Horrible: Animated Films
aka: Animated Film
Sometimes, no matter how many animators, computers, or money they'll throw at a project, an animated film can still become such a gigantic mess of colors and lines that a group of monkeys locked in a room can draw a better film. Here are some of the worst animated atrocities categorized so far. To see horribly-made cartoon shows and animated shorts, check out the Western Animation page. Important Note: Merely being offensive in its subject matter, a Box Office Bomb, or a film you don't plain like is not sufficient. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy, no matter how small a niche it is. It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this. (If you're unsure whether it belongs here or not, visit the discussion page and give us your input. Otherwise, if it's something you just plain don't like, please don't shoehorn it in, this isn't a page for complaining about things that fail to you.) Second Important Note: It isn't a Horrible animated film just because The Mysterious Mr. Enter, Tooncrap, or anyone from Toons These Days, That Guy with the Glasses, Reviewers Unknown, and/or any other Caustic Critic reviewed it. There needs to be independent evidence, such as actual critics (emphasis on plural) for example, to list it. (Though once it is listed, they can provide the detailed review.)
- This zero-budget adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The public-domain radio play-quality audio and the atrocious character designs (the Duchess, for example, is an overweight African-American woman with large lips that looks like she just came from the MS paint engine) really say it all. They are the creatures that haunt the nightmares of Tim Burton, American McGee, David Hall, Walt Disney, and Jan Švankmajer along with making Lewis Carroll rotate frantically in his grave. Not to mention a rather blatant example of Critical Research Failure and/or They Just Didn't Care in the designs. The griffin looks like a dragon. People, griffins are not dragons. It's even worse for the poor Dodo and Eaglet (both of whom are Demoted to Extra in favor of the Lory, for some reason); the Dodo looks more like a pelican and the Eaglet barely resembles a bird at all. The trailer is so bad that even a toddler would shake their head at it. Oh, and the description would love to remind you that it's trying to please the children with its art style and definitely not trying to emulate any other movies, no siree. The Cartoon Hero happened upon this... thing in his marathon of reviews of works listed on this page, and claims it to be THE worst thing he has ever or will ever review.
- Bolívar El Héroe ("Bolívar the Hero"), a 2003 Colombian "animated" movie about Simón Bolívar (who would most likely be spinning in his grave right now if Hugo Chavez hadn't had him exhumed), featuring barely-animated, terribly-drawn Animesque versions of the 19th century South American freedom fighter Simón Bolívar and his allies and enemies, MS Paint-worthy special effects, ridiculously-bombastic acting, and generally pathetically-low production "values". You can look at the thing yourself... or just look at the IMDb reviews.
- Chop Kick Panda, a 40-minute Kung Fu Panda knockoff (no matter how much its creator and Netflix try to deny it), has horrible and cheap animation, bad voice acting, unfunny jokes (most of the "humor" involves the main character trying to do a move, only to break his back), and jokes that have been used in over a million other cartoons. Three-fourths of the cartoon is taken up by these unfunny, repetitious gags (that is, if you could even call them gags), so then the last ten minutes finally have the main character fighting the villain... but all he does is continuously hit the villain in the face with a mop over and over.
- The Christmas Tree is a 1991 animated film with abysmal Limited Animation that falls head-first into the Uncanny Valley, filled with ugly character designs, awkward voice acting with voice actors that sound like they're half brain-dead (one of the characters is a little girl who's very clearly voiced by an 18-year-old woman and one of the little girls slurred and mumbled her lines), and bad timing (at times there is no pause between sentences, leading to awkward tone-shifts when characters speak). And then there's the editing, which includes scenes that cut into other scenes randomly and without warning. Top it off with an Idiot Plot, various Plot Holes, and a botched black and white moral at the end, and you have one of the worst Christmas specials ever. The Nostalgia Critic, in his review, even labeled it as such.
- There's a reason that Delgo is one of the biggest bombs in movie history. It's displeasing, boring and unimaginably ugly. The art and animation are significantly worse here than in many 1990s cartoons. There are a couple of famous-though-you-will-never-hear-from-them-again voices (like Freddie Prinze Jr., who used to have a career, sorta) who phone it in so badly their consciousness can be called into question. The film has a really bad case of The Scrappy, loads of clichés, and a tendency to treat the audience like idiots. At times, it resembles a Video Brinquedo knockoff of Avatar, even though it was released first and had a budget; the producers even unsuccessfully tried to sue Twentieth Century Fox and James Cameron. Infamous Animation did a review of Delgo here.
- Disco Worms. Something that could be considered on par with Elf Bowling the Movie in its terribleness. The animation, horrible. The characters, one note and uninteresting. Stupid plot, scary looking character designs, unfortunate implications, downright nightmare inducing scenes, Idiot Plot, and cliches galore. It's no wonder Archer said it's worse than Foodfight. See Archer and Musical Hell take it apart here.
- Elf Bowling: The Movie is a Direct-to-Video Animated Adaptation of the supposedly popular online flash game of the same name. Some consider it to be twenty times worse than Foodfight! with only a little less than ten times the budget. The characters are almost hard to look at (even going into borderline Uncanny Valley), the plot is near non-existent, Santa Claus of all people is pretty much an asshole throughout the whole movie, pandering crap to kids, racial stereotypes, and worst of all the whole thing makes no sense. To add insult to injury, a sequel titled Elf Bowling 2: The Great Halloween Pumpkin Heist was advertised at the end of the film and was slated for a Fall 2007 release, but it was presumably canned due to the failure of this film. Whyboy had a few things to say about it, as did Bobsheaux and Mr. Enter.
- What do you get when you try to make a CGI-animated movie to cash in on a toyline that was never popular? Freaky Flickers: The Movie, of course! The official Freaky Flickers website boasts that they are "all the rage with children in test markets" and that the movie was animated entirely by one person. Yes, they're bragging about that.
- The 1966 release of The Hobbit. The story goes that someone (William L. Snyder, whose other claim to fame is producing the Gene Deitch-directed Tom and Jerry shorts) got the film rights to The Hobbit very cheaply because it was still largely unknown at the time, but a use-it-or-lose-it clause meant he had to release "a full-color movie" in order to extend the contract. He planned a full-length film, but after that project fell apart with only a month remaining on his option, he realized nothing in the contract specified how long the movie had to be. So he quickly threw together and released this, exercised the option to extend his rights, and then sold them for $100,000. It's 12 minutes long, composed entirely of crude drawings filmed in The Ken Burns Effect, and it would probably be quicker to list the things it has in common with the novel than the differences.
- A scary fact: this was the very first completed screen adaptation of Tolkien's works. note Between this mediocrity being Middle-earth's first appearance outside the books, the mixed reception of Ralph Bakshi's animated films, and the fact that Tolkien's writing style and dialog could be quite daunting from a filmmaker's perspective, we should perhaps thank our lucky stars that Peter Jackson's films were ever produced.
- This animated adaptation of the story of Joshua, Moses' apprentice, titled Joshua and the Promised Land. The character designs, which are supposed to be bipedal lions, are stiff and uninspired (and includes a female lion with a mane), the animation looks like it was done by a sixth grader using Autodesk Maya for the first time (faces hardly show good expression, mouth movements are nonexistent, it's impossible to tell what various objects are at times due to horrid texturing, etc.), and the voices sound bored and sometimes fail to grasp the concept of audio levels (the kid who played the titular Joshua sometimes shouts his lines to the point of distortion). And then there's the story itself, which has its own slew of problems, including one of the most annoying examples of Mr. Exposition ever put to film. Voltalia gives her two cents about this abomination here, CuteFuzzyWeasel destroyed it here and even Cr1TiKaL, who's known for doing Let's Plays, had a few things to say about it.
- The 1999 film The King and I, produced by Rankin/Bass and released by Warner Bros. as a very loose Animated Adaptation of the musical of the same name. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical itself is an already loose adaptation. This film, however, suffers from Disneyfication gone wrong, with a Cliché Storm of Evil Chancellor, animal sidekicks, and Disney Death. What particularly makes the film bad is the Unfortunate Implications of the Asian characters with butchered English and the Big Bad's Master Little's appearance. The animation itself has bad CGI by 1999 standards, only fitting for a Direct-to-Video release, but this film was released in theaters the same time as Doug's 1st Movie. The result was a Box Office Bomb with only $12 million out of its $25 million budget and a 13% on Rotten Tomatoes. If this still doesn't turn you off to it, the estates of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein have refused to allow any of their other musicals to be made into animated films. Doug Walker reportedly considered bringing the character of Nostalgia Critic out of retirement to review this movie, and later made it the subject of the fourth review in the Critic's revived series. ShogunGin0 also had a few words regarding this abortion.
- Kis Vuk, titled A Fox's Tale for the English market, is a dreadful CGI-animated sequel to and cash-in on the classic 1981 Hungarian animated film Vuk the Little Fox. The CGI work with its awkward, choppy animation, bizarre character designs and amateurish rendering would have looked, let's say, passable in a cheap-o, late-nineties TV cartoon, but this was made in 2008, and screened in cinemas. The staggeringly cliché- and Plot Hole-ridden plot, utter lack of likable or original characters, gruesome scenes of animal cruelty, an anticlimactic Ass Pull of a climax and a total shift in tone compared to the original led to the movie becoming a failure that screened to almost empty theaters (a major Schedule Slip also helped in this). Fans of the original work, critics, and reportedly even some little kids left screenings disgusted and disappointed, and upon release, it went straight to the bottom of IMDb's movie list, where it lingered on for a good couple of weeks. Currently holds a rating of 2.3 as the third worst animated movie with at least a thousand votes. Read Duckyworth's unflattering thoughts on the film here.
- Life's a Jungle: Africa's Most Wanted, a very bad, low-budget Mockbuster that takes certain elements from movies like Madagascar, The Wild, and even Roadside Romeo, and goes absolutely nowhere with it. The movie's filled with several unlikable, boring characters, slow animation, way too many Stock Sound Effects, dull voice acting, and so much Padding and Filler that you won't be able to comprehend the overall central plot. The animation's tolerable at best, and even then, it's easy to tell that some of the animators didn't try too hard. The film has a 2.8 rating on IMDb, a 1/5 on Redbox, and the only notable critic who reviewed the movie gave it 1/5 stars, criticizing the dull humor and unnecessary Toilet Humour, amongst other things. To go even further, some reviewers on Amazon and Netflix not only admitted that they hate the movie, but that their kids (some which say can watch anything) got bored with it before the film was even halfway over.
- How bad is The Magic of Oz (an animated short based upon The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)? It's absolutely irredeemable, as it has virtually no plot, terrible sound quality and laughably ugly and dated animation. Background information about the film is also scarce. A Google search for many of the names featured at the beginning will bring up little results, and the cartoon studio that produced it is never stated — all it says at the end is "a cartoon film presentation". No date is even known for when this cartoon was released; the only approximate guess is about the early 1960s according to this Tumblr post. The film contains a lot of Limited Animation, and there's also a very out-of-place three-second shot of Dorothy bending down that's done, rather incompetently, in Rotoscope, despite the fact that the rest of the cartoon has none of it at all — clearly, just drawing Dorothy performing the action would've been too difficult. Despite being under ten minutes, it moves at a snail's pace and is totally incomprehensible, and the very poor sound makes it difficult to hear even with the volume on a computer turned up to its maximum level. All of this makes it a contender for the worst animated short of all time. The Autarch (or rather, Hades) has this to say.
- Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins, (watch it here) which came out around the time the first live-action movie hit theaters. It was meant as some sort of prequel/retelling/sidestory of the video game and the movie... we think. Chances are, you're better off enjoying the Gorn of the video games, the impressive stuntwork and exciting techno of the live-action movie, or the laughable stupidity of the Saturday-morning cartoon series. This trainwreck had horrible, repetitive, and downright-ugly animation haphazardly set against conspicuous outdated CGI backgrounds. The Retsupurae duo give it their usual riffing treatment here, whilst Tooncrap, as part of Game Show Garbage, tears it apart here.
- The behind-the-scenes look at the movie at the end is interesting, but it's not worth watching the whole tape for. In fact, the only part of the animated movie alone worth watching is the "Meet the Mortal Kombatants" segment. The main reason to watch that was for the "hidden clues" for Mortal Kombat 3 at the end. Even then, the code was something of a fraud because one of the symbols used isn't in any version of the game.
- Somehow, Jennifer Hale, Jim Cummings, and Jeff Bennett (three veteran voice actors who have all had many roles in memorable games and cartoons) provided voices for this movie.
- In a truly bizarre example of Unbuilt Trope, the CG interludes in this feature look a lot like the CG cutscenes in the video game Drake Of The 99 Dragons, which is considered horrible all on its own.
- Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw features crappy musical numbers which are blatant ripoffs of other songs (such as "At the Hop" and "Duke of Earl"), unexplained changes to designs of characters from the TV series, atrocious animation, and sub-par voice-acting. The main villain's name is Marvin McNasty (who absolutely cannot sing). It also features noticeable animation errors — for example, a scene where a character's nose disappears while he's talking. There's also a weird scene/musical number where the Pound Puppies wander through a forest filled with monsters. Wanna see it yourself?
- This movie was such a huge flop at the box office that TriStar would not produce their next animated feature until 2001, 13 years after this movie was released. It was also the only animated feature produced by Carolco Pictures.
- On a side note, George Rose, the voice of McNasty, was actually an accomplished singer and stage performer who played (among many other roles) the Major General in The Pirates of Penzance, which makes his terrible singing here very odd. This was his last movie role before his adopted son beat him to death.
- Robert D. Hanna's Kung Fu Panda rip-off The Prodigy is full of stock models, scary bad animation, terrible voice acting (the panda) and an eight minute long dance sequence.
- Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back. Sure, Space Chimps was already a poor-quality All-CGI Cartoon movie, but this straight to DVD sequel is even worse. Horrid animation, unfunny cliché jokes, and a near-nonexistent plot make this film atrocious. Even the great talents of Patrick Warburton, John DiMaggio, and Tom Kenny couldn't save this flick. To make it clear how terrible this movie is, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 0% rating and its IMDb score is 2.7. It was also the Creator Killer of Vanguard Animation, which seems to have dissolved after releasing only four poorly-received duds, and over 9 films that they were planning on making instead were cancelled forever. Media Hunter took a crack at reviewing this movie, and regrets doing so.
- Just slightly ahead of Delgo in terms of box office is an animated version of The Ten Commandments. With outdated CGI, art designs that would look at home with the original PlayStation, and dull voice acting from a talented cast that somehow includes Ben Kingsley and Christian Slater, one would have to wonder how this film made more money than Delgo. Compared to the 1956 classic (91% on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.8 on IMDb), this 2007 movie bombed critically as well, earning a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes and a paltry 2.8 on IMDb. You can see Infamous Animation rip this film to shreds here.
- Tentacolino, released in the English-speaking market as In Search of the Titanic. Much like its predecessor, the domestic success La Leggenda Del Titanic, the film is a badly-animated, pandering Cliché Storm driven by Artistic License – History, Disneyfication, condescension, and a disrespect for the victims of the Titanic, but all of these qualities are taken Up to Eleven in this film. On top of that, it's a gigantic Anachronism Stew with some of the worst Protagonist-Centered Morality this side of Sonichu, and its ties to Leggenda are at best skin-deep, without so much as a basic continuity in common. The Mysterious Mr. Enter concurs, and Bobsheaux does as well. Also, Infamous Animation returned with a review of this disaster after a two year hiatus and Diva of Musical Hell had a few things to say about it as well.
- The original uncut version of Titanic: The Legend Goes On. Practically everything is plagiarized, and not just from Titanic (1997). The animation and sound editing are grievously mishandled, with frequent and blatant recycling and obvious mess-ups kept in. The voice acting borders on text-to-speech at points, and the music is cheap and obnoxious. The writing is loaded with plot holes and pandering, the plot is basically one giant Cliché Storm, and the script bears little-to-no resemblance to actual human speech. The ending in particular is incredibly disrespectful. There's a revised cut that took out or dubbed over some of the worst parts (even gaining a Signature Scene in the process), but even that's So Bad, It's Good at best. ShogunGin0 provides his thoughts toward the matter. You can also watch it yourself (with an optional MST) here.