Among the most memorable villains in Disney movies is Ursula the Sea Witch. She first appeared in The Little Mermaid in 1989 and subsequently reprised her role in House of Mouse and Kingdom Hearts. Her character design was based on several sea creatures, including an octopus. The character was originally designed with eight tentacles, but it was reduced to six. She has a black strapless evening dress that flows into her lower body. She also wears large purple shell earrings.
She is described as a voluptuary who looks like a drag queen and is obese. Her makeup consists of purple and pink colors. She has pet moray eels. She also wears a golden nautilus shell necklace. She has a dark complexion, although she is not as imposing as King Triton. She is also known for her signature song. It has been covered by Jonas Brothers and Queen Latifah. Ursula’s name is a portmanteau of Ursula (the sea) and Vanessa (the human female). She is also referred to as The Witch Ursula.
As a villain, Ursula is known for her over-the-top attitude. She makes sharp remarks, and is very spiteful. She will break into a song when she feels wronged. She will also dance and put on a show to lure guests. Ursula holds exile as a badge of honor. It is this aspect of her character that has earned her positive reviews. She is also praised for her humor.
Ursula is not as powerful as King Triton, but she is able to trade her wishes for something. When she feels wronged, she will break into song and talk about what went wrong. Her magic gives her the ability to temporarily transform into a human female. She can also see the eyes of Flotsam and Jetsam with the Eye of the Cat spell. When she feels petty, Ursula will start to dance, drawing guests to her. Eventually, her plan is foiled by Ariel’s friends.
Ursula’s character design was originally based on an octopus, but she was later changed to a rockfish. Ursula also has a trident. This trident was inspired by the trident of Triton. She is also accompanied by a set of electric eels. She wears a black strapless evening dress, and is heavily made up. The character is also inspired by drag queen Divine. Her basic look is pasted over with evil Jack Nicholson leer.
Ursula’s voice is provided by Jodi Benson. She can also talk about what happened to her after her death. Ursula’s songs have been covered by Tituss Burgess, Queen Latifah, and Jonas Brothers.
The musical casting of Ursula speaks to the vilification of strong Black women. She is usually played by a Black woman. This adds a racial layer to her character. The musical casting of Ursula also speaks to White beauty standards.
The cast of Ursula also features Jack Gray as Scuttle, a large octopus. He was excellent in the role. The production team also saw a documentary about octopuses.