Disney is king when it comes to beautiful animation. Heck, Walt's studio pioneered and practically invented the tried and true techniques used by animators today. Their animated masterpieces are so beloved they've permanently imbedded themselves into our culture. You can't look at movies like Snow White, Cinderella, or The Lion King and not think Disney.
That all being said, while all the animated features were once marvels, time has not been kind to all of them due to changes in culture and taste. Not to say they're bad, but not all Disney films stand the test of time. Here are 10 animated features that have not aged well.
10 Snow White And The Seven Dwarves
Snow White is without a doubt a masterpiece. Every frame in the film is a painting, every sequence was crafted by a loving hand, and it was a movie that Walt Disney risked everything to create. Its plot, however, is not as deep and complex as other animated features.
The storyline of Snow White is as predictable as they come. You know you're going to get a happy ending, you know true love conquers all, cue the sappy music and roll credits. The film works because it's fueled by emotion more than logic, but it's something only perfected once. If released today, it would be critically panned.
9 Disney's A Christmas Carol
Now we jump from traditional animation to the overly-modern breed. Disney's A Christmas Carol is not a bad movie at all, in fact, it's one of the more accurate representations of the novel. It's well-acted, well-written, and very distinct from other versions of the story. It's the animation that makes it incredibly dated.
ImageMovers Digital was responsible for movies like Beowulf and The Polar Express, combining CGI animation with motion-capture. While revolutionary at the time, the uncanny-valley level details grew a bit dated after a while. Animated films should be animated, not something in between.
One of Disney's first attempts at computer animation outside of Pixar, Dinosaur was a prehistoric version of the Exodus that combined CGI dinosaurs with real-life landscapes and backgrounds. At the time, the concept was incredible and the dinos really stood out compared to some of the others we've had before. Nowadays, there are video games with better graphics.
On its own, the film is just okay. It's not an awful experience, but some of the voice acting paired with the animation does date it. If dinosaurs are your thing and you've already seen Jurassic Park, you'll be fine with this. At least it gave us a Disney World thrill-ride.
7 Sleeping Beauty
Similar to Snow White, Sleeping Beauty relies more on emotion than logic. It's a film that relies way too much on its side characters than its leads, and do we even have to mention how incredible Maleficent is? On top of which, of course, is the simple fact that modern viewers don't want to see a woman decide to marry a man she literally just met... and that having a relative stranger kissing a sleeping woman is actually pretty creepy, when you think about it.
The animation, while somewhat dated, is still interesting. It was sort of an experimental form, trying to mix Disney animation with medieval tapestries. At times, the sequences are incredibly beautiful, but sometimes the stills look flat and two-dimensional.
6 The Little Mermaid
We know we're stepping on toes with this one, but The Little Mermaid is starting to show its age nonetheless. The plot is still the standard Disney-fairytale love story and the animation, especially compared to the two Disney films that came immediately after, comes off a little flat. In addition, it falls into all the usual tropes of Disney romance, including loving a man you just met, and of course, the overarching lesson that women should literally change themselves for a man.
The difference between this film and something like Beauty and the Beast is night and day. The Little Mermaid still has that '80s-ish quality, and Ariel, though iconic, is nowhere near as developed or interesting as Belle. At the end of the day, Ariel is a lovesick teen who sold her soul for a pair of legs and a handsome prince.
5 Chicken Little
Let's shake a tailfeather and get this rotten egg out of the way. Chicken Little was a mishmashed trainwreck of a movie with mean-spirited characters, bonkers plot, throwaway jokes, and dated CGI animation. At least we got some cute fuzzy aliens out of it.
The story is wonky, to say the least, Chicken Little is a town-used punching bag rather than an underdog, and the film just feels very un-Disneyfied. It's an animated monstrosity that leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the viewers. Definitely dated by today's standards of Disneyness.
4 Lady And The Tramp
Easily one of Disney's greatest love stories, but some of the dialogue and humor is a product of the times. We're talking about you, Si and Am. A favorite of Walt's, but not the most classic of the Disney library. Though scheduled for a remake on Disney+, changes will have to be made.
The main reason this film might not fly today is the racial stereotype presented by Si and Am, Aunt Sarah's sinister Siamese cats. Catchy tunes aside, we can't see these two sitting well with modern audiences. True, Si and Am were not intended to offend, but they do stand out upon reviewing the film.
Upon the film's first release, Pocahontas received mixed reviews at best. It's a greatly exaggerated account of the Pocahontas legend from the early days of the United States. If it were released today it would probably ruffle more than a few feathers.
The biggest issue is actually glorifying the legend itself, as well as the colonists, and the idea that this is a love story between adults, rather than the fairly awful situation it truly was. Turning a young victim who was kidnapped, attacked, and lost children at the hands of invaders into a daring heroine fighting to help them is... deeply questionable, at best.
2 Peter Pan
We now take you from one less-than-flattering imagining of Native Americans to a much more egregious offender. Six words: "What Makes the Red Man Red." Peter Pan was a great film, but like Lady and the Tramp, stuck in the '50s. As a result, its caricature of Native Americans was not something that would be done in a newer adaptation.
The animation is still solid and characters are still likable. But some of its humor and lines might not reach as big of an audience as it did when it premiered. Despite being a place where you never grow up, time hasn't been kind to this chunk of Neverland.
We're gonna be honest, Dumbo isn't the strongest member of Disney's animated library. It's too short, the human characters are barely likable, animal-rights activists would be up in arms over the circus-animal motif, and do we even need to mention the crows? There's a lot going on in this 94-minute film.
It's not that we think the film is bad, far from it. It's one of the most well-known Disney flicks ever released. Compared to its peers, however, it's weak sauce. Put Dumbo against something like Fantasia or The Jungle Book, which one are you going to go for? Alone, it just doesn't hold up.