So this is why this post is (oh, the utter existentialism of it!).
The common knowledge that villains are often the more interesting characters seems to be especially true for Disney movies, but then, arguably, there’s a ton of Disney movies so shallow and lifeless (imo, kids, IMO!) that even the label “more interesting” says basically nothing.
Ha, glad that does not apply to all Disney movies. There are some that are all-around-head-to-toe-top-notch awesome and there are those that are okayish with some ridiculously rad characters. And there are some that are only saved by their awesome villain.
Alas, no more babble, here comes my Top Ten Disney Villain Countdown:
#10 – Cruella deVil
Cruella deVil is an interesting character because of two reasons: A – her name is about the most awesome villainess name that was ever invented. How to top that? B- Her no-compromise color-palette. Black and White. Hair, shirt, dress, jacket, whatever, you name it. Black. And White. (okaayy, and a little red thrown in…) While admittedly all animation characters are usually visually interesting, this extremely graphical sense of style makes her stand out and probably freezes the blood in the veins of graphic-designers all over the planet (cause they love it, of course).
#9 – Kaa
Cause it’s a snake, y’all. My list might make clear that I’m not falling for the usual bad guy kinda villain, but a snake with hypnotic powers that has all its actions being reduced to comic relief…? Anytime! I say.
#8 – John Silver
I have a soft spot for The Treasure Planet, although it doesn’t rank with the best of them Disney movies. John Silver is on this list mainly because he isn’t your typical villain in that he actually has a heart and sentiments that are relatable, and although he screws up, he is also redeemed, which is rare enough in a Disney movie. Plus, he’s got that ridiculously cute pink glibbery sidekick. And if one of these is your friend, you gotta be good.
#7 – Shan Yu
The Mulan antagonist is on the list, because he is much creepier than any other villain in a Disney movie. We never get any insight into his motivations, we never encounter him in a situation where he comes off as anything other than determined to kill and conquer. Which makes him intriguing, because the mystery works for this character – just enough to make the story work, but also to the extent that when I think about it, I wanna know more.
#6 – Hades
Hercules is actually one of the better Disney movies. Which always kind of surprises me. I like how funny it is, and I like the drawing style. Now, Hades is funny, although admittedly his two sidekicks are awesomely hilarious and add to that. Like fuel to the fire, haha, pun, cause his hair is a flame (y’all, obligatory insertion here). I especially love how they make him burn brighter and let him explode when he gets angry, cause most of the time externalizations of emotional developments don’t really work, but in this case it wonderfully does. Plus he’s really evily evil, yep, as evil as they come, so the villain label is defo deserved.
#5 – Maleficent
You gotta hand it to her: Cursing a baby to die when she becomes 16 is a pretty nasty way to get back at the king for not inviting you to the party. Which is also such a wonderful non-reason to be angry at someone, it blows my mind.
And then this costume! I mean, if you have a fashion sense that tells you to wear two big black horns on your head you have a plus in my book. Notice more of the black and purple thing going on with Maleficent, whose name is also a good reason to rank her that high.
#4 – Madame Mim
Apparently The Sword in the Stone, about the young boy Arthur who is to become King of England, isn’t a well known Disney film, but I certainly grew up watching it over and over, and most of the people I know have seen it too – and loved it.
Madame Mim certainly is to blame for that. Although she is the main antagonist, she only has about 20 min screentime, but she makes good use of it, being the opposite of Merlin in the infamous magical duel. She transforms into any sort of animal and ultimately is defeated (ahem, gender perspective, anyone?) by Merlin when he takes on the form of a germ and she gets the flu as a giant purple dragon.
#3 – Magica de Spell
Whud? you’re probably asking. Cause yes, technically, Magica de Spell (whose German name sounds far more right and funny) does not appear in any of the Disney animation movies, however, staying with the technicalities issue, this is a list of top ten Disney villains, and that she very much is.
Always clad in black, always after Scrooge McDuck’s Lucky Dime, and most certainly always up to no good. Being a self-taught witch she rocks, because she is one of the few active female characters within the whole DuckTales-universe. That doesn’t make her a feminist character, but it makes her a symbol for diversity, and even though we are supposed to not like her: isn’t her quest for world-dominating-glory plain endearing? Methinks so.
#2 – Ursula
The Little Mermaid not only features dashing Prince Eric, who owns a Bobtail (the sort of dog I always wanted as a kid), but also the wonderful Ursula. Now, I have to comment on the color-scheme, cause obviously she is part of a larger trend with the whole black and purple thing, greyish skin and white/grey hair. Yzma’s got it, and Madam Mim comes close. Interesting, right?
What is so refreshing about Ursula is that for once she’s not a needle-thin old spinster, but a Cecaelia (that’s what they’re called folks, look it up), with lots of curves and neon-makeup. I just learned that her appearance was modelled after the famous Drag Queen Divine, and now that I know it, I can definitely see the resemblance – and lover her even more for it. I also love how her plan kinda works out and for a few moments of evil bliss she gets to rule the ocean.
#1 – Yzma
The Emperor’s New Groove is undeniably one of the finer Disney movies. That is primarily the case because it is so self-aware of its status as a Disney film, having in mind all these traditions all the while planning to subvert them all. And the very same goes for Yzma. The Evil Witch Queen thing in black and purple appeared before in various forms, but unlike those others, Yzma is far too human and actually nice to just be an evil villainess. Ok, she lusts for power, but hey, she’s got a lover. She looks evil as in “that’s how evil characters stereotypically look in Disney-movies”, but she is very interested in fashion and maintaining her appearance. Plus, she ends up becoming a cute kitten with a ridiculous voice and looks really good with an oversized birthday sombrero. She’s not evil, just misguided. Misguided into my heart, that is!
So, there it lies, written down in digital stone. What do you think? Do you agree? Or do you have secret quirky favorite villains of your own?