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OCTOBER 2004
THE TOP DISNEY VILLAIN COUNTDOWN

<< Back (30-21) | 20-11 | (10-1) Forward >>

20. Prince John
Robin Hood (1973)
Voice: Peter Ustinov
Animator: Ollie Johnston

With his brother Richard away on crusade, Prince John is the thumb-sucking crybaby in power in England. Easily outwitted by the charming outlaw Robin Hood, Prince John may be a more comedic

villain, but his intentions are clearly not good. His mantra (to make the rich like he even richer) provides direct contrast to Robin Hood's actions which are carried out with the poor in mind.

Several voters paired Prince John with Sir Hiss, his scheming snake sidekick, but ultimately this uniquely vain royal stood on his own as the most formidable villain from Disney's all-animal adaptation.

MickeyMousePal on Prince John: "Prince John is such a mommy's boy always sucking his thumb and cries for his mother. He also burned his mother castle what a looser. He's such a horrible king raising taxes. Prince John is one of my least favorite villains he's only has the power but can't fight with Robin Hood."

Robin Hood Links:
DVD Review | Gold Collection DVD

 

19. Hopper
A Bug's Life (1998)
Voice: Kevin Spacey

"Hopper from A Bug's Life is one of the most effective Disney villains. He knows that he is frightening to the ants, and he makes the most of that. He puts his henchmen to good use, but he's not afraid to do some dirty work himself.

Kevin Spacey did some amazing voice work here; the character comes across as cunning and completely merciless. Hopper is the ultimate intimidator, and he deserves his place in the pantheon of great Disney villains." - Brandon Harbeke

"In addition to being menacing and vicious, Hopper has the most interesting character development of Pixar's villians. In the beginning, we are introduced to Hopper from the point of view of the ants, and the audience is almost as afraid of him as they are. He seems very confident of his power, and is hell-bent on oppressing the ants. He comes across as being mean just for the pleasure of it.

But later on in the movie, we discover that the real reason he keeps such an oppressive grip on the ants is because he knows that they can beat him. We find out that that is the reason he's so vicious, and that makes us hate him even more! And because of that crucial character discovery, it enhances the final confrontation between the ants and grasshoppers that much more compelling.

Plus, he's a badass, pure and simple!" - Jack Seiley

Hopper sound clip: WAV (53 k)

A Bug's Life Links:
Collector's Edition DVD Review | 2-Disc Collector's Edition

 

18. Shan-Yu
Mulan (1998)
Voice: Miguel Ferrer
Animator: Pres Romanillos

Jake Lipson on Shan-Yu: "Shan-Yu is one of the most chillingly cold Disney villains in history, with one of the most distinctly frightening villain voices in many a year. His ruthlessness is most effectively

conveyed when it is so violent that it goes unseen, cut away from and implied. The response to his question "How many men does it take to deliver a message?" and the action that follows shows just how truly creepy this guy is, and it'll bring a shudder to even the most immune moviegoer. An enormously effective evil."

Ruthless and physically imposing, Shan-Yu's character and motives may not be revealed, but the mystery helps make this leader of the Huns a feared force.

Shan-Yu sound clip: WAV (50 k)

Mulan Links:
Special Edition DVD Review | 2-Disc Special Edition DVD

 

17. Professor Ratigan
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Voice: Vincent Price
Animator: Glen Keane

Sometimes you only have to know the littlest thing about a character to know that you will instantly adore them. In the case of Ratigan it only took two words: "Vincent Price. "

Price has long been known for his uniquely smooth, polite theatrical voice. In fact, Price's first major role in motion pictures was playing the Invisible Man in Universal's sequels, a role he was especially cast for due to his velvety voice.

But it turns out there's more to admire about Professor Ratigan than the voice artist. Obviously based on the often-discussed, but little-featured Sherlock Holmes villain - Professor Moriarty, the Napoleon of Crime - Ratigan has just as much (if not more) in common with the traditional James Bond villain (or perhaps it's more appropriate to compare him with Dr. Evil this days).

Ratigan's plan is full of pure Bond-villain-like audacity. He wants to replace the Queen with a robot double and crown himself King? Who needs a shark infested pool (and sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads) when you have Felicia, a cat just as willing to dispose of your disgraced henchmen? Who needs to simply kill their enemies when a complex Heath Robinson-like trap will kill them eventually? (But sadly you don't have the time to wait and watch their demise) Who needs jet-propelled backpacks when you have a pedal-powered blimp to escape in? Pure Bond villain through and through.

But what I like most of all about Professor Ratigan is how his true nature, the one he has been denying throughout the film, is revealed in the film's climax. When Ratigan sheds his clothes and reveals the pure animalistic rat within, it really is quite effective and it makes for a thrilling conclusion to the film.

Did Ratigan die from falling from the clock face? Of course not! Like all true villains he found a way to survive, and even now must be plotting his revenge on Basil, one which will involve Basil's utter humiliation before his defeat. - James Reader

Ratigan sound clip: WAV (60 k)

The Great Mouse Detective Links:
DVD Review | DVD

 

16. Madame Medusa
The Rescuers (1977)
Voice: Geraldine Page
Animator: Milt Kahl

When you hear the phrase "Disney villain", there are certain characters who immediately come to mind. Then there's someone like Madame Medusa, the clear antagonist of a little film called The

Rescuers.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Madame Medusa was actually not Walt Disney's favorite villain. (He died years before she made it to the screen.) Though on the surface she might seem like just a normal woman, her floppy red hair clues you into a darker, more sadistic side. Medusa has no qualms about kidnapping poor little Penny, and she clearly has greater power than the two resourceful little mice on her trail.

The Rescuers Links: DVD Review | DVD

 

15. The Queen of Hearts
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Voice: Verna Felton
Animator: Frank Thomas

"One word: psycho. The Queen of Hearts is probably the most mad inhabit of Wonderland. Her answer to everything is a beheading!" - Kram Nebuer

"Although not really a fully blooded villainess, she made my list as the oddness of Lewis Carroll made her an interesting character, for sure. She's also rather comic and lead the way for comic villains like Prince John and Cruella de Vil." - Wonderlicious

MickeyMousePal: "'Off with her head!!!' The Queen is a bad-tempered, fat and pompous villain. I don't really see her that dangerous compared to other Disney villains."

Queen of Hearts sound clip: WAV (18 k)

Alice in Wonderland Links: #12 in Animated Classics Countdown
Masterpiece Edition DVD Review | Masterpiece Edition DVD

 

14. Yzma
The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
Voice: Eartha Kitt
Animator: Dale Baer

"Yzma has got to be one of the funniest villians I have ever seen. Her and her sidekick, Kronk, are the BEST! The Emperor's New Groove would not be the same without her! She turns people into

animals! How cool is that! When she turns into a cat, I laughed so hard in the theatre! She was so cute, and had such a high voice, and she still managed to be evil! She is the best!" - Adam Linder

MickeyMousePal on Yzma: "'Hit him on the head' Yzam wanted to be an emperor but every plan has a price. Now she's a purfect kitten."

Lanky, shrill and very, very old, Yzma is not your typical Disney villain. But The Emperor's New Groove is not your typical Disney film, so it works out quite well. Along with her delightfully clunky and morally-perplexed henchman Kronk, Yzma seeks to poison Kuzco after he fires her. Poisons are Yzma's speciality, and they normally work well...when not in inept hands.

Yzma makes a nice nemesis for Kuzco; she mirrors several of his worst traits, most notably, selfishness and vanity. Like everything else in this fast-paced ride, you can't take this imperial advisor too seriously. As such, Eartha Kitt and the animators find just the right tone for the character.

Yzma sound clip: WAV (21 k)

The Emperor's New Groove Links: #20 in Animated Classics Countdown
DVD Review | Collector's Edition DVD

 

13. Chernabog
Fantasia (1940)
Animator: Bill Tytla

"The reason I chose this devilish villian as my #1 pick is that he exudes pure evil and gives the audience chills without speaking a word. The simple visual of him is enough to make us hate him - that's pure cinema at its best." - Jack Seiley

This monstrous demon perches himself to look down at the world in Fantasia's "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence. His powers are near limitless; his only weakness is dawn. Chernabog need not utter a word to make his presence felt in the deep reaches of the earth, in a nighmarish world of fire and bones.

Ukranian animator Bill Tytla made the Chernabog his unique creation; he performed the live action reference footage for himself when he wasn't satisfied with the work of an actor named Bela Lugosi.

MickeyMousePal on Chernabog: "All thought Chernabog doesn't talk in Fantasia he's still a powerful villain in Disney history. When you see Chernabog you could see his evil power in the night but when the day is morning with the sun Chernabog evil is no more. Chernabog frighten the daylights out of young children."

Fantasia Links: #16 in Animated Classics Countdown | 60th Anniversary DVD (Out of Print)
Fantasia & Fantasia 2000: The Fantasia Anthology (Out of Print) | DVD Review

 

12. Shere Khan
The Jungle Book (1967)
Voice: George Sanders
Animator: Milt Kahl

The jungle may be Mowgli's home, which makes Shere Khan a type of powerful and dreaded relative. For Khan, a menacing tiger, has his place among the animal kingdom and when he shows up, others

take note. Without Khan, The Jungle Book might well be straight musical/ comedy. But his presence, as one of the most feared Disney villains, adds depth and suspense to the last animated film Walt Disney had a hand in.

MickeyMousePal on Shere Khan: "Shere Khan is my favorite Disney animal villain besides Scar. Shere Khan is a tiger that hates men and is afraid of fire. I see Shere Khan, as a powerful villain but isn't that popular to the media. Shere Khan scared me when I was about 5 years old."

Thirty-six years after The Jungle Book was released, Shere Khan showed up again in The Jungle Book 2. In this theatrical sequel, Khan was voiced by Tony Jay (who previously did vocals for The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Frollo). Jay has also performed as Shere Khan in the TV cartoon series "Tale Spin" (1990-94) and "The House of Mouse" (2001-02). In Disney's straying 1994 live action production of Kipling's stories, Khan and the other wildlife personas were depicted by real animals.

The Jungle Book Links: #13 in Animated Classics Countdown
The Jungle Book DVD Review | The Jungle Book 2 DVD Review

 

11. Gaston
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Voice: Richard White
Animator: Andreas Deja

“In many ways, Gaston is the most versatile Disney villain. Andreas Deja, who animated the character, put it well when he said, ‘He goes from being a comical character, to being kind of a jerk, to being a

complete villain.’ This progression of the character throughout the movie lets him fit in perfectly with the movement of Beauty and the Beast’s story, which also goes from being somewhat lighthearted in the beginning to being darker as the plot moves on.”- Jack Seiley

MickeyMousePal on Gaston: "'You think she'll go for you when she has someone like me'. Gaston my be beautiful in the outside but has an evil soul in the inside. Gaston got to jealous over Belle and ending up dying against a fight with the Beast. Gaston seems to be a one of the most popular male villain since Captain Hook."

Beauty and the Beast Links: #1 in Animated Classics Countdown
2-Disc Platinum Edition DVD (Out of Print) | DVD Review

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The Villains Countdown was first published October 11, 2004.