These days, it often seems like the lion’s share of the attention that is paid to Disney is related to the company’s massive business empire. This makes perfect sense given that Disney acquiring Fox, Lucasfilm, Marvel, and many other entertainment companies has sent shockwaves through the industry. However, things like Disney’s beloved animated movies deserve attention too.
While there are a lot of reasons why Disney makes great animated movies, including amazing visuals and storytelling, people caring about their characters probably is the most important factor. That said, we’re not going to pretend like every Disney animated character has hit the mark when that simply isn’t the case. With that in mind, it is time to get to this list of 7 characters that hurt Disney animated movies and 8 that saved them.
15 Saved: Rhino – Bolt
Over the years there have been certain Disney animated movies that have largely been forgotten. If you ask us, Bolt doesn’t deserve to be one of them even though it is. Definitely, the highlight of the movie, Rhino the hamster in his trusty ball has all of the movie’s best lines and his loyalty is beyond question which is why we love him so much.
14 Hurt: Runt of the Litter – Chicken Little
All around a disappointing movie, Chicken Little still had some highlights including a pretty sweet father and son relationship. On the other hand, the main sidekick Runt of the Litter is cringeworthy. Incredibly one-note and not at all funny, he often serves as a distraction from the movie’s main plot and not a good one.
13 Saved: Sebastian - The Little Mermaid
In a lot of ways a pretty problematic movie, when you really think about The Little Mermaid, there are some pretty sexist elements in the movie’s plot. However, when you watch the film as a kid, Sebastian is so infectiously entertaining, essentially as the movie’s love story’s narrator, that it is easier to overlook that.
12 Hurt: Abu – Aladdin
We know this is going to be a controversial one but hear us out. We love the movie Aladdin as much as anyone but Abu really doesn’t do much of anything for us. After all, it isn’t like he is all that funny. On top of that, we realize it moves the film’s plot forward, but when Abu goes to steal a diamond from the Cave of Wonders it drives us nuts. Abu knows how seriously Aladdin was warned about that but he does it anyway.
11 Saved: Thumper – Bambi
Here is a thought experiment for you, picture the movie Bambi in your mind. If you are anything like us, the first thing that comes to mind is the passing of Bambi’s mother. However, after thoughts of that tear-jerking moment pass, all of our positive memories of the film revolve around Thumper. After all, Thumper’s cheerfulness even saves Bambi from grief.
10 Hurt: Maggie - Home on the Range
One of those rare Disney animated movies that practically everyone wants to forget, Home on the Range just didn’t work at all and we wish a different company had released it. One of the major problems with the film, it still blows our mind that anyone thought it was a good idea to have Roseanne Barr voice the main character in an animated movie.
9 Saved: Captain Hook – Peter Pan
When you watch Peter Pan through adult eyes, one thing becomes abundantly clear, there really aren’t that many likable characters in the film. Heck, even Tinkerbell could be a jerk at times. Fortunately for the film, Captain Hook is so successful as a villain that you still root for Pan and his cohorts.
8 Hurt: Tito – Oliver & Company
Far from the most popular Disney animated movie, Oliver & Company has some likable characters but one of the major issues with the film is its chief sidekick Tito. Pretty much a collection of stereotypes all in one character, Tito is an entirely unoriginal character and he is too much to take a lot of the time.
7 Saved: Mickey Mouse – Fantasia
Forever best known as Disney’s main mascot, Mickey Mouse has entertained the world for decades. One of the best examples of what makes him so lovable, without Mickey’s scene in Fantasia, that movie wouldn’t be very charming at all. Thankfully, Mickey’s struggle against a spell he unleashed in the movie is highly relatable and a lot of fun.
6 Hurt: Koda – Brother Bear
Due to the fact that Brother Bear’s entire plot hinges on viewers liking Koda, you’d think the filmmakers would have ensured he was an enjoyable character. Instead, they chose to make Koda never stop talking to such a degree that he makes us want to yell shut up at our TV screens, like that would do anything.
5 Saved: Baloo
Let’s face facts, The Jungle Book is entertaining but it isn’t exactly the most riveting Disney animated movie. In fact, we would contend that without Baloo around, this movie simply wouldn’t be very much fun at all. After all, there is a good reason why Baloo is one of a select few Disney animated movie characters that went on to have their own TV show.
4 Hurt: Gurgi – The Black Cauldron
Clearly, a character that was forced into The Black Cauldron in order to have a “cute” character in an otherwise dark film, the problem with Gurgi is he doesn’t work in that regard. More annoying than adorable, his voice and dialogue get on our very last nerve and the movie would have been so much better without him.
3 Saved: Dumbo
When you really consider the plot of Disney’s animated classic Dumbo, there isn’t a whole lot there. In fact, the story is so simple that the writers had to include several pointless interludes in order to stretch out the film’s running time. Still, Dumbo is such a lovable character that you can put up with it all in hopes that you get to see him reunite with his mother.
2 Hurt: The Coachman – Pinocchio
Here is the thing about Pinocchio, the majority of the film is a whimsical story of a puppet’s adventures out in the world for the first time. Then, out of nowhere, The Coachman enters the story and things get way too dark. Eventually revealed to be a vile character, he attracts kids to his island where he transforms them into donkeys in a frightening way and then sells the animals into slavery. That is way too disturbing for a family film.
1 Saved: Maleficent
For the most part, Sleeping Beauty is a pretty mediocre movie. For example, even though you come to care for Aurora by the end of the movie, she is a pretty surface deep character as are the three fairies. On the other hand, Maleficent is so deliciously wicked that you can’t look away from her.