Get ready for a summer of adventure with Disney+
Want to take the family on an adventure this summer but not sure where to start? Thanks to Disney+, you need look no further than your living room, with the highly anticipated Disney and Pixar Original feature film, Luca, having recently landed on the platform. It’s perfect for the whole family, but then, as the dedicated streaming service for films and TV series from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic – as well as new entertainment brand, Star – so is Disney+ itself. Plus, with a host of new films and series on offer this summer, you can whisk your family away to the destination of their choice, all from the comfort of the sofa. High Life takes a look at this month’s highlights
Destination: Picture-postcard Italy
The buzz around a new Pixar Animation Studios release has always held a certain thrill, and with the animation house’s latest offering, Luca – a fantastical, shape-shifting, coming-of-age tale – it more than lives up to the hype. The story follows a young sea monster shepherd (complete with bleating fish herd) who tracks a trail of debris to the ocean’s surface only to discover he can transform into a human on dry land. Finding himself in the quaint fictional Italian town of Portorosso, Luca befriends fellow monster-turned-landlubber Alberto as well as the competitive and inspirational human girl Giulia. An action-packed story of friendship, family and a fanatical love of Vespas ensues, uniting the characters in an uplifting and heart-warming adventure. It’s littered with Pixar’s knowing humour, positive messaging and enjoyable nods to Japanese animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki (the town’s name is a spin on his film Porco Rosso and there’s a rotund cat named Machiavelli that’ll ring a few film-buff bells). It’ll have parents planning a trip to the continent and kids giggling with glee in no time. In short: it’s one for the top of your watch list.
Destination: Space, time and everywhere in between
Everyone’s favourite God of Mischief is back, and this time he’s the star of the show in his own new sci-fi series, Loki. If the MCU – aka Marvel Cinematic Universe – has passed you by until now, we’re impressed (and a maybe just a tad concerned), but don’t fret: Disney+ has every Marvel film and TV series ready and waiting to welcome you into the superhero saga, including this brand-new, time-warping, brain bending series following the dastardly antics of Thor’s charmingly unreliable little brother. Bask in Tom Hiddleston’s jaw-droppingly good performance, bolstered by whip-smart dialogue, a blockbuster budget and an eye-wateringly impressive supporting cast, including Richard E Grant, Owen Wilson and 2019 High Life cover star Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Raya and the Last Dragon
Watch Raya and the Last Dragon
Destination: Magical lands
Travel across animated alternate southeast Asia with enigmatic trio Raya (a warrior princess), Tuk Tuk (her woodlouse-cum-chipmunk sidekick) and Sisu (a blue dragon). As they scour their broken home of Kumandra to locate the lost pieces of a fabled ‘dragon gem’ that will restore peace to the land, they encounter thieving babies, ‘toot-and-boom’ bugs and booby traps complex enough to stump Indiana Jones – not to mention sword-wielding, big cat-riding baddies who throw regular spanners in the works. With outstanding animation, impressive vocal talents (including Kelly Marie Chan, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan and Benedict Wong) and a comfy run time, it’s a fab fantasy the whole family is sure to love – so grab the kids and the popcorn, because here be dragons.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Watch Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Destination: Out of this world
For many Star Wars fans, animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars hit new heights in the sci-fi franchise’s animated canon but, with this spin-off (and sequel) to the critically acclaimed show, Star Wars: The Bad Batch raises the bar for space-set adventures once again. Following ‘Clone Force 99’, a squad of specialist troopers working as mercenaries after the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the series adds a new layer of intrigue to the clones’ plight in the greater Star Wars story. Once again utilising the talents of voice magician Dee Bradley Baker and featuring some great guest appearances from the ‘main’ series (Palpatine and Tarkin, to name a few), grown-up geeks will get a kick out of it and kids will be captivated by the riveting storylines and eye-popping animation.
Watch Genius: Aretha
Destination: The past
Who says learning can’t be fun? Not National Geographic, that’s for sure. The channel’s Emmy-winning anthology TV drama series Genius follows up its first two critically acclaimed seasons (on Einstein and Picasso) with a third on the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. British Oscar-nominee and Chewing Gum star Cynthia Erivo plays the eponymous Grammy winner, while Hollywood bigwig Ron Howard executive produces. The powerful story of the singer’s life is laid bare through incredibly wrought drama, fabulous set-piece songs and powerful performances. It’s a treasured trip back in time for parents and an eye-opening, educational and entertaining ride for youngsters. In other words, this is important viewing for the whole family.