There are few among us who would dispute the fact that Disney’s animated features have gotten tedious. Some might even say unbearably so. What is it that made the earlier films so captivating? What is missing now? Is it quality of animation? Is it catchy original songs? Is it a hero who is honest, brave, upright, and true? No. Even in sequels and recent films, the animation is stellar, the songs are no less corny than their predecessors, and heroes are absolute models of virtue. So what has made these movies unwatchable?
Maleficent. Ratigan. Madame Medusa. Cruella De Vil. McLeach. Gaston. Scar. Some Disney villains are morose, some are crazy, and some are goofy, but all of these have one thing in common. They are all evil. This is why certain Disney cartoons are memorable and others aren’t. In order for the threat to be threatening, the danger to be dangerous, or the hero to be heroic, the villain must be villainous. It is the happy, the misunderstood, or the sympathetic villains that make a joke out of the battle between good and evil, and no one wants to watch a movie that makes light of this conflict.