Thursday, July 8, 2010

Film Yap: Top Five Greatest Animated Villains

Oftentimes villains are cooler than the heroes in movies. They are the ones who get to do whatever they want and show how much fun it is to be evil. They tear up the screen and are often the most memorable part of the film. That’s why it’s not a crazy notion to have a villain be the main character like in the new movie Despicable Me. So to tie in with that movie, let’s highlight the Top Five Greatest Animated Villains.

5. Captain Hook

This guy is a great villain. First off, he’s a pirate so there’s plenty of awesome points. He’s literally trying to kill children throughout the entire film. Not in the passive-aggressive-Snow-White way with cursed apples. No he has bombs and swords and he’s ready for blood. So why can’t he ever complete the task? Well for one thing, he’s insane. Not only is he an evil pirate, but he’s constantly freaking out about a crocodile who ate his hand. That’s right; at the end of the day he has a freakin’ hook for a hand and that gets him a spot on the list.

4. Sid

I’m not a fan of creepy kids in horror films. They don’t talk like any human being and they’re ultimately more annoying than scary. That said, Sid from Toy Story is the proper version of the creepy kid. He acts like an actual ten year-old as he’s frustrated with his family and gets way too into games at Pizza Planet. Also like Damien or that kid from The Ring, you know Sid is going to grown up to be a sociopath. Look at how excited he gets when he’s going to blow up Buzz Lightyear. That’s not normal. In order to stop him, the heroes have to break every rule of their existence to stop him from mutilating toys. Better toys than animals is all I’m saying.

3. Maleficent

I’m not the biggest fan of most of the classic Disney princess movies. They have very nice looking animation, but their stories are often lacking. I can’t remember most of Sleeping Beauty but I remember how nuts Maleficent is. For almost no reason she curses Princess Aurora with the most random spell possible: She’ll sleep forever if she pricks her finger on a spinning-wheel. (Is Maleficent making a social feminist statement?) So most of the time Maleficent is well composed and creepy like Glenn Close. Then almost out of nowhere she turns into a giant frightening dragon and tries to kill Prince Charming. Where did that come from?!? Who cares, it saves the movie.

2. Scar

Scar has something that no one else has so far on this list. He’s actually efficient. Scar wants the kingdom because he’s power-hungry and has an evil British accent. (Jeremy Irons was perfectly cast.) So what does he do? He goes ahead and murders his brother in an incredibly violent way. He throws him into a stampede! In front of his nephew, no less. That obviously has lasting damage on Simba because he leaves his family to go hang out with hippies for most of his life. Meanwhile Scar goes crazy and makes everything look like hell. This was to be expected since there was that musical number where all of his hyenas were prancing around fire like Nazi soldiers while Scar was laughing it up. Yes, he’s that crazy of a villain.

1. Professor Ratigan

As we all know The Great Mouse Detective is the greatest Disney film of all time. (Not kidding.) One of the things that makes it so great is the character of Professor Ratigan voiced by Vincent Price. He is the antithesis to Basil of Baker Street, who is the mouse version of Sherlock Holmes. While Basil is focused on justice, Ratigan is obsessed with power and evil. Yet the fun twist is that he is more socially competent than Basil. Despite his manic plans, he knows how to host a party. There is an amazing scene where he has all of minions sing about how great he is while they are all drinking champagne. No it’s not fruit juice, because one mouse gets too drunk and says something inappropriate so Rattigan has him killed immediately. Then while his friends are mourning the lost mouse, he makes them start up the song again out of fear. This guy is incredible. At one point he creates a device to kill Basil that even OK Go would be impressed by. Ultimately when he sheds his public persona, he becomes a beast more frightening than Maleficent. It’s more effective because he doesn’t magically transform; he just shows what kind of creature he has always been. Charming but incredibly villainous.

So what villains should I have included on the list? It is a very Disney heavy list. I know you all are going to say Cruella de Vil but one cool song does not excuse how incompetent she is. There are 101 of them! It’s not that difficult!

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