Wednesday, October 17, 2007

'Dear Sweetlips: Let me hug you with my tentacles.'

The marvelous villainess Ursula is one of Disney's classics. She has the gross unsubtlety of Ratigan from "The Great Mouse Detective" but substantially more brio. Although facially somewhat similar to "The Rescuers'" Madame Medusa, Ursula's screen impact dwarfs that of her predecessor.

Bejewelled and lip-pouting like an overweight, over-rich, over-pampered, over-the-top society hostess gone mad, she is all flair, flamboyance, and theatricality mixed with a touch of con-artistry. Except when her wrath -- the only genuine emotion she seems capable of expressing -- bursts through, her every movement is a deceitful artifice, as if she's performing for an audience. Her vile hobby of collecting souls so that they can suffer humiliation in her morbid garden is utterly in keeping with her society-hostess-from-hell persona.

Ursula is a villainess who first appeared in the 1989 animated feature film, The Little Mermaid heralding in a new era of Disney villians! The Sea-witch (as she is commonly called) was once a senior member of the court of King Triton, the king of the underwater city of Atlantica. She was originally supposed to be his sister, but the scene mentioning that was deleted, and it is now considered only semi-canon. For her obsession with Dark Magic and treachery against the kingdom, Ursula was banished, and retreated to a secret lair on the outsides of the city with her two moray eel minions, Flotsam and Jetsam. For many years, she watched over the city waiting for her chance to seek revenge on Triton and gain the crown of Atlantica, becoming Queen of the oceans.

Ursula lives in a leviathan (an enormous skeleton of a sea monster or whale), in the middle of a field of underwater lava tubes and fissures. The inside is lined with a garden of writhing, green polyps--which all actually used to be merpeople. They all came to Ursula for help, making deals in exchange for different favors from magic, but then found themselves unable to fulfill their side of the bargain in some way. Although not directly stated, the film implies that the vast majority, if not all, fall into this category. Ursula thus claimed them as her own and added them to her collection. She spends her time brooding and plotting and occasionally indulges herself by snacking on shrimp.

We get to see inside Ursula's Leviathan with this year's Villains Series release. The Vanity has never seemed so well-named as when Ursula uncoils in front of the mirrored dressing table and puts on her game face. After all, she needs to enhance her slyly insincere smile before putting the squeeze on innocent Ariel. An appallingly crafty pro, this domineering do-badder seals her devious deals with as much ease as she applies her lipstick. But beware-though she claims she can make dreams come true, the dreams this deliciously decadent Sea Witch promises are actually nightmares!

Ursula and her Vanity, a 2-piece Members Only Release sculpted by Ruben Procopio, is available exclusively to active members of the Walt Disney Collector Society. This vainglorious villainess is the eleventh annual release in the Disney Villains Series.

Redemption period for "Devilish Diva" which began on May 15th ends on Halloween (October 31st)! Don't miss this over-the-top octopus-like schemer's last chance to hug you with her tentacles!

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