And so it begins. In what I hope will be the start of a beautiful future, I’ve decided to center my first real big blog post on a rather peculiar, if already trended territory by others online. Why?
Well, because I like to consider this post as me turning the last page of an old book before moving on to a new one. You see, before writing on Blogger, I’ve had already been writing about entertainment-related topics on sites like Letterboxd, WordPress, and even Facebook a few years back. And those reviews got the attention of my dear friends, who thought that they could get a good laugh by requesting me to review a few animated movies. Now me being the nice Joe that I am, I’ll take on all of those requests. There was just one tiny little problem, however.
All of those movies were absolutely horrid.
For a while, my friends saw me as some sort of an online garbage trunk. They would just leave a bad animated movie by the side of the street, and I will do the rest. And to be honest, I actually really enjoyed doing it. Sure some of the movies I’ve sat through were soul-draining experiences, but there was an undeniable catharsis I’ve felt when I got to tear each and every one of them to shreds through my writing.
However, I don’t want to just be a garbage trunk. At least not 24/7 anyway. As much as I can be critical of something bad, I also wanted to give glowing praise to something good. As well as branching out to new topics that are still under the umbrella of what this blog covers. Change and growth are good, and that is my intention moving forward.
But as one last hurrah for a time long past, I want to “honor” the animated movies that excel in being complete garbage. The ones that are a disgrace to the name of the animation. An art form can take people to whole new worlds and adventures that wouldn’t be as easy to do or even possible in live-action. Trust me, I do have a best-animated movies list planned in the future. It would have been my first real big post, too, if for not this one reason.
To appreciate the good, you have to go through the bad first. And that I shall do. But before I do, however, I must set up some ground rules for this list.
- It must be a commercial release. Theaters, Blu-ray, DVD, TV. Anything that was released on those is fair game as far as I am concerned. Sure, there might be fan animations that might be worse than any of these on a technical level, but the people who make them are not expecting you to pay them to see their work, unlike all of the movies on this list.
- One studio per movie. If I didn’t follow this rule, this list could have been spammed with movies from one awful studio. And that would have gotten tedious really quickly. So the one studio rule should help keep things streamlined.
- These are all the movies that I have watched. So if they were that one entry you thought were on this list no matter what but didn’t make the cut, it’s likely because I have never seen it.
So with all of that out of the way, let’s get started.10. Shark Tale (2004), Dreamworks Animation
Out of all the studios to have an entry on this list, Dreamworks Animation is the strongest as a whole. They have some pretty amazing work under their belt, such as Shrek, The Prince of Egypt, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. Sure they have their fair share of duds, but I’m am always curious to see what they bring around the corner. That being said, those duds can be really bad. And the worse of them by a landslide has to be Shark Tale.
Just look at this. Look at it! You think it looks gross or hits the uncanny valley? Well, I’m sorry to inform you that this is what you get to look at throughout the entire movie. Granted, the actual animation is actually very nice in terms of movement. This is still a Dreamworks movie, after all. Unfortunately, it can’t cover up just how ugly some of these faces are. However, it’s not the worst thing about Shark Tale. Rather it symbolizes what is actually the real issue at work here.
Shark Tale just feels like an excuse to throw in as many celebrity voice actors as possible so they can spout one-liners and fish puns whenever it is possible. Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, and Martin Scorsese, out of anyone, could have been on this movie. Even though he has actively worked with De Niro in the past, it’s still blowing my mind that one of the world’s best film directors ended up on a movie like this.
Though credit is due that he and De Niro are the second best thing about Shark Tale aside from the animation. They have some pretty fun banter together, and their line delivery is on point. Maybe if this movie was entirely about them, I could have gotten more mileage out of this entire affair. Sadly, it’s not. Not to say that talents like Will Smith or Jack Black give bad performances per se. Rather, it feels that they are limited by the material they are working with. The characters feel less like characters and more akin to their actual voice actors, making many celebrity in-jokes one after the other.
Make no mistake; however, this film does try to bring about more dramatic moments throughout its run-time. And they don’t work. Mainly because you’ve seen this plot before done in much better movies—the main character down on his luck. The liar revealed a cliche. The love interest subplot. The outcast. Admittingly, I would have given this movie many leeways if these tropes were at the very least well-executed.
But to my surprise, they are not. Rather they are played painfully straight with no new surprises thrown in.
And to throw the dirt cherry on top, the main character Oscar is extremely unlikable. We are supposed to feel sympathetic towards his plight, but he keeps making terrible decisions after terrible decisions intentionally. How can we feel sorry for the hero if he goes out of his way to make his own life worse? Sure we know he’s going to do something heroic at the end, but it feels like the film is obeying the narrative structure of its cliches rather than feeling earned like it should.
All in all, this is the worst movie to come out of Dreamworks. It’s a cookie-cutter pop-culture referencing machine that offers little in terms of a decent narrative or good characters. Solid animation and good voice actors keep this movie from being any further down on the list. But still, Shark Tale, at its core, feels very pointless. Even though it won’t be as pointless as some of the other movies on this list. Oh boy.
9. The Emoji Movie (2017), Sony Pictures Animation
To be honest, I wish I could have put this one lower down on the list. I really did. If Shark Tale was just really pointless, then The Emoji Movie is downright insulting. It’s a marketing ploy to get children into various corporate products and then treats them like they are complete idiots to boot. Ironically enough, despite its best attempts, the film feels very disconnected from its very own demographic. Despite the subject matter being better aimed towards teens, it wants to entertain children with cute characters and a plot with little conflict. It wants to have its own cake and eat it too, but it just doesn’t work.
Not helping this movie is that once again, you’ve seen this movie done before elsewhere. The hero who doesn’t fit and goes on an adventure. The obnoxious sidekick. The generic tough girl who happens to be a princess. A villain who is obsessed with order. The list of tropes goes on and on. It’s like what Shark Tale, except it’s somehow done even worse here. It only gets “original” during the periods when the movie decides to become a commercial for Youtube, Twitter, Candy Crush, etc.
The Emoji Movie is such a chore to sit through. It’s not as hilariously bad as some of the movies coming up in this post, but it fails to leave any sort of impact aside from apathy or disgust. At no point did I feel invested in anything that was happening. I just wanted it to end the moment it began. So what kept this one from being lower down on the list any further?
Well, on a technical level, this movie is fantastic. Character designs are appealing to look at. The animation moves smoothly—very well-designed backgrounds. And a lot of nice use of colors in some scenes. Despite feeling soulless at its core, the animators really had a lot of fun bringing the material to life. I have nothing but respect for those guys. Next time, I just wished their talents were used on a better movie instead.
8. Elf Bowling the Movie: The Great North Pole Elf Strike (2007), Film Bonkers International and Great Highway Company
Continuing the trend of movies that make you questioned why they exist, we have Elf Bowling the Movie. For some reason. At least Emojis are somewhat socially relevant. Elf Bowling is just a video game where you are Santa and rolls down elves as if they were pins. You play it for 5 minutes as a time-waster and then move on with your life afterward. It’s not a series of games that stands shoulder to shoulder with other titles like Mario or Call of Duty. I can assure you of that. So it really does boggle the mind that someone thought an Elf Bowling movie was a good idea. But hey, maybe it wound’t be so bad if the movie was good, right?
HAHAHAHAHA! Yeah no.
To start off with, this movie barely has anything to do with the game it’s based on aside from a few scenes. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember the game having anything relating to pirates, talking statues, or magical powers. Granted, something like Elf Bowling doesn’t give you too much work from the start, but the narrative additions do little in making this movie entertaining to watch. I don’t care about the characters. I don’t care about what was at stake. I didn’t care about anything. Once again, it’s like The Emoji Movie, but even more terrible and pointless. And yes, this is going to be a running theme throughout this list. But can you blame me, though?
For what it’s worth, the visuals are pretty decent. Not on the same level as a Dreamworks or Pixar film by any means, but it’s clear that professionals were working on it. For the most part, movements were fine, and the models aren’t too ugly to look at. It’s by far the strongest aspect of this movie.
But once again, it doesn’t cover up the fact that this movie is such a drag to watch. There are a few moments that got a laugh out of me, but that’s it. Elf Bowling the Movie was clearly made as a quick crash-grab, and it’s a really poor one at that.
7. Norm of the North (2016), Assemblage Entertainment, Splash Entertainment, and Telegael
WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!?
Let me tell you this movie’s biggest selling point. Rob Schneider is a talking Polar Bear that can twerk. Doesn’t that just sound like a cinematic masterpiece to you? Oh, it’s not? Well, let me tell you that someone thought this was good enough to get a theatrical release. I’m not kidding. Unlike Elf Bowling, where the creators knew it was better off being released on DVD, Lionsgate decided that Norm of the North should be given a chance to be screened on the big screen.
Cue to Norm of the North is arguably the most hated animated movie to come out in five years. Only rivaled by The Emoji Movie in just how critically panned it was. Expect while the latter is good on a technical level, this one looks and feels as if it was made for Blu-ray/DVD. And it should have just stayed there. Models have poor textures, and the decent character animation suffers from poor rendering. It’s visually unpleasant.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this plot is as standard as it gets. Except for this time, certain elements don’t really make that much sense. How can humans hear Norm talk? Why does the main big bad want to build houses in the Arctic? Little details like this, if they were explored, could have made for something interesting. But instead, those questions have been thrown to the side in favor of plot cliches, pointless action scenes, and bottom-of-the-barrel humor that would only appeal to a five-year-old. And even that’s debatable.
Norm of the North is also bogged down by its intolerably obnoxious environmental message. I believe in protecting the environment as much as the next Joe, but this movie can’t resist shoving that message down you’re throat every five minutes. As if we are too stupid to not able to understand what the point of this movie is. Far too preachy for my tastes.
And you want to know what the worst part? This film is getting sequels. The first of which was already released late last year, and more are on writing. Can’t you feel how excited that makes me feel knowing that?
6. A Car’s Life: Sparky’s Big Adventure (2006), Sparkplug Entertainment
I’ve gone on about how the previous entries were just highly derivative of other movies throughout this list. And I understand how old that can get. So, how about I changed things up?
By talking about a movie that rips one-off instead? You see? Problem solved.
Well, A Car’s Life doesn’t entirely rip off Pixar’s Cars on a narrative level. Still, the concepts and release dates are close enough to tell where you can argue that the creators behind this movie wanted to leach off Cars by tricking anyone stupid enough to think that it was from Pixar. They are quite a few studios that operate with this method. They’re mockbusters, essentially.
And just like what you expect from a mockbuster, everything about this movie is absolutely terrible! It’s visually unbearable to look at. Everything is poorly paced and doesn’t make any sense. All of the characters are as entertaining as the Bubonic Plague. Bad voice acting from the entire cast. Anything that a movie can do wrong does go wrong here.
A Car’s Life is such a chore to watch. It offers no entertainment value to anyone. I’ve more fun watching paint dry on the wall than watching this travesty. And you know what, I don’t like to talk about this one anymore. So I’ll let you do the talking for me.
And this is only number six! We still have five more movies to get through, folks. And let me assured you all, it doesn’t get any better from here.
5. Joshua and the Promised Land (2003), Jimichhelion Entertainment
Does anyone remember The Room? That one abysmal movie in which most aspects of its production were handled by one person. The one that took itself so seriously to the point its execution was hilariously bad? This movie?
Well, Joshua and the Promised Land is the animated equivalent of that.
The film is directed, produced, animated, written, and has voice work provided by Jim Lion. It goes without saying that this isn’t an easy task to take on by any means. Even just directing or animating a movie takes a lot of time and effort. So despite what I’m going to follow this up with, I want to give credit where it’s due. That being said, there has had to be a point during this film’s production was quality control should have been enforced or discussed. Greatly.
From the first frame, this movie makes such a terrible first impression with its poor visuals. Not only are the character models are very under-detailed (Where are the tails?), but the movements look so unnatural and goofy. Especially when the models need to do more complicated movements in action scenes. It’s like watching a child playing around with his stiff action figures. Not only that, but the models will also glitch a bit from time to time, particularly when they have to sit. The animation is greatly lacking in actual polish, to say the least.
And combining with these visuals is some of the worse sound mixings I’ve had ever heard in any film. Sounds are either too loud or too quiet. Some of the sound choices are really goofy in how they are used in the film. For instance, during what is supposed to be an intense action set-piece, cartoony sound effects are used when people get killed, or their transports break apart. There was a stock bowling sound effect that is really easy to notice regardless if you are looking out for it or not.
But what really cements this film’s quality is the awful voice direction. Almost all the voice actors deliver their lines in this one tone. It sounds really monotonous and creates a disconnect when they can’t sell the emotional beats of certain scenes. There is one voice actor who does stand out, and for all of the wrong reasons. I don’t mean to be insulting towards the kid who voices Joshua, but oh my goodness, he was not given good direction at all. Sometimes he would sound emotionless. Other times too emotional. And then times where it feels like he was providing voice work for a completely different movie, but the delivery was still added in this movie anyway for the heck of it. It has to be the most inconsistent voice performance I have ever heard in anything.
Once again, this movie really does speak for itself. However, there is one major difference between this and A Car’s Life. I suggest you see this with your friends. Go get some food and drinks, and find a comfy place to watch this at. Because Joshua and the Promised Land is so much fun to watch with the right mindset. It really is in the territory of being so bad to the point that it’s good. I love watching this movie for that very reason. It certainly holds a special place in my heart for better or for worse.
4. Foodfight (2012), Threshold Entertainment
Out of all the bad animated movies that exist, this is the one that usually gets singled out for being the worst of the worst. Just looking at a still image of this feature, and you can see why really quickly.
This movie is ugly. Really, really ugly. In more ways than one too! Character models are either really bizarre or downright terrifying to look at. And the actual movement is either too realistic or too goofy. And everything else, like the backgrounds, looks unfinished. All of this adds up to what could arguably be the worst-looking movie on this countdown.
Just like the animation, the narrative content is also a huge mess. It’s one of two things. An uninteresting detective mystery. Or a nonsensical invasion plot. Neither one holds up well on their own and falls apart when they’ve meshed together. And to spliced things up, some of the worse comedy I have ever seen in any movie. Not only is it’s just unfunny, but it gets rather unconformable at some points. It’s through the humor where I wonder what the intent for this movie’s existence was. It doesn’t help that none of the characters are fun or endearing, and their respective voice actors sound like they were on auto-pilot throughout the entire thing.
Foodfight is honestly a cinematic disaster on every level. To be expected for a movie that went through production so chaotic that it had to be remade from the ground up when the original version got stolen. On the one hand, I respect the dedication of the crew to finished what they started. On the other hand, the final result is one of the worst animated movies to ever exist.
I guess it could be seen as a bittersweet victory.
While others would have this as their number one on their own worst animated movies list, I would like to respectfully disagree. I think there are three more movies worse than Foodfight. And you’re about to see why, right now!
3. Tentacolino (In Search of the Titanic) (2004), Mondo TV
If it hasn’t been already apparent, all of these films thus far have been 3D animated. And one of you may be asking, “Joe, where are the 2D flicks. Some of them can be pretty bad too.” And that is very true. A few could have made it but didn’t make the final roster, sadly, So to make up for that, I’ve had decided to put the worst one of the bunch on this countdown.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold the monster that is: Tentacolino.
It was originally a sequel to the 1999’s The Legend of the Titanic, a potential contender for this list for its insulting narrative content despite some decent animation. And for some reason unknown to mankind, Mondo TV thought that film was worth getting a sequel. So here we are now. Stuck forever with this travesty of a film.
To start off with, the narrative goes into the craziest of directions for no real reason other than because it can. The first film already jumps the shark through the introduction of animals communicating with humans as an important plot point, its forced environmental message, and the laughable revising of historical events (Which is that no one dies during the Titanic’s sinking. We were just making that up this whole time! 😜) So how does the sequel follow this up. Why with all of the following such as:
- Introducing Atlantis as the film’s central location filled with mermaids and merman.
- An elixir that can make one immortal if its contents are consumed.
- A rapping shark that serves as one of the film’s major villains (Also, all of the musical numbers are terrible, by the way.).
- The film’s climax featuring an army made up of living toys.
- A dog using a laser pistol to shoot at rats who are invading Atlantis for that aforementioned elixir so that they can take over the entire world.
- The actual Titanic serving little to no purpose in the story despite’s one of the film’s titles.
And this is just me barely scratching the surface. Tentacolino visuals are also pretty poor. Bland locations, nonsensical use of colors, and limited character animation. It’s such a major downgrade compared to the original’s presentation.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record again, this film really does speak for itself in ways that written text cannot. It’s almost worth watching to see the insane narrative directions that this movie indulges itself in. But be warned, you may not come back as the same person you were before you first watched this. Yes, it’s that type of movie.
2. Caroline and the Magic Potion (2015), Latido Films
I utterly loathe this movie with…
Wait for a second; this isn’t the right movie. That one’s actually really great. Let me fix that.
Ah, there I go. Now then, where was I? Oh, yes.
I utterly loathe this movie with a burning passion. This is what you use as a method of torture. Caroline and the Magic Potion is one of the most insufferable movies I have ever sat through. I wished it was just dreadfully boring so I’ll just forget about it, but it instead decides to shove its awfulness down you’re throat whenever possible to the point of it being rage-inducing. I’m not kidding.
The animation is brought down by over-simplistic character designs and a choppy frame rate. The story makes no sense if you think about it for five seconds. With concepts being introduced out of thin air and are never expanded upon. I don’t understand how magic works in a film that’s all about magic! There are major inconsistencies in how certain settings actually work too.
But’s what the worst thing about the movie? That’s pretty easy. You want to know? Well, here it is.
ALL OF THE CHARACTERS ARE UNGODLY AMOUNTS OF ANNOYING!!!!
There was not one character I’ve found myself caring about. They range from painfully dull to downright infuriating to watch. The terrible voice acting and bad lip-syncing doesn’t do them any favors either. If the movie ended with all of them burning to death, then I would consider that to be the best ending that it could have gone with. Sadly it doesn’t, and we are stuck with them for 90 minutes. Yah…
Of particular note are the slugs. They not only serve any purpose to the narrative at all, but they are a poor man’s attempt at the minions. Except they are a million times worse. They are by far the one aspect of this movie that was the most unbearable to sit through.
My advice. Stay away from this movie. Stay far, far away. It’s not worth you’re time. Not even so bad, it’s good. Trust me on this one. You won’t regret it.
1. Trolland (2016), The Asylum
Ever since the conception of this countdown, I knew what was going to be my number one. It wasn’t even a contest. I’ve been through some pretty crappy movies on this countdown, but none of them reached the same level of quality as my number one pick in my eyes.
This is Troll and
A mockbuster in the same veins as A Car’s life. In this instance, a ripoff of Dreamwork’s Trolls that also came out during 2016. Except this one is even worse. Much worse. At least’s the crew behind A Car’s Life tried to make it look like a semi-finished movie. The Asylum, on the other hand. They couldn’t be asked to do even that. Instead, they decided to make a movie that’s just one giant animation error.
Now the character models aren’t the worst thing ever. They’re not on the same level as some other bad animated movies. But when they move. Oh dear, when they move. The character animation looks so unpolished. Body parts and facial features move in the most awkward way imaginable. Sometimes the entire body will move as if it’s a statue or move into poses that make the character look broken. Basic concepts such as layering are completely ignored throughout the film, making the models look like they are floating or walking on thin air. It gets so bad that I’ll start feeling sorry for the ground for how poorly underutilized it was. How does that ever happen!? Not to mention all of the times where it looks characters are grabbing an object, but not really, so the object just floats in the air. What are these people or trolls? Force wielders!?
The visuals are by far the worst aspect of this entire film. Because this is where it becomes clear and evident that no one cares about quality control. This is not even good enough to be sold on DVD for how inexcusably lazy it is. But don’t worry, everything else besides the visuals is also abysmal! Lifeless voice acting.
A weak story filled with the blandest of characters. There is no sense of tone or atmosphere, so the movie feels rather lifeless and lacks direction. Nothing about this movie is salvageable. Nothing! Trolland really pushes the limit of what it means to be a bad movie. I’ve seen some really, really terrible films in the past. But none of them have has such an apathetic crew working behind it like this one does. And oh, does it show.
But once again, I do encourage you to go seek this one out. As much as it’s a pile of trash, I’ve had so much fun ripping it a new one while watching it, especially with friends. If you want to see what’s really at the bottom of the barrel, then this is the one for you.
And that’s that. I’ve had one fun time making this countdown for you guys. Let me know what bad animated movies I’ve missed, what type of content you want to see, how me that’s not this, and what I can do to improve on for the future. Thanks for reading this to the end so much. You are awesome.