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It seems that some people have trouble figuring out when a movie is a Disney rip-off. They are either too naive to recognize (or in denial about) the tropes common in Disney movies, or any of the other things that qualify as a rip-off.

Adaptation

Most Disney movies are based on either a fairy tale, or another previously-existing story. However, certain aspects of the story have to be changed in Disney adaptations, either to expand the source material (Beauty and the Beast, Tangled) or to make it appropriate for children (Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Most Disney rip-offs follow suit, though the majority tend not to understand Disney's changes.

Examples:

  • Thumbelina: Based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson. In this version, Thumbelina meets the fairy prince earlier, the frog and beetle keep chasing her throughout the film, and the swallow keeps popping in to dispense advice. However, the main conflict of the movie is Thumbelina trying to get back to her house, and the swallow could easily solve that problem by just having her climb onto his back and taking her there. And while the fairy prince deciding to marry Thumbelina after one musical number was an improvement on the original story, it was still two characters deciding to get married after next to no chemistry. Also, "Marry the Mole".
  • The Swan Princess: Based on the ballet Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. In this version, Odette and the renamed Derek were part of an arranged marriage that didn't work out, Rothbart abducted Odette and turned her into a swan to convince her to marry him so he could take over the kingdom legally, and Odette doesn't kill herself in this version. Instead of killing herself, Odette nearly dies for unexplained reasons. Rothbart's plan doesn't follow logic, and his design is a huge downgrade from the source material. And of course, one of the sidekicks is a random frog who thinks he's the Frog Prince for some reason.
  • The Scarecrow: Based loosely on both Feathertop by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and The Scarecrow by Percy MacKaye.
  • The Princess and the Pea: Based on the fairy tale of the same name.
  • Titanic: The Legend Goes On: Based on James Cameron's Titanic (without James Cameron's permission). In this version, the heroine has an evil stepmother and two evil stepsisters, the romantic leads have next to no chemistry, there is a subplot about a detective and a jewel thief, and everybody lives happily ever after at the end. And just to screw history even more, there are Mexican stereotype mice, and the infamous rapping dog.
  • Quest for Camelot: Based loosely on The King's Damosel by Vera Chapman. In this version, Kayley (the renamed heroine) goes on an adventure with a blind man and a two-headed dragon to stop an evil knight from grafting Excalibur onto his arm, and taking over Camelot with his cyborg army. Also, none of the characters have the same names as in the original. And there are gryphons, rock biters, magic plants, and other things that have nothing to do with Arthurian legend.
  • The King and I: Based on the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, which was based on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, which she wrote based on her experiences with the king of Siam. This version is just like the original, except with the king living in the end. ...And Kralahome is an evil sorcerer with a fat comedy relief sidekick who summons dragons and living statues to kill Anna and the king so that he can take the throne for himself, and he's also the one responsible for the king (almost) dying in a hot air balloon at the climax. And Anna dances with nothing during "Shall We Dance".
  • Anastasia: Based loosely on Anastasia starring Ingrid Bergman, which was based on a play by Guy Bolton and Marcelle Maurette, which was inspired by the story of Anna Anderson the Anastasia imposter. In this version, a seven-year-old Anastasia hit her head while trying to escape from the evil sorcerer Rasputin and his talking bat, then years later, she gets mixed up with two con artists that she doesn't know are con artists who promise to take her to the Dowager Empress, and an undead Rasputin keeps sending his minions to kill her without her or the con artists knowing he even exists. I think that about sums it up.

Vague Setting

Most Disney movies are set in either a nonspecific place, or a nonspecific medieval-ish time period.

Examples:

Musical Numbers

Most of the famous Disney animated movies feature musical numbers, a long-standing tradition as old as animation itself. So, naturally, Disney rip-offs also need to have musical numbers.

Examples:

  • Anastasia: The best soundtrack to ever be attached to a Disney rip-off, with a Broadway feel to match the lifelike animation.
  • The King and I: Being based on an existing musical, of course this movie would use the songs from the original
  • Quest for Camelot: A very pop soundtrack, including one song that became more famous than the movie itself. In fact, most of the musical numbers work better as pop singles.
  • The Swan Princess: When Richard Rich went to work on this film, he brought a chesklist of songs that had to be in a Disney rip-off, and he definitely filled that checklist.
  • Thumbelina: Home to some of the worst lyrics in Disney rip-off history. The best-sounding songs repeat themselves, the worst-sounding songs don't even try at all.

Missing/Dead Parents

Can't have a Disney protagonist with two living parents, so at least one of them has got to go. Naturally, this extends to Disney rip-offs.

Examples:

  • Anastasia: Both her parents were killed by Rasputin at the beginning of the movie
  • Quest for Camelot: Kayley's father was killed by Ruber at the beginning of the movie
  • Thumbelina: Thumbelina is the adopted daughter of a poor widow
  • The Swan Princess: Odette's mother is absent with no explanation, and her father is killed by Rothbart later on
  • Titanic: The Legend Goes On: Angelica's biological parents are mysteriously absent

Animal Sidekicks

What is a Disney hero without their trusty sidekick? What is Aladdin without Abu, or Rapunzel without Pascal? Disney rip-offs have no intention of finding out.

Examples:

  • Thumbelina: Jacquimo, based on the swallow from the original story, acts as a Jiminy Cricket-esque life coach
  • Anastasia: Pooka, Anastasia's puppy that she randomly finds at the start of the film
  • The Swan Princess: There's Speed the turtle and Puffin the... puffin, but special mention goes to Jean-Bob the wannabe Frog Prince
  • The King and I: A monkey, an elephant, and a panther, because Crest movies can't have enough sidekicks
  • Quest for Camelot: Devon and Cornwall, the pop culture-referencing two-headed dragon
  • Titanic: The Legend Goes On: The rapping dog.

True Love

Examples:

Suspiciously Similar Scenes

Sometimes in Disney rip-offs, scenes and shots are directly lifted from famous Disney movies.

Examples:

  • The Swan Princess: Castle shots resemble shots from Sleeping Beauty, and the scene with Odette and Eric dancing looks like Cinderella. Disney later got their revenge by stealing the movie's transformation sequence for The Princess and the Frog.
  • The Princess and the Pea: Oh god, where to begin?

Curiously Comparable Characters

Sometimes in Disney rip-offs, character designs are directly lifted from famous Disney movies.

Examples:

  • The Happy Cricket: Christopher is a cricket who loves a magical blue star. Sound familiar?
  • The Swan Princess: Bromley looks like LeFou from Beauty and the Beast
  • Quest for Camelot: Kayley looks like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Garret looks like Adam's human form from the same movie.
  • Titanic: The Legend Goes On: Where to begin? The dalmatians look like Pongo and Perdita from 101 Dalmatians, Corynthia Meanstreak looks like Cruella De Vil from the same movie, Corynthia's two henchmen look like Jasper and Horace from the same movie, Angelica has an evil stepmother and two evil stepsisters like in Cinderella, there are talking mice like in the same movie, the cat looks like the Chesire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, Angelica looks like Belle from Beauty and the Beast (rip-offs sure like to copy that film, don't they?) and the geese look like the ones from The Aristocats. And that's not mentioning all the other classic cartoon characters Disney doesn't own that were also shamefully copied in this movie.

The Mockbuster

Examples:

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