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Fans Criticize Disney’s “Boring” Animated Movies

Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort fans have found plenty of fodder for complaints in recent months from within Disney Parks like the Magic Kingdom theme park or Animal Kingdom theme park — but apparently, Disney enthusiasts are disgruntled when it comes to the Disney streaming service that can be found within their own homes, too!

The new animated movie Strange World has made a theatrical debut instead of a Disney+ debut, which seems to have contributed to its failure at the box office (since many Disney fans now prefer to enjoy a movie’s premiere from the comfort of their own couch instead of a movie theater due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic).

However, when one writer recently pointed out another potential problem with Strange World and many other animated Disney or Pixar movies from the past several years, fans responded in agreement and indicated that, overall, Disney’s newer animated movies have been disappointing viewers.

In an article about Strange World and its failure from Escapist Magazine, Jesse Lab put forward the idea that Disney’s animated movies have been becoming more and more lackluster in recent years because of at least one big issue: “all of Disney’s conflicts now are interpersonal dramas.”

Disney's Strange World

Disney’s Strange World Credit: Disney

“The problem with Strange World is that the film is nothing but character drama with the main plot; the world’s energy source dying becomes second to healing the family’s fractured dynamic,” Lab explained. “It’s a message that Disney has been pushing since 2013’s Frozen where the conflict was less about saving the kingdom from an eternal winter and more about mending the bond between sisters Elsa and Anna”.

Although Lab conceded that this “was a pretty great message in the film and is one of the main reasons why Frozen resonates to this day,” the writer went on to say that “it’s a shame that virtually every Disney movie afterwards has attempted this exact same message.”

The writer listed Frozen II, Encanto, Coco, Onward, and Turning Red as movies that all had “the same overarching theme” with different  “set dressing and aesthetics”. “They’re all films that have weak inciting incidents and focus on internal character drama without a clear and defining antagonist”, Lab added — and several Disney fans chimed in to agree with the idea!

Coco Family

The family from the Disney movie ‘Coco’.Credit: Disney/Pixar

“I agree that we need to see more direct villains again, but I think that a greater issue is when the villain becomes an afterthought,” another audience member wrote. “The “Internal Conflicts power the narrative” has essentially replaced the “Suprise Villains” of the mid 2010s, who got very tiring very quickly.”

Another audience member commented on the article to point out another issue. “Aside from the storytelling, another real problem for Disney is how visually homogenous they’ve become,” the Disney movie viewer wrote, saying that Disney’s newer movies “all follow the same rounded off Marshmellow Realism look. They’ve leaned more and more into it over the 2010s and it’s reached a point where Disney films have become visually boring.”

encanto movie

The Madrigal family: Luisa (voiced by Jessica Darrow), Isabela (voiced by Diane Guerrero), the matriarch Abuela Alma (voiced by MarĂ­a Cecilia Botero), Felix (voiceded by Mauro Castillo), Julieta (voiced by Angie Cepeda), Pepa (voiced by Carolina Gaitán), AgustĂ­n (voiced by Wilmer Valderrama), Camilo (voiced by Rhenzy Feliz), Antonio (voiced by Ravi Cabot-Conyers), and Dolores (voiced by Adassa) and Mirabel Madrigal (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz). John Leguizamo voices Bruno (not pictured). ‘Encanto’ is directed by Charise Castro Smith. Credit: movies.disney.com

Do you agree that Disney and Pixar movies’ focus on “interpersonal dramas” and characters’ emotional journeys is a weakness, not a strength? Do you think that Disney animation has gotten “boring”?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!