The 1990s were unquestionably a golden era for animated films. Disney governed the box office with an iron fist, resulting in a veritable flood of animated movies made in the hopes of overthrowing the throne. To their parents’ chagrin, the rise of VHS permitted ’90s kids everywhere to watch their favorite animated movies over and over again and today we will discuss about some underrated ones.
Still, as fans aged, they clung to the majority of our memories of these films, although there were a few we were unable to recall along the way. Despite their relative obscurity, these films are the same caliber as the more renowned fare with which they share VHS stacks.
7 Underrated 90’s Animated Movies:
1. Cats Don’t Dance
- Director: Mark Dindal
- Writer: Roberts Gannaway, Elana lesser, Cliff Ruby, Theressa Pettengill.
- Characters: Mark Dindal, Ashley Peldon, Scott Bakula, Jasmine Guy, Matthew Herried, Don Knotts, George Kennedy, John Rhys Davies, Kathy Najimy, Betty Lou Gerson, Hal Holbrook, Rene Auberjonois, Frank Welker, Tony Pope, Lindsay Ridgeway, David Johansen, Natalie Cole, Mona Marshall.
- IMDb: 6.9/10
- Release: 26 March 1997
- Platform: Prime Video, Apple TV, or Vudu.
About Cats Don’t Dance:
This animation is about Danny, an idealistic 18-year-old cat from Kokomo, Indiana, journeyed to Hollywood in 1939, in an environment in which humans, as well as humanoid animals, exist side by side in the desire to begin an acting career. After reaching a young penguin going to name Pudge, Danny is chosen by agent Farley Wink to star in the film Li’l Ark Angel, which is currently in production at Mammoth Pictures, together with Wink’s secretary, an absolutely gorgeous but nevertheless cynical female white cat named Sawyer.
However, Danny is disheartened to understand how minor his role is after joining fellow animals Tillie the hippo, Cranston the goat, and Frances the fish, but instead, T.W the tortoise, and attempts to weasel his way further into time in the spotlight. Meanwhile, Darla tries to subvert the display by trying to interfere with the set as well as special effects equipment, but her efforts actually improve the performance.
Darla yells angrily at the animals for thwarting her plan because once her voice is augmented over the theater’s speaker system due to a tangled-up boom mic, unwittingly exposing the truth about just the altercation to the audience, which includes L.B. and Flanigan. Next, Darla tries to conceal her true feelings for Danny by kissing and hugging him, but Pudge needs to send her down a trapdoor. Finally, the animals achieve their ambitions for larger roles, Danny and Sawyer confess their feelings for one another, and Darla is reassigned to a janitor.
2. The Brave Little Toaster
- Director: Jerry Rees
- Writer: Jerry Rees and Joe Ranft.
- Characters: Deanna Oliver, Timothy Stack, Timothy E Day, Thurl Ravenscroft, Joe Ranft, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Colette Savage, Wayne Kaatz, Judy Toll, Jim Jackman, Randall William Cook, Mindy Sterling, Jonathan Benair, Roger Kabler, Andy Milder.
- IMDb: 6.1/10
- Release: 13 July 1987
- Platform: Disney movies.
About The Brave Little Toaster:
This animation is about Five members of a family of mild electrical equipment – a toaster, a radio, a lamp stick up called “Lampy,” a powered blanket called “Blanky,” and a vacuum cleaner called “Kirby” – wait for the return of a young boy identified as Rob (some who they correspond to as the master) who previously vacation just at the cottage to his family, however, the family really hasn’t come by in many years.
So, the gadgets decide to venture out again and find Rob themself one day in July after learning that the farmhouse is about to be sold. They convert Kirby into a string trimmer by connecting a rolling office chair, a power strip, and a Junko car battery for just a power source to him, and they travel via Kirby, with Radio acting as navigator by directing the group forward into urban radio signals picked up by him.
The appliances have a number of terrifying adventures along the way. When their battery runs low, the group decides to spend the night in the woods, with Blanky having to serve as a makeshift tent. A storm blows Blanky into the woods during the night, as well as Lampy uses himself as a power source to charge up the battery.
3. James and The Giant Peach
- Director: Henry Selick
- Writer: Henry Selick
- Characters: Paul Terry, Joanna Lumley, Susan Sarandon, Miriam Margolyes, Richard Dreyfuss, David Thewlis, Simon Callow, Karey Kirkpatrick, Pete Postlethwaite, Jane Leeves, Steven Culp, Mario Yedidia, Cirocco Dunlap, Susan Turner Cray, Mike Starr, Kathryn Howell, Michael Girardin, Albert Nalbandian.
- IMDb: 6.7/10
- Release: 12 April 1996
- Platform: Disney Movies.
About James and The Giant Peach:
This animated film is about James Henry Trotter is a young boy who lives pleasantly with his parents in a seaside home. Unfortunately, an unusually carnivorous rhinoceros manages to escape from the zoo and devours James’ parents when he is four years old. Spiker and Sponge, his two cruel aunts, end up adopting him.
Rather than caring for him, they abuse him, starve him, and compel him to sleep on plain planks. After three decades of living with his aunts, James needs to meet a masked vigilante who hands him a pouch of magical crystals and instructs him to use them in a potion that will start changing his life for the better.
Unfortunately, James stumbles as well as sloshes the bag on the ground on his way home, beginning to lose the crystals in the process. In turn, a proximity peach tree generates a single peach that quickly develops to the magnitude of a house.
Spiker and Sponge construct a fence surrounding it and make money by selling tickets to tourists; James is trapped inside, only allowed to see the plum through all the nightclubs of his bedroom window. James is delegated to clean up the garbage around the peach after the tourists have left and discover a tunnel within it.
The following day, the Centipede breaks the peach stem, having caused it to roll away but instead crush James’ aunts. Then, finally, it makes it to the sea, where ravenous sharks envelop it.
4. The Secret of Nimh
- Director: Don Bluth
- Writer: Don Bluth, Robert O Brian, Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy, Will Finn, Ken Anderson.
- Characters: Dom DeLuise, Elizabeth Hartman, Derek Jacobi, Arthur Malet, Jodi Hicks, Peter Strauss, Hermione Baddeley, Shannen Doherty, Wil Wheaton, John Carradine, Edie McClurg, Ina Fried, Paul Shenar, ALdo Ray, Tom Hatten, Lucille Bliss.
- IMDb: 7.5/10
- Release: 2 July 1982
- Platform: Prime Video.
About The Secret of Nimh:
This underrated 90s animated movie is about Mrs. Brisby, a widowed ground mouse, currently resides on the Fitzgibbons’ farm in a cinder block with her children. Brisby wishes to get her family away from the field as plowing season strategies, and though her son Timothy is ill. Brisby pays a visit to Mr. Ages, a good associate of her late husband, Jonathan.
Ages detect Timothy’s disease as pneumonia, gives her medicine, as well as cautions her that Timothy can and should stay indoors for at least three months or he will die. On her way home, Brisby meets Jeremy, a cumbersome but amiable crow. They either narrowly escape Dragon, the Fitzgibbons’ cat.
Brisby uncovers the next morning that Farmer Fitzgibbons has begun plowing early. Brisby recognizes she needs to come up with another plan after her neighbor Auntie Shrew assists her in disabling his tractor.
Jeremy appears to take her to satisfy the Great Owl, who informs her to go to a colony of rats that lives underneath the rose bush on the farm and ask Nicodemus, their wise but instead mystical leader, for assistance. Brisby needs to enter the rose bush and is chased away by an assertive guard rat named Brutus. Ages lead her back in, and she is astounded by the rats’ use of grid power and other technology.
5. Rock A Doodle
- Director: Don Bluth
- Writer: Don Bluth, Edmond Rostand, David N. Weiss, John Pomeroy, David J. Steinberg
- Characters: Christopher Plummer, Glen Campbell, Sorrell Booke
- IMDb: 6/10
- Release: 3 April 1992
- Platform: Prime Video, Google Play Store.
About Rock A Doodle:
This animation revolves around Chanticleer, a rooster for whom the singing elevates the sun each morning, fights a random person dispatched by the Grand Duke of Owls, for whom the kind despises sunlight. Chanticleer defeats his opponent but keeps forgetting to crow, and the sun comes up regardless.
But then, Chanticleer leaves the farm in shame, mocked and denied by the other animals, and the sun sets because Chanticleer is not densely populated. Following that, constant darkness, as well as rain, threatened to flood the farm. This situation turns out to be a fairy tale that his mom is reading to a young boy named Edmond.
Their homestead is in danger of someone being destroyed by a storm, and when Edmond’s mother leaves to help the remainder of the family, he requests Chanticleer’s return. Instead, he is met by the duke, who is enraged by Edmond’s intervention and utilizes his mystical exhalation to convert Edmond together into a kitten again with the intent of devouring him.
Patou, a basset hound from Chanticleer’s homestead who toils to tie his shoes, saves Edmond, and Edmond handles to speed away the duke with a flashlight. Edmond then fulfills several other farm animals; all wanting to find Chanticleer and apologize to him for their misbehavior.
- Director: Don Bluth
- Writer: Hans Christian Andersen, Don Bluth
- Characters: Carol Channing, Jodi Benson, Gilbert Gottfried, Barbara Cook
- IMDb: 6.2/10
- Release: 30 March 1994
- Platform: Disney Plus
A woman longing for a child consults a witch and is given a barleycorn to take home and plant. Thumbelina emerges from the flower of the barleycorn after it has been planted and sprouted. Thumbelina is comatose in her walnut-shell cradle when she is kidnapped by a toad who desires her as a wedding for her son.
But Thumbelina manages to escape the toad and her son with pleasant fish and breaststroke assistance. And wanders on a lily pad until she is caught by a stag beetle, who later discards her. Thumbelina attempts to shield herself again from the elements. When winter arrives, she is in dire straits.
She is eventually given shelter because of an old field mouse and gratefully tends her home. Thumbelina comes across a wounded swallow while touring a mole, a field mouse’s neighbor. One night, she fulfills the swallow and discovers what occurred to him.
She continues to visit the swallow at midnight without trying to tell the field mouse, as well as aims to assist him in gaining strength. She commonly feels comfortable with him in the winter, playing music, telling him stories, and paying attention to his stories till spring arrives. But this 90s beautifully animated movie didn’t get the attention it deserved and hence it is in our underrated list.
7. The Pagemaster
- Director: Joe Johnston and Maurice Haunt
- Writer: David Casci, David Kirschner, and Ernie Contreras.
- Characters: Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Stewart, Leonard Nimoy, Jim Cummings, Frank Welker, Ed Begley Jr., Mel Harris, George Hearn, Phil Hartman, Ed Gilbert, B J Ward.
- IMDb: 6.1/10
- Release: 23 November 1994
- Platform: Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Instant Video.
About The Pagemaster:
This animation is about a pessimistic 10-year-old Richard Tyler lives his life based on numbers and is terrified of everything. His irritated parents have tried numerous methods to instill courage in him, with little success. Finally, Richard is dispatched to purchase a bag of nails for the construction of a treehouse.
However, Richard is caught in a severe thunderstorm and seeks refuge in a library. Despite Richard’s protests, he meets Mr. Dewey, an idiosyncratic librarian/custodian who keeps insisting that he needs a special book but instead gives him a library card.
Richard discovers a large rotunda decorated with many significant writer characters while looking for a phone. Unfortunately, he slips on water drops from his coat and falls, knocking himself out. When Richard awakens, the rotunda art begins to melt, and it has washed over him and the library.
The Pagemaster, the fantastical Keeper of Books as well as Guardian of something like the Written Word, greets him. Then Richard requests directions to the exit. The Pagemaster directs him through the fiction section towards the green neon exit sign.
Richard meets three humanoid books along the way: Excursion, a buccaneering pirate-like book; Fiction, a sassy but compassionate fairy-tale book; and Horror, a frightened “Hunchbook” with such a misshapen spine.