Every Disney movie has a hero who is able to overcome even the most dastardly foe. But the success of our protagonists doesn't come without the help of their friends. Although we can't expect these companions to be flawless - most of them are anthropomorphic animals, after all - some of them could have been a little better at their jobs.
Please don't get me wrong. I do love each and every one of the following characters despite their flaws. But for the sake of this article it's time to get real with some of these sidekicks. Think of it as a performance review of sorts for animated characters, because clearly that's a thing that needs to happen.
1. Abu, Aladdin
Abu is probably one of the most adorable of the Disney sidekicks. Abu's reluctance to share his bread with starving children aside, he is also one of Disney's bigger troublemakers. Had it not been for Abu's kleptomaniac tendencies, Aladdin would have avoided an extremely dangerous situation in the Cave of Wonders.
Aladdin (and the giant Tiger God) specifically tells Abu not to touch anything, but he just can't seem to help himself. They end up surviving the whole ordeal, but Abu nearly has Aladdin launched into a pit of lava! He ends up redeeming himself many times over throughout the course of the movie, but a little slip-up like that almost cost Abu their lives!
2. Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio
If Jiminy's job is to act as Pinocchio's conscience, he's doing a terrible job. Sure, he's telling Pinocchio not to lie to the fairy and not to go with the foxes, but he still lets him do it! And worst of all, Pinocchio refuses to learn from his mistakes and listen for once.
Simply letting your conscience be your guide would be great if your subject actually listened to your advice. At a certain point Jiminy should have realized his methods weren't working. Maybe try coming at him from a different angle, Jim!
3. Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland
I guess you can argue that the Cheshire Cat isn't really in Alice's corner or actually trying to help her. He pledges no alliances and has questionable intentions, and why should he? He is mad, after all.
After a certain point, just help Alice out. No more riddles, no more tomfoolery, and for the love of Disney no more disappearing mid-conversation! One minute he's acting as Alice's spiritual guide and giving her advice, the next he's taunting the Queen of Hearts in a way which ends up having her direct her anger towards Alice. What kind of game are you playing, cat?
4. Mushu, Mulan
I've always been a big fan of Mushu. Maybe it's because he was voiced by Eddie Murphy, or maybe it's because he's a pocket-sized dragon. I'm not entirely sure. Although Mushu ends up becoming one of the most loyal and helpful of the Disney companions (making his placement on this list somewhat questionable), there's no denying that his initial plans weren't as nobel as they ended up being.
In the beginning, Mushu was really just looking out for himself. He wanted to cover up for his mistake (um, destroying the Stone Dragon?) as well as prove that he act as an effective guardian for the Hua family. It was more about preserving, or bolstering, his own self-image before it became about truly helping Mulan. Plus, in the sequel Mushu actively tries to break up Mulan and Shang. What's up with that?
5. Tinker Bell, Peter Pan
Full disclosure, Tinker Bell is one of my all-time favorite Disney characters, but it's time for some tough love for Tink. Let's be real, she can be kind of a b*tch. Granted, her badass, no nonsense attitude is one of her best qualities, but she could have been much more useful had she been a little less preoccupied with her insecurity and possessiveness.
Even though she's fiercely loyal to Peter and the Lost Boys, it oftentimes turns to a jealous rage. Sure, she drank the poison and sacrificed herself to Peter and keep Neverland safe, but she would have been more than happy to see Wendy face a less fortunate fate. You know, like convincing the Lost Boys to shoot her down from the sky.
In the end, each of these characters did a fantastic job adding to the plot and aiding the main characters in their respective quests. Besides, we know it all worked out in the end anyway, so no harm done!