Animated feature films have been held in the highest regard by both children and adults for their unique storytelling qualities. These studios have created iconic films for decades, from the most notable names like Walt Disney Animation or DreamWorks Animation to lesser-acknowledged companies such as the now-defunct Blue Sky Studios.
Though these moving works of art remain a testament to creative processes and memorable stories, not every movie has stood the test of time. Whether these animated films were well received at their time of release (and remain so) or not, a few have distinct flaws that are difficult to overlook.
*This article includes mention of sexual abuse.*
10 Titan AE Is Formulaic And Unoriginal
The animated Sci-fi film that hoped to garner attention for not being another animated movie based on a fairytale was the last feature for Fox Animation. Titan AE covers “the chosen one” trope, about a young man–Cale–who’s given a map by his late father to save the last of the human race. While the studio thought to include a great cast of voice actors from Matt Damon to Drew Barrymore, it wasn’t enough to save the film from flopping.
It may be a great childhood memory for young adults who saw the movie during its 2000 release, but a second watch may prove the film relies far too much on formulaic plot points. With the aged CG elements combined with the unoriginal story, it struggles to stand out.
9 Thumbelina Is Rather Sexist
Don Bluth’s ability to capture children’s hearts with his animated films isn’t a mystery, as he did just that with Thumbelina. Though the heartfelt story of a tiny young woman born out of a flower falling in love with a fairy prince is wholesome at its core, adults may pick up on the mature elements that feel highly inappropriate.
The concept of a woman wanting nothing more than to marry is sexist; throw in scenes of sexualized toads trying to force Thumbelina into marriage, a creepy beetle harassing her, and yet again coercing the girl into marriage with a predator mole. The movie results in a toxic display of sexist undertones.
8 Dumbo Displays Racism And Animal Abuse
Disney’s 1941 classic, Dumbo, indeed remains a cute-looking story about a baby elephant with ears large enough that he learns to fly. The film, when further analyzed, has several instances of dark moments. In terms of animal abuse, circuses, for the most part, have been banned from further keeping and raising wild animals to perform in the real world.
Dumbo never lacks a visual depiction of the devastating abuse of circus animals, from physical punishment to clowns tossing alcohol into the elephant’s water trough. In addition, there are a few racially insensitive scenes with a crew of Black men laboring under extreme conditions for the circus to the minstrel-type crows led by “Jim Crow.”
7 Antz’s Main Character Is Played By Woody Allen
DreamWorks’ Antz was released around the same time as Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, and though they both feature a set of insects simply surviving, their tones are vastly different. Aside from the disjointed storyline, adult-oriented script, and violent scenes, perhaps the most problematic part of the film is the lead character’s voice actor. Z is voiced by the infamous writer/director Woody Allen.
Allen has been the topic of conversation regarding allegations of him sexually assaulting his child-aged daughter and marrying his other adopted daughter. While Allen hasn’t been found guilty, recounted information by the younger daughter and her mother would prove otherwise. It’s difficult to watch a film, let alone an animated one aimed at a young audience, knowing it features an alleged child predator.
6 Peter Pan Is Blatantly Racist
A genuinely beloved Disney classic, Peter Pan will always stay an icon for many reasons, but the film isn’t without faults. Of course, Disney could blame J.M. Barrie for including his racist depiction of Indigenous peoples in the source material, but Disney could have also left out the racism altogether. In every iteration of Peter Pan, the tribe of Indigenous folk never fail to appear in the most insensitive manner.
Particularly the literal red-colored individuals singing a song about “what makes the red man red” in Disney’s version. While Disney+ has added advisory warnings about the racist content in their older films, the content remains distracting and disappointing.
5 Beowulf Struggles To Keep Up With Modern CGI
The release of the fully computer-animated motion-captured Beowulf in 2007 was a remarkable moment for technology and audiences. The story covers the tale of Beowulf, a hero who slays a beast that was tormenting a village for years, later becoming the King and creating a monstrous creature himself.
While the film’s plot and almost every other aspect remain successful, the digital animation is somewhat jarring at times with another look. The vastly improving source of mostly digitally animated entertainment like Avatar and some story-based video games make it difficult for the once technologically advanced Beowulf to compete.
4 The Aristocats Failed To Exclude Racism When Given The Chance
The 1970 classic, The Aristocats, is nearly perfect as an older Disney film until it isn’t. Though the movie was released several years after Lady and the Tramp, which included a set of offensive Siamese cats, it fell into the same trap. The film is a story about the lives of a single mother and her kittens being raised by an aristocratic older woman until they’re displaced and saved by a stray male cat.
The plot feels the opposite of Lady and the Tramp, but as soon as a group of strays greets the cats, there’s a Siamese cat. He’s drawn with chopsticks in his paws, exaggerated stereotypical features, and spewing lyrics that reek of mockery.
3 Pocahontas Romanticizes A Historically Inaccurate Depiction
Pocahontas remains to be a visually stunning film with an award-winning song, but it’s highly inaccurate. Many audiences are conflicted over Disney’s take on the story of John Smith and Pocahontas, most notably because, despite Disney’s initial consultation with historians and Indigenous communities, it further perpetuated the myth of a romantic relationship between the two figures.
In recent years, a lot has been revealed about the true story behind the young girl named Matoaka initially and her acquaintance with Captain John Smith. Their relationship (or lack thereof) is constantly debated due to John Smith’s ever-changing written records of the girl. Regardless, Matoaka was only a child during her meeting with Smith, and Disney undoubtedly romanticized the event.
2 9 Tries To Fit Too Much Into One Film
A long-forgotten film titled 9 did everything in its power to be an epic film, that happened to be animated. The film failed to achieve the attention it was aiming for from the confusing marketing to the overabundance of complicated story points. The plot is about humanoid ragdoll characters (that slightly resemble Sackboy from Little Big Planet) attempting to save their post-apocalyptic world from giant machines.
Although the filmmakers weren’t afraid to make an animated movie aimed at an older audience, those viewers were unimpressed with the overall story. The visual aspects are brilliant, however, the constant back and forth between the characters who lack dimension, and the slightly confusing plot feel overbearing for a film that had the potential to be great.
1 Bee Movie Is Not A Kids Film
Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy couldn’t save Bee Movie from failure, and it isn’t hard to see why. At first glance, the posters and even some trailers made Bee Movie appeal as a children’s animated film, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The concept of a young male bee that wants more out of life than just being a bee isn’t particularly original, but it’s formulaic enough for a child to understand.
However, that’s where family-friendliness stops. It’s not unusual for kid’s films to include bits of adult humor that children wouldn’t understand, while their parents will, but this film is overloaded with mature jokes. The film quickly slips into the realm of weird when Barry the bee, falls in love with Vanessa, a human, and proceeds to make odd sexual innuendos.
8 Game Of Thrones Characters Who Aged Poorly