It takes a lot of effort to make a truly horrendous children’s film. Although kids are usually willing to overlook plot holes, bad animation, and poor acting, there have been a few movies bad enough that even the most un-picky of children will run from the room in tears.
Most often, the people impressively un-talented enough to make these films still manage to make a living. They do this through the magical power of knock-offs. If a kids’ movie even remotely resembles a bigger hit by Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks, it might confuse a senile old woman into thinking that she got the right gift for her great-grandson’s fifth birthday.
Here are a few of the most impressively bad children’s film knock-offs ever made.
This horrible series of short children’s movies blatantly plagiarizes Disney/Pixar’s Cars. So what? A knock-off is a knock-off, right? The Little Cars series is so awful that even car-obsessed two-year-olds don’t want to look at the screen. It shows repeats of the exact same images, cars moving without their wheels turning, and a race track made out of… television static? Prepare yourself for the worst animation you will witness in your life. It could easily be mistaken for a 12-year-old’s Powerpoint project.
Spider’s Web- A Pig’s Tale
It’s a movie about a pig who is best friends with a spider. (Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.) “Spider’s Web” differs enough in its plot elements that it isn’t a blatant plagiarization of “Charlotte’s Web.” It is, however, the worst example of animation ever seen in cinematic history. The animators used the exact same model snake for dozens of different characters, but nothing is illuminated or textured in a manner that is at all believable. And the poor construction of the characters’ eyes make it look like they are all cross-eyed and/or zombies. Witness the moral transformation of Walter the Pig as he learns from his spider friend that lying is wrong. And something about a snake. I don’t recommend this one unless you are mentally ill and/or using LSD.
An Ant’s Life
A knock-off of a knock-off. “An Ant’s Life” plagiarizes “Antz,” which itself plagiarizes “A Bug’s Life.” The story has an extremely predictable plot in which virtually nothing happens. There is no drama, no emotion, little music and extremely poor acting. You’d entertain your child more effectively and more educationally by showing him an ant-hill. You know, the real kind. Outside. Within living bugs inside it.
The Frog Prince
This is the original title of the fairy tale, so it’s technically more “genuine” than Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.” Right? Wrong. The Frog Prince contains the most terrifying voice acting you’ll hear in your life. The voices are irritating, the animation is flat and lacking perspective, the story is dull and lifeless, and the princess stomps around in stereotypical jungle-clothing. Plus, you’ll find enough sexual innuendos to terrify any child who can understand them. Avoid at all cost.
This hilariously bad knock-off of “Ratatouille” is most notable because absolutely. nothing. happens. at any point during the film. It’s a conglomeration of patchy, jerky, inconsistently lit scenes of a rat who likes to cook. And… he likes to cook. And, look. It’s a rat who likes to cook. Prepare yourself for the most repetitive (and redundant) film experience of your life. This children’s film knock-off doesn’t deserve to live.
The Little Panda Fighter
This kid’s movie knock-off is so bad that YouTube clips have become a small-scale internet meme. All sales of this product occurred have because Grandma didn’t know that it wasn’t the same as Kung Fu Panda, or because Dad wanted to get high and watch it with his friends. The animation is jerky, the dialogue is awkward, and the story makes no sense whatsoever.
Set in a city that looks remarkably like a screenshot of SimCity 2000 for Windows 98, this movie’s most impressive non-accomplishment is the apparent use of only one voice actor for every single character. That’s only cool when Adam Sandler does it. Check out clips of “Tiny Robots” on YouTube and wonder if this knock-off actually was made using Sim City, Powerpoint, and some heroin-addicted would-be actor picked up from the sidewalks.
I try to support small enterprises, but, when it comes to entertainment for myself and my child, I’ll go with the real thing.