July on the streaming service is bookended by the hugely popular Hamilton musical and Disney+ Original TV show, Muppets Now. Along the way there’s plenty of family-friendly TV content, plus Solo: A Star Wars Story and Frozen II headline the audience-pleasing blockbuster movie lineup.
It’s fair to say we’ve started to see a pattern to DIsney’s streaming service’s monthly releases. Every month there’s a high profile original movie or series or two, a raft of TV shows from the archives and plenty of well known, seen-them-before-but-fancy-seeing-them-again movies from the company’s huge film library.
Is that any different from the other streaming services? No, probably not, it just feels a tad underwhelming, perhaps because expectations were so high before the launch last year.
The initial promise of new series digging further into the MCU and Star War universes was as a laser pointer to a cat as far as content hungry audiences were concerned. The reality hasn’t quite been the wall to wall Disney+ Originals, as the practicalities of a TV show production schedules became apparent even before the coronavirus pandemic halted TV and film production across the world. This situation affected all the big content creators equally, including Netflix and Amazon Prime, but Disney Plus seemed to suffer the worst as the promise of even its most imminent of new shows such as The Falcon and The Winter Soldier appeared to recede into the misty horizon.
Nonetheless, Disney has kept on top of the situation and, following Artemis Fowl’s debut on the streaming service last month, it's the turn of the filmed version of the hit stage musical Hamilton to have its initial release plans drastically altered as Lin-Manual Miranda’s modern retelling of the founding fathers is brought forward 15 months to fill the ‘This month’s Disney Original’ sized gap. Perhaps that was always the plan... stop sniggering at the back you cynics!
Elsewhere, Muppets Now will close out the month. A Disney+ Original announced at last year’s D23 event, the ‘unscripted’ show will see Scooter rushing around to hit deadlines to upload the brand-new Muppet streaming series - how meta. Quite how an unscripted show with puppets works will be quite interesting to see.
Big movies this month include the UK streaming debut of the record breaking Frozen II on July 3rd which rounds out the full stable of Frozen products at Disney+ with the behind-the-scenes special Into The Unknown: Making Frozen 2 , the original Frozen, plus related shorts Olaf’s Frozen Adventure and Frozen Fever and TV series Lego Frozen Northern Lights all available.
Finally, a new 6-part travelogue show called Rogue Trip follows ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff and his son Mack as they take in exotic locations around the world - all pre lockdown presumably.
As with all these content rundowns, the shows and films are subject to change according to territory and other factors, but let’s take a closer look at everything heading to the UK on Disney+ in July.
Frozen II (2019 Animation, Family Adventure, Voices: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad)
It’s three years since Elsa learned to harness and control her wintry powers in the first film and she now rules peaceful Arendelle. But she is distrubed by voices that invite her to a mystical forest her father once told her about. Determined to get to the bottom of her magical abilities she sets off with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven to find the answers and wonders whether this time round her powers will be enough to save Arendelle from destruction.
Holding the global record for the highest opening weekend for an animated film, Frozen II actually sits below the 2019 Lion King remake in terms of overall Box Office returns, However, and rather bizarrely, Disney does not regard The Lion King as an animated feature and so declares Frozen II in the number one slot.
Hamilton (2020, Musical, Historical, True-life, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr, Daveed Diggs)
Using a blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and traditional Broadway style show tunes, Hamilton tells the story of one of America's foremost founding fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton.
A huge hit, the show was filmed live on Broadway from the Richard Rodgers Theatre with the original cast and was originally planned to have a theatrical release in Oct 2021. Circumstances, however, have dictated otherwise and now Disney+ subscribers around the world can see a moment captured in time - the tale of the man told by the original, diverse cast.
From the Vault
Ice Age: Collision Course (2016, Animation, Family, Adventure, Ray Romano, Denis Leary John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah)
Scrat’s perma-pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into space where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest to stop an asteroid from hitting Earth, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colourful new characters.
Taking its inspiration from the frozen cave sequence in the first movie, the fifth tale in the Ice Age series saw the law of diminishing returns kick in both in terms of Box Office and critical reception. Now that the former 20th Century Fox property is owned by Disney, it will be interesting to see what direction they might take it in - a solo outing for Buck the one-eyed weasel dinosaur hunter has been mooted.
The Big Green (1995, Sport, Family, Comedy, Olivia d’Abo. Steve Guttenberg)
A teacher on exchange from England is placed in an underachieving Texan school, where she coaches the children in soccer, improving their self esteem and leading to unexpected success.
Not everything out of the Disney stable is pure gold and The Big Green has the unenviable record of holding a 0 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it (at least as of 2019) the lowest rated film ever produced by Walt Disney Pictures. If you want to laugh and point, now’s your chance but don't say you haven't been warned.
From the Vault
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017, Comedy, Family, Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott)
A Heffley family road trip to attend Meemaw's 90th birthday party goes off course thanks to Greg's newest scheme to get to a video gaming convention. This cross-country adventure turns into an experience the family will never forget.
Taking the main plot points from the ninth and tenth books in the series, the film served as both a sequel and a soft reboot as the cast members from the first three films do not reprise their roles, and are replaced by a new cast, though director David Bowers remains in place. Unfortunately, the result was the lowest grossing movie of the series.
The Mousketeers at Walt Disney World (1977, TV movie)
Follow the Disco Mice of the New Mickey Mouse Club as they visit Walt Disney World.
Secret Society of Second-Born Royals (2020, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Dir. Ann Mastro)
UPDATE: Secret Society of Second-Born Royals has been pushed back to 25th September 2020.
They may not be heirs, but they’re destined to protect the throne. Sam, a rebellious princess second in line to the throne of the kingdom of Illyria, is stunned to learn that she has superpowers and belongs to a secret society with a longstanding tradition of covertly keeping the peace throughout the kingdom. Sam is enrolled at a top-secret training program for a new class of second-born royals tasked with saving the world.
From The Vault
27 Dresses (2008, Comedy, Romance, Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Dir. Anne Fletcher)
After serving as a bridesmaid 27 times, a young woman (Katherine Heigl) wrestles with the idea of standing by her sister's side as her sibling marries the man she's secretly in love with.
Off the back of the successful Knocked Up Heigl continued her rom-com streak with 27 Dresses which studio research showed played to 75 percent female audiences. The clue is in the title.
Hamilton In-Depth with Kelley Carter
If you're planning on watching the filmed version of Hamilton which debuts on Disney+ from 3rd July (or even if you've seen the theatrical production and want to know more) then this documentary from Kelley Carter and TheUndefeated.com could reveal some uniquely interesting perspectives.
Presented as a roundtable video call (is there any other way at the moment?) Carter speaks to creator/star Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail and original cast members including Leslie Odom Jr and Daveed Diggs to discuss the show's early development, its vision and impact on pop culture and its relevance to today's activism movements.
Pixar in Real Life Episode 109: "UP: Balloon Cart Away"
This live action series brings iconic characters and moments from Pixar films into the real world. Filmed on location in and around New York City, the series surprises people when they least expect it.
In this episode, Carl (Up) asks real New Yorkers to watch his balloon cart.
Disney Family Sundays Episode 135: "Peter Pan: Shadow Box Theater"
Arts and craft series in which classic Disney characters and stories serve as starting points for creative projects. Presented by Amber Kemp Gerstel.
In this episode the Kurzawa family work with Amber on a craft inspired by Disney’s “Peter Pan” that is designed to bring out the child in everyone.
One Day at Disney Episode 131: "Zama Magudulela: The Lion King Madrid, Spain"
The regular series of shorts that take a closer look at the lives and work of Disney employees,
Zama Magudulela brings The Lion King to life through her role as ‘Rafiki’ for Madrid theatregoers every day. Magudulela considers it an honour to bring her African heritage to life for people abroad.
It's a Dog's Life with Bill Farmer Episode 108: "Movie Star Dogs & Hounds and Horses"
Voice artist Bill Farmer (the current voice of both Goofy and Pluto) tells the stories of working dogs across the United States while educating viewers on responsible pet care.
In this episode, Bill meets up with dogs who star in movies, and then visits a group of hounds and horses on a hunt.
Marvel Hero Project Episode 16 “Genesis The Amazing Ally”
This 20-episode series shares the remarkable, positive change several young kids are making in their own communities across the country with selfless acts of bravery and kindness. Now, Marvel celebrates them as true Super Heroes by welcoming them into Marvel's Hero Project.
Here, Genesis - who is already rocking a Super Hero name - is a fierce advocate for the care and safekeeping of all kinds of creatures, and her activism is inspiring others to follow her lead.
From the Vault
Animal ER (S1- 2, 2016-17)
The staff at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists treat pets and exotics from all walks of life. From chihuahuas to elephants, they attempt to save lives.
Ice Road Rescue (S1-4, 2015-19)
Deep in the frozen mountains of Norway, selfless rescue workers help stranded people stuck in the snow and clear the roads in some of the most dangerous areas.
Disney Family Sundays Episode 136: "Lilo and Stitch: Family Tree"
Ohana is the name of the game for Amber and the Green family in this craft inspired by Disney’s Lilo and Stitch.
One Day at Disney Episode 132: "Marc Smith: Story Artist"
Marc Smith, Director of Story, Frozen II at Walt Disney Animation Studios, shows how a drawing can become the key to a moving, emotional story.
It's a Dog's Life with Bill Farmer Episode 109
Bill meets an avalanche rescue dog, and six luggage-sniffing beagles.
Marvel Hero Project Episode 17 “Superior Salvador”
Salvador was one of the lucky people in Puerto Rico whose power wasn’t terribly affected by Hurricane Maria but there were others less fortunate, so, he put a plan into action to raise money to buy and distribute solar-powered lamps to families on the island still living in darkness.
From the Vault
Critter Fixers: Country Vets (S1, 2020)
100 miles south of Atlanta, Dr. Hodges and Dr. Ferguson are two longtime friends who own and operate Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital. Together with their staff, they treat and care for over 20,000 patients. Between emergency visits to the office, and farm calls throughout rural Georgia – the Critter Fixers are constantly bombarded with unique cases you only see in the country.
Gigantosaurus (S1, 2019)
Four curious young dinosaurs named Rocky, Bill, Tiny, and Mazu go on adventures while following their herd. The four friends look at things such as mapping the stars and searching for flowers but most importantly, they are asserting their independence and learn to do things away from the safety of the herd.
Secrets of the Zoo (S3, 2020)
One of the largest and most popular zoos in the US, Ohio’s renowned Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and its conservation park The Wilds, houses more than 10,000 animals on 12,000 acres. Now, Nat Geo Wild is taking viewers inside the grounds and allowing them to experience what visitors can’t: compelling, heartwarming stories, and behind-the-scenes moments and adventures.
Disney Family Sundays Episode 137 - “Moana: Tomato Photo Holder"
Amber offers another family a picture perfect craft inspired by Disney’s “Moana” and its villainous crab, Tamatoa.
One Day At Disney Episode 133“Mike Davie: Imagineering Project Manager”
As Principal Project Manager for Walt Disney Imagineering, Mike Davie sees his projects grow out of the ground and into magical experiences for Park guests. From drawing sketches on the back of a napkin to overseeing construction, Mike executes each project, including Epcot World Showcase’s new Ratatouille attraction, with determination and passion.
It's A Dog's Life with Bill Farmer Season Finale Episode 110 “Snake Search Dogs & Hawaiian Conservation Dogs”
In the season closer from Hawaii, Bill meets two dogs protecting birds. Then, he visits three snake-sniffing dogs.
Marvel Hero Project Episode 18 “Genius Gitanjali”
When Gitanjali discovered there were people living without clean water, she was determined to find a solution. Through rounds of trial and error, and the search for a lab that would let a middle schooler use it, Gitanjali invented a device that could test for contaminants in water.
From the Vault
A Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland (1955)
In archive footage, Walt Disney gives an update on the construction of the new magic kingdom.
Disney Junior Music Lullabies
Lost City of Machu Picchu (2020)
High in the Peruvian Andes lies the ancient city of Machu Picchu, a lost city of doorways and passages that hint at the ghosts of its past.
Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! (S1-2, 2004-05)
A twelve-year-old boy named Chiro-year-old boy joins forces with bionic monkeys to save the universe.
Wild Chile (S1, 2018)
At Chile’s northern edge, the driest desert in the world cuts off the country from the rest of South America. Here, in the Atacama Desert, wildlife has spent millions of years adapting to a life without water encompassing a diverse range of animals and plants.
Rogue Trip (S1, 2020, All 8 Episodes)
Rogue Trip is a travel guide starring ABC correspondent Bill Woodruff and his son that focuses on places where the average tourist is least likely to venture. Following Bill’s near death experience as a war correspondent, he became determined to pursue and embrace other cultures and passed that fearlessness onto his son Mack, now 28.
In the series, they visit the nations, territories and regions often misunderstood and frequently overlooked by the average tourist – but each possessing a unique power to surprise, amaze and inspire. Expect the unexpected in this father-son guide to the beautiful, breathtaking and often hopeful experiences to be had on the road less travelled.
Disney Family Sundays Episode 138: "Jungle Book: Finger Puppet"
Another family joins Amber to learn the bare necessities of finger puppet craftsmanship in this episode inspired by the characters from Disney’s The Jungle Book.
One Day at Disney Episode 134: "Chris Christi: Helicopter Reporter
KABC–TV LA’s Chris Cristi covers breaking news from 1,500 feet aboard his news chopper keeping Los Angeles apprised of the latest local stories. A self-proclaimed news nerd since age 9, Chris is fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news every day.
Marvel Hero Project Episode 19 “Astonishing Austin”
Austin knows what it’s like when food is scarce and decided to grab a handful of beans and plant a garden. He invited his community to pick what they wanted, and word spread. Volunteers came to help him and now more and more local people know how to reap the literal fruits of their labour.
From the Vault
Wild Congo (S1)
The ultimate series about Africa’s most mysterious and dangerous river – the Congo. The second longest in Africa and, in parts, the deepest river on Earth it is the blood vessel of Africa’s dark heart with Forest Elephants, Lowland Gorillas and never before filmed underwater beasts.
Wild Sri Lanka (S1, 2015
For centuries, Sri Lanka and its hidden treasures have seduced travellers from around the globe. The plains of Sri Lanka offer a wildlife spectacle to rival Africa’s Serengeti.
Muppets Now Episode 101: "Due Date"
The first part of a new six-episode Muppets show. Muppets Now is an "unscripted series featuring three different segments of a game show, a cooking show, and a talk show", with Kermit and company as hosts and featuring plenty of guest stars.
As showrunner, Scooter rushes to make his delivery deadlines and upload the brand-new series for streaming. He’ll need to navigate whatever obstacles, distractions, and complications the rest of the Muppet gang throws at him.
The Muppet team tried something similar based around a TV show format rather than a theatrical performance in 1996 but with limited success. Only 22 episodes were made of Muppets Tonight and only 13 of those were ever broadcast in the UK. Let’s hope this proves more long lasting.
Disney Family Sundays Episode 139: "Mickey and Minnie: Pillows"
The Chaney family make a Minnie and Mickey Mouse-inspired craft project ‘they can really sleep on’.
One Day at Disney Episode 135: “Ryan Meinerding: Marvel Studios Creative Director”
Creative Director Ryan Meinerding brings Marvel characters to life including the first looks of characters for Marvel Studios films such as Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America and more. From initial sketches to special effects, Ryan oversees the process of bringing the next iteration of iconic characters to the screen.
Marvel Hero Project Episode 20 (Finale) “High Flyin’ Hailey”
Hailey helps her sister and other kids with epilepsy get the medical care and support they need.
From the Vault
Alaska Animal Rescue (S1, 2020)
When animals are injured or orphaned in Alaska, there are those that will step up to help
Animal Showdown (S1)
Best Job Ever (S1)
Big Cat Games
Cradle of the Gods (2012, National Geographic Documentary)
Could a recently excavated, 12,000 year old temple have propelled us out of the stone age and into the space age? Archaeologist Dr. Jeff Rose investigates an extraordinary find in Turkey.
Destination World (S1, 2004)
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet (S8, 2020)
Dr. Oakley is the only vet in her area of the Yukon. She treats domestic pets, endangered wildlife, farm animals - basically anything that walks on fours, crawls, flies. All of that, plus she's a wife and a mum of three girls.
Fearless Adventures with Jack Randall (S1)
Hidden Kingdoms of China (S1, 2020)
With unique access to locations across the country, viewers go on a journey through these magical realms, exploring five very different worlds - high mountains, tropical jungles, bamboo forests, great plains and temperate forests.
Hunt for the Abominable Snowman (S1 2011)
Expedition Week follows explorer Gerry Moffatt as he visits the American Northwest and the Himalayas in search of the Yeti. He talks to witnesses who describe encounters with the creatures. Ho goes over photographs, prints, and physical evidence with experts and assesses their veracity.
India's Wild Leopards (2020, Documentary)
This programme journeys to Ladakh in the Himalaya in search of Snow Leopards - the ghost of the mountains. Then ventures into the realm of the smallest of big cats - the Clouded Leopard in the jungles of north east India. Wildlife Cameraman and National Geographic Fellow, Sandesh Kadur is on a mission to uncover their secretive lives.
Jungle Animal Rescue (S1)
King Fishers (S1, 2013)
Lost Temple of the Inca (2020, Documentary)
The film follows environmental scientist Preston Sowell, who believes he has found Ausangate, one of the lost temples of the Inca Empire at the headwaters of the Amazon River, along with mysterious artifacts, ruins and endangered wildlife
Marvel Funko (S1-2)
Surviving the Mount St. Helens Disaster (2020, Documentary)
The remarkable story of the cataclysmic Mount St. Helen's volcanic eruption of 1980 told by first hand witnesses who survived and using rare remastered archive material.
Weirdest, Bestest, Truest (S1)
What Sam Sees (S1)
So that’s it for July, hopefully there’ll be something for you (or your kids) to enjoy as we head into the heart of summer.
Let us know what you think of Disney Plus’s latest line up in the discussion thread.
Source: Wikipedia, imdb.com, WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com
Image Source: Google