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The Top 10 Worst Disney Heroes
The List of the Worst
In the land of Disney, heroes are always the good guys. They make the right choices, learn their lessons and always have a happy ending. They are noble and just and are role models for both child and adult.
They are so sweet that my teeth are rotting as I read this aloud. But, not all Disney heroes are created equal. Some heroes are better left on the drawing board. These heroes are glorified, even though their bad behavior, spoiled demeanor and ‘woe is me’ attitude is not what he want people to aspire to. These heroes are the worst of the good guys.
The Best of the Best
- The Top 10 Worst Disney Villains
Here's a Top 10 List of the Worst Disney Villains to date. They tried their hardest, but failed to reach their evil potential.
- The Top 10 Best Disney Heroes
Here's a Top 10 List of the Best Disney Heroes to date. They put the good in good guy or gal as the case may be.
- The Top 10 Most Evil Disney Villains
Here's a Top 10 List of the Most Evil Disney Villains to date. There's no point to a good guy unless there's a batter evildoer to go up against!
Are They Really That Bad?
So, how do these heroes fall so far from glory? What makes them so bad that earned their spot on this list? They are the opposite of the Best Heroes in more ways that one. Let’s break it down.
Most Disney heroes have moral character. They might do the wrong thing (Robin Hood, Robin Hood), but they do it for the right reason. What about those characters who do the wrong thing for the wrong reason? This includes spoiled brats and those special snowflakes that feel that someone they are owed more in the world just because. Spoiled.
The hard, cold truth is that not all Disney heroes are smart (Hercucles, Hercules). What a hero lacks in smarts, they should make up in other areas. There are, however heroes that don’t. It is also the case that some have better reasons for lacking in brains than others, so that should be considered, but no one likes to deal with a dummy. OK, I’ll be nice, we’ll just call that: naïve.
There was a trend in Disney’s earlier years that the heroes were passive beings that things just happened to. Oh poor ‘Hero’ who didn’t deserve that to happen to them and oh look so and so is coming to help them save the day. It’s that nice? Nah, not so much. What type of hero constantly needs to be saved? Not the kind I’d want to look up to, that’s for sure. Passive.
There’s always a need for a hero to face adversities. Always. If that weren’t the case, we’d be watching a dog chase his tail, because there wouldn’t be much of a movie. So, how do these adversities come to be? Do they cause their own drama (Sulley, Monsters, Inc.), or are they just trouble magnets? Trouble?
There are other things to consider when weeding the great heroes from the wannabes. These are things that might make them a little more tolerable, like being a hard worker or a child. Or it could swing the opposite direction and sink them deeper like being self-righteous or hardheaded? These are the type of behaviors that can move a hero closer to the worse or bump them entirely off the list. Wild Card.
The last thing considered is the movie itself. Is it a classic, or did it suck altogether? What type of message does the movie send? Was the hero memorable or did someone else steal the show? Movie.
10. Cinderella (Cinderella, 1950)
So why would a humble, hard working girl make this list? She works like a servant for her nasty stepmother and wretched step sisters and she does so with a song in her heart and a smile on her face.
She’s lived her entire life serving a woman who treats her like dirt, yet she’s surprised when Lady Tremaine makes it almost impossible to go to the ball and even more surprised when her step sisters rip the dress mice made for her. Does she stand up to them? No, she cries helpless until her fairy godmother shows up (where was this fairy the entire time she was treated like crap?).
Not only does her fairy godmother provide a way to the ball, she gives her a dress and servants out of those same mice who spent all of their time helping her in the first place. And when Cinderella finds herself locked away, her mice buddies find a way to save her yet again.
All of this is for a guy she met and danced with the night before. Ah, So This is Love and what it looks like. You know, cause if you’re good, you’ll grow up and meet a prince who will whisk you away from your problems. Happens all the time.
The truth is, however, that Cinderella is the go-to girl of all princesses. The Disney version of the story is a classic and that castle you see at Disneyland and Disney World? That’s all her.
9. Lady and The Tramp (Lady and The Tramp, 1955)
This sweet little cocker spaniel is so persecuted. Not only does she have to adapt to a band new baby in the house, but she has to deal with a babysitter, Aunt Sarah, who doesn’t like dogs. Sure, Aunt Sarah’s nasty Siamese cats set her up, but her naivety will only get her a muzzle and put outside in a dog house. A dog in a doghouse?? Gasp.
Lady ends up out in the world where she meets Tramp, a Footloose and Collar-Free stray dog with a penchant for begging, getting himself into trouble and a way with wooing the lady dogs. That last part is why Lady eventually gets mad at Tramp…the horrors, she wasn’t his first lady in heat. Of course, it all ends well because he apologizes. He also saves her owner’s baby, which is a good thing.
The movie brings an interesting perspective. The audience start off with Lady as a pup and by the end she’s popping out puppies and looking like an old soul. A few days outside of the mansion will age you by decades, believe me.
Lady and The Tramp is a classic film and the scene where the pair eat spaghetti until they kiss is a part of cinematic history. It is even included in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Passions as the #95th greatest love story ever told on film. Not bad for a couple of dogs.
8. Alice (Alice in Wonderland, 1951)
Alice is a young girl who doesn’t care to listen to the history lesson her sister is reading. Instead, she’d rather daydream, sing and play with her cat. It doesn’t seem that bad, but if you take the era and place into consideration she could be doing what most children her age would be forced to do: working, taking care of the household or starving. Harsh, I know, but a little perspective never hurt.
All of this happens because she’d rather live in a nonsensical world where nothing makes sense. She’s actually a very smart girl; unfortunately she rarely follows her own Very Good Advice. Every bit of trouble she gets to is of her own making. She handles things rather well and with a great amount of logic, which is interesting because she so wanted to exist in a non-logical world. I guess she figures out that reality isn’t that bad.
Alice in Wonderland is a cherished film that has catapulted The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts and The Cheshire Cat into visual icons adored world wide. This doesn’t mean that Alice is ignored. Since she is one of the few very young girls featured in the Disney world, she will always have a niche in their market.
Very Good Advice
7. Duchess (Aristocats, 1970)
Duchess is a pampered cat with three kittens that gets kidnapped by her butler and dumped on the side of the road in the country. She and her kittens are stuck in the middle of nowhere with no food and no idea how to get home.
So, Duchess bats her eyelashes and pleas to a cat, Thomas O’Malley, to help her family get home. I guess the eyelashes and the sultry, accented voice of Eva Gabor do the trick. Not only does he save her kittens several times, he gets them home, gives them a place to stay, feeds them and keeps them entertained, because it is well documented that Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat. Those eyelashes have magical powers, I'm positive of it.
I will note that Duchess doesn’t really figure out until it’s too late that the butler did it for the inheritance she would collect if her owner dies. It seems all a bit much since the owner isn’t dead.
The Aristocats is one of the often forgotten Disney films, which is odd because it is the last movie Walt Disney approved of personally. Duchess, on the other hand, is rarely brought up at all. If there is a character that makes an appearance now and then, it is Marie, Duchess’ only girl kitten.
6. Ariel (The Little Mermaid, 1989)
Hear me out for a few moments before you attack me with your spears and tridents for adding one of the most beloved princesses on this list.
Ariel is a 16 year who has everything a mermaid could want. That is, however, not good enough. She doesn’t want to listen to anyone. She ignores her dad, who just wants her to keep her promises, not get herself into trouble and stay out of danger. She ignores Sebastian who warns her that messing with humans is dangerous and she ignores Flounder, her best friend when he tells her that she might be getting herself into trouble.
Why does she do all of this? To be human, something she’s not. Is life Under the Sea that bad? Even worse, she gets infatuated with Prince Eric. Why is it these girls never fall in love with the local baker or farmer?
One thing is for sure, she’s not a passive minnow. She actively gets herself deeper and deeper into trouble as she tries to escape who she really is: a mermaid. By the end of the movie, Ariel marries Eric and we learn that’s it’s OK to not like yourself, just get your dad to magically turn you into someone else and you’re life will be better.
Attack me if you aren’t convinced, because I know people love this movie. It is a modern day classic and the soundtrack is amazing. As for Ariel, she is a Disney princess staple and is the biggest seller of swimwear Disney ever had.
Under the Sea
5. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, 1959)
Aurora is a princess blessed with beauty and a great singing voice. She is also cursed by Maleficent, an evil fairy angry she wasn’t invited to the christening. Her parents send her off to be raised by the fairies and she’s ends up being the most perfect girl in the world.
Of course, she meets the prince she’s already betrothed to while she’s dancing with the animals in the forest. They instantly fall in love, but it isn’t soon that Aurora finds out she’s the princess, that she must marry her betrothed is returned home.
What would you do if you found out you were a princess? Cry? Well, that’s what she does, because after meeting him once in the forest, she’s in love and only wants him.
It isn’t soon before she’s tricked into pricking her finger on a spindle and falls into a deep sleep. Seriously, that’s what our heroine does for the rest of the movie. They had to name the song Once Upon a Dream, for that reason alone. What else would she sing about? She sleeps, while Prince Phillip does all of the hard work and dragon slaying. At least he has a name.
Walt Disney really liked his heroines on a bed, quiet and ready to be kissed. Cinderella is no exception.
The movie is a classic; but when you ask most people what Sleeping Beauty’s name is they have no idea, even though they could use Aurora or Briar-Rose, the name the fairies gave her. Although Maleficent is a stand out villain, Aurora is a staple in the princess franchise and often little girls’ favorite since she’s the princess in the pink dress.
4. Lightning McQueen (Cars, 2006)
This animated car wants to ditch his old sponsor and move up in the world. He disrespects the people that help him become successful and pushes the Mack Truck that gets him to where he’s going to the brink of exhaustion. Life is a Highway and all he needs is wheels, the road and speed.
Lightning is an aggressive car who breaks the law, does a shoddy job with his community service then tries to skip town when things don’t go his way. Just when you think he couldn’t get into more trouble, he figures out a new way to do just that.
Lightning is a hotheaded, self centered and egotistical car. He does learn that he can't’ do everything by himself and that it’s better to have friends that care about you than a title to put on your mantle. Not a bad message at all.
Cars was a major hit on release and the sequel was just as successful. It gave Disney hope they could do more films aimed at boys and families, instead of focusing entirely on the princess films. Though there is a lot of merchandise with Lightning’s grill on it, the true break out star was the country tow truck, Mater. The sequel and a series of children’s books all featured the rusty tow truck, not the shiny lead. Get ‘er done.
3. Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, 1937)
It’s hard to be the fairest one of all. This is especially true when you have a jealous step mother, The Evil Queen, who wants to dead, because you’re just too darn pretty.
Innocent of any wrongdoing, Snow White is first saved by the kindhearted Huntsman, then by the forest animals who show her where a little house is. She’s a hard working girl who cleans and cooks for the dwarves, who warn her not to talk to anyone.
Apparently she either has a faulty memory or is just dim-witted, but she ignores the dwarves, talks to an old beggar woman (The Evil Queen in disguise) and eats a poisoned apple. She then lies in a glass coffin and waits for a prince to kiss her and bring her out of her coma. And what was his name, Snow White? No name for that prince? Ugh.
The only thing she accomplishes on her own is cooking and cleaning, but don’t worry, that and her pretty looks will ensure her motto that Someday My Prince Will Come to whisk her off to his kingdom. It happens to every girl, just ask Cinderella.
The worst thing about Snow White is that chipmunk huffing helium then smoking crack while being hurled down a wind tunnel voice she insists on singing with. I want to take a pitchfork to my ears every time she speaks.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is the first animated feature film Disney ever made and for that reason alone she’s a part of cinematic history. Although the magic mirror and The Evil Queen have made a lasting impression, Snow White is the OP (original princess) and no one can take that from her.
To Share My Pain
2. Pinocchio (Pinocchio, 1940)
After being made, this puppet is brought to life by the Blue Fairy who tells him to turn into a real life boy he must be “brave, truthful and unselfish and able to tell right from wrong by listening to his conscience”.
The Blue Fairy then appoints Jiminy Cricket as Pinocchio’s conscience. Does the wooden boy listen to anything the fairy said? Of course not. I really can’t blame Pinnochio for being hard headed, except…yes, I can. He’s is told over and over again by Jiminy what is good and bad, but he just doesn’t listen. He is naïve enough to allow just about any two-bit crook a chance to get one over on him.
He and other boys are taken to Pleasure Island where he gambles, smokes, drinks and wrecks havoc. He may be wooden, but he’s a little boy. He begins to turn into a jackass. Subtle, no? He then lies about the whole thing. This kid deserves to be on an episode of Beyond Scared Straight with prisoners yelling at him about become their wifey. What was this kid thinking?
They do show that gambling, smoking, drinking and causing a ruckus isn’t something children should do and that kids should follow their conscience. In the end, it does not erase all of the trouble Pinocchio caused himself for no reason.
This classic film wasn’t initially successful, but has found a small place in the Disney franchise. A very small place, unfortunately.
Pinnochio Causing Trouble
1. Kuzco (The Emperor’s New Groove, 2000)
The Emperor’s New Groove is about a teenaged emperor who is so spoiled, he’s willing to destroy someone’s house and livelihood for his own benefit. There’s no point in describing how many time Kuzco behaves like a spoiled brat, because that’s the basis of the movie.
As a result, his trusted advisor tries to kill him, but accidentally turns him into a llama instead. Think being turned in a llama would be humbling? Not for this guy. He naively believes he still has power and control of his situation, even though he is being helped by the man, Pacha, whose house he wanted to destroy. And though Pacha helps the brat time and time again, Kuzco still finds new ways to get himself into trouble.
The worst part is the fingernails scraping down a chalkboard, then picking it up and slamming it over your head a few times voice of Kuzco (i.e. David Spade). That voice is so utterly annoying when not balanced next to Chris’ Farley (R.I.P).
The Emperor’s New Groove was an utter failure at the box office. If you don’t remember any character from this movie, you’re probably better off for it.
Who do you think is the worst Disney hero?
That’s it. That’s my list of the worst of the good guys. Though a nice chunk of them are fan favorites, if you look deeper at them and the way they behaved, you have to wonder what the heck was Disney thinking. Or maybe it’s just a look at the date the movie was made to sigh and thank the powers that be that we’ve progressed a lot since then.