Monday, January 25, 2010

The most stellar and yet diabolical Diseny Villains

When I was a kid I was never able to get behind smarmy protagonist characters. It might be because Disney protagonists were always minorities or women (sorry kids) but clearly the characters that were the target audience of little boy's affection were the villains. The villains usually offered more intelligence, class and more blues-type musical numbers than the hero characters. Rather than simply combat a situation, they created the situation. I think the key to ANY successful story is a great antagonist, the opposite of everything the hero stands for. In the case of say, Tarzan you have an idiotic man who communicates with monkeys and swings around on vines while the monkeys bang pots and pans to the music of Phil Collins. Clearly the saving grace of this film is the devious hunter emptying rounds of his musket into angry monkeys. I think the villain characters, while often time not the most complex characters in the stories are well rounded and always overblown, nefarious and classically maniacal. In Disney Movies, the villains are archetypes of prejudice and hatred and everything shitty but hilarious. As a kid I thought they were bad ass and now I can see they're humorous satires of larger themes of the greater evils in the world. You'll know if you become a regular reader of my blog I'm a huge fan of lists. I love listing things. I love ranking things. I don't like READING statistics but oh damn do I loves me some lists. I think it's almost a compulsion at this point but I know that there are people out there who share my listing enthusiasm so without further list of the 10 best/my favorite Disney Villains. This one was tough to compile and all things were considered. I'm going to go ahead and include the efforts of Pixar in this as well.

10. Ursula-The Little Mermaid
No one likes a fat bitch. Especially a fat overbearing bitch with the lower body (or complex animatronic dress) made of black tentacles. She commands eels and has a huge mole on her face. She also has the sensibilities and the haircut of a butch lesbian. She wants Ariel's voice because she has a beautiful voice. Tell me that's not bizzare. I think one quality of a villain is that you can root against them and as insidiously stupid as every other character in this film is (from what I remember of it) except the Rastafarian crab, you can really come to hate Ursula. So there she is, perching her fat tentacled ass atop the backend of the list.

9. Chernabog-Fantasia
This one is a semi-longshot. I feel like I've joined the unspoken Disney nerd-fandom simply by calling this character by name, but believe me I would not have known it save for stumbling into it online. The disney theme parks also love to hype the shit out of chernabog on pins and posters. I mean he's basically a giant satan and it doesn't get more evil than that. I don't see chernabog as terribly evil though. He's just a giant bored guy with horns whose a nudist. At night he comes out of his mountain and he pokes and prods little demons and fucks with them for the lolz. Chernabog is not amused. Then he sets a bunch of ghosts on the empty town and watches them fly around. When he gets bored watching little people fly around and get burnt up he gets tired and goes to sleep. Sure he's a menacing figure and he could probably burn you to a crisp but I don't see anything terrifically bad about Chernabog. He's just makin lolz. And I respect that.

8. Cruella De Ville-101 Dalmations
Not Glenn Close. The original one. She's the definition of ugly old bitch. She wears coats made of dogs and she chain smokes. She has red high heels and a black dress to match and the hair cut of sweeney todd with a bony pig nose. She's just a huge bitch basically but once again clearly the most interesting character of the film. I'd go so far as to say she's a scene stealer but the canine crunchies commercial really is something grand. Cruella Deville is the Lady Gaga of the Disney Universe. Either her or that other crazy old hussie Ezra from the Emperor's new Groove. I thought that film broke the Disney mold too much though so screw it.

7. Captain Hook-Peter Pan
There are intimidating villains (which we haven't gotten to yet), trolling villains (like Chernabog) and the hilariously comical incompetent morons like Captain Hook. I LOVED Captain Hook as a kid. I loved the piracy. I loved that giant red coat. I loved the plumed hat. I think I was Captain Hook for Halloween one year. At any rate, he's a huge screw up who can't even defeat a group of children (even though in the live action version he killed RUFIO). He's afraid of a particular (and possibly the ONLY) crocodile in the populas of neverland and he employees a chubby old man to pilot his vessel. Clearly he fails at piracy but it's hilarious watching him do it. Eventually you kind of feel sorry for him getting shafted time after time. I was surprised when I watched the film again when I was older just how much life sucks for Hook.

6. Clayton-Tarzan
In the 90's the Disney filmmakers tried to touch on sensitive subjects, racism and environmental issues. Gone were the straight up fairy tales of yore, now we were dealing with topics such as POACHING. Clayton was by all accounts a poacher. And not just of elephants mind you. He killed motherfuckin apes, the closest animal kingdom relatives to human beings. He didn't give a damn if Tarzan thought he was an ape either, he'd kill him too in the same manner he killed his "father figure". Clayton is essentially that hunter from Jumanji with a more charming smile. He meets one of the most brutal ends of any disney villain too, being HUNG from a vine.

5. Judge Claude Frollo-The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Like I said, in the 90's Disney was involved in some tedious shit that was questionable at best bieng handed to kids but I sure didn't mind at the time. I don't think I could really get behind Frollo as a kid with his frumpy hat and his whole being old thing. Now that I'm older I can really appreciate how twisted and villainous this character is. He might be one of the most realistically horrible people in the entire Disney universe. Frollo kills gypsys. He hates em'. Racist and a judge to boot. Then he loves a gypsy but he even knows himself that it's adultery. Hell. He personally calls it LICENTIOUS. Then he hates his "servant" Quasi Modo and treats him like shit. At the end of the day he wants Quasi's girl to go burn in hell and he wants to light Paris on fire on a mad hunt to kill all the Gypsis. Crazy elitst bastard. He sings a song called HELLFIRE to boot. Not unsprisingly he falls off of Notre Dame. Saw that coming from the first five minutes.

4. Shan-Yu-Mulan
Mulan seems to be a fan favorite from my particular generation of kids. The "Be a Man" song in particular resonated among my friends and I've heard it recited many times even in my everday life. Mulan cross dresses and joins the army to defeat the Huns. Who are the huns? Large grey men. Large grey men lead by SHAN YU. He's a bad ass. You wouldn't want to mess with Shan Yu. Straight up possibly one of the fiercest motherfuckers in the Disney Universe. An avalanche falls on his head and he survives. He has a FALCON on his shoulder and he carries a highly ineffective and curvy sword. He burns down a village and laughs at the doll of a dead child. Cold hearted and big as a truck. How do you stop a beast like this? It took a rocket to take him down but he'll be immortalized forever in this largely unread blog post.

3. Syndrome-The Incredibles
With the Incredibles, Disney and Pixar tackled a great subject, a retro superhero film. At the same time, they added a twist on the cliche super hero plot. Mr. Incredible is boring and retired. The day of the heroes is over (trust me this isn't watchmen). He's brought back into action by a great villain...Syndrome. Syndrome was once a fanatical FAN of Mr. Incredible but now he's a techno-obsessed maniac who is bent on wiping out those who were gifted with powers and looking like a hero himself. He's hero worship to the point of being a villain. It's such a unique take on a super villain let alone a Disney Villain that I can't recall even hearing anything similar before. Syndrome addresses the villainous cliches and even goes on a brilliant "monologue" in which he has a self aware moment and acknowledges the fact that he's monologuing. Red haired and obnoxious, he convienently makes himself easy to hate too. Syndrome was a tough contender for these top spots but I'm going to have to give #2 to...

2. Scar-The Lion King
I really really waffled over giving Scar the #1 spot because he's just that great. He's Shakespearean in the sense that he kills off his own brother and then he tries to kill off his brother's son too. He's a scheming lazy bastard and he lounges with Hyenas of all creatures. He also sings the phrase, Quid-pro-quo, which you'd have to be pretty evil to include in a song. Lions are intimidating already. How do you take a story where the protagonist is a lion and make the villain scarier? Simple. Give him dark skin and a black mane of hair and let him enslave and imprison the other animals. Scars a pretty shitty king who doesn't know how to run the economy once it's up to him too, which speaks volumes for the modern audience and their complaints towards the presidents of the past few years.

and what could my #1 possibly be?

I bet you saw it from a mile coming.

I bet you already scrolled down because you like spoilers.

I bet you guessed it when you clicked on this post.

I'm second guessing giving this one the #1 spot instead of scar honestly .

oh well I really like him .

1. HADES! -Hercules
Hades, by nature is the devil. Unlike Chernabog who just tortures his minions and sicks ghosts on an abandoned town though, Hades literally lives in the underworld and chills with a river of souls. Greek Mythology has always been fun and they had the opportunity to make this a very dark character in a modernized and light hearted film. Instead they made the character threatening and yet charming and hilarious. One minute he'll be screaming and lit aflame pounding his minions and the next minute he'll sound like he's selling cars. I think the "car salesman" gag of Hades is one of the things that really "sells" the character for me. It's a very smart character trait with him "making deals." Making deals with the devil has been in many fictional stories to date and often times the Devil comes off as a nice guy before he stabs you in the back and shoves off acting like a dick. That's just the case here. Hades has a grand take over scheme that was never present in actual Greek mythology but he smooth talks his way into having his way and uses dirty tricks like poison. He's condescending and hilariou and his hair is made of blue fire. If these aren't enough reasons to convince you Hades is the #1 Disney Villain, he also has the best introductory line of any Disney Villain bar none, "You know I haven't been this choked up since I had a chunk of MUSAKA stuck in my throat!" If you enter on a terrible pun/culture spoof, you are destined to be a great antagonist. This is also true of the real world.

To be totally honest and fair though I'm not sure who I prefer though, Hades or Scar. You can say we have a tie, but for pure value of census and statistics, Hades will sit on the number one spot unless I have the energy to edit this post based on my whim and mood.

So there you have it. I'm always bad at saying good bye and conclusions and such so if you have anything to say post it, but for godsakes don't forward this around in emails. I've had enough of that sort of thing happening to me this week already and it's been harrowing experience. If you've stuck with me this far though, I salute you and I thank you for reading.

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