There are few who would dispute the near stranglehold that The Walt Disney Company has on the world of entertainment. From the premiere of the first Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie in 1928, the popularity of Walt Disney’s films was unquestionable.
Expanding into feature animation from shorts, then into live action filmmaking, and eventually into the many theme parks which are growing and expanding to this day, Disney was a name that meant quality multimedia for all ages. Their acquisition of the Marvel and Star Wars universes has given them a huge footprint in the entertainment arena that is unmatched in the modern age.
Of course, no one is bulletproof. The larger the company and the greater its output, the more likely that something was going to slip through the cracks. While the Walt Disney Company has done a great job of keeping most of their entertainment timeless and classic, that isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, simple things like changes in technologies make an older film feel antiquated, as in the case of changes in frame size, Technicolor, sound technology, and distribution. Other times, it’s a result of clothing styles and dialogue choices that end up historically being recognized as questionable fads.
However, there are occasions where the portrayals of people and circumstances are thoughtless or insensitive, famous faces end up later being exposed for their hidden misdeeds, and cynical cash-ins can be seen clearly in retrospect.
Here are the 15 Loved Disney Movies That Have NOT Aged Well.
15. Peter Pan
Portrayals of Native Americans in film has been a problem ever since white actors portrayed villainous Indians in silent westerns. Though Disney movies tended to avoid clear political commentary in order to appeal to broader audiences, they did not escape the occasional very unfortunate portrayal.
With the animated Peter Pan, Walt Disney probably felt comfortable including Native American character Tiger Lily and her father Big Chief in the film because the characters originated the James Barrie play that pre-dated the movie.
However, Disney and his songwriters Sammy Cahn and Sammy Fain can be held directly accountable for the truly insensitive and offensive song titled “What Made the Red Man Red?”
The song even uses gibberish phrases instead of actual Native American languages in a final swipe of indignity.
It was 1982, at the height of home video game popularity. A Disney-backed movie about a man whisked into a world of video games should have set the imagination of moviegoers aflame.
Instead, it premiered to moderate success and mixed reviews, languishing in cult popularity for twenty-eight years until its sequel proved that the audience still wasn’t that interested.
The reasons for its middling success are many. Though the visuals are spectacular, the characters and narrative are threadbare and unengaging.
The actors give it their best, but the painfully dated and expositional dialogue and the story’s lack of grasp over basic technological concepts makes it more laughable than enjoyable for anything other than a nostalgic viewing or a silent screening meant for eye candy aficionados.