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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:34 pm 
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Hopefully I wont get punched for asking this but I notice alot of people seems to be fans of the Disney Villains. Even Disney knows there's a market for them with stores themed to Villains in their theme parks and floats in their parades.

Me, I dont get the craze. Not that I hate Villains or anything I just dont get all crazy about them. There are some Villains that are evil and others who are very underwhelming but there are only a few I consider to be great characters.

I just dont get what's with the popularity of them. :?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:06 pm 
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Well, I suppose most people just disagree with you that only a few are great characters. Or at least a large group of people.

Generally, when these sorts of questions come up, it's a simple matter of having to realize that maybe a lot of people see things differently, like when folks say, "I don't see why people love the Lion King, I don't think it's that great." Bottom line, a lot of people do.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:36 pm 
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When I think of Disney, I don't automatically think of the villains; I think about the main characters. But one reason why villains are so popular, is because they are often the main reason a story even gets told: no heroes and no conflict without villains. Besides, villains can be more colorful and exaggerated than the heroes. Heroes always have to be good and wholesome, while villains can do as they please. That makes them popular.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:45 pm 
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Before I begin I must clarify that I'm not bashing either Heroes or Villains; I like both. I'm just reasoning why the other could seem to be so popular.
Ok, now onto my point of view:

Heroes/Heroines are generally bland, blue-eyed characters with the same or similar back-story. (Ex. Orphaned or death of parent, lost and alone in the world, pathetically too-cute to not feel sorry for...) You get the picture. :D

In contrast the Villains (usually) look very different from each other and their histories are rarely known. (We just assume they were always EVIL, right? NAW!) This makes them popular with fans because they/we like to know about how our favorite Villains came to be; whether it's by researching the heck out of the original fairytale or by creating our own fantasies in art and fiction. :wink:

Another thing to consider is that most people might feel more embarrassed (especially if you're 10+) wearing a Bambi shirt rather than say...Jack Skellington. (But I doubt this is an issue with devoted Disney fans. 8) ) Marketing sometimes makes you feel wacko for not choosing the characters that were targeted for you to like.

So, in a nutshell, I believe the character design and mystery aspect of the Villains are key reasons why they are so popular and why there is a large fanbase.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:51 pm 
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I was just sitting here considering how to explain in words why I love them so much. It’s something I’ve never really thought about, because I mostly take it as a given. So I finally settled on this.

I think it’s mostly the fact that villains are given the room to be more dramatic, outrageous, or (over)emotional than most other Disney characters. Scenes of the Evil Queen watching SW’s death or Cruella becoming completely maniacal come to mind. Of course, not all villains are that way (Shan-Yu and Tremaine, for example, are mostly cold, calculated characters), but regardless their villains delve into the depths of humanity far more than their heroes do (for the most part). They are able to terrify (as with something non-human like Monstro), or display a certain--very real--obsceneness that people meet, perhaps experience, in their own lives (extreme bitterness, jealousy, racism, greed, selfishness, murderous desires, etc.). And, to focus on the advantages specific to animation in evoking a mood of evil, you get incredible scenes like Ursula seizing Ariel’s voice (Ursula’s tentacles themselves are something done to a menacing/captivating effect that couldn’t be recreated as successfully in live-action) or Maleficent’s mesmerizing of Aurora. Some people have criticized them for being what you might call flat or cookie cutter (in other words, they are less "characters," and more plot devices that drive the protagonist's story). But the lack of background information often gives them a certain mystique, a power to command their audience. They are often very basic in their motivation, to the point that they become almost primal.

So, I guess, the simplest way to put it is: They put on one hell of a good show.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:16 pm 
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The villains are my favorite characters of the Disney films.. if you look at my favorite Disney characters of all time they are Maleficent, Horned King, Chernabog, Facilier and Jafar. I dunno why, I just seem to resonate with the villains so well. I love their intentions, and how they think. I love their costumes and how they look. I love how far they will go to get what they want. I love every single thing about them, and always have since a little kid. They've always been "cooler" than the heroes, in my eyes.. but that's me.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:17 pm 
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Some villains tend to be more intresting compared to some heroes, even though heroes can be intresting too. They make the story more exciting, and it's because of their behavior that you love to hate them. I remember when I was a little kid that I always wanted the villain to lose and either die or be seriously defeated. I didn't want it any other way. Now I don't hate them that much, but I still root for the hero because evil never wins in the long run. That might also be another reason, because since they never win, we want to see how villains end up being beaten.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:40 pm 
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I've always identified with the "good guys" and the cute animal characters, so I've never liked or identified with the villains. After all, they are trying to kill the characters I like and care about!

The good characters live up to the ideals of goodness and innocence that I aspire to, and I personally have NEVER found the virtuous, good characters "bland" or "boring". In fact, while watching WDW's Fantasmic!, I often get bored during the villain-dominated second half of the show, and think "okay, be gone, psychotic lunatics, so Mickey and the gang can come out on the boat!" ;)

Oh, and I also proudly wear my cute Dumbo and Bambi T-shirts (among others), and even though I'm over 30, I am neither embarrased or ashamed by this. Those types of characters are the reasons I love Disney, and got into Disney in the first place! The villains can go back to Gothland and torture themselves with how miserable they are! ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:50 pm 
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David S. wrote:
I've always identified with the "good guys" and the cute animal characters, so I've never liked or identified with the villains. After all, they are trying to kill the characters I like and care about!

The good characters live up to the ideals of goodness and innocence that I aspire to, and I personally have NEVER found the virtuous, good characters "bland" or "boring". In fact, while watching WDW's Fantasmic!, I often get bored during the villain-dominated second half of the show, and think "okay, be gone, psychotic lunatics, so Mickey and the gang can come out on the boat!" ;)

Oh, and I also proudly wear my cute Dumbo and Bambi T-shirts (among others), and even though I'm over 30, I am neither embarrased or ashamed by this. Those types of characters are the reasons I love Disney, and got into Disney in the first place! The villains can go back to Gothland and torture themselves with how miserable they are! ;)

I haven't a problem at all with the "good" characters, as you put it, but I can't say I would classify the villains as psychotic lunatics that torture themselves with how miserable they are. In some cases, I can see myself doing similar things as the villains do, if I were in their position.

Every antagonist has their own personal reasons why they are doing something that you (along with most of the world) would classify as "psychotic" or "evil," which in my opinion wouldn't be. Everyone's got their own definitions of "good" and "bad," (which are terms I don't think should be used to define certain things at all...) Most may disagree with the villains' actions and intentions (I can't say I'm one of them, necessarily), but it doesn't mean that the villains are evil just because the majority thinks that way.

It's just that for me, I can identify better with the antagonists better than I can with the protagonists.
Meh... just my opinion on the matter.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:22 pm 
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Because they are cool.

As simple as that.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:07 am 
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Heartless wrote:

I haven't a problem at all with the "good" characters, as you put it, but I can't say I would classify the villains as psychotic lunatics that torture themselves with how miserable they are. In some cases, I can see myself doing similar things as the villains do, if I were in their position.

Every antagonist has their own personal reasons why they are doing something that you (along with most of the world) would classify as "psychotic" or "evil," which in my opinion wouldn't be. Everyone's got their own definitions of "good" and "bad," (which are terms I don't think should be used to define certain things at all...) Most may disagree with the villains' actions and intentions (I can't say I'm one of them, necessarily), but it doesn't mean that the villains are evil just because the majority thinks that way.

It's just that for me, I can identify better with the antagonists better than I can with the protagonists.
Meh... just my opinion on the matter.


Well, the "psychotic lunatics" and "torture themselves" was said half in jest (hence the smiles). And for the record, I do not believe that everything that many people consider "evil" is "black and white" absolute. In fact, my views on most social issues are on the "liberal" side.

But with people like the queen in Snow White, and Maleficent, they are planning to KILL completely innocent people! That's the kind of thing that most people would consider either evil or psychotic, or both! In almost every culture and philosophy known to man, the only justification for taking a life is self-defense. I'm sorry if I offend you that I consider cold-blooded, pre-meditated murder to be wrong and psychotic.

I find those characters I just mentioned easy to hate in a "black and white" way because they are portrayed in the films that way - as pure evil.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:12 am 
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The Disney Villains have been my favorite characters since I was a child (think like 4 or 5 years old). My mother, being the always caring parent she is, around that age looked up why I might have been drawn to the villains more than the heroes, and reached a conclusion that I, today, find quite interesting.

As a child, I was always very well behaved, and like to think to this day that I always have reasonably good intentions. It would make sense that when I watch a movie or read a book that I would be drawn towards the villanous characters, as its a sort of way to live out the bad feelings we have as humans. We choose not to murder people or do bad things, but we can live vicariously through these characters instead (especially when said characters are outlandish and unrealistic).

Additionally, as previously stated, the characters are often ambiguous and hence very interesting to watch.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:14 am 
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David S. wrote:
Well, the "psychotic lunatics" and "torture themselves" was said half in jest (hence the smiles). And for the record, I do not believe that everything that many people consider "evil" is "black and white" absolute. In fact, my views on most social issues are on the "liberal" side.

But with people like the queen in Snow White, and Maleficent, they are planning to KILL completely innocent people! That's the kind of thing that most people would consider either evil or psychotic, or both! In almost every culture and philosophy known to man, the only justification for taking a life is self-defense. I'm sorry if I offend you that I consider cold-blooded, pre-meditated murder to be wrong and psychotic.

I find those characters I just mentioned easy to hate in a "black and white" way because they are portrayed in the films that way - as pure evil.

I wasn't really talking to you necessarily, just used your post for a quote to help further along my opinion. Like I said, I can completely understand why you or anyone else would not like the villains (they're created to not be liked), but for me they are the most likable characters in the Disney character line-up.

David S. wrote:
they are trying to KILL completely innocent people! That's the kind of thing that most people would consider evil or psychotic.

But in the eyes of the villain, they aren't considered innocent. Like I said before, each villain has a motive and reason they are trying to accomplish whatever it is they are trying to accomplish... and am I saying that just because they have a reason to kill someone then the act is justified? No, not necessarily.

Again, it never was my intention to seemingly start an argument (or rather, discussion) with you, so my apologies. I was just trying to help to explain why I loved the villains and answer the OP's question for the thread.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:16 am 
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As a couple of people mentioned, I think it's because we can identify with the Villains. Most of the heroes are utterly perfect and wholesome. They always have good intentions, and on the whole, are unselfish. Sure, they want things, but it's never anything unreasonable, and they never want to hurt anyone else. And even when dealing with the villain, they only act out in self defense. This is something we aren't familiar with. All of us have done something 'bad' at least once in our lives, and we have probably intentionally hurt someone as well. This makes it easier for us to see ourselves in the Villains position, rather than the hero.

And I do think that in some cases, the Villains are better developed characters.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:48 am 
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Scarred4life wrote:
As a couple of people mentioned, I think it's because we can identify with the Villains. Most of the heroes are utterly perfect and wholesome. They always have good intentions, and on the whole, are unselfish. Sure, they want things, but it's never anything unreasonable, and they never want to hurt anyone else. And even when dealing with the villain, they only act out in self defense. This is something we aren't familiar with. All of us have done something 'bad' at least once in our lives, and we have probably intentionally hurt someone as well. This makes it easier for us to see ourselves in the Villains position, rather than the hero.


That's an interesting point, and I understand it.

In my case, while the heroes are "perfect" and wholesome, and no one in "real life" is completely perfect and always does the "right thing," the fact that the heroes do gives me something to aspire to.

Or as Oscar Wilde once said, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

Whereas the villains, even though I am not perfect, do not give me something to look up to and aspire to. For one thing, I've never in my life wanted to kill anyone!

I actually see more of myself in the heroes, because I've always had a "live and let live" attitude about life and just want to "do my thing" without worrying about others. If someone has more money or power than me, good for them!

Whereas the villains, like the Queen and Maleficent, are not happy with themselves and what they have. In their minds, the only way they can be happy is to bring someone else down. This is a concept that is completely foreign to me!

But this is not meant in any way to be an argument with the villain fans, just a further explanation as to why I prefer the heroes, sidekicks, and non-villains, and why I find the heroes easy to relate to and identify with, and do not relate to or identify with the villains.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:58 pm 
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Goliath wrote:
When I think of Disney, I don't automatically think of the villains; I think about the main characters.

For me, it probably depends on the mood I'm in. If I'm thinking about something horrific, funny, over the top- I rarely turn to the protagonists. They're usually not very compelling characters. Think about that for a second. Remember how I brought up Wendy and Peter in that thread about rating the Disney DVD's? That he was pretty chauvinistic, saying: "girls talk too much"? But the movie also made her talk too much just so he could get away with insulting her and not become a jerk. So, they both get on my nerves. There are little things like that for just about all the Disney protagonists. Had Dumbo had any lines, he might have been annoying too. Or any of the characters in Fantasia. Being allowed to speak just equals saying something annoying (though I suppose most of the protagonists, excluding some of the puppies, in 101 Dalmatians were perfectly likable characters- and again, I thought Alice was awesome). I think they're always trying to find the characters' senses of humor. Gauging how little or how much to make them entertaining for the audience. Whereas for the villains, they seem more focused. Probably because the animators, writers, and entire creative team are adults. The adult characters often, if not usually, fare better. They seem to know exactly what they're doing and not playing around as much.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:10 pm 
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One of the reasons I think people love villains is the fact that they are such a key element of a (love) story.

I mean think of it, would you cheer as hard for Simba without him battling his uncle Scar as opposed to just having a difficult childhood?

And remember without evil there can be no good!

That fact alone should entitle them extra coverage in the themeparks.

I personally think it to be only fair that one day we'll see a story from Disney coming from the villains point of view!

Oh wait...Dreamworks beat them to it...Megamind :o
(horrible flick no doubt but still decent premise)

Altough I have to say there were few scenes in
The Hunchback of NotreDame that did not revolve around Frollo

I just hope that we'll see some decent villains in the near future,
and not some Heffalump scaring the bejeebies out of Pooh :lol:

:wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:04 pm 
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REINIER wrote:
I mean think of it, would you cheer as hard for Simba without him battling his uncle Scar as opposed to just having a difficult childhood?

I didn't cheer for him at all. Image

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:24 pm 
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"To captivate our varied and worldwide audience of all ages, the nature and treatment of the fairy tale, the legend, the myth have to be elementary, simple. Good and evil, the antagonists of all great drama in some guise, must be believably personalized. The moral ideals common to all humanity must be upheld. The victories must not be too easy. Strife to test valor is still and will always be the basic ingredient of the animated tale, as of all screen entertainments." —Walt Disney

"The span of years has not much altered my fundamental views of mass amusement. Experience has merely perfected the style and method and the techniques of presentation. My entertainment credo has not changed a whit. Strong combat and soft satire are in our story cores. Virtue triumphs over wickedness in our fables. Tyrannical bullies are routed or conquered by our good little people, human or animal. Basic morality is always deeply implicit in our screen legends. But they are never sappy or namby-pamby. And they never prate or preach. All are pitched toward the happy and satisfactory ending. There is no cynicism in me and there is none allowed in our work." —Walt Disney


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:10 pm 
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David S. wrote:
[...] I personally have NEVER found the virtuous, good characters "bland" or "boring".

I agree, most of them are certainly not bland or boring. Bland or boring characters couldn't carry a movie. They're the main characters, so they have to be sympathetic and appealing. Still, I like some less than others. I think Wart is a dull character, but Merlin makes up for that. I never cared much for Mowgli, but Baloo makes the film unforgettable. One could argue that Walt's princesses are rather bland and they have to rely heavily on the secondary characters to make their own films worthwhile --yet I have a soft spot for Snow White!


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