“And they lived happily ever after.” That’s how every Disney cartoon ends for the heroes. For the villains, it’s another story. Heck, most of them aren’t even alive by the end. While Disney stories aren’t really about vengeance—they’re more about overcoming, self discovery, bursting into song and the antics of marketable furry sidekicks—there’s something reassuring about the bad guys getting their comeuppance. But wait! It seems not everyone gets what he deserves. Here are a handful of Disney villains who got off easier than they probably should have.
Cinderella’s Step-Mother and Ugly Step-Sisters
Fortunately for Cindy, she had a Fairy Godmother to help her bibbity-bobbity-boo her way into Prince Charming’s heart. (I’m not sure if that’s more or less sexy than it sounds.) There’s a little mix-up when Cindy leaves the prince her shoe instead of her name. Her step-mother and step-sisters do everything they can to exploit the situation, not because they have a chance with the prince, but just to keep from losing their punching bag.
Still, everything comes up Cindy in the end and she and Charming ride off to his palace while her cruel step-family gets… well, they get to keep everything. Granted, keeping up that mansion without slave labor is not easy or cheap. And good luck finding one person to do all the work Cindy did alone. Yeah, she got mice and birds to help, but that falls under Cindy’s skill set and is very hard to replace.
Gladly, the minions Hades put to the job of dispatching baby Hercules—who did you think I was talking about?—failed their mission and we have a full-length feature to show for it. Hercules grows up to be the world’s strongest man, yada, yada, yada, and gets the chance to take on Hades in something closer to, but still not approaching, a fair fight.
Hercules saves the world from the Titans, saves his lady love, and wins his godhood. And Hades gets plunged into the deadly River Styx. Wait a minute. The Styx is the river to the Underworld. So, basically, Herc punched Hades in the face and sent him home. Yeah, the guy lives in a bad zip code, but for trying to destroy civilization, he basically got off scot-free.
Mad Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
It seems that Madam Mim’s way of dealing with intruders is to eat them. I’m a fan of the castle doctrine myself, but I draw the line at consuming trespassers. Just so we’re clear, we’ve got a bona fide nutcase on our hands. Still, regular nutzo and wizard nutzo are two different things. Merlin decides to defuse the situation, not by walking away, but by challenging Mim to a Wizards’ Duel.
Based on the only one I’ve seen, Wizard’s Duels are hilariously dangerous and only to be entered into for comedic purposes. In this particular duel, the participants agree to change only into various animals in an effort to destroy one another. Sounds fair since this all sprang from an attempted homicide to begin with. The duelists transform themselves into all sorts of animals, from rabbits to rhinos, until Mim turns herself into a giant purple dragon. This is a violation of the rules, since dragons aren’t real but wizards apparently are.
Merlin thinks fast and turns himself into a germ. (We could quibble over whether a germ is an animal, but we’ve already gone to dragons, so screw it.) Mim becomes infected, breaks out in spots and is put on bed rest with the assurance from Merlin that she will recover in a few weeks. So instead of being dead, Mim will only spend the next month wishing she was.
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Yzma finds out that Kuzco is still alive—as a llama—and sets out to find and kill him yet. Apparently being turned into a llama isn’t technically grounds to remove the emperor in ancient MezoAmerica. At least, not as far as we know. There isn’t a lot of archeological evidence one way or the other.
In the end Kuzco, now a better despot/llama for his ordeal, finds the antidote potion he needs and reclaims his throne. Yzma, on the other hand, accidentally transforms herself into a kitten with another of her potions. I don’t know about you, but I think being turned permanently into a housecat is less a punishment and more an upgrade. For someone wanting to become an unchallenged despot, it’s pretty much exactly what she wanted.
All the Bad Guys in Pinocchio
The only “villain” who didn’t try to put one over on ol’ Pinoc’ was Monstro, the whale. But he’s the only one who gets any sort of punishment. And for what? Just for doing what comes naturally to a giant whale—swallowing stuff. Fortunately for Monstro, he inhabits a fairy tale where having a fire stoked in one’s belly results merely in a sneezing fit.
But what of all the other cads and scoundrels who make a practice of luring naïve children into unsavory lifestyles? As far as we know, nothing! They all get to go on their merry ways, presumably to continue snatching up innocent little boys for the foreseeable future.