Skip to main content

5 Pathetic Characters in Animated Films

I loved my trip to Alaska. Here are a few things I wish I had known before I went!

5 Pathetic Characters in Animated Films

5 Pathetic Characters in Animated Films

There are a lot of classic animated movies that we all remember. When we watch them again, we start to remember the fond memories of childhood and we drift off into a land of smiles. Yet, if you are like me, you can only watch a movie a couple hundred times before the sweet memories of childhood fade away and you start to notice the huge character flaws.

This is a list of my five most pathetic animated movie characters—complete with an explanation of why they fail at their role. These five characters are the pinnacle of fail in their particular category. So let's get this show on the road!

All she does is sit there, look pretty, and hide her inability to do things.

All she does is sit there, look pretty, and hide her inability to do things.

5. Most Pathetic Main Hero(ine)

The most pathetic main hero is actually a heroine—The Little Mermaid princess, Ariel. This is a classic Disney film about a sixteen-year-old curious princess who falls in love with a prince she saved from drowning (what a coincidence that she saved a prince!) She gets caught up with a sea-witch, goes on land, tried to get the prince to love her, and gets into a lot of trouble.

Why she fails:

Ariel can't be faulted for having courage. She left the only home she had ever known for true love, making a bargain with an evil sea-witch. But she is a moron. She is so insistent that she knows everything about the world that she ignores all common sense and bargains with a sea-witch because her daddy is so mean.

Up on dry land, she has to learn to live a life of a human. And, without speaking or singing, she must get the prince (which coincidentally takes her in, too) to fall in love with her. When the story finally advances to a climax, she has to rely on her friends to do most of the work. Flounder has to pull her out to the ship, Sebastian warns King Triton, Scuttle gets other animals to help all the while Ariel is just looking panicked. When Ursula finally becomes big, Ariel is just on the bottom of the ocean, avoiding magic from the trident. All she really did was trick Ursula into killing her eels, and saving Prince Eric's life. That was it.

She was a weak girl who whined and complained and didn't think of consequences. Why would a sea-witch be so willing to help her? It can't be because she holds a grudge. Why is her father so mean and won't let her go to the surface? It can't be because that is a completely different world filled with unknown dangers. Why is she so selfish? It can't be because she's a spoiled princess, and a very pathetic heroine.

You'd think he could actually do something besides sing and be charming . . .

You'd think he could actually do something besides sing and be charming . . .

4. Most Pathetic Supporting Hero

Prince Cornelius from the 1994 movie Thumbelina from Warner Bothers. This movie is about a girl the size of her mother's thumb. She serendipitously meets the prince of the fairies, they fall in love at first sight, go on a wild, singing date, and then she gets kidnapped by a toad, beetle, field mouse, and mole. The majority of those want to marry her, except for the gold-digging field mouse. This takes place in about three days (and two seasons). The prince, Cornelius, just fails.

Why he fails:

The morning after their night of wild singing, he returns with a crapload of gifts for Thumbelina to find out that she was kidnapped by a toad. He decides that he has to find her, so he goes to his parents to ask them to hold off on winter (because that seems more productive than immediately searching for at least one lead). Then, he starts to search with no actual method. He just flies around, calling out for Thumbelina.

You see Cornelius again after Thumbelina escaped from the toad and the beetle. Somehow, the toad had found the beetle and made the beetle find the prince to lure Thumbelina back. (Cornelius still can't even find the toad, let alone Thumbelina. He's about five hundred miles behind the toad in terms of reaching his goal). Cornelius gets caught in a snowstorm, falls into a pond, and becomes frozen in it. The beetle finds him, takes him to the toad, and then goes to the field mouse's house to get Thumbelina, leaving the prince to his doom.

Cornelius is melted out of the ice by the jitter bugs. Then he flies off to rescue Thumbelina from marrying the mole. He gets there just as she's running away from the crowd, which includes the toad and the beetle. He jumps in to confront the toad, the only one he views as a rival (although Thumbelina just ran out on a marriage ceremony to the mole and he knows it). Thumbelina doesn't even know that Cornelius is there! She keeps on running and he draws his sword to fight the toad. This epic confrontation lasts a full twenty seconds of floundering before both the toad and Cornelius fall off the cliff.

He didn't do anything! Cornelius ran around in circles like a fool, looking for Thumbelina, who was so easy to find that an idiotic villain was able to get to her several times! And when he finally does find her, he can't do anything to help her. While fighting the toad, everyone just ran past him, after Thumbelina.

Prince Cornelius is a pathetic hero. He was meant to be the ultimate dreamboat of a prince, there to save the princess. But the princess pretty much saved herself with the help of acquaintances she made along her journey. The only character who actually reflected the prince-like qualities was Jacquimo, the sparrow that kept telling Thumbelina to "follow your heart". She should seriously get together with the sparrow (although he did fail when you first meet him).

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Reelrundown

You know you want him.

You know you want him.

3. Most Pathetic Villain

Gaston, from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, wins this category. This story is about a beautiful, smart woman who wants adventure. She rejects Gaston's marriage proposal, goes into the woods to find her father, gets captured by a beast, falls in love with said beast, does other stuff, and breaks a magic spell. It is a story that almost everyone knows about. But Gaston just fails.

Why he fails:

Gaston is the best-looking man in the village. Every man wants to be him, every woman (except Belle) wants to be with him, and he is egotistical to a fault. He is determined to be married to Belle only because she is the most beautiful woman in town, although he thinks her father's a nutter and that she is a little off herself. So, after a very humiliating rejection, Gaston is depressed and desperate to succeed. He comes up with an idea and explains it after being warned that thinking was a "dangerous pastime".

The brilliant plan was to force Belle to marry him in exchange for her father's freedom. He almost kills his lackey by having him wait for Belle and her father to return. When they do, and the plan is underway, Gaston makes it completely obvious what he is trying to do. He doesn't even bother to hide it from her. At this point, you start to wonder one thing, "Would I go through this much effort just to appease my vanity?"

Yet the Beast is discovered. So Gaston, with all his courage, goes and gets the villagers to practically wage war for him. He rides off on his horse, leading the walking men to the castle that they all somehow knew the location of. Then he just went around, searching for the Beast. He kicks the crap out of the Beast, makes snide comments and insults, then cowers in fear. Gaston, in all his angry manipulation and egotistical glory, starts to beg for his life! Instantly, your opinion of him can't sink any lower because he was so vicious, but gives up immediately when things don't go his direction. The same thought emerges around this time, as well. "Would I go this far just to marry a beautiful woman who doesn't even like me?" You just think his worthlessness can't go any lower.

Wrong. He backstabs (or sidestabs) the Beast after being shown mercy. You are left not hating Gaston or really supporting the protagonists, but feeling disgusted and wondering what happened. It was pretty clear that Gaston was despicable and he was the true beast, but he is nothing less than pathetic. In comparison to Jafar or Maleficent, Gaston is just . . . a disappointment.

One of the few times he talks.  It's a good thing, because his lines are horrible.

One of the few times he talks. It's a good thing, because his lines are horrible.

2. Most Pathetic Supporting Character

This character is found in the movie Quest for Camelot, and he is called Bladebeak. Kayley's father died protecting King Arthur. Years later, the villain, Ruber, pops up at her farm, states his plan, creates human/weapon monsters (including the chicken/ax combo which is Bladebeak), and pretty much allows Kayley to escape. She searches a forbidden forest for Excalibur with a blind man named Garret and a two-headed dragon. They save the day, but not really requiring Bladebeak's help.

Why he fails:

Bladebeak, as a regular chicken, was a "hens" rooster. When he transforms, he feels empowered and joins Ruber. He is somehow sent to find Kayley. He pops up every once in a while, and gives intel to Ruber once about Kayley. In all honesty, he told things to Ruber that Ruber would already know (but he pretended it was useful). Then Bladebeak is a message runner. His pinnacle of action is just cutting the rope that was holding Kayley hostage, but there wasn't really a need there because she had just got finished battling a knife-guy and could have used that.

Bladebeak was really just a filler that was given a supporting character role. Everything that he did could have been easily done by other characters in the movie, but they put him as a comedic relief, which wasn't really necessary. In fact, the comedic reliefs were really Ruber, Devon, Cornwall, and the interaction between Garret and Kayley, and almost every other character. Bladebeak was just worthless and pathetic.

Out of all Disney Princesses, Aurora was the only one who didn't do ANYTHING!  Even Ariel puts her to shame.

Out of all Disney Princesses, Aurora was the only one who didn't do ANYTHING! Even Ariel puts her to shame.

1. Most Pathetic Princess

The most pathetic princess is Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. Yes, Ariel made my list already, and she is a princess. But she is just a main character that is the most pathetic, in my opinion. Aurora is a pathetic princess because of her whole story. A princess is placed under a curse from a spindle and falls asleep along with her whole kingdom. A prince must come and save her by killing the wicked witch who placed the spell.

Why she fails:

She is supposed to be a damsel in distress. That's the whole point. A prince falls for her, she gets sent to the castle, and she falls under a spell. But that is pretty much it. Other princess movies at least have the princesses being proactive. They are told not to follow their true love, so they fight against it. Aurora just gets depressed and goes to the castle (unknowing the prince is actually a prince). Other princesses see that their loved ones are in danger, so they do at least the bare minimum to help or make other people's lives better. Aurora simply goes through her deal, singing and crying in turns. The only ones that really love her are the three fairies. Aurora is just a sleeping woman of great beauty, and that is it.

At least Snow White could help the dwarfs, until she was tricked. Now, Snow White was tricked by the villain. Aurora just followed a mysterious staircase to a spinning wheel and touched it. She didn't hesitate or even seem like she was fighting against this urge. Belle tried to fight wolves and was proactive in getting her father back whereas Aurora just stayed depressed after finding out she was a princess and could never see the boy that she met only once. Cinderella was a servant and could do stuff! Aurora knew how to take care of things and clean, but she let herself be all sad.

In short, compared to other princesses, Aurora can't do anything. And of course, the movie with the most pathetic princess just happens to have one of the best villains. Go figure.

The End

This ends my list of the top 5 pathetic characters in some animated films. If you disagree or think that there is a better candidate for one of the categories, just write it in the comments! I can always change my opinion.


Cammiebar (author) from Upstate New York on July 03, 2012:


I completely forgot about Robin Hood! Prince John was totally worthless, all right. Thanks for reminding us!

Flu-Bird on June 25, 2012:

Prince John from ROBIN HOOD not only pathetic but a sissy as well

Cammiebar (author) from Upstate New York on February 03, 2012:

@Brett, thank you for commenting and SHARING! I actually have other plans right now (mainly joining the military). But I will have to look into South Korea when I get out of it (if I get out, that is). All the best!

@rLcasaLme, I couldn't consider Scar a pathetic villain because he was extremely active in his plans. He was the one who killed Mufasa and he was the one who set up Simba's tragic "death". He manipulated the hyenas perfectly. So I don't think he is pathetic, unlike a certain sea-witch who ended up dying because of a sunken ship. Thanks for commenting and all the best!

Rael Casalme from Dubai, United Arab Emirates on February 03, 2012:

What about Scar? I really loved his cunning lion instincts. He is pathetic too.

Brett C from Asia on February 02, 2012:

The title of this caught my attention, great angle! lol And I have to say it was a fun read too. Will be SOCIALLY SHARING this.

As far as teaching overseas goes, have a look at my hubs about South Korea. The package is good and so is the experience! :-)

Cammiebar (author) from Upstate New York on January 29, 2012:

I will always love the old Disney movies that were hand drawn. In fact, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites! But still, I have to roll my eyes at Gaston, Aurora, and Ariel. I really can't help it. Thanks for commenting!

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on January 29, 2012:

I have not even seen most of these... but though Disney has enjoyed amazing success and brought joy to many, the interpretations of heroes and heroines are pretty much jello.

Cammiebar (author) from Upstate New York on January 29, 2012:

I was watching Thumbelina and was amazed at how useless Prince Cornelius was! I saw this as a kid and it never struck me how much he failed in his search efforts. Thank you for your comment!

All the best!

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on January 29, 2012:

Hehe funny take on the animated films! I liked how you put "the end" like the movies do when they finish. Which movie were you watching when you were inspired to write this hub?

Cammiebar (author) from Upstate New York on January 28, 2012:

I have never seen Swan Lake, but now I'll have to check it out and update this hub. Thanks a lot for your comment!

Phoebe Pike on January 28, 2012:

What about Swan Lake? Those characters were basically horrible through the whole film...

Related Articles