I’m pretty much done with the Disney Villains analysis. Unless I somehow catch “Bolt” or “Treasure Planet” in a moment of drunken weakness, the list is complete. So how about a little Disney survey I found on some blog.
Well, this is a hard one to choose. After scrutinizing them all, I’ve got so many that tickle my cookies.
I like Hades just because he’s so funny and “out-there”. Sure, lump me in with the fangirls if you must — I like what I like. Plus he fits in neatly anywhere — the “Hercules” TV series, Kingdom Hearts, House of Mouse — he’s good in any situation. Yzma‘s much the same. I bet they could make a solid duo.
I also have to give props to Prince Hans. People still talk about how this Prince Charming fooled them all, and I count myself among that group of fools. Kudos to you, Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, and Shane Morris. It takes a strong story to pull me away from my super critic. And Ichabod gets the same credit. Seventy years later, who thought this lanky fool was the movie’s bad guy?
Madame Medusa is an underrated villain because… damn, girl, she’s just mean. Who kidnaps an orphan to shove into a well to mine for diamonds? At least Cruella just messed with puppies. And the Queen of Hearts is memorable for the same regard, though it’s more for bark than bite. But what a bark!
But if you got to make me choose, I’ll pick Ursula, for purely personal reasons. Not to say she’s not a good villain. She’s spot on for motivation, powers, henchmen, and personality.
Scene that always makes you cry?
I thought the part where Anna and Elsa’s parents die in Frozen was a particularly good bit of filmmaking — in that it made me feel an emotion. It’s unexpected, it’s early in the film, and it’s done without words. I mean, yeah, Disney’s known for killing off parents, but not usually after establishing character.
If I was younger, I probably would have said “Baby Mine” from Dumbo — at that age, I couldn’t think of anything worse than your mother behind bars, unable to be touched but for the trunk she can just barely stretch out the window. And this is “circus prison”, not no comfy Orange is the New Black holding facility.
But my favorite is in Wreck-It Ralph. The whole movie speaks to me and not just because it’s about video games. Ralph’s whole life has been labeled as a villain. But he’s not really a bad guy — he’s a necessary part of life. The other side of the coin. The yang to the yin. Without him, there’s no game. Us cynics and analysts can sympathize — no one wants to hear what we have to say because we’re always right.
Throughout the story, he struggles to be “good”, to “earn that medal”, but ultimately fails when he has to return to his role as the heartless villain to save the girl he’s bonded with. At the end, the only way to save everyone is to sacrifice himself by plunging into the volcano to set off a giant Diet Coke-Mentos explosion. And as he plummets with his meaty fist outstretched, he repeats the video game villain’s mantra to himself for strength and resolve: “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”
Best multi-movie series?
I’m lucky that all but the bad Disney movies have gotten direct-to-DVD sequels, so I can just pick my favorite, which is The Little Mermaid. The second one is awful and the third one is average, but no one said I had to sit through the others.
But if we’re disqualifiing the home videos, I’d say Winnie-the-Pooh is my favorite of the theatricals. It’s got the strongest characters and the most lovable story. I can’t believe that my kids never got into it.
But if we are including the DVD sequels AND I’ve got to count all of them together, I’d say Aladdin has the strongest showing. Tarzan is a close second, with the excellent Tarzan II.
Movie you wish there was a sequel to?
Big Hero 6 and Zootopia come to mind immediately, but I have to make exception for them since they are so recent, so there may be plans already in the works. I’d love to see what happens next in Zootopia with Nick and Judy working as police partners in a true buddy cop film. Watching them together was the highlight of the movie. And Big Hero 6? It’s a superhero movie — it was MADE to have a sequel, even if you don’t count the after-credits scene. I don’t care how they got their powers, I want to see everyone use their powers. Also, more fluffy robot.
If we’re talking entries in the past, I wouldn’t mind seeing a follow-up to Pinocchio. There’s a lot of material from the books that wasn’t used (most for good reason, let’s just say it), but there’s still a lot of angles to take. Even if we aren’t doing a midquel, and continue from when Pine-Eyes is a real boy, there’s still plenty of human exploration to go. Star Trek milked it for decades, why can’t Disney?
And personally, I want to see more of Merida from Brave. She’s got the strongest personality of any Disney princess, including the most recent ones. It shouldn’t have to suffer in obscurity because it had directorial problems as Disney and Pixar changed hands. Just look at Pocket Princesses and tell me you can’t cobble a movie together out of that.
Favorite animal character?
Does Beast count? He’s really kind of an amalgamation of animals. Or the bottom half of Ariel?
Well, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Cheshire Cat, with his shit-eating grin and devil-may-care attitude. And as long as we’re talking retro, might as well mention Baloo. Also known as Little John. Also known as Thomas O’Malley. Also known as Humphrey. Also known as all the other schlumphy happy-go-lucky bears in Disney canon.
But I guess I like Maximus more than others — a combination of horse and Javert. He’s remarkably ethical, loyal, determined, and does it all without talking. I feel like Maximus is ushering in a new age for side-kicks, where they’re not just the Greek chorus, like R2-D2/C-3P0 or Sebastian/Flounder. Where they have a more deuteragonisty role.
Side note: Pegasus doesn’t get enough credit for his role. From when he’s a cute little baby to when he blows out Hades’s hair.
Last movie you watched?
Beauty & the Beast. With the kids. Probably inspired by the upcoming live-action film with creepy-looking Lumiere and Mrs. Potts with the wrong nose.
Rank your top 5 favorite princesses:
I’m planning this for a fuure blog entry, so stay tuned. Hopefully I’ll remember to link back to it when it’s done.
Which fictional Disney “land” would you like to live in?
Well, at first I thought “Lilo and Stitch” because they live in Hawaii. But then I saw “fictional” land. And besides I don’t like warm weather. And there’s too much fruit.
Wreck-It Ralph could be pretty fun. Heck, you get to live in all those video game lands. I do that anyway most of the time. I know the death rate is pretty high, but you’re neighbors with Aliens, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and Tapper’s bar.
But I’ve got to go with Lady and the Tramp for the same reasons Walt Disney had. It was designed to be THE idyllic, refined upper-middle class suburbia. Everyone’s got a milkman, a white picket fence, and a licensed dog. The men are men, the women are women, and all the children are above average.
Disney loved it so much he based Main Street, U.S.A. off of its design (or the other way around, I’m not sure). Maybe it’s because I’m a privileged straight white male (actually I’m certain it’s because) but it seems like a good place to retire to. As long as we can upgrade the technology by about a hundred years.
Have you ever named a pet after a Disney character?
At first I thought no, I’ve only had the chance to participate in one naming of a pet in my life (my two dogs, I didn’t get much say, given the kids). But then I realized — yes! Dinah! Dinah was named after the little red kitten in Alice in Wonderland.
Now given, she was in the book before the movie, but she was truly named after Disney’s bit player. I was surprised how quickly my sister agreed to this name (we were eight and six at the time). We never agreed on ANYTHING. Every little option was always a power struggle, because somehow we thought whoever’s idea was taken got some kind of authority points.
But I suggested Dinah, thinking it was a good cat name, and she said yes. So then it was decided. Now Dinah (our cat) looked nothing like Dinah (Alice’s cat). Ours was a black and white tabby with green eyes and no pink bow. I don’t even think their personalities were the same. But we named her while she was still in the humane society cage, so that wasn’t a factor.
If you were going to name your children with Disney character names, what would you choose? (First and middle, girl and boy.)
Alice Ariel and Taran Hercules
Make yourself a Disney family (e.g. mother, father, sister, brother)
Father – My first thought was Beast, because as funny as it was seeing him adjust to Belle, I think it would be thrice-so to see him do parenting stuff. But hilarity isn’t a good reason for selecting a father figure, especially since I wouldn’t be on the outside looking in — it’s not like this is a sitcom. So I choose Tarzan. Despite his loutish ways, he’s actually a wise and just man. He doesn’t eschew gentlemanly ways. He’s a protector and provider, and great for wrasslin’.
Mother – Slim pickings in this category, since Disney loves nothing more than killing off mothers — off-screen or on. Nonetheless, there are some ideal candidates here. It’d be easy for me to claim someone hot like Jasmine or Megara or Snow White (she’s only fourteen!). I think Aurora has a lot of potential. There’s no evidence, but having to deal with those fairies for sixteen years shows great patience. She’s a little dreamy, but she’s mature. However, I think Maid Marian would be a better mom. We see she has a strong rapport with kids, given the scene with bunny kids. She’s playful, brave, friendly, and she’s relatively safe from harm. Prince John doesn’t imprison her or kidnap her for his bride. She doesn’t even show up after the party until the marriage epilogue.
Sister – For a big sister, Moana. She’s new on the scene, but I love her daring nature and strong will. She’s the kind of girl who’ll help you sneak out of your house at midnight to go cruising with all her cool older friends. For a little sister, Alice. She’s so damn quirky you gotta love her. She’s like the precocious five-year-old on all the TGIF sitcoms. Highly suggestible, but too polite to complain. Yes, Alice, tell me all about the invisible cat and the deck of cards that chased you. And when she makes a billion dollars off her book, you can auction off her crayon drawings.
Brother – There’s only one choice here — Kuzco. Big or small, emperor or llama, there’s always a party where this guy’s going. He’ll throw you down a waterfall, but then feel bad and let you look inside his potions cabinet. And let’s not forget he owns a sweet, sweet waterpark.