- Disney is famous for creating movies that are oftentimes beloved by critics and audiences.
- But, over the years, some Disney films have won over critics while leaving other audiences feeling a bit underwhelmed.
- From “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” to “The Incredibles,” here are some films that critics enjoyed more than audiences did according to data from Rotten Tomatoes.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Although Disney movies oftentimes earn the seal of approval from children, adults, and even the harshest film critics, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes viewers don’t agree with critics’ opinions on which Disney movies should be labelled as masterfully created classics.
Based on data from Rotten Tomatoes, INSIDER put together a list of acclaimed Disney movies that viewers didn’t love nearly as much as critics did, using Rotten Tomatoes reviews.
Here are some of the most overrated Disney films of all time. Just a note, these scores are subject to change and were current at the time of this writing.
Viewers aren’t as blown away by “Fantasia” as critics are.
Critic Score: 96%
Audience Score: 83%
For decades, film aficionados have expressed admiration for the innovative animation style and memorable musical score in “Fantasia.” Some have even called it a cinematic masterpiece that was way ahead of its time.
But although it’s an impressive piece of art, many feel that, as a children’s film, “Fantasia” is not worthy of an acclaimed status.
Recent audience reviews of the film indicate that many adults (and their children) think the musical movements are far too lengthy and, at times, totally boring.
“The best way to describe ‘Fantasia’ is as a piece of art,” wrote one audience reviewer. “I can’t describe the plot, or characters because there are none, there is no actual plot.”
Many critics seem to think “Toy Story 2” is perfect but audiences don’t agree.
Critic Score: 100%
Audience Score: 86%
With a perfect approval rating from critics, it’s hard to believe anyone could take issue with this Disney-Pixar sequel. But although most people agree that “Toy Story 2” is entertaining, many felt its story couldn’t compete with the original film or even the follow-up, “Toy Story 3.”
In the movie, lead character Woody wrestles with a decision about whether he should take an opportunity to move with a new group of toys to into a museum or endure the pain of seeing his owner Andy outgrow him. Even though this premise made for a tearjerker of a film, some felt the plot could have been executed better.
One audience reviewer commented, “‘Toy Story 2’ has some excellent, moving scenes, solid characterization and improved animation, but too much action and not as strong dialogue and themes as the original had. It is a simpler plot and somewhat inconsequential in the bigger scope of things. Thus the film is one of Pixar’s weakest efforts and easily the worst entry in this trilogy.”
Read More: 11 of the best Disney songs of all time
Some audiences think “Old Yeller” is a bit too cruel to be considered a must-see.
Critic Score: 100%
Audience Score: 79%
Critics have long praised 1957’s “Old Yeller” for its heartwarming story that follows a stray dog who joins a family farm in the post-Civil-War era. Decades after its release,the movie is still recognised for having one of the most tear-jerking scenes in cinematic history.
But although many critics still believe “Old Yeller” is the best dog movie of all time, modern audiences aren’t as quick to give it the same recognition. Per Rotten Tomatoes reviews, many audiences find the movie to be dated, traumatising, and, at times, overly sentimental.
One commenter wrote, “Classic, but boring for most audiences including myself.”
Although “A Bug’s Life” has its funny moments, some audiences felt the movie is quite forgettable.
Critic Score: 92%
Audience Score: 72%
Disney Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life” follows the story of an outcast ant named Flick who enlists the help of a ragtag group of circus bugs to help save his ant colony from an army of evil grasshoppers.
Critics have said this John-Lasseter directed movie is packed with relatable characters and a well-written script that make it a standout Disney animated film.
But although many audiences agreed with critics when it came to acknowledging the witty dialogue in “A Bug’s Life,” some felt it relied too much on humour and was a bit forgettable overall.
Others couldn’t help but compare the movie to John Lasseter’s previous Pixar film, “Toy Story,” which was a hit with critics and audiences – unfortunately, many found that “A Bug’s Life” did not measure up to the same standard.
As one reviewer wrote, “A cute but forgettable film, ‘A Bug’s Life’ has some funny good moments, but is hammered down by a bland protagonist, predictable story, and is disappointing in comparison with ‘Toy Story’ … “
“Bambi” is beloved by critics but not so much by audiences.
Critic Score: 90%
Audience Score: 73%
1942’s “Bambi” is undoubtedly an important piece of Disney’s animation history. Over the years, critics have praised the movie for its use of colourful illustration techniques as well as its dreamy depiction of woodland creatures.
Nearly a century after its release, the film is still considered to be one of Disney’s most enduring classics. But many viewers have said the film is not really that special. One audience reviewer even commented saying the story was too boring to appeal to adult audiences.
The reviewer wrote, “‘Bambi’ just has no story past being a fast-forwarded look at a baby deer growing into a buck … Past that there really isn’t much else, it is like the film exists solely to show off the very high quality animation of that time period.”
Although critics consider “Pinocchio” to be one of Disney’s greatest cinematic achievements, many viewers wouldn’t call it their favourite film.
Critic Score: 100%
Audience Score: 72%
Over the years, many film critics have called the 1940 classic about a talking marionette named Pinocchio the “best cartoon ever made.”
But when it comes to audience opinions, many believe the movie doesn’t quite deserve that level of praise. Several Rotten Tomatoes audience reviewers commented that problems with the narrative structure of “Pinocchio” ruin its potential to have a compelling story.
As one audience reviewer wrote, “While this film has a lot in it, it’s too slow paced to enjoy as an adventure film, too unfocused to have a compelling plot, and fails to offer a truly satisfactory conclusion to the whole movie.”
Although critics have praised it, “Dumbo” hasn’t aged well for most audiences.
Critic Score: 98%
Audience Score: 70%
Although it may have been considered impressive back in the 1940s, many viewers believe “Dumbo” (1941) doesn’t hold up when judged by today’s movie standards.
One of the most glaring issues with this Disney classic is the racism in the infamous “Jim crow” scene, which features multiple harmful stereotypes about black people.
One audience reviewer elaborated on one particularly offensive scene, writing, “These characters are a group of depressed, faceless dark-skinned workers wearing low class 17th-18th century-esque clothing … If this jab at a horrific part of history wasn’t already obvious enough, the writers decided to name the ‘Roustabouts’, which literally translates to ‘unskilled workers.'”
In addition, “Dumbo” was deemed uneventful by some viewers who felt the film featured mostly forgettable songs and few entertaining parts.
“This movie has not aged well at all. In fact, I really can’t even call it a good movie for its time,” wrote one audience reviewer. “The story is weak, the characters are flat … Overall I’d have to say this is the worst Disney movie of them all.”
The 2019 live-action remake of “Dumbo” hasn’t fared well either – it was poorly received by both audiences and critics alike.
Most audiences feel that “Cinderella” is a decent film but they don’t seem to enjoy it as much as critics do.
Critic Score: 97%
Audience Score: 80%
But apart from its feel-good story and sweet songs, many audiences found the film’s plot to be boring and overrated. Others also didn’t like that the movie contained seemingly unnecessary side plots.
One audience reviewer wrote, “‘Cinderella’ [has a] a sweet enough setup. Unfortunately, it is buried underneath layer after layer of filler scenes (the mice are the major culprits), giving our characters zero time to develop and the story coming across as rushed and incomplete.”
Audiences don’t seem to like “101 Dalmatians” as much as critics do.
Critic Score: 98%
Audience Score: 76%
It’s hard to argue that 1961’s “101 Dalmations” is not a timeless classic. After all, the film is responsible for spawning one of the most iconic movie villains of all time – Cruella De Vil. Her gigantic fur coat and sinister cackle became so popular that, in 2003, The American Film Institute ranked Cruella De Vil at number 39 on the top 100 movie villains of the century.
But beyond Cruella’s show-stealing presence, it seems many audiences find “101 Dalmatians” to be quite mediocre.
“Aspects of the plot are as baggy as a sub-par amateur production,” wrote one audience reviewer.
Although it won awards and was beloved by critics, “The Incredibles” isn’t exactly an audience favourite.
Critic Score: 97%
Audience Score: 75%
Upon its 2004 release, “The Incredibles” received a ton of critical acclaim. Critics praised it for being a different kind of superhero movie that depicted believable family dynamics with a dash of humour and heart. The movie went on to be so successful that it spawned a sequel that took years to make and won a Critic’s Choice award and two Oscars.
But despite the popularity of the film, a significant number of viewers feel“The Incredibles” doesn’t deserve all of the praise it has received.
Some audience reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes have criticised the film’s predictable storyline, which culminates in a final battle sequence that they feel was rushed despite the film’s two-hour run time.
“‘The Incredibles’ is a film of good ideas but problematic execution,” one audience reviewer wrote. “Its technical prowess and relative complexity demand a very high rating, but the film is ultimately dragged down to mere decency by narrative flaws and a disregard for its target audience.”
Fortunately, the film’s sequel has been much more well-received by viewers. “Incredibles 2” has earned primarily positive reviews all around and is rated much higher by audiences than its predecessor.
Audiences aren’t nearly as impressed by “Ralph Breaks the Internet” as critics are.
Critic Score: 89%
Audience Score: 65%
Although critics gave this “Wreck-It Ralph” sequel a higher rating than its predecessor, audiences weren’t nearly as impressed by this film.
In the movie, video-game characters Vanellope and Ralph travel through the internet so they can save the video game “Sugar Rush.” Over the course of their journey, they pass through cartoon versions of social-media platforms, turn Ralph into a viral star, and collect likes for attention.
Even though critics raved about the movie because of its creative story, most viewers were not very impressed. One audience reviewer even called it “cringey,” citing their disappointment in the film’s reliance on outdated jokes about the internet and feminism.
Another audience reviewer elaborated, writing, “One of the movie’s own messages about the speed at which internet culture moves is completely lost on the filmmakers who still believe screaming goats and cat videos are the top internet sensation. The comedy is flat, and lost among the sea of product placement.”
Many critics love “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” but some audiences find the lead character to be one-dimensional.
Critic Score: 98%
Audience Score: 78%
The 1937 adaptation of this fairytale has long been regarded by critics as a groundbreaking work of cinema since it is Disney’s first animated feature.
But although many agree the movie rightfully deserves recognition as a classic piece of cinema history, some argue that this doesn’t necessarily make it worthy of praise.
As one audience reviewer wrote, “Just because it’s a classic, doesn’t mean it’s good.
Some audiences felt one of the movie’s biggest issues is that the lead character, Princess Snow White, doesn’t experience any character development throughout the film.
As one audience reviewer wrote, “In the long list of great Disney princesses, Snow White is one of the worst… Her personality is beyond flat; can you name a single trait about her besides ‘naive’ and ‘innocent’?”
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