Friday, September 30, 2016
The Top Ten Best Written Disney Characters
Starting on the villains team, Megara is no damsel in distress. Her job is to lure Hercules into the clutches of the Lord of the Dead, but ends up falling in love with the hero. Most interesting of all is how she ended up working for Hades in the first place: she bargained her soul for her boyfriend to come back to life only for him to ditch her for another woman. This gives her depth not a lot of Disney characters have, since she's not after true love but is actively trying to avoid falling in love altogether. She just wants her soul back but falls in love anyway.
The wife of Roger Rabbit, Jessica is the epitome of the femme fatale. She's dangerous, mysterious, and up until the third act you never know who's side she's really on. In the end though, she's a devoted wife willing to go above and beyond to keep her beloved safe. Don't let her figure fool you, she's not bad, she's just drawn that way.
The source material for the hunchback was extremely complex as are most characters written by Victor Hugo. Quasimodo makes it relatively unscathed into the movie as the film's outcast heart, showing both his incredible loneliness yet fear of the outside world masterfully throughout the film. While the Disney version gave the audience far more of a happy ending then the novel ever did, it didn't hold back from not giving Quasimodo a love interest in the end, instead making his reward the acceptance the people of Paris as well as the acceptance of himself. This was a perfect way to end a kids friendly Hunchback of Notre Dame film, so long as we ignore the sequel.
Villain complexity in Disney is rarely a thing, since the villain is mainly there to keep the story going, but we do get an extra layer of character from Gothel. Her motivation is to keep Rapunzel enslaved, and she does this not by bars or guards but by using mothers guilt. She is the shadowy side of the good mother seen in the few Disney films where the mother isn't dead, and this makes her a far more effective villain since no matter how good a person's mother is, we've all felt the mother's guilt trip at one point or another.
By far the youngest entry on the list, Lilo is the kid we all wished we were. She's into weird stuff, from giving a fish a peanut butter sandwich to using voodoo on her friends when they mistreat her, and thus is probably the only person who could've seen the good in the alien monster Stitch. The interesting thing about her is her conflict between her own weird view of the world and wanting to be accepted by the world she doesn't fit into, which makes her to anyone who is into the weird but gets sick of being laughed out of the room or having nobody understanding them.
Before Aladdin we really didn't have a lot of complex male characters in Disney movies. Robin Hood was just a hero, and most of the princes had less lines than the supporting characters. We had the Beast, and he was pretty good, but Aladdin was better. He's a con artist. He cheats people into getting what he wants, not because he's evil but because that's what he does to survive. Lying isn't the only tool he has on his belt, but he thinks it is. He has to learn that there's more to himself than meets the eye, and that makes for the fantastic character arc we get in the film.
Big Hero 6 is packed with fun characters, but Hiro is the most human, especially after Todashi's death. He's heartbroken, angry, and generally confused, as a child would be when dealing with death. He even nearly turns Baymax into a killer robot to go after the guy who was responsible for his brother's death. This film has a better grasp of the grieving process than the entire Batman cannon.
I mentioned earlier that Beast was a good character, but I think the better character here is Belle, the soft spoken outcast from the village. Some people may argue against this, citing Stockholm Syndrome as her main motivation for loving the Beast, to which I have to respectfully disagree. When given the chance to leave, Belle leaves. She only goes back when he's in physical trouble from her idiot stalker. Either way, Belle is smart, well-read, and doesn't compromise for no man. She's not even looking for a man, she just wants a life outside her podunk French village, which makes sense that the Mormon version of this movie had her living in Provo.
Another misunderstood princess, I'd say that she's one of the stronger female princesses we've ever had, Anna included. Ariel knows exactly what she wants and will do whatever she can to get it. While she ends up doing it for a man, its established that she wanted to be a human long before she saw Eric, he just happens to be an extra prize. Ariel even manages to get so close to kissing Eric and thus completing the spell so she'll have legs that Ursula gets frustrated at one point and has to change her own plans. Ariel even has a couple kills under her mer-belt when she axes Ursula's sidekicks, making her not only one of the more complex princesses but one of the few with actual blood on her hands.
It's nice to see the love interests of princesses be something other than princes, and indeed seeing them even get the occasional line. Kristoff is interesting because he's the opposite of your average prince without being a villain or a criminal. He's just a guy, just a blue collar worker with a reindeer and a sled. He never tries to be something else to impress anyone or feel that bad about being who he is. While most of his traits are played for laughs, he's far more like someone you'd actually know then most love interests in any movie.
What characters do you find well written?