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10 Most Controversial Disney Movies (& Why They Should Be Reimagined Today)

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Disney has begun a modern trend of adapting some of its most beloved animated classics by reimagining them in live-action films. While some of these movies, like The Jungle Book, have been huge successes, others like Pinocchio have been major disappointments. There is still a lot of controversy among fans about whether Disney should be remaking beloved classics. However, some of their older animated films have glaring problems that modern audiences can’t look past.


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Either through animated or live-action remakes, Disney has the opportunity to address viewers’ concerns. Some remakes, such as the upcoming The Little Mermaid, have the potential to address the issues that make the original so controversial among today’s viewership.

10 Bambi Had A Dark Opening

Bambi was released in 1942, making it one of the first few Disney animated films. The movie follows the titular young deer after he loses his mother and has to be raised by the various animals who live in the forest.

However, Bambi also highlights humankind’s destruction of nature and features Bambi’s mother being killed by a careless hunter. While many viewers consider environmental commentary important, some parents are uncomfortable with this violent depiction. A remake of Bambi could remove the brutal killing at the beginning or approach nature’s destruction in a more constructive way.

9 The Aristocats Had Some Problematic Racial Stereotyping

The Aristocats is about a mother cat and her three kittens, who are kidnapped from their home with a rich elderly woman. They are assisted by a street cat and his friends. However, modern viewers have noted the racist stereotypes in The Aristocats.

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Disney+ has a message at the beginning of the film that addresses these hurtful stereotypes and suggests it can spark a constructive conversation about a “more inclusive future together.” Though Disney is right to address the problematic nature of The Aristocats, another solution would be to remake the beloved story with appropriate depictions of other cultures.

8 There Were Drug References In Alice In Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is one of the best Disney movies based on classic literature. However, modern viewers have noted the problematic depiction of drug use throughout. Not only does Alice use potions to change her state of being, but the caterpillar is also seen smoking out of a water pipe.

In addition to the drug use depictions, viewers have pointed out the use of unusual and poorly done musical numbers. Though Disney adapted this film into two live-action Alice in Wonderland films, they were continuations rather than remakes. While staying closer to the source material is sometimes a preferred method for literary adaptations, an Alice in Wonderland remake seems to call for some modern twists.

7 The Depiction Of Indigenous People Was Abhorrent In Peter Pan

Many Disney fans believe the Peter Pan sequel shouldn’t have left the vault, as it’s hard to look past some of the glaring issues in the original. The depiction of the Native Americans is extremely problematic, as Peter Pan has them speak in gibberish and smoke excessive amounts of pipe tobacco. In addition, the song, “What Made The Red Man Red” is one of the most blatantly racist inclusions.

Despite the various live-action adaptations of Peter Pan, an animated remake of this beloved classic has the potential to still thrill children. A remake would need to remove the hurtful stereotypes.

6 Hercules Should Coincide With Mythology

Though Hercules features one of the most likable Disney princes, the movie has some obvious inaccuracies when it comes to depicting mythology. The movie strives to loosely depict Greek mythology, even taking place in Ancient Greece. However, there are some obvious errors, such as Heracles being his actual Greek name. In addition, Hera is not Hercules’ mother, but is the true villain in the hero’s story.

Disney has announced an upcoming live-action remake of Hercules, but few details are known about the film’s characters and plot. While staying too close to the mythology would be too sad and violent for a Disney adaptation, it can strive to stay closer to the source material.

5 Modern Viewers Have Found The Fox And The Hound Sexist

The Fox And The Hound is a bittersweet story about an unlikely friendship. The story naturally concluded with the fox living in the wild and the hound confined to his owner’s home. However, the problematic nature of the film lies with the female side characters. The old woman who takes Todd in is fiery and bold, but she never actually gets a name. Instead, she’s simply called “Widow.”

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Viewers have also pointed out how Amos Slade calls the old woman “female” in a condescending and contemptuous way. Vixey, the female fox, is also a tool used to give Todd a reason to remain in the wild. The message in The Fox And The Hound is admirable, but an adaption would allow Disney to correct this representation of female characters.

4 Pocahontas Was Strewn With Inaccuracies

Pocahontas is based on a young Native American woman in history, but the animated film is far from historically accurate. The movie uses romance to conveniently end the violence between the Native people and the European invaders.

For Disney to appropriately remake this depiction of history, the storyline would have to be completely deconstructed and reimagined. While there’s no easy way to depict the slaughter and oppression of Indigenous people for an appropriate children’s movie, a remake would have to exclude the problematic romance and the romanticization of European invasion.

3 Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs Is Overall Problematic

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White is a mishandled female character. Despite being the star of the show, she’s reduced to a caregiver and housekeeper. In addition, viewers have expressed their contempt for the 14-year-old girl being kissed while she’s unconscious.

Disney’s live-action Snow White will release in 2024, but the audience still has suspicions that the adaptation will include the problems from the original. There are several ways Snow White could be awoken from her curse that won’t bring up consent issues. The utilization of dwarfs as a plot device is also problematic, which Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage has been vocal about in anticipation of the upcoming film.

2 The Little Mermaid Had A Problematic Message

In The Little Mermaid, Ariel falls in love with a human prince and goes through great obstacles to stay on land with him and live happily ever after. Modern viewers have a problem with this young woman giving up everything she’s ever known for a man.

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Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid will be released in May 2023. While there has been some controversy among fans on how close the remake should stay to the source material, some viewers are hoping Ariel will be driven by desires that don’t solely revolve around her romance with Prince Eric.

1 Sleeping Beauty Has One Of The Most Problematic Storylines

Sleeping Beauty is one of the most beloved Disney princess films, but it has one of the most problematic storylines. The conflict begins when Maleficent is angered over not being invited to Princess Aurora’s christening, representing a poor excuse for a woman’s revenge and spitefulness. The ending also features Prince Phillip having to awaken the cursed Aurora with a “true love’s kiss.”

Though Disney’s live-action Maleficent gave the villain a backstory to justify her vengeful spirit, it avoided the issue of Aurora being kissed without consent to break a curse. From Snow White to Sleeping Beauty, Disney needs to correct this problematic approach of women being saved with a nonconsensual kiss. In a remake, the studio should find another solution to breaking a curse.

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