The Best and Worst Disney Animated Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes 
Wed, April 21, 2021

The Best and Worst Disney Animated Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes 

Inside Out was lauded for being a “seriously creative, beautifully animated, psychologically brilliant, and charming beyond belief.” / Photo by: BagoGames via Flickr

 

Even for all their success that Disney has had over the years, some of their work can still be considered mediocre by critics. That’s because the truth of the matter is that what clicks with an audience is relative. While Disney reaps good things from releasing movie after movie of stories with beloved characters, sometimes their heavily formulaic formats can be really tiring, and even redundant. 

In most cases, though, it works well enough; their movies are easy to love, because they make everything relevant to almost every age group. That may count for something, but it doesn’t mean that they are safe from any kind of criticism. In this list, we will be exploring the best of Disney movies and the worst of them, according to Rotten Tomatoes scores. 

The Best 

Inside Out (2015) 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

First up is “Inside Out” which takes up the first spot for very obvious reasons. Anyone who has ever seen Inside Out will tell you that it’s one of the best movies explaining the many complicated emotions that humans have. When in the past, it was only a meme that Disney was eventually going to make a movie exploring the possibility of “emotions having emotions,” “Inside Out” brought that out in stunning technicolor. 

According to online entertainment website Screen Rant, while the main character is an 11-year-old girl, the focus of the story are the emotions taking control of her mind. After it came out, it was immediately lauded for being a “seriously creative, beautifully animated, psychologically brilliant, and charming beyond belief.” 

Coco (2017) 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Another beloved--and probably soon to be Disney classic--is “Coco,” scoring a 97% from Rotten Tomatoes. Coco introduced a very vivid picture of the Mexican Day of the Dead packed with cultural references. It follows a young boy in his journey to find and meet his hero Ernesto de la Cruz when he is transported to the land of the dead by accident.  

According to Screen Rant, what elevated Coco beyond its animated format was how the material was handled. Many people still love the movie for its admittedly tear-jerking moments and “rich imagery and imaginative screenplay.” 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)  
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98% 

It may be old but it’s still got that Disney charm; Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, an original animated movie created by Walt Disney Productions in 1937, is a story about none other than Snow White herself. But what really makes this story special? Well, it’s simply delightful and has a slight feel of sublime. Its art style and animation, which was fairly advanced for its time, was also admired by over 50 critics, who all gave it 98% on the Tomatometer. 

The Worst 

Cars 1, 2, 3 (2006, 2011, 2017)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 39%, 69%, and 75%

Technically, the first place for the worst Disney movie is Cars 2, but the fact that all three of these films take up the first three spots of Disney’s worst probably speaks more about the critics’ opinions of the franchise rather than the franchise alone. According to a separate article by Screen Rant, the reason why the movie did not sit well with critics was they did not see the same level of attention that Disney and Pixar usually put into their characters in the first place. 

In short, the surface-level personalities and motivations could easily go past the heads of children, and that would be fine, but for the veterans who know Disney to be masters of developing characters, the Cars franchise just isn’t filled with those characters. 

Not even its two following movies and its 2013 spin-off “Planes” were able to save it from the pit of shame. In a Rotten Tomatoes website, “Planes” was even only rated a measly 25%. 

 

The Cars franchise did not sit well with critics because they did not see the level of attention that Disney and Pixar usually put into their characters in the first place. / Photo by: jeff_golden via Flickr

 

The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

People would be inclined to say that “The Good Dinosaur” should not even be on this list, owing to the fact that it was such a tear-jerking, heartwarming offering from Disney. However, as Screen Rant points out, while The Good Dinosaur held down the Disney formula well enough, it still did not reach the level that “Inside Out” and “Coco” were on. The most notable example is how unremarkable the character developments have been. 

Now, it could be argued that this is precisely the point. It’s a more subtext-laden film (the spliced in flashbacks and backstories certainly made it appear that way).

Brave (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78% 

Truly, “Brave” is a deeply satisfying and wonderful tale of love and family. Its heavy leanings on that theme, driven by a metanoia plotline involving spunky female lead character Merida and her mother, apparently did not hit the mark for everyone. Nevertheless, Merida and the rest of the story was still pretty wonderful as Pixar’s first princess project with Disney.