Disney Villains

I love Disney villains. So rarely do you get bad guys who not only openly admit to being evil, but actually sing about it. I mean, Voldemort likes his followers to call him “the Dark Lord,” and Darth Vader talks about the Dark Side, but Dark is not Evil (a topic for a future post). No, only Disney villains truly take pride in their evilness, and can actually sing about it. Or even better, make their minions sing about it, and kill them for singing it wrong.

Here I’m thinking of Ratigan, the Professor Moriarty expy in The Great Mouse Detective. I’m going to insist you watch his villain song on the YouTube: The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind. Read more after you’ve watched that.

Okay, so. I’d like to call your attention to a few points. First, the drunk mouse was singing his boss’ praises even as he was being eaten on his boss’ orders. That’s cold. Second, my overly logical mind has always loved the line, “You’re more evil than even you!” Third, and most important, while he sings about how much power his plan will garner him, and how Basil (obviously an expy of Sherlock Holmes) cannot stop him, what he really loves about his plan is how big and evil it is. Think about what a real mobster would do if he had a great plan; he’d probably tell nobody except maybe the few trusted henchmen he needed to pull it off, and even they might not get the full story. He’d be afraid one of them would be, well, a rat.

Not all Disney villains sing about being evil, of course, but they generally have the following traits:

  • There is never the slightest doubt that they’re evil.
  • There’s nothing at all sympathetic about them.
  • They’re ugly and/or dark.
  • Their motives are not very complicated, and also never in doubt.
  • They’re unrepentant to the end.

Individual Disney villains may defy one of these, but not more, I believe. In particular, Gaston is not ugly, although towards the end of the movie, he starts looking pretty vicious.

You can, of course, have “Disney villains” who are not from Disney. Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi satisfies all five criteria, although he doesn’t in the prequel trilogy. So does Sauron count in Lord of the Rings, although the ugliness thing is slightly debatable, as we never see him. All we know is that he has an Eye. Lord Voldemort is, I think, a bit too complex a character to count as a true Disney villain. I’d say he fails the fourth criterion, and he second criterion is brought into question a few times (what with his being an orphan and his maimed soul), though not really violated.

I’m sure there are other good examples of non-Disney Disney Villains, but I can’t think of them right now. If you can, let me know in a comment.

In other news, I’m halfway done with Chapter 3 of the epic, and I know what’s going to happen in the next chapter of Gigas’ Tale, I just need to write it out. After those, I may switch back to the more summaryish writing style.

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6 responses to “Disney Villains

  1. Villains, eh? Here are a few more, some with some caveats:
    -Satan (in many brands of Christianity; in a some, he fails a few points)
    -the aliens in Independance Day (and several other human-vs-alien movies)
    -Dr. Evil (It’s in his name, for evil’s sake! Though, occasionally, he is a bit sympathetic)
    -Jabba the Hutt
    -The Yeerks (fit every criterion to a T)

  2. Good ones! I don’t know if Dr. Evil counts, since his funniness makes him sympathetic, although he does have the right name. The problem with The Yeerks is that they’re a whole race. So some of them are sympathetic, and some of them have different motivations from the rest. I think Visser Three by himself qualifies, though.

    It also occurs to me that Osama bin Laden would count, at least viewed from the perspective of the U.S.A.

  3. Good point about the Yeerks.
    I was considering Osama bin Laden, but didn’t include him on the grounds that you’d have to then include every national arch-bogeyman who existed- Napoleon Bonaparte to the British, Adolph Hitler, Alexander the Great, the U.S.A. to the USSR (or to Osama Bin Laden), The Pharaoh (from the perspective of the Jews), Amalek…

    huh, what about Big Brother and the Party from 1984? Although, maybe the fact that the Party wins disqualifies it as a Disney Villain…

    Perhaps the Terminator?

  4. Carface (All Dogs Go to Heaven) hit all of the above… as does Rasputin (Anistasia). Actually, I think all of the antagonists from Bluth movies fit. As do all of the Captain Planet villains. And certainly Hexxus from Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.

    For things that aren’t from animated children’s things, most of the antagonists in Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books fit – especially the Grand Visier and Prince Rabadash from Lewis’ “Horse and his Boy”. Most of the antagonists in Brian Jacques’ Redwall books fit too – though not all.

    Most of the Goa’uld (Stargate) fit, especially Anubis.

    The Cunning Man (Pratchett’s I Shall Wear Midnight) could also fit, though he has a tad bit of sympathy attached (but only a smidgin). He’s the ghost of a dude who burned witches for a living, and died because a witch that he loved pulled him into the fire he was burning her in. Now he goes around possessing folks and making them hate witches.

    More than a few of the incarnations of Ganon/Gannondorf work. I’d argue Bowser as well.

    The Magi from Lackey’s Joust series could work, though their methods/reasons aren’t immediately obvious. They council the king to go to war so they can use the deaths that are happening as fuel for their life-lengthening spells, and when the wars start simmering down, they start stealing/killing young kids and all sorts of other bad stuff.

    I’d also say the villian of Coulton’s song “Skullcrusher Mountain” would apply, though we don’t know exactly what he looks like.

  5. I don’t know about Bowser… you can’t really go go-karting with a true Disney villain. I think the singer of “Skullcrusher Mountain” is clearly a classy fellow and probably very handsome to boot. But you’re probably right about him, yes.

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