Saturday, March 4, 2017

Villain Necrologies & Debacles: Disney Animation Edition

Villains meet their demises in so many different ways. For some this means death, for other this means an unfortunate incapacitating situation. Writers put a lot of thought into how their antagonist finally fails, but which way is best for your villain? That all depends on so many different circumstances, including audience and genre. This is what inspired my new series "Villain Necrologies & Debacles." Over time, I'll be analyzing different animation studios, franchises, and more. These posts are meant to show you what sort of defeats have been done whether common or uncommon, perhaps inspire some villain defeats of your own, or you can just enjoy the morbid humor. 

Warning: Spoilers for basically every Disney movie with an antagonist.

Villains That Lived

Arrested - When a villain breaks the law so many times, sometimes the law catches up to them. This was the case for Prince John from Robin Hood, Alameda Slim from Home on the Range, Professor Robert Callaghan from Big Hero 6, and Dawn Bellwether from Zootopia. This is often a just a humane fate for a villain, though it always comes with the possibility of the villain escaping and coming back for revenge.

Banished - Oftentimes we just want the villain as far away from us as possible. This happened to Jafar from Aladdin, Prince Hans from Frozen, and Ratcliffe from Pocahontas. This is another fairly common way to get rid of a villain. Depending on the way they were expunged, they may or may not come back.

Chased Away by Crocodile - Now we're getting to the fun stuff. The ticking crocodile had the time of his life chasing away Captain Hook from Peter Pan far far away from Peter, Wendy, Michael, and the lost boys. It's uncertain whether or not the crocodile got him or not, but he was gone for the time being and that's what counted. And you have to admit it was a bit comical.

Chased Away by Fire Tied to his Tail - Mowgli uses Shere Khan's biggest fear against him, by tying a tying a fiery torch to his tail in the Jungle Book. Personally, this felt like a cop out. Shere-Khan is supposed to be this terribly formidably Bengal Tiger (formidable enough that Mowgli has to leave his family), and he's defeated by fire tied to his tail? I personally didn't like this defeat, and I was so happy that in the live action The Jungle Book (2016) it changed.

Kinda Forgotten About - After Cinderella, is found to be the owner of the glass slipper, Duchess Tremaine, the horrible woman who locked Cinderella in her room, treated her step-daughter like a servant, and let her daughters obliterate the poor girls' mothers' dress is just ... well ... forgotten about. The scene cuts to Cinderella being happily married and we just forget about Duchess Tremaine. This is the definition of what not to do with a villain. The reader/viewer wants to know the fate of the villain, not just be expected to forget about it.

Shipped to Timbuktu - This is the definition of irony. While Edgar attempts to ship Duchess and her kittens to Timbuktu, he himself is locked inside the trunk and shipped instead. And unless he saves his pennies or even gets rescued out of the trunk before he starts or suffocates, he's probably not ever coming back. I found this quite satisfying.

Stuck in a Ravine - After an intense car chase, Cruella in 101 Dalmatians crashes her snazzy car into a ravine and stranded and bruised can no longer pursue Pongo, Perdita, and the puppies. This was a good brief defeat in my opinion, but unless the law gets involved at some point, she could always just gather herself and come after them again.

Stripped of His Rank - After Gantu in Lilo & Stitch, makes a mess of the retrieval of Stitch, he's stripped of his rank and is obviously going to pay for his failures. This is a pretty big punishment.

Trapped by Alligators - After an intense chase in the bayou, Medusa is trapped on her boat's smoke stacks while Brutus and Nero snap at her heals. Whether she's eat afterward or escapes, we don't know, but Penny is far away from the cruel foster mother and that's all we care about at the time. 

Turns Good - As Maui fights Taka and Moana rushes to return the heart to the spiral, she realized that Taka is actually Te Fiti, but she was transformed into something dark and abominable with the lack of her heart. Thus Moana returns the heart to Taka transforming her back into Te Fiti. I rarely ever like the turning good defeat. It often seems cheap. Though this was one of the better instances of that, it wasn't the ending I hoped for.

Turned into a Cat - In the Emperor's New Groove, Yzma and Kuzco dive at two potions, one the human potion and one something else. Yzma gets the other potion and turns herself into an adorable cat. Kuzco ends up getting the human potion, sealing Yzma's fate in her cat form. Since this movie was a blatant comedy, I found this very funny and satisfying.

Villains That Died

Aged into Dust - As soon as Eugene cuts Rapunzel's hair, Mother Gothel rapidly ages. She topples off the tower and all that's left is a pile of dust. I believe Mother Gothel definitely got her just desserts here. She was so obsessed with staying young that she was willing to lock up a young girl for her entire life, it was only fitting for her to meet her demise by her fears coming true. 

Blown Up  - While Shan-Yu is battling Mulan on the roof of the palace, Mushu drives a very large firework into Shan-Yu, which in turn flies the Hun into a building of fireworks, blowing him up. Shan-Yu really needed to go. An avalanche didn't stop the guy, he needed something more permanent. I found this fate for him very satisfying.

Broken Neck - This has to be one of Disney's most gruesome deaths. While Clayton is fighting Tarzan in a network of vines with a machete, Tarzan tangles him in the vines. Desperately, he slashes at the vines supporting him. Tarzan tries to stop him, but Clayton cuts all of the vines except the one around his neck. He plummets through the trees, stopped short by the vine which breaks his neck. This was definitely a more adult death, but fitting for Clayton.  

Claimed by Demons - In Princess and the Frog, when Princess Tiana breaks the charm granted by the voodoo spirits, Facilier is claimed by the demons and dragged into hell basically. I found this a bit too dark for a children's film personally. But this and the Horned King's death (below) are the only too I'd say that about in Disney Animation.

Drowning in the River Styx - When Hercules rescues Megara from the River Styx, he earns his status as a god. He emerges from the river triumphant and punches Hades into the river. The bitter souls drag the God of the Underworld down into the depths. This wasn't one of the most satisfying Disney villain depths, but I found it fitting for Hades.

Eaten by Hyenas - Scar let the Pridelands become stripped of life and with it food for the hyenas. When the hyenas discover that Scar meant to betray them, the hyenas decide to eat him. This is a pretty graphic death. I'm glad that Disney didn't show any of it, but implied that it happened. It was definitely a fitting end to Scar for killing Mufasa then giving Simba years of guilt.

Erased from History - Louis discovers that he is indeed Cornelius, Wilbur's Father, and creator in the amazing future to come, he confronts Doris, the evil bowler hat, and tells her, "I will never invent you." Because of his promise, Doris erodes away since she will never exist. Since this movie involves a lot of time travel, this was a great way to finally get rid of that manipulative little head accessory. 

Falling from a Great Height - As the Beast climbs back to Belle after his grueling battle with Gaston, Gaston has climbed after him and plunges a dagger into his side. Then Gaston loses his balance and plummets into the craggy depths of the canyon around the castle. This is another ironic death, since Gaston died delivering the final blow to the Beast.

Falling from a Great Height then Crushed by Rock - In Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the Evil Queen in witch form is trapped by the dwarves on a cliff, thus she tries to send a boulder tumbling on top of them. Lightning strikes the cliffside and she falls off the cliff, then the boulder falls after to (just to make sure she's totally dead). And if you weren't sure she was dead, those freaky vultures fly down toward her. Disney really wanted you to know that she was dead--for sure. 

Falling into Fire - In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo is pursuing Esmeralda and Quasimodo on the balcony of the Notre Dame. He swipes his cape to blind Quasimodo, but Quasimodo falls dragging Frollo with him. Quasimodo holds onto the cape to keep him from falling then Esmeralda grabs on to Quasimodo. Frollo manages to swing to a nearby gargoyle and climb on top of it then when he's about to behind Esmeralda with a sword, the gargoyle beneath him gives out and he plunges into the fiery depths of burning Paris. Another ironic death here. Frollo was so afraid of hellfire and in the end he dies by fire. 

Falling Over a Waterfall - In The Rescuers Down Under, McLeach falls into the river full of crocodiles. He manages to beat off the crocodiles, but plunges over the waterfall to his death. I'm noticing a pattern here that Disney really likes crocodiles and alligators. I think this is the third defeat I have listed here with them in it. 

Floating into Space - Jim from Treasure Planet was sneaking back onto the ship to retrieve the map, when Mr. Scroop finds him. While fighting, Ben turns off the boat's gravity field which sends Jim and Mr. Scroop floating up to the top mast. Jim grips the ship's flag to keep from floating into space, but Mr. Scroop decides to cut away at the flag's rope. Jim crawls to the mast and holds on then Mr. Scroop leaps at him. Jim dodges and Mr. Scroop gets caught into the flag which rips away from the mast sending him spinning into space never to be seen again. Here is yet another ironic death. Earlier in the film Mr. Scroop murdered Mr. Arrow by sawing away his lifeline and allowing him to plummet into a blackhole and now he meets a similar fate. Disney also apparently loves their ironic villain deaths. 

Reduced to Nothing - Jack in the Nightmare Before Christmas is trapped on Oogie Boogie's spinning wheel of death. While Oogie is trying to escape on a propeller device, Jack snags one of the Oogie's threads. He pulls it and it snags in the propeller unraveling Oogie completely, reducing him to a pile of bugs, which burn up in hot metal below or are squished. This is definitely a creative death and it suited Oogie Boogie as well. He was reduced to what he real was just a dumb bug.

Shredded by Propeller - Speaking of propellers ... While Rourke and Milo were fighting over Kida in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Milo cuts Rourke with a piece of energized glass which turns Rourke into a freaky crystal monster then he gets sucked into a propeller shredded to pieces. Hidden Disney lesson: Be careful around propellers.

Stabbed by Ship - With the trident's power, Ursula from the Little Mermaid grows herself into massive sea monster. While she tries to kill Ariel, Eric manages to drive a ship's bow into her. Ouch, but clever Eric. 

Sucked into a Cauldron - In the Black Cauldron, The Horned King is disconcerted, to put it lightly, that his army of the dead are all of a sudden ... dead. He goes to investigated and ends up getting sucked into the cauldron to his death. The Horned King had to be one of Disney's freakiest looking villains. I was glad not to have to look at him anymore.

Sword Thrown into Chest - During the epic battle between (the real) Maleficent and Prince Phillip in Sleeping Beauty, the Prince manages to throw the sword of truth into Maleficent's chest, killing her. The is one of the very few Disney deaths where blood is actually shown, but I would be a little ticked if a sword thrown up to the hilt into a dragon's chest didn't show just a little bit of blood.

Train Crash - In Oliver & Company, while Sykes is hot pursuit of Fagin, Oliver, Penny, and the gang over train tracks in his limo, he drives into the path of a train. While the good guys escape, the train crashes to him and his car and his remains plummet into the river below.

Turned into Gold - In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, while Aladdin and Cassim are escaping with the Hand of Midas, they realize they can't take it, so Cassim throws it to Sa'Luk. Sa'Luk catches it in his bare hand and turns into gold. And we finish with yet another ironic death. Sa'Luk meets his demise by his own greed. 

The Stats

These stats honestly surprised me a bit. I expected falling to be Disney's most common villain death, but as I gathered more and more information, I realized just how creative Disney is with their villains' defeats. 

Conclusion - One thing I respect about Disney Animation is they're not afraid to have their villains meet realistic and even gruesome fates, but they execute them in a way that is appropriate for children. I guess that's one reason why I keep watching Disney. I planned to start collecting data from each set of franchises and such that I analyze to see which deaths are overall the most common, so I'll start adding that to the posts from the next post on, but I need some help deciding which post I should do next. Please, vote in the poll below!

Which post should I do next? free polls

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