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The Disney+ streaming service arrived like Beauty and the Beast’s ballroom dance, with “oohs” and “ahs” and glistening eyes. Packed with high-quality content from the Disney vault, a few original productions—including what promises to be a fabulous Star Wars spin-off, The Mandalorian—and a very reasonable subscription price of $6.99 per month—Disney+ will attract families and anyone else attracted to Disney content. Competitors such as Netflix should be worried.
Disney fans will be enchanted with the vast number of old-time movies, including the likes The Shaggy Dog, Freaky Friday, The Love Bug, and The Apple Dumpling Gang, as well as 1980s and 90s Touchstone features, such as Adventures in Babysitting, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and 10 Things I Hate About You. There are classic 1930s full-color Mickey Mouse cartoons, such as the masterpiece The Band Concert, and a slew of brilliant TV shows like Gravity Falls, Phineas & Ferb, Kim Possible, and—thanks to Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox—all past 30 seasons of The Simpsons.
The homepage looks not unlike Apple+ or Netflix, with large, sliding banners showcasing the highlights. Below that are five boxes with Disney’s five main brands: Disney (of course), Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. These lead to the expected places, though some of the more recent entries in these categories are not included just yet, including this year’s Aladdin and The Lion King remakes, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Coco, Toy Story 4, and Ant-Man and the Wasp. (Weirdly, Avengers: Endgame is available, but not its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War. The 2008 The Incredible Hulk, with Edward Norton, is not here either.) For some reason The Muppets are not considered among of the top five, but the service offers all the Muppet movies, and some Muppet-based shows, although not the original The Muppet Show as yet.
The Marvel channel includes tons of cartoons, going all the way back to that silly 1960s Spider-Man series as well as the 1981 Saturday morning cartoon show Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The less-flashy National Geographic channel shouldn’t be ignored; it comes with the Oscar-winner Free Solo; the documentary Jane, on gorilla specialist Jane Goodall; the series Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted; as well as many documentaries on animals and space exploration. There’s even one on the Titanic.
The service is buggy at launch, both on the website and on streaming apps, and crashed repeatedly on its first day. I encountered a few short hiccups while watching a show. It also offers no manual controls to adjust streaming resolution, although it’s said to be available in 4K to the less-than-50-percent of viewers with a 4K set, as well as in 1080p HD. But hopefully Disney techs will quickly solve these problems and get things rolling. Meanwhile, I have reviewed five of the service’s original programs.
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