Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Top 5 Disney Villains

The problem with Top 10 and Top 5 lists is that they are largely based on opinion. There are also so many ways to judge. After seeing a top 10 Disney villain list that I found to be particularly lackluster, I've assembled my essential top 5. I could stretch it out to 10, but I found that doing so added in a bunch of villains who were more funny than evil.

5. Si & Am
I'm usually not one for the cat is evil stereotype. It's an unfair association based on centuries old superstitions. But there's no denying that Si & Am are evil in that extremely fun way. They are selfish and greedy and love to cause trouble. They're also smart enough to know how to play innocent when their master is around and blame all their misdeeds on the dog.

4. Gaston
He's an asshole. I really don't think there's a better way to describe him, unless you want to exchange it for "pompous ass." He's handsome and strong and capable, but he ruins all that for you the moment he opens his mouth. While you'd never want to deal with him in real life, he's definitely one of those you love to hate. So cruel, so selfish, so arrogant he commands every scene he's in and you love to watch him do it.

3. Scar
Jeremy Irons' dry, sarcastic tone and Shakespearean acting talent bring a strong presence to Scar. You almost can't help but feel bad for him - he was born to a race where power is most important, and he's scrawny and smart instead. Of course then he goes and gets his brother killed and messes with his nephew's head just to take the throne. On top of it he does a spectacularly bad job as ruler. For someone who stresses his intelligence, shouldn't he know enough to make his followers be a bit less greedy in their hunting? Apparently his need for power eclipses his common sense. Still, doesn't "Be Prepared" make you want to join his side?

2. Ursula
After seeing The Little Mermaid, I wanted to be Ariel and skip all that stuff about becoming human, I'd take Sebastian's advice and stay under the sea forever. However, if you were to ask me who I wanted to be in a performance of The Little Mermaid, the answer would hands down be Ursula. Watching it as many times as I did, I remember wondering what Ursula meant by her "when I lived in the palace" comments. I imagined a time when perhaps she and her kin were welcomed into the kingdom. Maybe she was an advisor of sorts to the royal family. Sure she was a witch but Merlin used magic too and that didn't make him an outcast. Maybe she didn't start "rak[ing] them across the coals" until the merpeople community ostracized her so. Machinations aside, Ursula is a joy to watch. She's as power hungry as most villains, but it's her self confidence and joy at being herself that really makes you love her. She knows what she wants, she knows how to get it, and she goes for it.

1. Maleficent
Perhaps she's an obvious choice, but there's simply no denying it. Much like Scar and Ursula, she elicits a degree of sympathy - she hasn't been invited to the grand celebration for baby Aurora. We all know how much it hurts to feel slighted. Of course, her chosen gift for the child shows us clearly why she wasn't invited. She's cruel, wicked, and the mistress of all evil. Her voice has an oily quality to it, while also being cold enough to give you chills. She can be all sweet and charming or vicious and angry. Her powers of magic are so strong she can call upon the powers of hell and transform herself into a dragon. She's essentially a female version of Satan, and that's why I think she deserves to be at the top of the list.

Who are YOUR top 5 Disney Villains?

5 comments:

  1. Judge Frollo from Hunchback.

    I can't be bothered to deal with any of the rest of them. That dude is textbook villain.

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  2. He was my #10. He probably deserves to be much higher, but having only seen the movie once or twice I don't know him as well as the others. I do remember thinking just how mature that movie seemed compared to other Disney films, and he's obviously a huge part of that.

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  3. I first watched this in a house that had *killer* surround sound, and an especially prominent woofer.

    His first line in the film (one of the, if not THE, best Disney animated feature, IMO) is "Bring those Gypsy vermin to the Palace of Justice".

    When I heard it, I immediately had to take a crap, and I'm still not sure if it was the rather clear levels of hatred in the voice, or the unusually bass-y quality of it.

    Easily my favorite villain. None of this slapsticky, pseudo-humorous villain stuff; just raw, unadulterated evil tempered with the pain of fighting one's own demons.

    Good stuff, especially as far as villains are concerned.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm, my top 5 Disney villians:

    1. Maleficent, of course!
    2. The Wicked Queen from Snow White
    3. Chernabog
    4. Cruella DeVil
    5. Madame Medusa

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  5. Maleficent would make a great name for a daughter!

    ReplyDelete

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