The Walt Disney Company has never been shy about taking risks. From its early days shifting from animated shorts to feature-length movies, to its theme parks, to its recent buying spree of huge entertainment brands like Marvel, Star Wars, and Fox, Disney is a company that is not content to sit still.
Disney+ is only their latest “big idea” but in many ways it feels like their magnum opus. With its launching, you can say goodbye to the days of Disney movies being put on sale for a limited time “from the Disney vault.” You can say goodbye to paying thirty-bucks for a single Blu ray of Frozen. You can say goodbye to scrounging the internet’s high seas to find a rare Donald Duck short that you wanted to watch on a random Sunday afternoon.
Now, basically everything Disney ever produced or bought can be accessed in one place.
And that’s it. There’s really nothing else to say in terms of the benefits of Disney+. Everyone knows how it works; this is the era of Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV, and such like. The pros are obvious, the benefits apparent. What you want to know are the negatives. What you want to know is: Does it work? Is it worth it? What’s missing?
So here’s the day-one breakdown:
DOES IT WORK?
It does but it could be better. I won’t hold the day-one glitches against them as I’m sure the company is working overtime to fix those. There were loading problems, log-in problems, problems with selecting one show and getting something else entirely, problems with the color going all crazy, etc. That’s just the stuff that happens when you launch an incredibly popular service. It could be worse: When Jurassic Park opened in 1993…nothing worked!
That being said there are some things that I take issue with that were design choices I’d like to see them change…
- There needs to be a dedicated 20th Century Fox tab. Right now there is a ton of G-PG-13 content from Fox on the service, but you’d barely know it just by casually browsing the interface. You have to dig deeper, by scouring through genres or using the search feature to find things like The Sandlot, Miracle on 34th Street, The Sound of Music and more. Disney is more than happy to give NatGeo, Star Wars, and Marvel their own sections, Fox either needs one too, or it needs an easier way to browse that content.
- Movies within categories are not arranged by release date. I don’t understand this at all. Click on Marvel and the first movie up is Endgame, followed by Captain Marvel and then…Iron Man 3? There’s no rhyme or reason to the arrangement, making it frustrating for someone who wants to watch things in order. The TV series’ are appropriately arranged, but not the movie series’. That needs to change.
- A simple banner or differentiating color to identify which movies are available now and which are coming soon. The Last Jedi looks the same as Cinderella, until you click on it and read the memo stating it’s not yet available for streaming. Maybe a little ribbon over the image saying “coming soon” would be nice.
- Where the heck is the 1970’s Muppet Show?! How hard can it be to secure the rights to a performance by John Denver?
- Finally, and this is the ultimate in “complaining about something you knew you weren’t going to get,” but the original three Star Wars movies are still the same “altered to the point of ruined” ‘special’ editions that have been released, tweaked, re-released, re-tweaked, etc, since 1997. Greedo still shoots, Jabba is still an oddly-small slug talking to Han, Vader still does that horrendous and moment-killing “no, noooo!” scream at the climax of Jedi, etc. I’d like to see the original versions remastered and released, even if they were tucked away as extras. Until then, I’ll have to keep my despecialized versions handy.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Yes. Next question.
Really though, this is a no-brainer for anyone who loves even half the stuff on here. You may love Marvel and have no interest in Star Wars; it’s still worth $7 a month. You may only ever want to watch the animated classics. $7 a month is a steal. You might only care about Star Wars and might never even click on the NatGeo section (you totally should though); still, $7 is worth it.
A few big movies are missing, due to their being currently held up thanks to previously-made deals with other streaming services. Muppet Babies is nowhere to be found, too. There are several shorts that aren’t up yet. None of the R-rated stuff from Fox is or will ever be there, but there’s also quite a bit of Fox’s PG-13 lineup that’s absent, as well as some of Disney’s own PG-13 stuff from Touchstone Pictures. There’s no Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, or Signs. There’s no Lincoln, no Dick Tracy, not even Father of the Bride! I suppose Hulu will have those, but it’d be nice to have them under one roof.
I’ll just have to settle for thousands of hours of other films and shows instead.
9/10 – Disney+ debuts with a tremendous line-up of content, and with the promise of much more on the way. It’s a must-have service for anyone even remotely interested in the House of Mouse’s plethora of brands.