Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney and today, we continue our Villains Profile Halloween celebration as we look at the Sea Witch, Ursula.
Pat Carroll gives an exceptional performance as Ursula and truly brings her to life with her vocal talents. She does just enough right to make the character seem alluring while at the same time getting across that the Sea Witch is not someone to be trusted. She also does a great job of balancing Ursula’s over-the-top Diva moments (That may seem like a poor choice of words but Ursula is a larger than life character but not to the degree of say, Cruella) with her more intimidating moments.
Alright, let’s now move onto Ursula’s First Appearance.
Moviefan12: When we first meet Ursula, we are able to get a good idea of what kind of character, she truly is. And we find out via monologue that her life was much different.
We learn that she used to live in the palace and wants to get revenge on King Triton for her banishment and as we see her watching over Ariel, she realizes the young mermaid is the pawn that she may need to undo King Triton. Something I don’t think many people attribute to Ursula is that she is very strategic and knows how to make the moves to get what she wants. And something else to bring up is the line that Ursula says about how she used to live in the palace. Which is possibly left from an earlier script, when Ursula and Triton were brother and sister but was eventually dropped. However, when the film was adapted for Broadway, this relationship was put back into the story.
I don’t know where else to put this but one of the biggest inspirations for the Sea Witch, was one of John Waters’ favorite collaborators. Drag Queen, Divine.
Which does come through as Ursula can be big and boisterous. Or as the Villains Wiki puts it.
She is also very flamboyant, enthusiastic, classy, vivacious, and ostentatious, as she presents herself with confidence and an eye for high standards, as evidenced by her belief that lurking in doorways is rude. In addition, she regularly flaunts her curvaceous appearance in a sultry manner, and spends time in her vanity, admiring her own physical appearance
I think this is part of what makes her so tempting as like Facilier after her, she is able to weave the words that the people that come to see her want to hear. Years ago, when I did a Vs. of Ursula and Facilier. I described Ursula as a bit of a prima donna.
I think she is more subdued but there are moments of her coming across as a pima donna but again it works for her character and she is fun to watch
And I hold steadfast to this belief. And she definitely is one of the more manipulative Disney villains and I like the idea that Ursula’s entry on the Villains Wiki brings up is that if you listen to the way, the Sea Witch talks to Ariel, her clients usually fail at upholding her end of the bargain. Which explains this.
Which we almost see Ariel become one until Triton comes in to save his youngest daughter.
That is a scary thing to look at.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Y’know, I always had the hardest time telling these two apart.
Thanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda. I have to say that they are two of the more eerie Disney henchmen. Large part due to their voice that can send shivers down one’s spine. They also are not of the bumbling variety. As they come across as some of the smarter henchmen and you can see the love that Ursula has for them, when she accidentally kills them.
Ursula like a lot of villains that we have looked on Villains Profile in that she is power hungry and wants to rule Atlantica and with Triton’s sacrifice, she does come rather close to achieving her goal But in the end, she ends up failing.
Poor Unfortunate Souls
Ursula has what is easily one of my favorite villain songs. Here, you hear her lay everything out on the table. And here, you hear her lay all of her cards on the table and is willing to give young Ariel everything her heart desires but she is upfront about the cost. It’s a fun villain song that to me is one of the eeriest.
Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)
If you saw Trotting profile on Queen Chrysalis, you’d have seen that I brought up that there were similarities to Vanessa with that villain and that comes into play here as Ursula disguises herself as Vanessa and brainwashes Eric and tricks him into falling in love with him. And we get the biggest taste of that here as we hear this reprise. Which is being sung by Jodi Benson. It’s a fun little number as the villain thinks that she has won.
Most Evil Deed
This was tough, I originally was going to go with Vanessa and brainwashing Eric as that is downright evil but I think I have to go with turning the merfolk into polyps.
There is just something incredibly unsettling about this and just show how powerful and ruthless, Ursula is. If I were to do a Scariest Villains Moments Top 6, the polyps would be very high on my list.
If I do have one complaint, it’s Ursula’s death. It’s a great climactic battle between her and Eric as we see him come down to save Ariel as he attacks with a harpoon. (I honestly forgot about that part of the movie until watching it again) and then she kills her poopsies accidentally and becomes enraged and becomes giant sized, which is really cool.
And she is about to fry Ariel but Eric comes in on ship and impales with the ship’s bow.
Here’s my issue and I hate being critical of a Disney movie that is my Top 5 but I really wish that it had been Ariel to do Ursula in as I think that would have given this moment the weight needed to feel triumphant for the hero, which is Ariel in this case. And it had been shown throughout this movie that Ariel is not a weak character. It’s a minor complaint to be sure but it’s still something that irks me.
Is Ursula A Good Villain?
She’s one of the greatest Disney villains of all time. So, I think the answer to this question is big ole duh. Seriously, she paved the way for so Disney villains that came about in the Renaissance and afterwards. She is in many ways, one of the most influential Disney villains on future baddies. Join me next time as we look at…