5 Pathetic Characters in Animated Films

Updated on January 28, 2012

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 hides her inability to do things.
All she does is sit there, look pretty, and hides 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 crap load 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 that 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).

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 women 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 pasttime".

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 there 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.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Cammiebar profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Upstate New York


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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Cammiebar profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      @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!

    • rLcasaLme profile image

      Rael Casalme 

      8 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      8 years ago from Asia

      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 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      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 profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      8 years ago from California Gold Country

      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 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      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!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      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!

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 

      8 years ago

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


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)