One quick rule: I'm not including any of the animal or animalistic characters such as Scar from The Lion King or Long John Silver (plus I don't consider him the main bad guy) from Treasure Planet because they are not exactly part of the human ideal of beauty that I'll be discussing. It's sort of hard to say "man is that an ugly lion" or "what a weird lookin cat-dog cyborg."
Let's start with Lyle Rourke. Oddly, male villains have an exception to this rule. Take Rourke and Clayton from Tarzan. Both are the chiseled, "ideal" man whereas the heroes of the flicks are skinnier and more focused on brain than their brute strength. This can be seen by Milo's...well...everything and Tarzan's invention of a spear and tendency to use speed and skill to avoid rather than attack. However, the villains are not "unattractive" by most standards. This also applies to the hunky Gaston of Beauty and the Beast who is "perfect, a pure paragon." And if you ask me, Prince Adam (Beast) is uglier than Gaston when turned human! Another grand example is Captain James Hook who has no real problems aside from the obvious hook-for-a-hand. This could be seen as his "ugly-ness," but that would also put Luke Skywalker in the ugly category. I could get into a huge archetype debate but I'll spare you and I'll talk more about Hook in a Disney Villains segment soon.
|He is why I have trust issues|
Not to mention, Mole from Atlantis is not handsome by any stretch of the imagination. He is intentionally portrayed as dirty, gross, and sleazy, and yet he is a good guy! Vinny is also a scraggly looking guy, but good none the less (just don't let him near the dynamite). Other supporting male characters often fall into this role, such as many of the main character's fathers (Belle, Jane, Charlotte, Prince Phillip, Jazmin, etc), who are all larger, older men. This isn't to say that arguments like this aren't valid, but I don't see what's wrong with a bigger father figure. Personally, Fergus from Brave and Lotte's dad from The Princess and the Frog remind me of my father. They do not have to be ugly to be the bad guy. So, maybe there's an exception for men in Disney? Well, let's move on to Helga Sinclair.
|"I came down the chimney. Ho-ho-ho"|
Let's take a look at the other ladies in the movie. Let's start with the lady with an attitude off the charts: Wilhelmina Packard. I honestly didn't know her name until I looked it up, but her character is great. She's funny and has ridiculous radio announcements that are easy to miss but result in chuckles for the observant few. Her Wikipedia entry describes her as "an elderly, sarcastic, chain-smoking radio operator." One of the arguments in the video is that the Evil Queen in Snow White turns ugly and old when she commits her crimes. Wilhelmina was old the entire movie! They even make a joke about how you want sleep masks because she sleepwalks naked, alluding that she is not a lovely sight. She smokes, which is frowned upon by a lot of people and perhaps even by Disney itself, but she is a period character and it fits her personality so well! Wilhelmina also gets caught up in Rourke's plot and sides with Milo in the end. She is not only a good gal, but she is a very interesting character! She has so many points that make her great! Her appearance only lends her as a character of comic relief rather than a villain. This also applies to the male character, Cookie, who is also older and portrayed as well....just look at him.
|Not my idea of "Hunkules"|
Visually, Audrey is much different than Helga. She is younger with a much more modest outfit and less of a figure over all. She's not as slender and sports baggier clothing. She also has larger lips and a single tooth thing going on; but Audrey is still cute. She looks 16, she plays an adorable character with a sweet personality, and doesn't feel the need to look like the average girl. She doesn't wear dresses (until the end when she becomes rich) and isn't your standard character. Not only that, but Audrey is also the first to get out of the car and go to Milo's side: before any of the male characters change their minds. She is nothing but good! Just because a character is not up to someone else's standards of beauty doesn't make them evil.
On a quick note, Kida is also a forgotten princess. Kida is smart, knowing a huge list of languages, she is eager to learn how to read her own from Milo, and she is a fierce fighter and is able to actually fight back. She is even a sort of religious goddess in a way, since the crystal picks her as essentially a host. YES, Kida does have to be saved by Milo, but why is that such a bad thing? Milo is not your standard big buff hero, he is a dorky little cartographer who gets to save the day. Kida wants what is best for her people, trying to get Milo's help to restore Atlantis to its former glory, and I personally think she will be a wonderful Queen. It's also notable that no one ever calls him King Milo, but she is Princess and Queen Kidagakash.
|Her Queen and Princess outfits|
Let's be honest: there will always be people who hate Disney. People hate Frozen, people hate Tangled, people hate Fantasia and Cinderella and all the good oldies. I'll admit I personally hate Snow White because of her voice and because it scared me as a kid and I haven't watched it since. But I love Disney. I was raised watching Disney movies and I've heard people say doing so makes girls have "unrealistic ideas of how men are and how they will get a man" but I call bull. I watched Sleeping Beauty everyday I went to my Nonnie's house, but never once did I think "huh, if I go to sleep maybe some hot guy will come in and kiss me and we'll get married!" I watched it because it was a beautiful movie with good music and I just like it.
Disney is not perfect and they have made a million mistakes, but Atlantis was not one of them. It breaks my heart that this movie is over looked by those searching for a strong female character or an adorably dorky male lead or just an over all diverse and interesting cast in a fantastic movie. I'm by no means saying it can counter every point made by those with really valid points about Disney's past faults, but I wish they could at least enjoy this one movie as a little break from the fray.
And that, dear readers, is why Atlantis is the movie Disney and its audience forgot. (Probably because of the fact that about 200 people die pretty gruesome deaths....yaaaa i'll talk about that another day)