AH, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!!! Greetings readers! I'm the Media Man and I welcome you to Villain's Month here on themediamanblog!
There are many things people can say about the Walt Disney Company. Some of it's great, some of it's...not so great. But we are all united under one belief: that Disney's animated films are some of the greatest pieces of entertainment ever created from legendary movies to cult classics and modern triumphs. Disney has something for everyone no matter what era they're in and their animated canon is easily among the top dogs of the animation industry and entertainment as a whole.
But one thing about Disney that people also tend to agree on is that their animated movies are also responsible for creating some of the most memorable and beloved villains in all of media. Everyone knows these bad boys and girls and EVERYONE has a favourite they can name amongst these animated antagonists. Hell, Disney Villains are so beloved that they even have their own franchise! That's insane and is probably comparable to only the Batman Rogues Gallery in terms of groups of villains popular enough to have their own franchise!
So in the spirit of the Halloween season, I'm naturally going to be talking about them for this post. I know it's cliche at this point to do a Disney Villains list but sod it, October is Villain's Month for this blog and what better way to celebrate the upcoming Halloween season than to count down the baddest of the bad from the happiest place on Earth?
So sit back and enjoy everyone as I countdown my own Top 10 Disney Animated Villains. Beware...BEWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE! AH, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!!!
Number 10: Percival C. McLeach from The Rescuers Down Under
Given the obscurity of The Rescuers Down Under, I imagine some of you reading this blog might not recognize this guy. So allow me to explain:
Percival C. McLeach, or McLeach as he's more known as, is a poacher operating in the Australian outback who will get whatever rare animal he can get his hands on and sell them off to make a fortune. His ultimate goal in the movie is to catch the rare golden eagle, Marahute and make a fortune off of her given she's the rarest bird in the world. It's a pretty simple motivation really but Disney proper makes the most they have off of this guy by making him one of the most entertaining things about The Rescuers Down Under.
McLeach is a cunning customer with a sharp mind that allows him to stay on top of the situation no matter what he's faced with whether it's kidnapping Cody and making it seem like he's a victim of a crocodile attack so the rangers won't be looking for him or tricking Cody into leading him straight to Marahute's nest when Cody won't cooperate. This intelligence helps to sell the threat he poses to our heroes and the animal kingdom as we can see this is a poacher who knows how to catch his prey and as despicable as he is, you can't help but begrudgingly respect that intelligence. He's also a huge, physical threat to what with being the all-powerful adult against a helpless kid like Cody and how he effortlessly tears through the wilderness in his giant Bushwacker vehicle that is like a truck mixed with a tank and carries a huge cage for containing his prized captures. In spite of that, he can also be really funny in some scenes whether it's his dark sense of humour, him being the straight man to the comical antics of characters like Joanna or especially the performance of his actor. Speaking of which, I have to mention that he was played by the late, great George C. Scott. George MADE this character with his performance and I can't ever imagine anyone else playing this guy. He was SO perfect! Hell, McLeach even resembles George in terms of his appearance so that also helped in making him look like an imposing figure to the audience.
McLeach is as simple as they come, but simplicity is its own art form as they say and Disney really proved that even a one-dimensional poacher who's motivated by greed can make for an intimidating villain who can also be a hoot to watch despite the fact we're supposed to hate him. But in this case, he's the proper "love to hate" kind of villain and every time I watched this movie, I ALWAYS enjoy watching McLeach whenever he's onscreen. While The Rescuers fans may remember Madame Medusa more than McLeach, McLeach is unquestionably the Rescue Aid Society's bigger foe and the animal kingdom's worst nightmare...
Number 9: Yokai from Big Hero 6
The villains of the modern Disney era have been VERY underwhelming. It feels like Disney have just given up on trying to make great villains for their movies and it shows what with Ralph Breaks The Internet, Frozen II and Encanto not even having villains and much of the 2010's movies having WAY too many twist villains to the point it got old very quickly. And don't get me started on the absolute mess that was Raya and the Last Dragon and its pathetic excuse for a villain...
However, there's at least one modern Disney villain that I can say is great, although it might be considered cheating considering he's from Big Hero 6, a MARVEL property so technically he's a Marvel villain. So for the sake of this list, let's say I'm including "Yokai from DISNEY'S Big Hero 6". Anyway, Yokai is by far the best Disney villain of the 2010's era due to a multitude of factors. First of all, he's a twist villain done right in how his identity isn't revealed right at the end of the movie and it doesn't come out of nowhere like Hans being evil did in Frozen. Second of all, he has a VERY intimidating onscreen presence thanks to his dark clothing, large coat and striking kabuki mask that is the source of his power. He controls Hiro's legion of tiny microbots with the mask and as he controls them, he is able to do all sorts of things that keep him on top in battle whether it's throwing things at the enemy, overwhelming them with sheer numbers, weighing down on them or forming weapons to crush the enemy or restrain them. He almost comes off as completely unstoppable in the movie and he's just compelling to watch as we excitedly and anxiously wonder how our heroes will stop him in the end.
But by far the most compelling piece of Yokai's character is that he's one of Disney's most sympathetic villains ever. He was originally a kind-hearted professor in science named Robert Callaghan who lost his daughter, Abigail, in a science experiment gone catastrophically wrong thanks to the short-sighted ignorance of the project's funder, Alister Krei (what a shocker, a big rich businessman prioritising profit over people's safety. That's NEVER happened before, am I right? =P) and now Callaghan is left as this utterly broken man who wants nothing more than to tear down Krei's foundations that took his daughter away from him and make him pay. And then in the end, it turns out his daughter is alive and it's Hiro and Baymax, NOT Callaghan who save her in the end so he now has her back in his life...but he won't be able to be a part of it now he's in jail. In the end, his revenge did nothing for him and he's only more alone than he was before. It's really tragic that his life turned out this way and in spite of all the bad he's committed, I almost wish he could've had a happier ending. At least in the TV series, we get to see he's truly remorseful for what he's done and knows he's beyond forgiveness.
Still, Yokai was a fantastic villain for Big Hero 6's big screen debut and is the last truly great Disney villain we ever got. Intimidating, powerful and incredibly sympathetic, the man in the kabuki mask is one man you don't want to get on the wrong side of...
Number 8: Professor Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective
This is another villain from a lesser known Disney movie. Now I'm not saying Basil the Great Moust Detective is completely unknown or doesn't have fans, because it does! A LOT of fans! It's just not many people really bring it up in terms of great Disney movies and it is often viewed as among their lesser known works with many considering it underrated.
But one thing everyone at least knows about the movie is of course, Professor Ratigan. He is unquestionably everyone's favourite character in the movie, me included, and it's easy to see why. He has this brilliant design where he's this huge muscular rat...
Ratigan: "I AM NOT A RAT!!!"
Sorry, I mean "big mouse" that looks like he could snap Basil in two with his bare hands and yet in spite of his brutish appearance, he dresses in dapper clothing to present himself as a gentleman of noble stature. It's like he knows he's a monster and has to dress smartly to hide that fact, and yet during the climax when he has his villainous breakdown, his outfit is shredded to pieces to reveal the true beast within him. It's a brilliant visual metaphor for the man who cannot contain the beast within and becomes nothing more than a savage monster in the climax. And in the climax, he gets NASTY! Poor Basil's probably still feeling those claws across his back even to this day... But Ratigan's not only strong, he's intelligent too. As the Moriarty to Basil's Sherlock, Ratigan is Basil's intellectual equal and he knows it. He often praises himself for how clever he is and takes pride in his schemes to the point he has his own villain song about what a diabolical genius he is. If that's not having a high opinion of yourself than I'm the real rat around here. XD
Ratigan is also another villain with a simple goal: to become ruler of all Mousedom. But Disney once again proves that simple villains can be great villains for he's so gleefully diabolical and so giddy about how much he, in his own words "loves it when he's nasty", that he's a total riot to watch and it's impossible not to enjoy him. The animators especially brought him to life beautifully and made him a treat with his fantastic facial expressions and Shakespearean gestures and body language that his voice actor would do when giving his performance. Speaking of, his actor is another reason why this guy is so great. It's Vincent Price, the horror legend himself, in the role and he was undeniably the best man for the job. His performance paired with Disney's animation of the character is a match made in heaven and it really adds to what an enjoyable villain Ratigan is. Hell, Vincent even considered Ratigan among his favourite roles he ever did in his career! That's high praise from a man of his legacy if I say so myself.
An evil genius who is both brains and brawn and deliciously enjoyable to watch with how gleefully evil he is, all I can say is: To Ratigan, to Ratigan! The world's greatest criminal miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind!
Number 7: Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog
I think it's unanimously agreed that this guy is the last "true" Disney Villain in a more classic sense that we've ever had. At the least he's the last 2-D animated Disney Villain we've got in the movies. It genuinely feels like the great villains stopped with this guy and we haven't had any traditionally evil Disney villains like what we got in Disney's more classic movies. And let's just say Dr. Facilier was easily a great end to the older kind of Disney Villains that we love to hate.
Dr. Facilier, or "The Shadow Man" as the characters in the film more often refer to him as, is a voodoo trickster who is everything a good con artist is: charismatic, sly, manipulative and knows exactly how to get what he wants out of you. This is the kind of guy that nobody should trust, yet his silver tongue will sway you over anyway. He has a dapper appearance with his neat suit, fancy top hat and classy cane and he also has some mysterious powers at his beck and call to further enhance his schemes. I mean his shadow freaking MOVES for starters and can interact with the physical world! That's some freaky powers right there! Once again, this is another money hungry villain, but Dr. Facilier is just such a smooth character that he's a delight to watch and watching him try to achieve this goal is both entertaining and also scary as we see how far he's willing to go for it. That and he also gets one wicked villain song with "Friends on the Other Side". Speaking of said friends, they add an air of mystery that only makes this guy even creepier. Who are the "Friends on the Other Side", how did he come into contact with them and is he working for them willingly or only to save his own skin? It's definitely some ominous stuff to ponder over with the Shadow Man and that only makes him more interesting as a result.
What makes this guy so enjoyable is the fact that like Ratigan, he too gets a huge kick out of what he does and yet still tries to pass himself off as a gentleman. He's so deviously despicable and I love it! His magical abilities also make him a dangerous threat too. With just a puff of smoke, he can create illusions and with a reading of a few cards, he can have your fate lying in his hands. And let's not forget the whole thing with the prince turning into a frog or having a voodoo doll of the mayor to do with as he pleases! And of course, I can't talk about how awesome this guy is without mentioning his voice actor, Keith David. Keith delivers a performance oozing with evil charm and devious charisma that only adds to how enjoyable he is and his vocal performance of "Friends on the Other Sider" is the icing on the cake here.
He may be the last villain from Disney's 2-D line of animated movies but we can easily say that he gave the 2-D Disney villains one tremendous swan song and I don't think he needed any voodoo magic to achieve this...
Number 6: Shan Yu from Mulan
I have a feeling so many people are going to disagree with me on this and call me a "fake fan" because I unironically think this guy is among the best Disney Villains. And to that I say...fair enough, but you won't change my mind. =P I genuinely think Shan Yu is the most underrated Disney Villain EVER and more than earned his spot on this list.
Yes I agree, Shan Yu is very one-dimensional and is basically just a big powerful thug leading an army. But in this case, I think the fear of the unknown works in his favour as Shan Yu, to me at least, is oddly more fascinating because of how little we actually know him. How did he end up the way he did? What's his story and what happened in his life to make him such a barbarian? We don't know and that just makes Shan Yu more interesting as a result to me. This is the man who leads the Huns to attack China and it's very easy to see how and why he's the man in charge. With his impressive physical strength that allows him to break through doors with only a few punches, fearsome looking sword, incredible stamina (seriously, he gets buried alive in an avalanche and SURVIVES!) and massive army of Huns that required Disney animators to invent an entire computer software in order to animate them all (yes really!), Shan Yu is the kind of man you'd be crapping yourself in fear at the mere THOUGHT of going up against!
Shan Yu also makes a really memorable impression due to his terrifying appearance (though I don't know what the black and yellow eyes are about), intimidating voice at the hands of the late, great Miguel Ferrer (as in the same Miguel Ferrer who played Vandal Savage in Young Justice), an ominous, booming theme that accompanies him and also possessing one wickedly dark sense of humour! Seriously, the lines this guy says are just darkly chilling...
"How many men does it take to deliver a message?"
"Besides, the little girl will be missing her doll. We should return it to her."
And then he and the Huns go on to slaughter a whole village. Y'know, in a Disney movie of all things! XD
Why people find him so forgettable and boring is a mystery to me. Even as a kid, I would always remember this guy and just what a terrifying force of nature he is. True he's as one-dimensional as villains can be but once again, less is more in this case. With a scary onscreen presence, chilling dialogue and causing one of the darkest scenes in any Disney movie to occur, Shan Yu may not have conquered China, but he DID conquer the Number 6 spot on this list...
Continued in Part 2...
All characters belong to Disney