I strongly disagree with anyone who says Maleficent isn’t the best Disney villain. No singing, no dancing, no long expositions about her plans, no tolerance for bumbling comedy sidekicks (she electrocutes a whole room full of minions when she finds out they’ve fucked up and spent the last few years searching for a baby), just outright malicious intent.
I mean let’s take a look at her motivations compared to other popular Disney villains:
SCAR - Wanted to become King.
URSULA - Wanted to rule the seas.
WICKED QUEEN - Wanted to rule as the most beautiful woman in the land.
JAFAR - Wanted to rule in the Sultan’s place and/or obtain ultimate power.
Maleficient, by contrast, didn’t want any of that. She didn’t want more power. She didn’t want fame. She didn’t want to rule. She just wanted to raise hell. This is the woman who decided that every newborn child in the kingdom should die and that the land should be covered in darkness for one reason - SHE WASN’T INVITED TO A MOTHERFUCKING PARTY.
That’s right, the evil bitch basically condemned an entire kingdom to die at her hands because she didn’t get invited to a christening.
This is not a woman with a motivation. She cannot be reasoned with. Her actions cannot be rationalized. She is evil for the fun of being evil, not because she wants something.
THAT, my friends, is the ultimate villain. One who knows they’re evil and LOVES it.
Speaking as someone who liked Maleficent, this description honestly doesn’t make her sound all that interesting, frankly. She sounds about as rich and complex a character as, like, Skeletor: fun to watch, yes, but not exactly deep.
I mean, really, a villain with no motivation? This is being touted as a good thing… why? Why should anyone give a shit?
Agreed! I’ve always hated when people use her lack motivation as an example of what makes her the best Disney Villain. It’s just out-and-out pure villainy and it isn’t hard to write a character like that at all. Frankly, those types of villains are dull.
As for the poster’s argument that Maleficent is the best Disney Villain, I offer up a suggestion of my own. One name: JUDGE CLAUDE FROLLO.
The Malevolent Magistrate from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. An entirely HUMAN villain who managed to match (and EXCEED) Maleficent’s evil tit-for-tat.
Oh, sure, I could just pop off a list of the things he DID… For starters, he killed an unarmed woman who was simply trying to protect her (deformed) baby. On the steps of a church, no less. He then tried to DROWN said baby once he found out it was deformed, was stopped by the Archdeacon of the cathedral and strong-armed into raising the child as a penance. He then psychologically, emotionally, and verbally ABUSED the child for TWENTY YEARS, all the while mounting a campaign of persecution against the Romani people, essentially leading a genocide against the Gypsy population of Paris. And that’s barely scratching the surface…
The thing that elevates Frollo above all the rest, in my eyes, is a subtle little moment during his musical number, Hellfire. Through this song, we gain an insight into Frollo the like of which we’ve never before (or since) gotten for any other Disney Villain. He prays to the Virgin Mary through song and realizes that the feelings he has for the gypsy Esmeralda are, indeed, sinful. Throughout the song, he casts the blame for his lust on Esmeralda, “It is the gypsy girl—the witch—who set this flame!” and even blames GOD. “It’s not my fault if in God’s plan he made the Devil so much stronger than a man.” He realizes that the only way, in his warped mind, to stave off temptation is to kill it at the source and so, he sings, “Hellfire, dark fire, now, gypsy, it’s your turn. Choose me or your pyre. Be mine… or you…will…burn.” If all of this weren’t evil or disturbing enough, the REAL kicker is the next line. “God have mercy on her,” he sings, backing away from his fireplace. “God have mercy on ME,” he whimpers. In that moment, Frollo becomes painfully, disturbingly human.
Maleficent never had a moment of introspection. Never stopped and asked, “Is what I’m doing even right?” Frollo did. And the answer he came up with was, “No, but I’m going through with it anyway.” And that, to me, is far more chilling, far more scary, than ANYTHING Maleficent EVER did.