We’d be lying if we said we were only a little obsessed with Disney movies. A lot of us grew up in Disney’s golden era, and our classics, such as The Little Mermaid, Hercules, and The Lion King are still on our radars and in our hearts.
These days, that goes doubly so – with all the new live-action movies Disney is churning out of the classics, we’ll never run out of new content of our old favorites. Perhaps the most anticipated title thus far is coming out in March of 2017: Beauty and the Beast. We’re all very excited for this iteration of one of the best, as this tale as old as time will certainly be nothing short of incredible.
One interesting thing about this fan-favorite film is that many viewers at home seemed to fall in love with the villain, Gaston. While villains in Disney movies prior had very little sex-appeal, this villain looked more like previous heroes than Ursula, Captain Hook, and the rest. His charm, muscles, and catchy songs made it really hard to dislike him, to be perfectly honest.
It doesn’t end there; many Disney villains became so likeable and so beloved that they did the opposite of what they were intended – they made us grow attached to them and like them.
But why? What are the reasons behind this? Why do we love the characters that we’re supposed to hate?
WE can’t say for sure, but we have a few theories. Here’s a list of Disney villains that we absolutely love (in no particular order) and why we just can’t get enough of them!
16. Scar (Lion King)
You’d be lyin’ if you said you didn’t love Scar! One of the most beloved Disney villains of all time, this cool cat is actually really scary. Many villains are power hungry, but how many of them plot to kill their older brother – and then actually do it? And he didn’t even send a henchman out to take care of the job, he did it himself…and then made his nephew take the blame! That’s pure, unadulterated evil right there.
So we know we shouldn’t love him, but his song. is. so. darn. CATCHY!!! And watching it on youtube gives viewers the option to watch it in different languages, and every single time, the power, cunning, and class that his character possesses is beautifully conveyed. Not that we have any problems with the English version – Jeremy Irons was absolutely purr-fect for the role!
15. Hades (Hercules)
Hades is one of the most interesting Disney villains in existence. For one thing, he’s a god and is therefore immortal. He has a lot of time on his hands, and he decides to spend it making wisecracks. Simultaneously, he has bigger plans – he wants to overthrow his big wig brother, Zeus, and rule over Mount Olympus (and therefore over all mankind). So it’s kind of like this weird dynamic where he’s hilarious but also dead serious. Which we seriously can’t get enough of.
Another cool aspect? His hair! When he’s cool as a cucumber, it’s blue (which is counter-intuitive because blue fire is very hot). When he’s mad as can be, his hair burns bright yellow, orange, and red. To invoke the wrath of this god would be a deadly mistake, but at least there will be plenty of jokes!
14. Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
We feel sorry for the poor, unfortunate souls who don’t absolutely love Ursula! In truth, she’s terrifying – she basically bargains away the freedom of the unsuspecting merpeople who trust her to fulfill their wildest wishes. But on the other hand, she’s so full of life and sass. Anything modeled after Divine, a famous drag queen, is bound to be amazing…and the Sea Witch did not disappoint!
Another thing we can’t get enough of is the song she sings. She has so much personality, voice, and charisma in that short amount of screen time, but it’s still so incredibly iconic. Also, she’s extremely unique – mermaids are a dime a dozen, but a mer-octopus? Now that’s something different! Truly, Ursula is one of a kind and has definitely stayed in our hearts after all these years (impossible contract not required).
13. Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Gaston loves to start off strong – literally! He’s the villain of Beauty and the Beast, one of the most beloved Disney movies of all time. In this film, Gaston has the looks of a brave hero that we’ve become accustomed to, so we’re almost thrown through a loop when Belle immediately turns him down. Of course, this is because he doesn’t support her dreams and intellect, but again, not Disney’s typical MO.
The reason why we love him still is because he has a catchy song, he’s super strong, and he’s certainly easy on the eyes. In addition, he’s willing to fight for what he believes in and is a natural-born leader. The entire town rallies around him when he decries it necessary, so he’s definitely loved by many. Of course, it may not be a good thing to fall in love with him. For example, he didn’t even take the time to listen to Belle say that the Beast was harmless and tried to send her father to a mental institution. So unless your values are aligned with his, you’ll have an unhappy marriage. Be forewarned!
12. Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
If anyone can “out-fab” Cuzco, it’s Yzma. He’s already kind of a diva to begin with, but throwing Yzma into the mix really makes for an entertaining watch. Plus, the loveable Kronk is her henchman, and not only is he hilarious, but he can make some killer spinach puffs.
Truthfully, Yzma has it rough. She was the only real parental figure Cuzco had (why, she practically raised him!), yet she was still kicked to the curb simply because she decided to take over for a day. To be fair, it’s not like Cuzco was doing a good job at the time anyway. But she still transmogrified him into a llama against his will, and that’s really a major no-no. Notes for next time – she should really consider relabeling her bottles and getting rid of that lever (why does she even have that lever?).
11. Oogie Boogie (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Oogie Boogie definitely deserves a place in our hearts for putting a face to an otherwise scary notion that haunted the dreams of children everywhere and showed us that the boogieman wasn’t all that bad in the first place. But for some reason, Oogie Boogie doesn’t get enough love. Maybe it’s because he’s made of bugs, or maybe it’s because he doesn’t really want to love or be loved. Or maybe…just maybe…it’s because he kidnapped Santa Claus and tried to harm him. Or something like that.
But honestly, Oogie Boogie is pretty cool. For one thing, he’s the living embodiment of the boogieman, but he can carry a catchy tune! Another thing is that he’s basically a burlap sack animated by bugs, and we have to say, that’s a pretty crazy feat. Like where does the voice come from? And thought processes? How are they all in sync? Simply a mystery.
10. Helga Sinclair (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The demure and dangerous Helga Sinclair. If you’re scratching your head and saying “who?” it’s okay – perfectly understandable. She was one of the main antagonists in the movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” who didn’t show her true colors until the very end (and then again, at the very very end).
Even though Helga did her part to make sure that the secrets of Atlantis would fall into the wrong hands, she was double-crossed at the last moment and fought valiantly to save her life. She kicked some serious tail and looked incredible while doing it. Unfortunately, she died after being thrown from a hot air balloon, but not after foiling the true villain’s escape. In a way, she kind of redeemed herself, but only because of circumstance. Had she not been betrayed by her buddy, it’s doubtful she would have stopped the whole thing. So we still shouldn’t love her, but…ugh. It’s hard not to!
9. Professor Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
We’re really digging into the depths of the Disney vault for this one! Professor Ratigan is from the movie “The Great Mouse Detective”, an animated movie based off the Sherlock Holmes novels and character. Professor Ratigan is a rat, but don’t say that where he can hear you – he insists that he’s a mouse, and saying otherwise will get you eaten by his pretty kitty, Felicia.
So why is he someone we love? Again, the catchy song sure helps his case, but also that he really just wanted to fit in. It’s not uncommon to feel like you don’t belong with your group and want to blend in with another, so really, him insisting that he’s a mouse…like, who is that gonna hurt? Still, he shouldn’t have tried to overthrow the queen. That part was wrong. But everything not part to that plot? We can relate to him.
8. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
Maleficent is not really someone to admire. After all, the self-proclaimed mistress of all evil crashed a party, cursed a baby, and then sulked for sixteen years. Then she kidnapped the baby-turned-adolescent and ensured that her curse would happen, then turned into a dragon to defeat the guy infatuated with the sleeping maiden. So…yeah, she has some issues she needs to work out.
But she’s also just so delightfully petty. Like she wasn’t invited to a party, so she makes everyone pay for it. Not just for the next week or something, but for almost two decades. We have all been petty, but not this level of petty. And it’s just so relate-able that it’s almost endearing. Plus she has one of the best lines in the entire movie: “here’s your precious princess”. We know that’s a meme somewhere. We just know it.
7. Michael “Goob” Yagoobian (Meet The Robinsons)
We might catch some flak for this, but we can explain. For one thing, it’s a newer movie but not a very popular one. And this villain is barely a villain at all, but he does go back in time to ruin Lewis’s life and the lives of the characters we’re supposed to love, so that sounds kind of villainous.
But Goob, AKA Bowler Hat Guy, is actually not so bad. His backstory is that he was raised in an orphanage alongside our technologically adept hero. Goob never was able to sleep due to all the racket his bunkmate’s projects made, so he was constantly exhausted. This lead to him missing a game-winning catch, which in turn made him so bitter that he scared off potential adoptive parents. And really, when you look at it that way, you kind of feel bad for him. Because who else can relate to being absolutely miserable with no sleep?
6. Chernabog (Fantasia)
Chernabog has long been hailed as the most evil Disney villain of all time. His scene from Fantasia, “Night On Bald Mountain”, has been deemed too dark, scary, and is the source of a few urban legends alluding to crazy murders (what???). His demonic gaze and the way he plays with the souls of the dead certainly lend credibility to these claims; some even call him the devil himself.
But if you think about his performance in Fantasia…is he really all that bad? The souls of the dead were partying, and he was partying with them. It’s not like he went out and killed more people. And then when the bells came out, he called it a night and went to sleep. Seems pretty harmless, even if it is spooky. But we still love him because he’s the perfect Disney villain. Like he seems totally cool with being the most evil character in the Disney universe. And it’s kind of easy to love something so perfect like that.
5. Dawn Bellwether (Zootopia)
Sorry for all ten people that haven’t seen Zootopia yet, but the main antagonist in this movie is actually the small, meek prey animal Dawn Bellwether. She has a delightfully evil scheme to slander the character of predators, making them seem bloodthirsty and mindless, in order for her and the rest of the prey animals to secure power and reign supreme.
Why do we find this loveable? Well, for one, she is adorable, and we spent a fair portion of the movie believing she was rooting for Judy. The literal embodiment of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, we just never saw it coming when she went rogue and staged her coup. And for someone so cute and so little, we kind of like that level of confidence. Like she’s going up against animals that could eat her in one bite, yet she still fights. And that’s kind of badass.
4. Dr. Facilier (Princess and the Frog)
Of all the “true” villains on the list, Dr. Facilier is perhaps the most underappreciated. For one thing, he’s actually capable of powerful magic…with a twist: he lures people in by seemingly promising their wildest wishes, then giving them something else altogether. He also owes his power to his “friends on the other side”, which means that he’s borrowing something unknown – a bit scary, really!
But we love him because he’s definitely charming. His voice, catchy song, and false promises definitely lure us into a false sense of security. Everything seems too good to be true – because it is – but we still hope for the absolute best. It’s tempting to do otherwise! And really, his magic wasn’t all that bad – there are worse things than being a frog, and finding your true love through the ordeal is actually a great outcome. Cut the guy some slack!
3. Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Captain Hook is a bit of a wild card. His only real goal is to foil Peter Pan, so that means a lot of crazy schemes end up being shoved through the pipeline. This is dangerous, since he doesn’t seem to have any regard for the lives of others – as long as he can get at Peter Pan, he’ll do whatever it takes. Ruthless.
We still love him, though, because he’s so goofy and adorably fails in ways that even a child can foresee. His PTSD is also something that humanizes him – we’d be terrified of crocodiles if they ate our hand, too! And have you seen his fashion sense? That hat is simply fabulous, and that mustache is something that only dreams are made of. You can tell he cares about personal grooming. If only he cared about the lives of others that much!
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