A Look at Disney: Villains Profile: Princess Audrey
Preface: I am never going to review the Descendant’s sequels on this blog. I just wouldn’t feel right reviewing them after Cameron Boyce’s passing. Boyce much like myself was epileptic and he sadly passed away while having a seizure. He was only 20 when he passed away and dying while having a seizure is one of the scariest things in the world I’d feel like an ass if I made fun of something he was in and I feel the fans of this movie should be allowed to enjoy something he was in without someone shitting over it.
That said, I am more than okay with looking at the villains in the series and this is an interesting case here as we are looking at a character that is a child of a Disney Princess and we have a role reversal where the daughter of a princess becomes the villain and the daughter of a villain is a hero. Descendants is a franchise that was riding the high of the then-popular trend of taking iconic characters and placing them in a high school setting. Think stuff like Monster High, Equestria Girls, or the franchise that this was compared to when it was first announced.
It does make sense that this franchise would be compared to Ever After High as they both involve children of fairy tale characters in a high school setting. While it is true that there are other series such as The School for Good and Evil that follow this premise, there is one other reason I think it is more likely to be compared to Ever After High.
I may not be completely on point with this comparison but I think Descendants having a doll line is something that brought about a lot of comparisons to Ever After High. While I may not be a doll collector, this line of thinking does make sense to me as I do believe these two lines as mentioned share plenty of similarities.
Now, that this introduction is out of the way, let’s get started.
Jeffery turns in a fun turn going complete villain in the third movie. Her character was absent from the second movie and I have not watched the Wicked World shorts but I do know Audrey appeared in some of those and I think Jeffery played her there.
I wouldn’t be opposed to watching the Wicked World shorts as the animation while a bit stock does look cute and I like cute things. I just chose not to watch any of them for this blog as I don’t believe they are one-for-one with the movies. What I do find interesting here is that in the first movie, Jeffery’s character could at best be described as your typical mean girl. As I’ll discuss in the Personality section, Audrey was the popular mean girl. In this third movie, however, she is a mean girl that is pushed too far. Or instead, that is how the movie portrays her, even though from where I sit, she is one hundred percent correct in why she is frustrated.
First Appearance/Why She Fell
Audrey is first seen in the first Descendants movie which as I mentioned sets her up as a typical mean girl in a high school story. There is something funny in the idea of the daughter of a Disney Princess, Aurora being a mean girl. Considering how the princesses are typically looked at as pillars of kindness, I think the metatextual idea is to explore how one can be a good person that doesn’t mean their children will inherit those traits. There is also a sense of familial expectations as her grandmother expects her to be perfect and as we see in the first movie holds what Maleficent did to her daughter against Mal, the daughter of the Mistress of All Evil if the said daughter had nothing to do with those actions.
I do think this is a bit of an oversight on the franchise’s part considering the children of the Sleeping Beauty hero and villain are integral to this franchise, I would have liked to see Auorua interacting with her daughter and Mal in some function. Now, you might have noticed that I combined her first appearance with Why She Fell and that is due to it happening at the beginning as she falls and falls hard after Prince Ben proposes to Mal. Sure, Mal and Ben are truly in love but for some context, she was dating Ben in the first movie but as she rightfully points out, Mal magicked Ben to get to him in the first movie. So, she is justified in her anger.
And while I don’t think the movie is saying Audrey is wrong in how she’s feeling, it does present her as bitter.
Congratulations. You won him fair and square. Oh, wait, no, you didn’t. You spelled Ben to destroy all of Auradon. Touching story for the grandkids.
This does tie back to the idea of how her family seems to not be able to move on from past transactions. The difference here though is that when Audrey’s grandmother lashed out at Mal, the audience could side with Mal as she had nothing to do with what her mother did. And she had to live with the knowledge that people would judge her based on the heinous actions of her mother. Whereas Mal is trying to be a better person and show that being the child of a villain doesn’t make her a villain. The issue with that though is while I do like Mal, it’s harder if not outright impossible to side with her at this moment as the audience has the knowledge that Mal was in the wrong and I believe Mal does as well and it seems as though Mal knows this as well as she doesn’t have a response to what Audrey says. It could be looked at as though, Mal is trying to be the bigger person but I do think this moment would have worked better if Mal did acknowledge her past transactions. Yes, there is a theme of letting go and finally apologizing in this third movie but still, it does bug me that the movie while not saying Audrey is wrong, seems to paint in her a negative light for being bitter at something in my opinion she has every right to be bitter about.
The Queen of Mean
This is a fun number that allows Audrey to express how she is feeling at the moment. Yes, as I said she is a mean girl and it is easy to see how she would fall but again I somewhat side with her. And while she may not think of herself as a mean girl, her actions here speak otherwise as she steals both the Queen’s Crown and Maleficent’s scepter. This is something else I’ll touch upon later during Most Evil Deed as her actions mirror that of Maleficent in the original animated movie.
Her Grand Desire is quite simple to understand as she wants revenge against the kingdom of Auradon as she feels slighted that they would choose the child of a villain to be their monarch instead of her. This takes us back to how her family has a hard time looking past the actions of what Maleficent did to her mother. I am not saying that they should ever forgive Maleficent but to hold it against Mal as stated is a bit absurd. In many regards, I think it is a sins of the father type deal but with a maternal slant. Considering how the basis for “Sins of the Father” can be boiled down to one sin from a previous generation being passed down to the next. This again and the idea of parenthood are a core theme of this third movie as we see with Mal and Hades as we see a father and daughter reconnecting.
As I mentioned throughout, while I like the theme of parent/child relationships, I think it would have helped if Aurora or Phillip had been in this movie. You’d think, they’d want to be alerted that their daughter had cast a sleeping curse considering their history with sleeping curses and all.
Honestly, it is a bit odd that besides Belle and Beast, the only parents you see in this franchise are the villains. In one sense, I do get it as the children are more important but as I said, I think it was something of an oversight not to include Aurora and Phillip. The most we get is a news report on Audrey’s actions and they only refer to her as Sleeping Beauty’s daughter.
I detest this character so much and even more so that he is the son of Prince Charming and Cinderella. That just doesn’t sit right with me. Cinderella again like the other princesses is a pillar of kindness and I’m not too fond of the idea that her son would grow up to be a spoiled brat. Also, the fact that he treats Jane, the daughter of Fairy Godmother not all that great is again kind of gross. Yes, I get it as the idea is that just because someone had parents who were good people doesn’t mean you’ll be a good person. And I am curious though if he’d treat, Dizzy, daughter of Drizella any better as she is his step-cousin but we never see them interact.
On that note, I do find it interesting how the daughter of Drizella became important in the sequels as the Cinderella and Anatasia relationship more so.
And FYI, I may not have touched upon this but Chad becomes Audrey’s lackey out of a sense of self-preservation. Yeah, this is another reason I hate this character whereas Cinderella is selfless and willing to look out for others, Chad only cares about himself and it is something that greatly annoys me.
Most Evil Deed
While I could go with the spells she cast to turn Mal into an old hag or Ben into a beastly creature, I don’t believe those quite work and only serve as to refer to the classic Disney movies.
Or how she turns everyone to stone but no, I think I am going to have to go with what kicked this off and that is the casting of the sleeping curse.
And yes, this is also a reference to a classic Disney movie but I think this is the evilest thing Audrey could do considering her family’s history with sleeping curses. The fact that she would retreat to this idea speaks to how at this point, Audrey isn’t in her right mind when he decides to go this route.
Again, I know that it might be a bit cliche to choose this but as I’ve mentioned, I think when looking at her family’s history, this is the worst thing she could do.
While everyone is awakened from the sleeping curse, Audrey falls into a sleeping curse and her grandmother is distraught that this has happened to Audrey. Again, this would have been a good time to bring in Aurora. She doesn’t have a true love yet, so a kiss will not work. So instead, she has to be revived by Hades.
The revival does work and the moment ends with everyone apologizing to one another for how they’ve acted.
Does Audrey Work as a Villain?
I believe Audrey does work very well as a villain and while it might be a stretch to include her as a fallen hero, I think it does fit her. What I truly like about this arc is that while in the first movie, Audrey is just a mean girl and nothing more, this movie posits the question of what happens when a mean girl is pushed too far. Speaking of being pushed too far, join me next week when I close out this event when I look at…
The Scarlet Witch