The home page for author Eric J. Juneau

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Yokai (Big Hero 6)

yokai big hero 6
YOKAI (a.k.a. Dr. Frank Callaghan)
Origin: Big Hero 6 (2014)

Motivation: Like Fred said: “This is a revenge story.” Callaghan lost his daughter who volunteered for a portal experiment. Said experiment was led by Alistair Krei, a devil-may-care tech billionaire. Krei noticed a discrepancy in the experiment but continued anyway. The portal blew up and his daughter was lost, presumed dead. Callaghan rebuilds the portal machine and, through the use of stolen microbots, intends to destroy Krei’s new fancy building and Krei himself in the same manner. It’s actually a pretty understandable motivation, one that any one of us might do in the same circumstance. IMO, those are the best kind of villains. That doesn’t make it right.

Character Strengths: Like a lot of villains, he keeps his cards close to his chest in terms of revealing his true power. He even makes our heroes think he’s someone totally different without trying. Given that robotics and mathematics/science are his top skills, the powers of perception are also up there. When he saw Hiro’s microbots, he thought “I can use that to kill Krei” and then set off a distracting explosion to make people think he had died so he could carry out his vengeance. Very crafty and self-righteous.

Evilness: Well, he stole a young boy’s invention. Set off a fire in an act of domestic terrorism. Said explosion killed one of his own young prodigies. Then used the stolen invention to destroy a city block and attempt to murder a prominent businessman. I’d say he’s going to jail for a long time.

Tools: This guy might win the award for best tools. Those microbots aren’t just useful, they’re cool and innovative. It’s not something we’ve ever seen before and it’s all based on real science people are working on right now. They can be used for transportation, construction, shielding, throwing punches and hammers at people, and anything else he can think of. Because he controls them with telepathy (which just by itself should be a revolutionary invention), it’s like having a T-1000 for a pet or magic Legos. You’re only limited by what you can pay attention to.

Complement to the Hero: As Callaghan, he’s warm and fatherly, something Hiro never had growing up. As Yokai, he’s grim, serious, and silent, something Hiro is totally not. It’s like Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker. And both have similar origin stories–Hiro lost his brother, Callaghan lost his daughter. But Big Hero 6 is not a story about the villain like 101 Dalmatians or Peter Pan. Callaghan is used as a foil to demonstrate what happens when you can’t let go of grief.

Fatal Flaw: If anything, Callaghan’s only weakness is that he’s so focused on his mission of vengeance (as revengers often do) that he fails to see alternative paths. Hiro knows his own invention and knows that the microbots are a finite resource (especially when they start getting sucked up into the portal). Callaghan becomes too dependent on them, which leads to the Big Hero 6’s victory. Plus the fact that they’ve come together as a team and learned to look at things from a different angle. Like Tadashi taught Hiro, Hiro teaches them. This shows us that no one is truly dead when their spirit lives on in us.

Method of Defeat/Death: When Callaghan uses up his microbots, he can’t do anything. Then Baymax crushes the mask and the portal crashes to the Earth. (Then there’s kind of a second part to the climax where Hiro must truly prove he is capable of saying goodbye to those he loves, but that’s not about the villain). The last we see of Callaghan is him getting arrested and put in a police car. But he sees that his daughter is safe, so that’s all right with him.

Final Rating: Four stars

Previous Analyses
The Agent (Bolt)
The Spirits (Frozen II)
King Candy (Wreck-It Ralph)
Abuela (Encanto)
Prince Hans (Frozen)
Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)
Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Analyzing the Disney Villains: The Agent (Bolt)

bolt agent
THE AGENT
Origin: Bolt (2008)

Motivation: Penny is a cash cow. An asset to be exploited. I don’t know anything about Hollywood agents–they tend to get portrayed as scummy despots, like dentists or salespeople or gym teachers. We get a glimpse of his true motivation at the end when he says he’s thinking of “executive producer” credit for Penny’s story.

Character Strengths: The Agent is pretty charismatic, but he’s terrible at lying. He never really convinces Penny to stop waiting for Bolt and to go on with the show. But he does succeed in getting her to the press junkets and photoshoots. And he never stops working, even when Penny’s in the ambulance he’s thinking of how to make money off this deal. Because that’s his sole job–he doesn’t get paid unless Penny gets paid.

Evilness: He seems pretty unpleasant to me. Not much sympathy or empathy for either Penny or her situation. Although I’m thinking how degenerate that studio has to be with no fire safety standards. When you’re dealing with live fire–even a single candle–you’ve got to have a fireman on set.

Tools: Well, he doesn’t have underlings or magic powers. All he’s got is a clipboard and a snappy suit. But he does have that “let’s put a pin in that” cliche that seems to be the key to sweeping Penny’s negative thoughts under the rug. His duty is to keep Penny working and happy (or at least not sad).

Complement to the Hero: Penny is sweet and innocent. The Agent is grimy and slimy. They’re pretty much opposite, but they don’t have very much screen time together, so their characteristics boil down to stereotypes.

My bigger beef is that this movie is based around a silly premise–that the dog is such a great actor that the studio has to keep it convinced the peril is real. My dog only knows the difference between the outside and the inside. Bolt is like a doggy version of The Truman Show. Wouldn’t it be more expensive to execute a one-take stunt spectacular like in the beginning than to just use CGI and editing. Who cares about the nuances of the dog’s performance? They don’t even have the facial muscles to express emotions like we do.

Fatal Flaw: Either he misunderstands that Penny and her mom are greedy like him, or he overestimates how much bullshit people will take. I don’t think they liked him or the Hollywood life much in the first place. But if that’s the case, I just want to say it’s ironic that Penny is voiced by Miley Cyrus.

Method of Defeat/Death: After Penny is rescued from the studio fire, The Agent slides into the ambulance with them and starts talking about how good this will be for them and their image, predicting tabloid appeal and selling story rights (of which he’ll get a percentage, of course). He is promptly punched out the back door (presumably by Penny’s mom) and never seen again.

Final Rating: One star

Previous Analyses
The Spirits (Frozen II)
King Candy (Wreck-It Ralph)
Abuela (Encanto)
Prince Hans (Frozen)
Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)
Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Buck Cluck (Chicken Little)

buck cluck chicken little
BUCK CLUCK
Origin: Chicken Little (2005)

Motivation: Buck Cluck was the town baseball star, responsible for the sleepy town’s only little league championship. But that’s all he has. After the first town panic, he does everything he can to preserve what little reputation he has around Oakey Oaks. My question is, what does this past reputation serve him? It doesn’t seem like he’s getting anything out of it anymore. Maybe the memory of his glory days is the only thing keeping him going.

Character Strengths: He’s pretty good at deflecting blame or avoiding responsibility towards his son. He has his eyes turned to the town, and so when he says something they tend to believe him (or do they?). This is a guy who peaked during high school, and as Wil Wheaton said once “If you win at high school, you lose at life.” I guess you could put some blame on the town for being so co-dependent on him, but there aren’t enough fingers on one hand to point at that many people.

Evilness: Buck Cluck is depressed. If this wasn’t a Disney movie, the only place you’d see him is in his armchair, nursing a bottle of booze and watching baseball. He lost his wife and has no idea how to raise his son. Personally, I think one of the greatest sins is parents who are unkind or evil to their kids. He even jokes about his bad parenting at one point. At best, he’s a “fair weather father”, which is not an option when you’re a widower and you’re kid’s still young enough to be in elementary school. You gotta step your bitch-ass up and dedicate yourself. Instead, he puts himself as far away from his son as possible, so as not to get any of the fallout. The very beginning of the movie, he tells Chicken Little he should basically disappear.

Tools: Not much to put here. This movies not about gadgets or doohickeys. It’s about family, and the effect that neglect and troubled parenting have on the young.

Complement to the Hero: This one’s easy. We’ve got a jock dad and a nerd kid. The nerd kid is always nervous, friends with with unpopular kids, bad at sports, always getting in trouble. At the beginning of the movie, they hammer the point home (unsubtly) that his son is nothing like him. I think Buck just has no idea how to deal with a person like that. But when it’s your own kid, you gotta learn.

Fatal Flaw: Fear of embarrassment, passiveness, obsession with order, need for towns approval. Fortunately, unlike a lot of villains, Buck realizes his fatal flaw before it’s too late and he’s eaten by hyenas. He’s not so far gone that he can turn back and realizes getting the love from the town is not worth as much as the unconditional love from his son.

Method of Defeat/Death: When his son runs away during the alien invasion, they have a confrontation at the movie theater. Chicken Little tells him what he’s feeling and Buck realizes how he’s been pushing his son away through his abuse and neglect. Chalk it up to men being emotionally stunted. It’s a heartfelt moment that belongs in a sitcom, not a movie.

Final Rating: Two stars

Previous Analyses
The Spirits (Frozen II)
King Candy (Wreck-It Ralph)
Abuela (Encanto)
Prince Hans (Frozen)
Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)
Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Analyzing the Disney Villains: The Spirits (Frozen II)

frozen 2 snowflake
THE SPIRITS OF THE ENCHANTED FOREST (a.k.a. the Elements)
Origin: Frozen II (2019)

Motivation: This movie is, in a word, messy. There are too many protagonists and each has their own motivations (Elsa has wanderlust, Anna wants things to stay the same, Kristoff wants to propose, Olaf wants to be relevant to the plot). So how can the antagonist not be equally messy?

As far as I can figure, Ahtohallan chose that particular moment in time to call out to Elsa (just in time for the second movie to start). It wants Elsa to learn the truth so that the dam can be broken and the river can flow again. But it does this in the weirdest way.

Why do the spirits keep attacking them? The little salamander sets fire to the camp, the wind spirit assaults Olaf, the water spirit horse attacks Elsa, the Earth Giants nearly kill Anna with rocks. Who are they working for? Why don’t they want to help? Don’t they want the land to be freed as well?

Character Strengths: When you’re talking spirits of nature, you’re talking about all the destructive power that goes along with it. Earth giants can throw boulders. Salamanders can scoot around and set everything ablaze. Wind spirits can whip you around in a tornado. Of course, the question is, do they hold a candle to Elsa’s power?

The answer is no. Elsa dispatches the tornado by bringing down the temperature, smacks the little fire lizard around, tames the horse and… well we don’t see her interact with the rockbiters. But if she did, I bet they’d get a walloping.

Evilness: Like nature, I don’t think the spirits are evil or good. They simply are. They do what they do. Of course, that’s a petty excuse, because once you anthropomorphize something, you’re giving it a modicum of free will. Meaning I have no idea what the spirits want. They have power, but what are they using it for, besides giving our protagonists some obstacles. They don’t gain anything by keeping Elsa from the river of Ahtohallan. Wouldn’t the spirits want to work in conjunction with Ahtohallan? Is there a jealousy thing here?

Tools: Each spirit, like the cliche expects, has its own weapons according to its specialties. Fire can set things on fire, wind can blow things over, etc. Just imagine any X-Men, but Disneyfied (wait, doesn’t Disney own X-Men now?)

Complement to the Hero: Ironically, as we find out in the ending (spoilers), Elsa is the Fifth Spirit. The one who acts as a bridge from the natural world to the human world. So they are both cut from the same cloth. (Literally, as one of the Northuldra uses a cloth to demonstrate this.) Of course, none of this explains how Elsa got cursed/blessed, what she did to deserve it, who did it, and so on. Nor does it explain why the spirits keep trying to kick her out. What are they afraid of?

Fatal Flaw: I’m not sure what to put here because the spirits are pretty mindless. I don’t understand their motivations, their evilness, so I can’t think of what their fatal flaw might be. Ignorance? Lack of understanding? This movie is a mess. I’d make a case for the movie’s writers to be the real antagonists. Do you see how many questions I’ve asked in this article?

Method of Defeat/Death: Well, they aren’t really defeated either. Anna teases the rock monsters to destroy the dam. This opens up the river, lifts the fog, and frees everyone inside. Yet the spirits are still around. One even acts as a mail carrier. Another acts as a highly merchandisable pet, but we don’t talk about Bruni.

Final Rating: One star

Previous Analyses
King Candy (Wreck-It Ralph)
Abuela (Encanto)
Prince Hans (Frozen)
Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)
Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Abuela (Encanto)

abuela encanto

Oh my god, am I really doing new ones? It’s been so long since I wrote this series and times, they do a-change. I’ve seen some of the films I originally skipped, new ones have been made, and people have actually made a few requests. So let’s waste no words.

ALMA “ABUELA” MADRIGAL
Origin: Encanto (2021)

Motivation: Abuela’s actions are rooted in staying worthy of the miracle that allowed to escape the marauders that forced her from her hometown. She received a second chance when her husband sacrificed himself for his people and his family. That chance is in the form of a candle that indicates the “health” of the magic.

And she is so afraid of losing that magic, she expects perfection out of her offspring. Except for Mirabel, who has nothing to offer. Her motives are so strong they trickle down to the family, so that Luisa can’t relax, Isabela can’t grow anything but beautiful flowers, and Bruno has to exile himself when everyone perceives his prophecies as doing damage (but we don’t talk about Bruno).

Abuela has to sweep up all of Isabela’s flowers

Character Strengths: There is a certain something to be said for stubbornness. As the matriarch of her family, it gives her equal parts nurturing and respect. You don’t want to disobey Abuela, but you don’t want to disappoint her either. After all, she led you to a protected place, gave you a magic house, and provided you with a special superpower. I’d call her on her birthday if I were you.

Evilness: Not very. That’s what I like about Encanto–there is no real bad guy. The bad things people do are done with excellent reasoning behind them. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Abuela would welcome you in with a cup of coffee and a healing arepa and never harm a hair on your head. But if you’re not pulling your weight as part of your family, you’ll be scorned so bad.

Tools: These are some of the most interesting tools I’ve seen. She’s got a rockin’ candle that never goes out. As long as it stays lit, her offspring have superstrength and weather control. In fact, they’re kind of like henchmen, doing her bidding. Even if that means babysitting and fetching goats, it’s still bidding.

The magic is also the fuel for Casita, an enchanted house that seems to have consciousness, a little like Howl’s Moving Castle, except, you know, it doesn’t move. But it can reform itself (generally)–move objects by rippling the floor, change staircases, communicate non-verbally. But it seems to be beholding to the magic of the candle because it was not in control of Mirabel’s non-gift. Surely if it was, it would have offered an explanation.

Complement to the Hero: Mirabel and Abuela are reflections of each other. Abuela is hard as a rock, stiff. She’s seen some shit. Mirabel plays it looser. You can see it in their animation styles. Mirabel’s always moving her head, her shoulders, her limbs, nearly every word she says. Abuela stands stiff as a board. Unyielding. But if their positions were switched, Mirabel could easily become Abuela and vice versa.

Fatal Flaw: Fear. Maybe coupled with some paranoia. It’s not like it’s not justified. She had to run away from her hometown, saw the love of her life killed before her eyes just after giving birth to triplets. This makes her stern, firm, but also quick to see the worst side of the scenario.

However, everything has been berries and cream since then and it’s been, what, forty years? Fifty? How old does Bruno look? It’s hard to tell in a cartoon (we don’t talk about Bruno’s… social security). You can add in a little denial there too, because she doesn’t believe Mirabel that Casita is cracking (maybe because she already assumes the worst in her).

Method of Defeat/Death: First Disney villain to be defeated with hugs. Mirabel and Abuela come to an understanding at the river, where they realize they both want what’s best for the family. But she was too hard on them because she was so afraid of losing the miracle by failing to earn it. And it wasn’t fair for her to take out her fear on the family. She was burdened by the evil that men do, but her children and children’s children hadn’t. And after all, isn’t that what we all want for our families? To live a better life than we had?

Final Rating: Three stars

Prince Hans (Frozen)
Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)
Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

A Disney Blog Survey

disney survey

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.

Favorite villian?

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.

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Prince Hans (Frozen)

prince hans frozen
PRINCE HANS OF THE SOUTHERN ISLES
Origin: Frozen (2013)
prince hans motivation frozen

Motivation: Most antagonists are driven by hurt feelings or misunderstandings. Hans is a true sociopath. Yes, Prince Charming is the bad guy. And it’s just what I wanted to see. Hans falls under the sin of avarice — he’s too far down the line of succession to ever inherit his own throne, so he’s looking to marry into one. He even explains this in song (before he takes off his hollow mask of concern). What I’m wondering is — most marriages were arranged (in this time period) for the purposes of gaining land, title, or alliances. Happens all the time in Game of Thrones. Why did he have to lie about it? And was this the only kingdom Hans could find?

charstrengths prince hans frozen

Character Strengths: Deception. One hundred percent. Hey, he fooled me. I was busy analyzing the Duke of Weselton when I was in the theater. Hans only reveals his true nature when Anna is teetering between life and death. And Hans nudges the scales towards death (in a totally ineffectual James Bond-villain way, but more on that later). It’s the convincing flaws that pull you over. He’s clumsy. He can fake true love like an actor. Sheep’s clothing in a winter shawl.

What I wonder is, even if he is a psycho, could he be a good king? We never really see a demonstration of his abuse of power (although I’m almost certain that would come later, much like Scar). He demonstrates competent leadership. And although his concern for the people was false, he did provide for them (a blanket on every bed and hot glogg in every cup). But then he’s like The Stepfather – a guy doing good things with bad means.

evilness prince hans frozen

Evilness: It’s rare a Disney movie provides someone genuinely terrifying, at least for an adult. It’s okay if it goes over the kid’s head. But imagine being a father and this guy comes in wanting to date your daughter. This is a real concern of women with wealth — marrying a man who turns out to be a gold digger. His acts of heroism are only to convince those around him. He saves Elsa from the Duke boys, only to condemn her later when he can look more heroic. He’s playing the long game.

The sad part is how many women/girls remain loyal to him DESPITE all this. There are countless Hans/Elsa fan fiction and fan art. My daughter’s best friend has a Hans doll but no others because she likes him. Fans have started a petition that in the Frozen sequel, Hans should be redeemed. That’s just the power these men have over women. Even when they plainly show their true colors, they’re still loved. Eww.

tools prince hans frozen

Tools: Prince Hans has no henchmen. No big guns. No navy backing him. No allies. He works on his own, with only his words and actions to aid him. Personally, I think this makes him scarier. Imagine what he could do with some tangible strength behind him. Unlike a lot of villains, he knows how to pick his targets. I bet he wasn’t even going to say “sandwiches”.

complement prince hans anna frozen

Complement to the Hero: Before his big reveal, he’s just as adorkable as Princess Anna. Even though you know she’s going to learn not to fall in love so quickly, you don’t think Hans is going to a bad guy. He’s like the fiancee in every romantic comedy that the main character breaks up with to be with the other. That’s how all these Disney movies work, right? They’re both young, maybe a little naive, royalty, quick and impulsive. But that’s Hans’s strength. He’s a chameleon. He changes to whatever he needs to be. That’s the mark of a sociopath.

fatal flaw prince hans frozen

Fatal Flaw: Oh, Hans. Haven’t you learned anything from the mistakes of others? First you reveal your whole plan, then you lock the hero in a room without actually killing them. You just couldn’t resist showing off how smart you are. It’s a common downfall of his kind. It’s how they caught the BTK killer. But no, all you had to do was stay in the room and make sure she froze to death. That’s all you had to do. Would have taken ten minutes.

But to be fair, even I didn’t know about the lock-picking capabilities of snowman noses.

method of death prince hans frozen elsa

Method of Defeat/Death: The blizzard gets worse after Elsa escapes jail. Hans finds her on the frozen fjord and tells her that Anna died from her Sub-Zero ice blast. Elsa collapses on the ice, and when her back is turned, Hans pulls out his sword (where did that come from?) But Anna’s not quite dead yet. She must choose between saving her own life or saving Elsa’s. She chooses her sister, and as John Woo time starts, Anna steps in front of Hans’s swinging sword. In that instant, she freezes solid. So solid, Hans’s sword shatters and the blast knocks him out. When he regains consciousness, everything’s thawed and both sisters are alive. In a crowning moment of awesome, Anna punches him in the face. A diplomat takes him back to the Southern Isles, where he’ll presumably get the business from his brothers.

method of death prince hans frozen

Bonus Defeat: In Frozen Fever, Hans is shoveling manure when a giant snowball, created by Elsa sneezing into the royal Birthday Bugle Horn, sails about two hundred miles over the ocean and crashes into him. I believe his bones should be crushed instantly from impact at that velocity but, you know, it’s a cartoon.

prince hans final frozen punch anna

Final Rating: Five stars

PREVIOUS ANALYSES:
Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)
Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)

shere khan
SHERE KHAN
Origin: The Jungle Book (1967)

I had to double-check that I hadn’t done this one already. Disney’s done so many poncey cats that they all blur together.

motivation shere khan tiger jungle book

Motivation: Shere Khan is the most fearsome beast there is. The Terminator of the Indian jungle. But he has one weakness – fear of fire. Why? We don’t know. I expect something traumatic in his cubhood. But he’s pretty safe because the only way to something starts on fire in the forest is lightning. No one can create fire except for man and there is no man in the jungle oh no wait there’s TOTALLY man in the jungle.

charstrengths shere khan jungle book

Character Strengths: Classy, stylish, and supremely confident. Usually big cats, especially tigers, are portrayed too cuddly, as in Robin Hood or The Lion King. This one, by looking at it, I’m afraid he’ll kill me. Others treat him like the Queen of Hearts, but where that was fantasy, this is teeth and claws.

evilness shere khan jungle book

Evilness: So if maintaining his throne is motivation, the movie does him a great disservice. Because while everyone acts intimidated enough, Shere Khan never DOES anything. He doesn’t show up until the last fifteen minutes of the movie, and he cannot even frighten the one guy he’s gunning for. Not only that, but Baloo and Bagheera overcome their fears when they see Mowgli in danger, making the tiger’s reputation sheer bupkiss. Khan is nothing more than a maguffin to keep the characters moving.

tools tiger shere khan jungle book

Tools: He’s got nothing but a reputation and claws. He doesn’t kill anything. Kaa fools him, the vultures jeer him. This is not Life of Pi.

complement jungle book shere khan

Complement to the Hero: The “idea” behind this conflict is good. When they finally meet, Mowgli is not afraid and Khan doesn’t know what to do. I find that hilarious, but rarely do villains go down in history for not making the protagonist quake in fear. In fact, most of the movie is troubleshooting Mowgli’s brash, childish behavior — teaching him to fear what he should. On the other hand, the lack of fear works out for him, as if he’d run from Khan, I bet he would have died. On the other other hand, he’s not exactly confronting his fears, making him hard to root for.

fatal flaw shere khan jungle book

Fatal Flaw: Overconfidence. Khan is the six hundred pound gorilla in the jungle (I mean, besides the actual six hundred pound gorilla in the jungle). Everyone treats him like The Mad King. When Mowgli stands up to him, Khan should immediately notice something amiss. Instead, he thinks it’s cute. He’s even willing to give his enemy a ten-second head start. This, of course, violates one of my favorite rules of combat: never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.

method of death shere khan jungle book

Method of Defeat/Death: Mowgli picks up a stick, daring Khan to attack him. He does, but Baloo CONVENIENTLY jumps in and stops him. While Baloo has the tiger by the tail, the vultures who Mowgli CONVENIENTLY came across fly him to safety. As a CONVENIENT storm rolls in, Khan shreds Baloo, until a bolt of lightning CONVENIENTLY strikes a CONVENIENT dead tree, setting a CONVENIENT branch on CONVENIENT fire. Mowgli ties it to Shere Khan’s tail (who CONVENIENTLY doesn’t notice) and the tiger runs off, presumably with PTSD for the rest of his life (if he didn’t burn alive first).

shere khan jungle book final

Final Rating: Two stars

PREVIOUS ANALYSES:
Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)

aunt sarah lady and the tramp
AUNT SARAH
Origin: Lady and the Tramp (1955)

This is a hard one. This is a romance story — there’s no real villain. Lady encounters a few different obstacles, but no stand out antagonist. Jim Dear and Darling neglect her for a while, but then that stops. The Siamese cats are only present for one scene. Tramp acts as her villain when his selfish side comes out. A rat shows up for the climactic battle, but plays no role in the plot. And a dogcatcher presents himself as the last obstacle. The conflict comes from the two different worlds. Like Saturday Night Fever or Silver Linings Playbook.

motivation aunt sarah lady and the tramp

Motivation: She seems like one of those Dolores Umbridge types — snooty, harsh, insensitive, overbearing, and above all, British. That means she’s going to run the house the way she wants, despite the established rules. Because those young people just don’t know any better.

strengths aunt sarah lady and the tramp

Character Strengths: If you can say anything, she’s decisive. She believes she’s acting in the best interest for the baby. Which is noble, I guess, unless you’re the dog. Despite her unlikability (who’s sister is she anyway? She looks pretty old.) she’s trustworthy enough not to burn the house down.

evilness aunt sarah lady and the tramp

Evilness: Does it count if the evil traits aren’t intentional? Clearly, she believes dogs do not belong near a baby (probably due to growing up around high infant mortality rates). But cats are okay despite the many old wives tales about them (racist cats, double). And the cat food doesn’t fall far from the tree. Her poor, sweet babies make mischief, shift the blame to lady, and get coddled. The end result is that Lady is forced to wear a muzzle, which too closely resembles a Hellraiser torture device. How’s a girl supposed to eat?

tools aunt sarah siamese cats lady and the tramp

Tools: Aunt Sarah isn’t really trying to do anything, so I hardly can call Si and Am tools (unless you count their earworm song). All she needs to do is make sure the little yuppie larva is still breathing.

complement aunt sarah lady and the tramp

Complement to the Hero: I’m not sure what to say. Lady’s a dog. Sarah’s a human, but not Lady’s owner. I can say that characteristics of Lady are missing in Aunt Sarah. Lady is sweet and romantic and ladylike (hence the name). Aunt Sarah is a cow. But they have no real relationship to each other.

fatal flaw aunt sarah lady and the tramp

Fatal Flaw: Nice kid. Baaaaaaaaad judge of character. A rat sneaks into the nursery while Lady is chained up. And Aunt Sarah ignores the distressed barking, meaning Tramp has to sneak in. Don’t tell Mom the babysitter’s stupid. (BTW, what evidence do we have the rat was going to hurt the baby? All it was doing was looking in. Talk about circumstantial evidence.)

method of death aunt sarah lady and the tramp

Method of Defeat/Death: Nothing really happens to Aunt Sarah. Jim Dear and Darling come home, discover the dead rat, and Aunt Sarah realizes her mistake. At the end, she’s even sent a Christmas gift to the dogs. I love a good redemption story. Just not this one.

aunt sarah lady and the tramp final

Final Rating: One star

PREVIOUS ANALYSES:
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)

yzma emperor's new groove
YZMA
Origin: The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

I really don’t want to do this one. The whole movie is a radical departure from the golden fairy tale or epic quest of derring-do. This feels more like a long Saturday Morning cartoon. Even the art style feels cheaper. I’ll give Disney props for taking risks, but this one just doesn’t click. Given all the production issues present, I’m not surprised.

evilness yzma emperor's new groove

Motivation: Well, at least I can give credit for providing the main character motivation within the piece. Usually, the villain’s instantiating incident happens before the movie. But the story is short enough as it is — maybe it was just filler. Kuzco fires Yzma as his royal adviser for attempting to usurp his throne. So Yzma immediately carries out her plan to usurp his throne.

yzma strengths emperor's new groove

Character Strengths: So we’ve learned that boys make good hunters and girls make good witches. Yzma’s magic comes in the form of nondescript bottles that cause transfiguration. Personality-wise, she’s more witty than other queenly counterparts and her Eartha Kitt voice rounds out her affable craziness. Kinda like the Joker or Deadpool. Someone who’s not sympathetic, but you still enjoy anyway.

yzma secret lab emperor's new groove

Evilness: The above-mentioned plan consists of assassinating Kuzco with some poison. We see the whole “feeding the poison, waiting for him to die” scene too, which seems a little dark for a Disney buddy comedy. But her flunky mixes up the bottles and Kuzco transforms into a llama. So immediately her claim to cruelty is flushed. All we’ve got here is ambition. Although making those sultry supermodel poses while being “scary beyond all reason” might be grounds for evil.

tools yzma emperor's new groove

Tools: Let’s face it: all the charm of Yzma comes from Kronk. Without him, there’s no movie. He even got his own Direct-To-DVD so you know I’m right. The problem is he’s largely incompetent. Slower than sloths swimming through a swamp. He pulls the wrong lever, he fails to procure the correct potion, he doesn’t kill the Kuzco-llama when he’s supposed to. How long does it take for Yzma to realize how poorly she’s hired? And her sorcery is more like alchemy. You never see her do any actual magic, which makes her closer to Jafar (actually, they do look a little alike).

motivation kuzco kronk yzma

Complement to the Hero: Yzma says that “she practically raised” Kuzco, so we can give a few points for the villain creating the hero and then vice versa. But a throwaway line does not a duo make. And her big move — turning the hero into a llama because she didn’t properly label her bottles — reeks of amateur hour. The whole plot sounds like a kid’s stage play.

fatal flaw yzma emperor's new groove

Fatal Flaw: She should have taken a lesson from other evil queens and witches — never delegate your work. Because Kronk’s conscience got the better of him, Kuzco can get away. And the chase scene leads to some comedy set pieces, but no serious threat from the queen witch. The hero easily shortcuts to Yzma’s “secret lab” (big air-quotes around that one for bad storytelling shortcuts) where she uses her lack of proper labeling to her own advantage. Just bad luck in the end. Her desire for complicated plans doesn’t count, because she always realizes easier solutions beforehand. There’s nothing wrong with brainstorming.

yzma method of death emperor's new groove

Method of Defeat/Death: Before Kuzco has a chance to take the anti-llama potion, Yzma topples her cabinet, mixing it among other transfigurationals. Comedy ensues as they keep trying drink after drink, each time with different results, as Yzma and Kronk chase them out the side of the palace. Yzma accidentally turns herself into a cat, but manages to capture the last vial. But she can’t open it, and falls 50,000 feet to not-death. Her fate is that she eventually becomes one of the squirrel scouts (still a kitten).

final yzma emperor's new groove

Final Rating: Three stars

PREVIOUS ANALYSES:
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)