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.