<center><b>Memorable Villains...who did not make the UD Villains Countdown</center></b>
<b>The Warden (<i>Holes</i>)</b>
Camp Green Lake is a place that is full of contradictions. For starters, there's no lake; it's not a proper correctional facility; and despite the claims of the facilities' "staff", digging holes is not about "building character".
Camp Green Lake is also a place that is run with total cruelty, where the inmates are controlled by oppression. And it's the Warden, superbly played by Sigourney Weaver, who sets this agenda. The Warden behaves like a classic dictator letting others do all the work for her as she wallows in luxury and ruling with a fist of iron. What makes the Warden such a strong villain and effective leader is how she can achieve so much with so little. A pointed, low-key "Excuse me?" does more to unsettle the targets of her displeasure than an uncontrolled rant, common to so many villains in literature, ever would.
It's telling that the only outburst she makes in the film is directed not at the children, but at her highest profile cohort Mr Sir, and it's even more telling that this outburst involves violence. Her frustration isn't with the juvenile inmates, but with the stupidity and incompetence of her lesser partners in crime. Even though she is the Warden, she feels just as trapped at Camp Green Lake as the detainees.
However, by the end of the movie we discover more about the Warden, and we can probably look at her with a little bit of sympathy. She has been trapped at Green Lake, trapped by the traditions of her family ever since she was born. Trapped by an obsession handed down from one generation to another. Perhaps I was wrong in my introduction. Perhaps digging holes does "build character", it was after being forced to dig holes as a child that shaped the Warden's character, and made her repeat the sins of her fathers onto her charges, showing us how weak she really is.
-James Reader (2099net)
<i>Holes</i> DVD Review
<b>Cruella De Vil (<i>101/102 Dalmatians</i>)</b>
While it was the animated Cruella that made the Villains Countdown, this discussion will concern itself with Glenn Close's live-action Cruella De Vil only.
The live-action Cruella always had the shadow of the superb animated villain hanging over her, but Close's excellent performance quickly enabled her to shine and cast her own shadow. In a time when live-action films based on cartoon or comic characters are becoming more and more common, Close is still the only actor to play a cartoon character with real conviction.
In some respects, it's amazing that Disney would make films with a villain as un-politically correct as Cruella De Vil in the late 1990's. But it's the sheer malevolence of Cruella that makes her appealing, and it's to Disney's credit that they kept this for the live-action films. The live-action <i>101 Dalmatians</i> even gave us more of an insight into Cruella's twisted mind than was presented in the animated classic.
But the real reason I prefer the live-action Cruella to the animated version is the direction the character takes in <i>102 Dalmatians</i>. It's an interesting idea, to present us with a totally "cured" (Cru)Ella, and then to show us the decent into her old persona. It's an idea that works so well. It enables Glenn Close to entertainingly camp up her performance and outrageously overact. It enables the film to full of cartoon like visuals, from Cruella's mood intensive hairstyle, to her delusion of a white London covered in black spots. But most importantly, for these reasons and more, it's funny!
It's a shame that by the end of the film, Cruella is nothing more than a victim of endless pratfalls. It undermines the work done earlier in the film, where we were actually allowed to see Cruella with some sympathy and, while not extensive, we were allowed to see some character development as Cruella briefly fought her inner demon.
-James Reader (2099net)
James Reader's Review of the animated 101 Dalmatians
In <I>100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains</I> - one of the more recent of the American Film Institute’s ubiquitous countdown lists - only two Disney characters cracked the top 20 in a 50 place list: the Evil Queen from <I>Snow White</I>, and the unseen, ominous presence known as “Man” from <I>Bambi</I>. Maybe Man only won such a high rank because of his responsibility for a cruel and oft-cited “rite of passage” in childhood - the killing of Bambi’s mother. Doubtlessly, such a traumatizing and absolute act would promptly enlist the faceless villain into film immortality, but I rather admire Man as a villain because of the mood He creates throughout the film as a whole. The fact that Man is unseen just augments His threat to both the characters and the audience, for what is a more primal fear than the (literal) unknown? When Man is dangerously close by, the filmmakers succeed in creating genuine scenes of blind terror, just through the use of color and music alone. Man’s foreboding theme within the score predates <I>Jaws</I> by 33 years!
Overall, Man get big thumbs up from me because of the dark mood His oppressive omnipresence creates. And He isn’t seen once. Damn fine work for a villain!
-Lindsay Mayer (Paka)
<i>Bambi</i> DVD Review
<b>The Coachman (<i>Pinocchio</i>)</b>
The Coachman, like the other villains in <I>Pinocchio</I>, has a relatively limited presence, but he makes quite an impression with the limited screen time he has. Sporting a deceptively “jovial” character design, the Coachman literally takes on a more frightening edge as he reveals his sinister plans to the fox, Honest John - the man’s demonic face scared the wits out of me as a kid! The man later reveals his truly black heart as he mirthlessly sorts and exports the boys-turned-asses. Methinks the nameless Coachman would be one heck of a CEO were he around today!
-Lindsay Mayer (Paka)
<i>Pinocchio</i> DVD Review
See The UltimateDisney.com Fall 2004 Disney Villains Countdown
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