10. Our bodies, ourselves – Wall-E
Although certainly an exaggeration of the possibility of things to come, I can’t be the only one who cringes at the reflection of human society seen in this movie. The need for oversized everything, the desire for convenience, the reliance on technology and how it breaks down human relationships, the destruction of natural resources, the use of food to numb human emotions…the message was pretty clear. And I think could actually bring up some neat dialogue with your tiny charges, should you wish to pursue it.
9. Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty
I haven’t seen the Angelina Jolie version of her backstory, but whatever it is, there is no justification for cursing a small child and then using your goobly-goblin demons and CRAZY BIRD to try and truly ruin not only her life, but throw a whole town into a coma for 100 years. Put your FOMO and jealous issues in check, Maleficent. She’s definitely memorable though.
8. Evil Queen – Snow White
This is the original evil stepmother stereotype but man, does she take it to a new level. A level that hasn’t really been met since, I don’t think. Like, homegirl is very scary and murderous. Apparently the original designs had her as a fat and frumpy queen, which would make her insane jealousy of Snow White make a little more (although still twisted) sense. But I like that the Queen is a kind of icy, distant beauty, but she’s still jealous of Snow White. I like the conversations one can have about society’s standards of beauty and our tendency to make harmful comparisons of ourselves to others influencing us to such a degree that we start poisoning each other with apples.
7. Syndrome – The Incredibles
A lesson in why it’s important to phrase your rejections of children kindly. This kid grew up to murder tons of superheroes (WHY IS THERE SO MUCH MURDER IN KIDS MOVIES) but his commentary on respect is scary relevant: “See, now you respect me, because I’m a threat. That’s just the way the world works. Turns out there are people, whole countries who want respect and they will go through the nose to get it.”
6. Prince Hans – Frozen
DID ANYONE SEE THAT COMING?! I audibly gasped in the theater when he pulled those shenanigans. Well done on the shock factor, Disney. Every female watching feels super betrayed by Hans.
5. Cruella de Vil – 101 Dalmations
I think her evil theme is the number one villain song, she’s a fantastic Halloween costume, she’s proof that money doesn’t buy happiness. She wants to skin puppies to make a coat. I can’t even with this one. Do you watch the tv show “Once Upon a Time?” They do a great job of giving us some sympathetic back stories on characters, and the actress that plays this one is fabulous, but I can just never forgive ill-will towards puppies.
4. Gaston – Beauty and the Beast
I know I have him listed as one of the hottest cartoon men, but physique aside, this guy is a JERK. He’s totally aware that he gets whatever he wants just based on his looks, uses everyone around him, and thinks the world owes him for simply existing. He discourages female literacy and women knowing their minds or being in control of their lives in general. Whips the mob into a frenzy based on lies to get what he wants and then says whatever it takes to save his own behind, only to stab the beast in the back. Sounds like certain politicians I know….hm….
3. Percival McLeach – Rescuers Down Under
So this movie is kind of a lame followup to the original Rescuers, which was epic – there are no songs, it’s pretty scary, and it just seems to go on and on. And I love animals, but I wasn’t super invested in the one the movie is really about. There wasn’t enough “cute” factor in this film to keep me captivated as an adult, although I do remember enjoying it as a child. But what I mostly remember is HOW FREAKING SCARY THIS GUY IS. Like, actual maniac guy, with a trained killer lizard dragon helping him out, caging poor animals and then taunting them. No wonder he didn’t have any friends. He’s a jerk.
2. Scar – The Lion King
For the emotional trauma his actions caused alone, I think Scar owes me and several million other children of my generation money for counseling. Mufasa’s death still brings me to tears. I understand sibling rivalry, but Scar had a bit of an overreaction. And then to blame his nephew, lie about his death, usurp his brother’s awesome kingdom with wack-job hyenas, starve the savannah to death? You are a BUTTHEAD.
However, I love Jeremy Iron’s voice, and his song is epic. His sidekicks are hilarious, his one-liners iconic. So there is that. I can’t count how many times I’ve said I was “at the shallow end of the dream pool.” So, kudos to you, Scar. You’ve got a funny bone.
1. Ursula – The Little Mermaid
This woman is inSANE. Obsessed with power and revenge on Triton for….the motive escapes me. I think she just wants power. In her voice, her manipulation, her eel-vil sidekicks (see what I did there?), relentless pursuit of Ariel, seduction of Prince Eric just to use him for her own end…she’s creep-tastic. The way her tentacles unravel as she grows bigger, the way her voice deepens is still with me, days after I watched the movie. Her staying power is real. Well done, Department of Villainy at Disney.