Earlier this year, Disney unveiled their plans for their Disney Villain Designer Doll collection (pictured). Like last years Designer Princess line, the dolls are being released weekly with five out of the six Villains already on the shelves with only one left to go. For some reason, not every villain, or even every villainess, was chosen to be re-imagined so why these 6? Were these the best female villains or just the easiest to see in a designer light? So I had a think about what Disney Villainesses are my favourite and why. Maybe I’ll get some inspiration for my Hallowe’en costume while I’m at it.
I am perhaps the only one of my generation who does not love The Emperor’s New Groove. Yeah, there are interesting and funny moments in the set design but boy does David Spade’s voice go right through me. What is good, or perhaps I should say who, is Yzma; the snazzy, charismatic, sharp-tongued villain. She’s followed faithfully by Kronk – the brawn to Yzma’s brains – while she plots to undermine the incompetent Kuzco and take over as Emperess. Given how horrible Kuzco is before being llama’d, I’m sure Yzma would be a welcome change. At least she’s a little more fabulous.
I actually hate Cruella De Vil. She is the one villain who I think is truly awful, probably because of the animal cruelty (to kill someone’s dad, place a curse on you and generally be a threatening person is totally kosher apparently) and maybe a little to do with Glenn Close’s performance in the live-action film. However it’s this horridness that makes Cruella a great villain. Not only is her name a work of genius, her wealth (either as an heiress or a working fashionista) clearly defines DeVil as a smashing villain as well as a popular and easy Hallowe’en costume choice.
Mother Gothel is one of Disney’s newest villians and an absolute terrible delight in Tangled. Voiced by Donna Murphy, Gothel is a pretty theatrical character who is obsessed with her appearance, which is exactly what results in her villainery. In a manner much more effective than the awful Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, Gothel manages to appear motherly towards Rapunzel while being hilariously rude and callous. Her teasing is more than borderline abusive and her songs – Mother Know’s Best being my favourite – illustrate her supposed motherly concern while actually it’s all a ploy. Gothel may be a new Disney villian but damn, is she a belter.
2. Ursula – The Little Mermaid Moving up the chart and the size scale, we reach Ursula. Her designer doll has received a huge amount of controversy since it’s the same skinny size as the rest of them which seems to miss a major point of her character. Ursula is huge and knows how to flaunt it. She makes jokes about ‘wasting away’ and mocks the merfolk who go to her for their silly, oft-weight related problems. When she finally reaches her goal just before the end of the film, she only gets bigger, her size being an indication of her power rather than something to be mocked or hidden. Like the rest of these villians, Ursula is incredibly business minded. Her contract with Ariel is air-tight and fairly reasonable, that is, until Ursula starts sabotaging her. But all of the conditions are explained in detail – no questions, her song is amazing.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this one. Sure she doesn’t have a song but she does have elegance, style, and an awesome name. Really, she’s just the best. Also, she turns into a dragon. I mean, what more could you want? The moment Maleficent appears on screen, you sit up and notice. When addressing the King, Queen and the rest of the court, she remains poised and articulate, with her outbursts being directed at her minions rather than her enemies. When Prince Philip escapes Maleficent’s prison with the help of the three fairies, she manages to keep throwing up roadblocks, not willing to concede defeat, until her dragon form is slain by the magic-infused sword.
So there’s my top 5. It’s funny to see all the similarities: most dismiss men as stupid; have career aims; and often leave the initial dirty work to their male minions. As it turns out, I mostly agree with Disney’s decisions (however they reached them) for who deserved a redesign and I suppose it can’t be denied that The Evil Queen from Snow White and The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland are stunning in their new doll form, they just don’t make my personal top 5, or 6 if I’m honest. I do have a sneaky sixth villainess. Someone who doesn’t quite make the cut in their original character design, but will always be awesome in my heart:
As stated in her memorable song, Mim is magnificent, marvellous and mad, all qualities that should be present in every villain. As a hermit witch, her loner status has led to a deprivation of social niceties and instead lead to a level of clarity in things such as body image. She can be lovely and thin but chooses to remain true to an image that represents herself. She’s more mischievous than evil in the film really since she never causes any real damage. If your budget is small and you’re wanting to remain classic, Mim is clearly the answer. Certain to be a hit at any Disney Park Hallowe’en party.
So who’s your favourite Disney Villainess and how would you redesign them for a fabulous Hallowe’en?