Thursday, October 27, 2016


The villain is always the interesting character of a story.  I guess we like the hero too but there's just something about the villain. Like in Harry Potter, Snape seems like a villain, and in a lot of ways, he is one. He's complicated. Voldemort is the least complicated villain and, though scary, I think there are those who agree that Dolores Umbridge was the worst, most twisted villain of the whole series. Voldemort is bad, but he's just like, straight up evil, want a lot of power, will kill anyone who stands in my way, bad.  Umbridge is bad + fluffy cats and bows and torture quills but pretending it's not. Yipes.

But I'm going to talk about some specific villains today, and they are those who feature in a disneyland commercial I've seen a lot lately. It shows a bunch of Disney villains sitting around a table together, being all chummy, and laughing at their wickedness about taking over Disneyland.  And it's weird, and I think more about it every day.  So I've decided to break it down and measure each one's actual wickedness, or villain-ness. Villaineity?

Here's the picture:

The only people with speaking lines are Cruella DeVille and the Ursula the Sea Witch.  The whole circumstance is amusing. Like, what kind of dungeon party would that be? Who would be the leader of the group? The most outspoken? Who's the lame duck who just sits quietly by, happy to be part of something.  These are the questions I ask myself.  So.  From left to right (and I may add other Disney villains to this):

1. Maleficent.  Aside from Cruella, she has the best name.  It's bad but also beautiful, I suppose like she is.  I'm not doing any background research on these characters because that's boring. And I didn't see the Angelina Jolie film. So from what I know, sheee... has a beef with the king and queen? From what I remember from the old version, she's mad she didn't get invited to the new baby's christening but shows up anyway and then curses the baby, that when she turned sixteen, she would prick her finger on a spindle and die.  That's pretty bad.  But, like, she could have just killed the baby and the whole castle right then and there, yeah?  So she gave her at least sixteen years to live? Still, that's not long, and that's pretty wicked.  On a scale from 1-10, I give her an 8.

2. Frost Man. Jack Frost? I don't even know who that is. I'll have to skip this one.

3. Queen from Snow White.  Ok, it's been a long time. She wishes to be the official (according to her magic mirror) most beautiful woman in the country but that honor consistently goes to Snow White, her step daughter(?)  In a fit of jealous rage, she sends her away? In the woods? Details are fuzzy here. Snow White lives with dwarves and the Queen doesn't know this? Until she uses her magic mirror and she STILL isn't the fairest of them all, that Snow White is, so she must still be alive. Queen disguises herself as an old hag and tempts Snow White to take a bite of poison apple, which doesn't kill her, but puts her under a spell where she will sleep forever, as if to be dead, unless woken/saved by true love's kiss. There are lot of things wrong with this, but if how I remember it is correct, that's not SO bad. She puts her in a deep sleep with a contingency plan. I mean, she must not really mean it if she puts all her bets on the most beautiful girl in the world not getting a boyfriend at some point. This may be superficial of me, but come on. And isn't it that a prince just walks by, sees a pretty/dead-appearing face in a glass box/tomb and kisses it? Do the dwarves take him there? I don't remember, but to me, Queen doesn't seem so bad.  I give her a 4.

4. Captain Hook.  Pirate living in Neverland, hates the lost boys, most of all Peter Pan. Because Peter can fly and Hook can't? Because he's a kid who never grows up and Hook is jealous? He's always going after the lost boys but they don't seem too afraid of him. He fights Peter Pan but something tells me if it had really come to it, Hook wouldn't have had the guts to finish him off, as he claimed to have wanted. (Not really sure if that's true)  He's kind of a pansy.  I give him a 2.

5. Jafar.  Jafar is pretty bad.  The Sultan's aid, he yearns for power and seeks after it using mystical methods like magical lamps in lion-y sand caves in the desert.  He's an interesting bad guy, somewhat multi-dimensional, which I appreciate.  He leaves Aladdin in the sand cave for dead-- pretty bad. He decides, having possession of the lamp and being magicked into a Sultan, takes Jasmine to be his enslaved lover. That's pretty twisted.  But instead of forcing her in to doing things he determines to make her LOVE him, which he tries to wish for but doesn't work, (as we all know, with magic lamps). So that's something. He just wasn't loved as a child. It's pretty sad if you think about it. So I consider him a pretty bad guy, but a sympathetic bad guy as well. Someone with a bit of charisma, who you might root for a little bit.  I give him a 7.

6. Cruella DeVille. She's pretty awful. She kidnaps 99 dalmation puppies to merely to kill them to turn their coats into one big fur coat for herself. GROSS, Cruella.  She could probably get a coat using a mere handful of adult dogs-- so why puppies? Are their coats better? It just sounds super cruel-la to me.  And she's legit terrifying. Remember when she's driving after the puppies? She turns demonic.  I give her a 9.

7. Ursula.  Such a good name. This is one of the best villains, in my opinion.  Talk about personality! You almost like her at times, right? Back in the day I loved her song from the whole film best of all and memorized it word for word. And she's not THAT evil.  So she wants to be Queen of the Sea and for Triton to be no more. So she traps his daughter Ariel into signing this contract saying she'll give Ursula her voice in exchange for legs.  It's all devious of course, as Ursula unfairly attempts to thwart Ariel at every turn, but why the contract in the first place? She could have zapped Ariel into a little worm creature and held her for ransom, right? I mean, maybe not? Maybe i don't know her magic. Maybe it has to be contractual in order to be used.  Though, she did have that collection of other mer-people she'd turned into sea worms. I can't remember the circumstances. Could they not uphold their end of the bargain as well?  Whatever the details are, Ursula has style and pizazz and makes things interesting. I give her a 7 for wickedness but also feel like she might kind of be a cool friend. Hmm. What does this mean?

8. Queen of Hearts.  I don't remember much about her. She was pretty bad, right? Pretty scary? That whole movie is scary. I give her a 9.

9. That's it out of these characters.  I've given it some thought and if I had to choose, right now, the WORST, most evil villain of all of Disneydom, I think I'd have to give it to Scar, brother of Mufasa, king of the plains (or whatever) in Lion King.  1. He's the King's brother and he lets Mufasa DIE getting trampled by a hundred wildebeests.  He's holding onto him with his claws and he lets him go.  THEN, he makes *googling name of son*... Simba believe that it was HIS fault! His own nephew! Ugggh! That's messed up, bruh. (ha ha) Seriously though.  So that Simba will run away and that he, Scar, can take the place of King. I mean, nobody really liked Scar but he kept the depth of his evilness a secret for so long. They just sort of laughed at the quirky grumpy lion brother/uncle. But no. He's bad.  It's simple wickedness and villainry, I will grant. But the family stuff just makes it so bad, especially for a Disney film.

Ahhh I'm happy to have finally gotten out my thoughts that swirl around every time I see this commercial.  Do you have any of your own? Do you agree? Disagree?


Alanna said...

I have SO much to say here! (Is it bad that I am more emotionally invested in this argument than in the election?) I hadn't even seen this ad and immediately found it on YouTube so I could be in on the debate. You know you're kind of lame when you're looking for ads to watch...

First of all, your intro about the Harry Potter villains: YES. Umbridge with her cats and frilliness is so much scarier than straight-up evil Voldemort!

1. Maleficent is one of my favorite villains. She's just so cool and smooth. Could be wicked-er, but when you've got her brooding in her castle with little demons dancing all around her, it's hard not to think she's pretty bad. I agree with the 8, but I could be persuaded to bump it to a 9, based on the dragon and the "Now you will deal with me... And all the powers of HELL!!!!" line...

2. HOW HAVE YOU NOT SEEN HERCULES??? That's Hades there-- God of the Underworld! And he's a great villain-- asking Meg to steal away Hercules' heart and then letting Meg die just to be mean, plotting to release the Titans so he can kill off his brother Zeus... (Also, voiced by James Woods, which is awesome.) It's not the best Disney movie ever, but it's worth seeing. Go find it on Netflix or something! He's probably a 6, maybe a 7.

3. The Wicked Queen is a little more bad than you're remembering-- she sends a hunter to kill Snow White and demands that he bring her Snow's heart in a box. The hunter takes pity on Snow White, though, and brings her a deer heart instead, which the mirror informs her about. I think all that ups the creep factor in a big way. And she's scary as an old woman, who isn't even moved by Snow White's kindness towards her? I'd give her a 7 at least.

4. The thing that makes Captain Hook creepier is the combo of pansiness and his weird obsession with all these little boys. He feels like a pedophile to me. That makes him an 8.

5. Totally agree with your assessment of Jafar.

6. And Cruella DeVille (especially when she wants to drown the puppies at the beginning because she thinks they're not purebreds).

7. The creepiest thing about Ursula is when she eats that live shrimp thing with it's trembling scared eyes. But that might just be my aversion to seafood talking...

8. Queen of Hearts is mostly scary because she has a terrible temper and cheats on EVERYTHING to get her way-- whether it's in a game of croquet or in court, she's a nasty mean cheater. And that whole movie IS scary.

9. And you are right, Mufasa is definitely the scariest. Because he actually DOES manage to kill someone, not just plot for it.

Great assessment. I clearly have spent WAY too much time watching all these movies as a kid, and then re-watching them with my own kids!

)en said...

Oh Herrrcules! Yeah I missed that one. I think it was right around the same time as Hunchback and I was like, forget this! Hated that one-- way too sad. Anyway, love your assessments. Captain Hook and his pedophilia-HA! So right. So, so right.

Ashley said...

I agree with Alanna about the queen from Snow White! Sending her step-child away to be killed for such a superficial reason has got to bump her score way up. We might need you to create an evilness spectrum so we can see where all these acts fall...

Also "Alice in Wonderland." Yeah, what the what??? But I think that's what makes people the scariest sometimes, the confusion about them. Just like the Voldemort vs. Umbridge debate. Voldemort is straight-up evil and nothing else. I get it. Umbridge fakes good and seems sweet sometimes but is secretly terrible and masochistically evil, and it's harder to process and it means evil at a deeper level, I think, when you see contradictory behavior. It's the confusion and uncertainty that makes villains the scariest, and "Alice in Wonderland" is nothing but confusing and bizarre.

I would also add that Scar is friends with HYENAS. That gives him at least another evil point.

)en said...

Riiiight, sending Snow White w/command to bring back her heart. I had completely forgotten. WTFudge?? That's messed up. You're right, she IS bad.

I always felt like Alice in Wonderland felt like a bad dream. Sean likes it though. ??