Modern Villains Are Killing Disney Movies

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King Magnifico's Eyes

Credit: Disney

As Walt Disney Animation studio’s Wish (2023) inches closer and closer to its release date, many longtime fans are pointing out its lack of a traditional Disney villain and the appropriate musical number to accompany him. But is this really what is killing the audience’s desire to see this movie?

Asha and her goat in Wish
Credit: Disney

Wish promises to be a return to the traditional Disney formula, with a spunky heroine, an animal sidekick, an over-the-top villain, and a visual style inspired by the hand-drawn animation of way back when. However, some Disney buffs find themselves let down by its latest offering.

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The subject of modern Disney villains has been discussed several times, but the death of the villain song is also proving to be a prominent factor in the downfall of the Disney formula. Simply put, characters like Prince Hans, Te Kā, and King Magnifico have forced villains to lose their edge.

Disney Villains Have Lost Their Darkness

Disney recently dropped a verse of King Magnifico’s song, “This is the Thanks I Get,” which certainly got a vocal response. However, Disney might find themselves falling into a pattern that could do more harm than good. As much as fans have come to love the upbeat alternatives to previous film scores, it’s beginning to get repetitive.

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Despite the supposed return to the traditional Disney way of doing things, many fans are calling the studio out on how much of Wish remains indistinguishable from other recent features like Moana (2016) and Frozen (2013). It might be time for the studio to stop experimenting and return to what worked so well in the past, including the ugly parts.


I don’t like to get too political on my page but someone had to speak on Disney’s flop era #disney #wish

♬ original sound – reuben

@reubenwoodall goes into great detail in the video above as to why recent Disney songs (especially the villains’) have decreased in quality, even going as far as a music-theory approach to their performances. While Chris Pine’s King Magnifico does come with a Gaston-esque twist to him, his musical performance does sound like Lin-Manuel Miranda doing an unused Stephen Sondheim track.

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The fact of the matter is that Disney has been facing this problem long before some of its more recent entries. Although some might consider “Mother Knows Best” by Mother Gothel or “Friends on the Other Side” by Dr. Facilier as the last great Disney Villain Song, others consider the true downfall of the art to be “Love is an Open Door.”

Prince Hans, Tamatoa, and King Magnifico all have one thing in common. They might be the villains of their respective movies, but their songs do anything but reflect that. Disney was off-base the moment they titled a villainous musical number “Shiny.”

Frollo confronts his demons
Credit: Disney

On one hand, it’s refreshing to see Disney reinvent a trope the studio created, but they’ve lost touch with what fans really want. With titles like “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” “Be Prepared,” and “Hellfire” rounding out some of their most memorable and malicious songs, the difference is night and day.

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Wish might be a return to Disney’s origins, but it also might be a wakeup call for the studio after what some are calling their “flop era.” There’s a place for the lighter fair, but sometimes movies and characters just need to embrace the darkness.

Do you think Disney has forgotten how to do villains like Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil, and Lady Tremaine? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!


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