Top 10 Worst Disney Movie Rip-Offs Ever

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Top 10 Worst Disney Movie Rip-Offs Ever

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
These movies are NOT canon! For this list, we'll be looking at the worst examples of studios trying to cash in on Disney's success with cheap animated knockoffs. Our countdown includes “Braver”, “A Car's Life: Sparky's Big Adventure”, “Ratatoing”, and more!
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Top 10 Worst Disney Movie Rip-Offs


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Disney Movie Rip-Offs.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the worst examples of studios trying to cash in on Disney’s success with cheap animated knockoffs.

Have you seen any of those Disney rip-offs? Let us know in the comments.

#10: “Aladdin” (1992)

1992 saw the release of two animated “Aladdin” movies. One was a beautifully crafted tale with great music and lovable characters. The other was a straight-to-video cheapie clearly meant to trick unsuspecting parents into buying it. In 1993, Disney sued GoodTimes Entertainment, the company behind the inferior “Aladdin,” claiming the video’s packaging was too similar to theirs. However, the suit was thrown out on the grounds of visual dissimilarities between the packaging and the story’s public domain status. Plenty of other copycats came in “Aladdin’s” wake. You might say it introduced Disney to “a whole new world….of knockoffs.”

#9: “Braver” (2012)

If “Brave” was good, then “Braver” must be even better? That’s not the case with this knockoff, which originally wasn’t meant to be a ripoff of Disney and Pixar’s animated fantasy. Originally, the film was released in 2005 as a TV movie titled “A Fairytale Christmas.” However, when “Brave” came out in 2012, a pathetic cash-in attempt resulted in this movie being resold with a new title and deceptive packaging, which makes the film look like it’s computer-animated when it’s actually traditionally animated. “Braver”/”A Fairytale Christmas” is already a poor excuse for an animated film. But the shameless attempt to pass it off as something else makes it a different kind of terrible.

#8: “Homeward” (2020)

Did you find “Onward” to be a touching tale of brotherly bonding and conquering fears? Well, stay away from “Homeward,” which will inspire far more negative reactions. Released by The Asylum, a studio that specializes in egregious cash-ins known as “mockbusters,” “Homeward'' is like “Onward” in that it’s about a young elf who goes on a magic-filled quest with his brother, an orc who happens to look remarkably similar to Wreck-It Ralph. It also contains the voice acting talents of Joey Lawrence and Tom Green, which would be noteworthy if it came out in 2000, not 2020. There’s no wonder to be found in “Homeward,” other than wondering when it’s going to finally end.

#7: “The Secret of Mulan” (1998)

No, Disney didn’t create the legend of Mulan. But it’s no coincidence that this version of the Chinese story came out the exact same year as Disney’s lavish epic. One thing sets it apart, though. The characters aren’t humans; they’re insects. While this might sound like a somewhat creative spin on the Mulan story, remember that Disney also released “A Bug’s Life” in 1998. So, this is like a double-dose of plagiarism. “Mulan” showed courage, not gender, is what matters. And “The Secret of Mulan” showed there’s no honor when it comes to stealing ideas from others.

#6: “Izzie’s Way Home” (2016)

Watching “Finding Nemo” and its sequel, “Finding Dory,” is like going snorkeling and experiencing the wondrous depths of the ocean. Watching “Izzie’s Way Home” is like wandering through the fish aisle at a drab pet shop. The Asylum’s first animated film, released only a month before “Finding Dory,” boasts some name recognition in its supporting cast, including Tori Spelling and NSYNC’s Joey Fatone. But that’s hardly enough to make up for its cut-rate animation, which would look bad in 1996, let alone 2016, or its wholly unoriginal plot. If we have to say one nice thing about it: the colors look pretty.

#5: “A Car’s Life: Sparky’s Big Adventure” (2006)

The “Cars” movies are considered by many Pixar fans to be among the studio’s weakest offerings. But they’re all animated masterpieces compared to “A Car’s Life.” Released the same year as the first “Cars,” this piece of scrap lasts only 45 minutes, but it feels twice as long. Not only is the animation absolutely hideous, but the plot also deals with subject matter that’s just way too serious for what’s supposed to be a kid’s movie. But we think any kid would rather be stuck in a car for eight hours with no entertainment than have to watch “A Car’s Life.”

#4: “Shark Bait” [“The Reef”] (2006)

Disney isn't the only studio that's allowed to make animated movies set underwater, but at least others could learn to not follow them so closely. This one, confusingly known as "The Reef," "Shark Bait," and "The Reef: Shark Bait" has been called out for ripping off "Finding Nemo" and "The Little Mermaid," as well as "Shark Tale," a DreamWorks production. The only thing impressive about it is that they managed to cast Freddie Prinze, Jr., Evan Rachel Wood, Rob Schneider, and a few other recognizable actors. Otherwise, "The Reef" is just another painfully derivative and cheaply made animated film.

#3: “Bug Bites: An Ant’s Life” (1998)

When “A Bug’s Life” came out in 1998, computer animation was still proving itself as a worthwhile competitor to traditional animation. “Bug Bites: An Ant’s Life” is so bad, it feels like a plot by 2D animators to sabotage computer animation’s reputation. Trying to cash in on both “A Bug’s Life” and DreamWorks’ “Antz,” released the same year, “Bug Bites” is nowhere near feature-length, at only 25 minutes long. The dead-eyed character designs and overall shoddiness make it feel like an unintentional horror movie. They got one thing right, though: this thing certainly bites.

#2: “What's Up: Balloon to the Rescue!” (2009)

“Up” is a delightful story of a man who learns how to work through his grief when he goes on an adventure with the help of an eager young companion. “What’s Up: Balloon to the Rescue!” is an agonizingly bad attempt to leech off its success. Made by now-defunct Brazilian animation studio Video Brinquedo, "What's Up" is about a scientist who attaches a hot air balloon to his house and goes on adventures. It looks awful, there’s absolutely no attempt made to make sense, and there are multiple instances of clear racism. We give “What’s Up” two thumbs way down.

#1: “Ratatoing” (2007)

Even otherwise-good animated films can look bad next to “Ratatouille,” Pixar’s heartwarming story of a rat realizing his dream of working in a Paris fine dining restaurant. “Ratatoing,” another Video Brinquedo production, sets a new low for animated storytelling. It basically tells us what “Ratatouille” would look like if the budget was $10 and the talent level was below-zero. Getting through even five minutes of this piece of “garbagé” is an achievement, let alone all 44 of them. “Ratatouille” taught us that “anyone can cook.” “Ratatoing” taught us that some people have no business working in animation.
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