10 Most Unlikable Animated Movie Heroes

John Smith from Pocahontas, Aladdin, and Li Shang from Mulan split image

In general, animated movie heroes are written to be as likable as possible. Since the genre appeals toward younger audience, there tends to be less room for nuance and morally gray protagonists. Such a trend is fine, yet it is unfortunately not done well due to poor writing or dated social concepts.

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There are a handful of heroes so blatantly unlikable that many audiences question if they can be considered good people at all. Whether having grating personalities or appalling actions, these individuals are morally questionable and atrocious role models for those who view them.

10 Aladdin Lied To Jasmine About Who He Was


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Aladdin was among the most famous princes in Disney history, and his background as a street rat made him a sympathetic underdog. However, when given the power of Genie’s lamp, he used it irresponsibly.

One of his wishes was to become royalty, which granted him an audience with Princess Jasmine in the kingdom’s capital. However, he emotionally manipulated her by posing as an entirely different person, and it took Jafar himself to expose Aladdin’s lies for what they were. In typical Disney fashion, Jasmine forgave Aladdin after he saved her life.

9 Disgust’s Only Job Was To Be Annoyed At Things

Inside Out

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Inside Out‘s Disgust played a necessary role since everyone needs to have certain limits. However, unlike Joy or Sadness, she did not evolve throughout the story. Instead, Disgust remained a judgmental misanthrope from beginning to end, which made her a terrible role model.

Worse yet, Disgust wasn’t even funny. Out of all the personality types, her presentation was the most one note, and the story would have read almost identically should she have been removed from it entirely. It made her the film’s weakest and most unpleasant character.

8 Phoebus Had Questionable Morals

Hunchback Of Notre Dame

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Although Captain Phoebus was regarded as Hunchback Of Notre Dame‘s rugged hero, there is a lot to dislike about him. For example, he was Frollo’s most loyal soldier until his master was literally willing to commit murder against innocent people to get what he wanted.

Beforehand, Captain Phoebus attempted to arrest Esmeralda at the Feast Of Fools and was fully aware of Frollo’s contempt for “gypsies” yet did nothing about it. His complacency in the face of evil makes winning Esmeralda’s hand a questionable writing decision, especially since he’s an otherwise bland character with no backstory.

7 Kuzco Was A Tyrannical Narcissist

The Emperor’s New Groove

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Kuzco from Emperor's New Groove

Kuzco was the main protagonist in The Emperor’s New Groove and a fairly obnoxious person. In addition to hoarding his country’s resources, he severely punished his own castle staff for mildly inconveniencing him. The emperor didn’t even hesitate before throwing an old man off a mountain.

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Although Kuzco’s interactions with Pacha ultimately made him a better person, it took numerous death defying encounters and a literally transformative experience to make him budge even an ounce. This suggests Kuzco’s alarming lack of empathy and worthiness of being a protagonist.

6 Derek Was Shallow & A Horrible Romantic Partner

The Swan Princess

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Derek and Odette in The Swan Princess

Derek was a leading character in The Swan Princess and a generally shallow, unlikable person. He spent his entire childhood tormenting Odette, which made their later relationship particularly unbelievable.

To make matters worse, Derek didn’t know what else there was to like about Odette beside her appearance and told her as much himself. Although he isn’t a genuinely bad person like Rothbart, Odette can do much better than an oafish, objectifying former bully.

5 Donkey’s Entire Personality Was Making Shrek Angry


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Donkey was supposed to be Shrek’s comic relief, and he may have fulfilled that role for the first movie. However, subsequent appearances left him more grating than funny, especially since his personality didn’t evolve throughout any of the films.

Donkey may have been a good friend for Shrek, but he was constantly intruding on his fledgling relationship with Fiona. This prevented audiences from actually seeing how the two ogres had chemistry and why the plot deserved to focus on their tenuous relationship. Should Donkey have assumed a smaller role, his presence would have been more appealing.

4 John Smith Was Still A Colonizer


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John Smith was lauded as different from Ratcliffe in Pocahontas, but he condoned most of his actions. While the Governor ravaged the New World completely apathetic to the Native Americans’ wishes or needs, John irresponsibly ignored him to go adventure on his own.

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Worse yet, when John was later captured, Ratcliffe used him as propaganda to incite a race war between the two factions. Between John’s overall uselessness, ignorance of Ratcliffe’s conquest, and superficial personality, he was easily the weakest character of the film and only existed as a generic love interest.

3 Elsa Terrified Her Kingdom, Then Abandoned It


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Elsa in Frozen letting it go.

Elsa conflated irresponsibility with independency in Frozen. After accidentally transforming her own kingdom into a frigid wasteland and terrifying her guests, she abandoned everyone including her own subjects and sister. An ice golem protected her private fortress and attacked those who tried to bring her home.

Additionally, Elsa was mostly neglectful of Anna throughout their childhood, which reflected poorly on her character as a sister. In the end, Anna still remained faithful to Elsa as seen through her heroic actions at the end of the film.

2 Li Shang Was A Myopic Misogynist


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Li Shang In Mulan

Li Shang was a ranking officer of China’s armies in Mulan. Although a decent and charismatic leader, the man had many troubling personal flaws. For example, his deep sense of misogyny made him discount Mulan from the army in spite of her proven ability to fight alongside men.

Additionally, Li Shang was fairly shortsighted and lacked creativity. Were it not for Mulan’s actions, he would have charged against Shan Yu’s forces in a battle he couldn’t hope to win. The plan to save the Emperor was also Mulan’s, which makes Shang’s usefulness questionable at best.

1 Sinbad Had An Affair With His Best Friend’s Fiancée

Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Marina from Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas had perhaps the worst role model in animated history. Its protagonist was a notorious thief who was initially content with letting his best friend, Proteus, get beheaded for a crime he didn’t commit.

When badgered into honoring his word by Proteus’ wife, Marina, Sinbad initially tied her to the basement and left her there. After a few adventures, they had an affair, and Sinbad eventually stole Marina from Proteus. Sinbad may have come back to save Proteus’ life, but he was still an irredeemable person.

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