb
Everyone’s got that one brother or cousin who spends most of Christmas Day explaining the perfect balance of VG and PG in their litre of vape juice; the one who spends most of the day boldly disengaged from the usual family banter as they search through a year’s worth of YouTube history to give you the cliff notes on their favourite conspiracies of the year. Well, now there’s something on Disney Plus that’s both festive and informative: Secrets of Christ’s Tomb.
You’re not going to watch this one yourself but it should be a good sitter for the speculatist in your litter. At the very least, it’s a safety net to prevent the little ones in your family from walking in on an Alex Jones tirade.
It’s a mystery how 97’s Anastasia seems to get left out of the conversation when we discuss classic animated Disney. What other Disney movie follows a young Russian Grand Duchess played by Meg Ryan (between Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail) up against real-life mystic/possible sorcerer Grigori Rasputin (played by Christopher “Doc Brown” Loyd) and one of the best comic-relief creatures in Disney history, Bartok the Magnificent (Hank Azaria). The mind boggles.
To top it all off, it’s set against the backdrop of communist, snow-covered Russia circa 1926. Wonderful.
Empire of Dreams
Christmas isn’t just a time to gather the family in front of the tube, it’s a time to catch up on all the things you’ve missed. While you’ve no doubt made short work of The Mandalorian, there’s another Star Wars flick you might have missed in the Disney Plus library: Empire of Dreams.
This elusive documentary was first released as an exclusive 150-minute bonus disc for the 2004 Star Wars Trilogy box set. It was released later that year on the A&E Network but with about an hour content cut out. Now with the launch of Disney Plus, a wider audience has access to, seemingly, all 150 minutes of the documentary (but there’s still a disclaimer to state that some content has been edited out).
Give it a whirl over Christmas while you revel in the glorious afterglow or deep disappointment of Rise of the Skywalker.
Christmas…snow…cold…cool… Cool Runnings. Look, do you really need a seasonal reason to revisit this classic true story about the Jamaican bobsled team’s debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Cool Runnings is a comedy with heart. Behind the surface level laughs and fish-out-of-water gags, there’s an inspiring story about determination, teamwork and breaking boundaries.
Fun fact: Director Jon Turtletaub went on to direct the National Treasure movies (also on Disney Plus) and … The Meg? Go figure.
Pluto’s Christmas Tree
Best Christmas Short
There are plenty of quality animated shorts on Disney Plus, from classic cartoons with Mickey and crew to more recent Pixar fare, such as Bao, Day and Night, Float and, of course, Geri’s Game. However, if you’re after something to keep the kids occupied for 5 mins while you monitor the self-appointed BBQ boss, Pluto’s Christmas Tree is a fitting stocking filler.
And if you want to continue to nibble away at the old-timey classics, Disney Plus is also streaming Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse in “The Band Concert”, and Lonesome Ghosts, just to name a few.