Some bad animated movies over the years include Delgo, Doogal, The Emoji Movie, Shark Tale, The King and I, A Fox’s Tale, and Ratatoing.
Over the last thirty years, the world of animation has undergone a remarkable transformation, embracing both traditional hand-drawn styles and cutting-edge computer-generated imagery.
This golden age has gifted us with cinematic masterpieces that resonate with audiences of all ages. However, for every hit like ‘Toy Story,’ there’s a film that leaves audiences scratching their heads in disappointment.
The Worst Animated Movies
Top-tier animated films can captivate children and adults, bridging generational gaps with engaging stories and rich visuals. Conversely, the least successful ones fail to connect with any demographic.
These subpar movies might suffer from lackluster graphics, uninspiring narratives, or often a mix of both. Some are so off-target that they can be unintentionally terrifying, bordering on animated horror rather than enchantment.
Here’s a roundup of 17 bad animated films that, unfortunately, veered way off course.
A Troll in Central Park (1994)
Unfortunately, A Troll in Central Park, a 1994 American animated musical fantasy comedy co-directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, earns its spot on the list of worst animated movies. While Bluth had been at the helm of some less-than-stellar films in the past, this one truly misses the mark.
Lacking a compelling narrative, audiences might feel as if they’ve witnessed a series of uneventful scenes by the film’s conclusion.
Not only does the storyline leave much to be desired, but the animation quality also seems subpar compared to Bluth’s earlier works. The character designs appear inconsistent, and the overall animation feels disappointingly lax.
Earwig and the Witch (2020)
Earwig and the Witch is a 2020 film produced by Studio Ghibli, the renowned Japanese animation studio responsible for many beloved films like “Spirited Away,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” and “Princess Mononoke.”
Studio Ghibli has always shone brightest with its unique hand-drawn animation style. While Disney, Dreamworks, and Pixar have mastered the art of CGI, Ghibli’s strengths lie elsewhere.
“Earwig and the Witch,” with its CGI reminiscent of early 2010 video game graphics, felt out of place in the Ghibli repertoire.
Many fans missed the studio’s signature blend of captivating storytelling and enchanting fantasy elements. We hope to see Ghibli return to its roots and reclaim its magic in future projects.
Leo the Lion (2005)
“Leo the Lion” (Italian: La Storia Di Leo) is a 2005 Italian computer-animated adventure musical film helmed by Mario Cambi, who co-wrote the script alongside Pierstefano Marangoni. The movie features voices from Neri Marcorè, Leo Gullotta, and Carlo Conti.
However, “Leo the Lion” finds its place among some of the bad animated movies that have been produced. Its execution strikes me as more comedic than intended, largely due to its questionable appropriateness for young viewers.
I’d strongly caution against introducing children to this film – unless you want them to grapple with distressing daydreams long after the credits roll. It’s a baffling attempt at cinema that might leave viewers wondering how it got greenlit.
Shark Tale (2003)
Following the 2002 release of Disney Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” DreamWorks attempted to ride the tide of success with “Shark Tale” in 2003.
However, instead of making a splash, “Shark Tale” quickly sank, arguably earning a spot on the list of worst animated movies. While trying to replicate the charm and innovation, it became derivative and laden with overused tropes.
Though primarily targeting a younger audience, the film puzzlingly includes many “Godfather” references. While these nods might be aimed at the adults, one can’t help but think that grown-ups would rather revisit the classic “Godfather” than settle for a watered-down animated imitation.
Bobbleheads: The Movie (2020)
The foremost sentiment I must express is that the unsettling nature of the bobbleheads from this film will surely haunt my dreams.
This venture, arguably one of the worst animation movies ever crafted, seemed entirely unnecessary. Its visual execution grates the eyes, and the odd voice acting doesn’t make the experience easier on the ears.
The film subjects viewers to inane songs centered around bobbleheads and a bizarre penchant for concocting terms involving the word “bobble.”
Disney, capitalizing on the Pixar formula that brought “Cars” and “Cars 2” to life, shifted their focus to the skies, introducing the planes that coexist in the “Cars” universe. However, the result feels more aligned with badly animated movies than Pixar’s usual standard.
The story is straightforward: Dusty Crophopper, a crop-dusting plane, aspires to be a renowned racer.
While most discourage him, pointing out that he’s built for farming, not racing, two friends stand by his side. Their faith in him pays off when, against all odds, Dusty qualifies for the prestigious race, surprising everyone.
Finding Jesus (2020)
From the minds behind such notable titles as “Panda Fighter” and “Ratatoing,” emerges yet another in the long line of worst animated movie rip-offs: “Finding Jesus.”
I decided to give this movie a shot, not because of religious interest but because of my morbid curiosity for poorly-rated films. It’s painfully evident why; the film isn’t just derivative but also tediously repetitive, recycling animation sequences and dialogues ad nauseam.
To add insult to injury, the movie plays on offensive Asian caricatures, most notably with the character Mr. Sushi, a grumpy, heavily accented stereotype. While there are moments of unintentional hilarity stemming from overblown voice performances, they don’t redeem the monotony.
Norm of the North (2016)
If you believed that the era of the worst animated movies, particularly those with shoddy CGI, was behind us, then Norm of the North stands as a stark reminder of the contrary.
Even in 2016, a year graced with cinematic masterpieces like Moana and Pete’s Dragon, there was still room for disastrously animated films like Norm of the North to secure a wide theatrical release.
Rob Schneider lends his voice to Norm, a polar bear outcast among his Arctic peers solely because he possesses the ability to communicate with humans.
Alpha and Omega (2010)
Alpha and Omega, released in 2010, is an American computer-animated movie directed by the duo Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck.
With a voice cast boasting talents like Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover, and Christina Ricci, the narrative was crafted by Christopher Denk and Steve Moore, stemming from a story by Moore and Gluck.
The core plot is straightforward, and while divulging it wouldn’t necessarily ruin the experience (though I’ll refrain from doing so), it’s easy to predict where the storyline heads. That said, the journey is filled with enjoyable moments. While the film isn’t without its flaws, it’s a delightful watch suitable for all family members.
Having been a cinema enthusiast for over half a century, visiting theaters to catch the latest films, it’s a rarity for me to walk out before the credits roll. In fact, over the past 50 years, it’s only happened twice.
My appreciation for top-notch animated films spans the spectrum, from the classic charm of early Disney to the modern masterpieces like Ice Age, Hoodwinked, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and the enchanting works of Miyazaki.
Given the stellar cast of the movie in question, including talents like Dame Judy Dench, William H. Macy, and Whoopi Goldberg—actors I hold in high regard—I genuinely expected to be in for a treat.
The Legend of the Titanic (1999)
The Legend of the Titanic presents itself as the “authentic” account of the events unfolding during the tragedy. However, it takes a departure from real-life happenings to introduce elements like evil sharks, a sinister whaling plot, and a massive octopus that heroically saves all of the Titanic’s passengers.
This Italian animated piece currently occupies the #28 spot on IMDb’s notorious Bottom 100 list.
It’s not a film I would recommend for children, unless I had a rather dark sense of humor about it.
The Nut Job (2014)
Will Arnett has garnered widespread recognition for lending his voice to a sarcastic and self-sabotaging animal character.
Most fans would instantly think of BoJack Horseman, but Arnett’s venture in “The Nut Job” certainly veers off in a different direction. Stemming from a lackluster animated short titled “Surly Squirrel”, “The Nut Job” chronicles the adventures of Surly, a rather disagreeable purple squirrel.
After inadvertently decimating Liberty Park’s stash of winter provisions, he faces the consequences of his actions. Banished to the bustling streets of Oakton, Surly is pressed into devising a scheme to reclaim the lost nuts and redeem himself.
Over the recent years, whether in theaters or streaming platforms, we’ve witnessed a fair share of underwhelming animated films. However, not all can be labeled as the absolute worst. I had hoped we could go through a decade without Netflix producing an animated catastrophe rivaling ‘America The Motion Picture.’
Unfortunately, we’ve encountered a contender for the most disappointing animated film of the decade. The 2022 ‘Marmaduke’ isn’t just a letdown; it might be the worst animated movie on Netflix.
The backstory of how this woeful movie saw the light of day is quite an anecdote. Initiated in the early 2000s, the production faced an unprecedented hiccup when the film’s hard drives were purportedly pilfered, prompting the crew to restart from scratch!
It baffles me to think they were unfamiliar with the basic practice of backing up data. One might jest that the thief aimed to grant humanity a favor by preventing its release. Regrettably, despite these setbacks and missing its original 2003 release slot, the film eventually made its way to the public.
Little & Big Monsters (2009)
Among the worst animated movies, ‘Little and Big Monsters‘ stands out. Its narrative is tediously monotonous, characterized by overextended scenes that often lack purpose.
Trying to decipher or keep track of the plot is an exercise in futility. Absent are the elements of charm, fun, and heart. The animation is horrendous, resulting in characters oscillating between insipid and exasperating.
Dr. Crumb’s portrayal is particularly distasteful. While one might hope the titular characters could redeem the film, they barely appear long enough to leave a mark. Lackluster writing, uninviting character designs, and insipid personalities further stifle their potential.
More Horrible Animated Movies
- The Emoji Movie (2017) – Criticized for its perceived cashing in on a popular trend (emojis), lack of originality, and weak storyline.
- Sir Billi (2012) – Despite having Sean Connery as its lead voice actor, it received negative reviews for its animation quality and narrative.
- Tentacolino (2004) – Another Italian animated film about the Titanic, this sequel managed to be even more bizarre than its predecessor.
- Ratatoing (2007) – A Brazilian animation criticized for being a low-quality knock-off of Pixar’s “Ratatouille.”
- Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010) – While this is a live-action film with animated elements, the incredibly poor-quality CGI birds and strange plot have made it infamous.
- A Car’s Life (2006) – Seen by many as a knock-off of Pixar’s “Cars,” it has been panned for its subpar animation and narrative.
- Delgo (2008) – Criticized for its derivative plot, lackluster animation, and weak voice performances.
- Happily N’Ever After (2007) – Viewed by many as a weak attempt to cash in on the “fractured fairy tale” genre.
- Freddie as F.R.O.7. (1992) – This bizarre film about a French prince turned into a frog-spy was largely panned for its convoluted plot and awkward animation.
- Home on the Range (2004) – While not the worst, this Disney film was seen as forgettable and weak in comparison to the studio’s other outputs.
- Kiara the Brave (2012) – Seen by many as an attempt to capitalize on Pixar’s “Brave,” it’s widely regarded as a low-quality knockoff.
- The Nut Job (2014) – While it did get a sequel, the original was criticized for its derivative plot and crude humor.
- Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998) – Direct-to-video sequels often have a hard time living up to their originals, and this one is no exception.
- Planes (2013) – A spin-off of Pixar’s “Cars,” this one was seen as lacking the charm and storytelling strength of its inspiration.
- Mars Needs Moms (2011) – This film is known for its box office failure and was criticized for its uncanny valley animation style.
- The Wild Life (2016) – A retelling of Robinson Crusoe from the animal’s perspective, it didn’t resonate with critics or audiences.
- Space Chimps (2008) – Despite having some notable names in its voice cast, it was panned for its formulaic story and lackluster animation.
- Spark: A Space Tail (2017) – Seen as a derivative of better space-themed animated movies with a lackluster storyline.
- Alpha and Omega (2010) – While it spawned a series of direct-to-DVD sequels, the original was panned for its animation quality and derivative story.
- The Little Panda Fighter (2008) – Considered by many as a low-quality attempt to capitalize on the success of “Kung Fu Panda.”