In typical Disney form, the upcoming Oscars signal another potential award winning season as their film “Up” is nominated for Best Picture and best animated Feature, while “The Princess and the Frog” is up for Best Animated Feature as well. In spite of the obvious monopoly Disney holds on the Oscars, they’re knack for creating rousing heroes and heroines is legendary and their variety of characters are diverse and plentiful. So in honor of their potential Oscar victory, we picked our favorite Disney heroes.
As seen in: “Aladdin”
Played by: Scott Weinger
True Aladdin became a basic anglicized entity in a movie that basically influenced a mid-Eastern character base, but Aladdin is still one of the most valiant heroes in the Disney gamut mainly because he started out as a hero way before he actually took the throne in the climax of the movie. Though he is a thief that is glorified by the Disney film, he is really just a poor boy who stands up to the authorities because he’s just hungry and thanks to his genie he gains a purpose and must stand up to Jafar in his attempts to rule the land. Aladdin is a great young hero of the Disney library. The future sequels and television series depict Aladdin as someone who could not be anything else but a hero, a young man who was somewhat destined to reign over his land alongside princess Jasmine and he’s given a rich history and mythos thanks to Disney.
As seen in: “Monsters, Inc.”
Played by: Mary Gibbs
Boo is probably the most underrated heroine of the Disney universe mainly because she doesn’t do much that would inspire many to think of her as a hero. She’s only a toddler, doesn’t talk very much, and basically just falls in to the situation in the film by complete accident. But while the film doesn’t totally stress the fact that she’s the heroine, she’s the most important aspect of “Monsters, Inc.” because she can always sense when something is up. She is always able to sense the chameleon Randall before anyone else does, she always manages to stay out of harm’s way in spite of getting in to close calls, and she is the key to the major discovery that a child’s laughter is much more valuable than a child’s scream.
This is something she seems to pick up on before Sulley or Mike actually do. Not to mention she inspires her two cohorts to be better individuals because they gain a sense of purpose when she enters their lives. Particularly Sulley who is more of a subservient worker who finds that he’s actually more important to the cause than he lets on. Boo is absolutely adorable in the film and she represents the childhood innocence and bravery lost on many of the characters in the story. Not to mention she also inspires the musical Mike eventually writes in the climax. You have to love this character.
Dashiell ‘Dash’ Parr
As seen in: “The Incredibles”
Played by: Spencer Fox
It’s tough to pick which hero in “The Incredibles” is my favorite. There’s Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, and Frozone, but in the end the childlike enthusiasm and utter excitement that comes with great power makes Dash tower above the rest. The rest of the Parr family are all either struggling with or coping with their abilities. Violet is not sure how to deal with hers, Elastigirl basically ignores her own powers, and Mr. Incredible is stifled but Dash knows well how to increase and decrease the enormity of his speed and once he’s unleashed in the jungles of Syndrome’s world he really comes to life and displays some amazing heroism in the face of deadly henchman. One of the best scenes in the entire film is when Dash runs through the jungle and realizes he can run on water thanks to his immense speed.
The realization and laugh that follows perfectly captures what a child’s reactions would be in the face of amazing abilities. Dash is the most consistently entertaining character in the film and probably the most interesting hero of the bunch because he anxious to get in to battle and fight evil and he’s almost never afraid to defend his family even when facing bigger more skilled soldiers sent by Syndrome. After witnessing so many heroes in Marvel and DC basically want to shun their own powers in exchange for a normal life, Dash is someone who accepts his gifts and has a darn good time using them.
As seen in: “The Lion King”
Played by: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick
Kimba–er–I mean Simba is one of the most interesting characters of the Disney universe mainly because he is given the task of taking over his kingdom but as a youth just doesn’t want to accept that fact. He just wants to have fun and live his life, but destiny comes knocking down his door when his father’s death is blamed on him by the evil Scar.
It’s by the care of Timone and Pumba that he’s able to re-assess his priorities and eventually meet up with his old friend Nala who forces him to own up to his responsibilities and take back the kingdom stolen from him by his uncle who has managed to tarnish the legacy laid down by his father Mufasa. Once he decides it’s time to get serious, it’s when he manages to really display some heroism and takes back his land once and for all from the clutches of the hyenas. Simba is one of the more complex heroes in animation because in spite of feeling personally responsible for killing his dad, he still has a destiny to fulfill and he does so in spades reducing his uncle to a grisly death in the climax of the movie. It’s a shame he was tarnished in the sequels.
As seen in: “Monsters, inc.”
Played by: John Goodman
Sulley is the most humble of the heroes in the Disney/Pixar titles mainly because he just falls in to becoming a hero. And when you take a step back you begin to realize that most of his hero duties involve protecting Boo. He doesn’t have to care for her, he doesn’t have to take her under his wing. He could have followed Mike’s orders and just fed her to the monsters, but instead he somehow risks getting infected by her (as the myths claim in the Monster world) and just takes care of her and protects her from Randall when he concocts the evil plan to kidnap the world’s children and suck their screams out of them.
Sulley is one great character because his paternal instincts become more important than breaking the scream record guaranteed to win him accolades and praise from his co-workers. And in some interesting way he also manages to convince anti-human monsters like Mike and his girlfriend Celia to also take part in the plot to get Boo home and keep her from becoming a victim of the ailing monster city anxious to find a new power source once it becomes apparent that screams are no longer working to fuel their world. Thanks to Goodman’s performance, Sulley comes off as very lovable in spite of his size and strength and he’s definitely one of the most underrated heroes of the Disney world.
As seen in: “Wall-E”
Played by: Ben Burtt
As many of the Disney heroes, Wall-E is a hero who doesn’t even know that he’s destined for big things. He’s been programmed basically to clean Earth. Everyday he stacks garbage upon garbage in a world that’s been deserted and he doesn’t even realize that he has the power to stop and that all of his efforts are basically pointless. But when EVE lands on Earth to search for some sign of actual life, Wall-E finds himself head over heels in love.
And in an attempt to win over her heart, he stumbles in to a massive conspiracy where the once sentient government of Earth are really just indoctrinating the remaining denizens of Earth who have now become obese mindless drones. Unlike any normal human he manages to experience more in his life than any of them do, and by discovering a small plant he becomes the foe of many robotic drones who are programmed to keep the charade up that the planet is hopeless. Thanks to him and his girlfriend Eve, humanity is able to thrive again and find new life in the soil. It’s really a feat from a robot who is basically a defunct model.