Top Ten Animated Disney Villains
I have a couple qualifiers for this one! The reason I am doing animated is because Marvel and Lucasfilms are ‘technically’ Disney and naturally Darth Vader would have to be on the list and that just screws everything up! I will be basing my list on two different attributes that I feel makes a great Disney villain - intimidation and motivation.
DOCTOR FACILIAR, AKA SHADOW MAN – THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
Ok… So I admit, Doctor Faciliar isn't the most memorable villain. His motivations are also a bit hazy, but when it comes to intimidation the Shadow Man hits the max. This witch doctor wants to rule New Orleans and is going to accomplish that with the help of his “friends from the other side.” I don't know about you, but this sounds like a guy praying to the dead for help. What’s even more intimidating is the source of his name. The reason they call him the Shadow Man is because he can cast shadow demons to attack your shadow and whatever happens to your shadow happens to you. Do you remember how hard it was for Peter Pan to catch his shadow? Imagine if that shadow was trying to kill you. Because Doctor Faciliar seems to have all the power and no way to defeat him, I put him at number 10.
HOPPER – A BUGS LIFE
One of Pixar’s first (technically not Disney at the time of release but I count it for this list) and I personally think one of their best. The reason I put Hopper on this list is because of his art for deception. At the beginning of the film it looks like his motivation and intimidation are completely real. Later, we find out Hopper has a pair of 2’s with a really good poker face. About 3/4 of the way through the film we find out that a colony of ants fighting just a few grass hoppers in an unfair match. Although we are led to believe the hoppers hold the bigger stick, we come to find out there is power in numbers. Hopper understanding this, makes sure that he takes on one ant at a time. The intimidation he uses is actually extremely intelligent. By taking down one ant that rebels at a time, he looks all powerful and keeps the rest of the colony at bay. He worked out a system to get fed and feared without any actual power. To me, that’s a good villain.
MOTHER GOTHEL – TANGLED
Take everything you don't like about your mother, mother-in-law, and best friend’s mom - quadruple that and presto! You get Mother Gothel. Mother Gothel has one of the most intimidating super powers of all Disney films… manipulation! You might think I’m being sarcastic because Maleficent, the wicked witch and Jafar are probably coming to your mind. I stand by the fact that manipulation holds more power over Rapunzel then any magic a witch can conjure. The motivation? Staying young and beautiful forever. The intimidation? Making Rapunzel believe anything and everything Mother Gothel says is true. “Look at you, as fragile as a flower. Still a little sapling, just a sprout. You know why we stay up in this tower (I know but) That's right, to keep you safe and sound, dear.”
Creepy fact about Mother Gothel - any time she shows affection to Rapunzel, Mother Gothel touches Rapunzel’s hair… think about it.
HADES – HERCULES
This might feel like a cheap choice. The dude is a god and basically has infinite power while being immortal. Of course he is intimidating! The reason I put Hades on this list is because of his charm. Why is the Joker such a good villain? There are a lot of reasons, but one of which is because by the end of the film/comic, you find yourself kind of voting for him. I think Hades has that same flare. James Woods is funny and charming. Not only that, but the darkness that comes out when he makes Hercules mortal for a day is a scary and in stark contrast to the charming conman he had been the rest of the film.
URSULA – THE LITTLE MERMAID
What’s a Disney villain list without Ursula. She too is a mistress of the art of manipulation. Also, anyone that can shape shift seems to put the eerie cherry on the evil cake. They could be standing right in front of you and you have no clue! “And I fortunately know a little magic. It’s a talent that I always have possessed. And here lately, please don’t laugh. I use it on behalf. Of the miserable, lonely, and depressed pathetic.” Need I sing more? Maybe it’s because I’m not a giant female octopus, but I couldn't really relate to the motivations Ursula claimed. Even though I don't totally understand where she is coming from, she is still a creepy, powerful puppetmaster with control issues. Seeing how the sea is already scary and Ursula makes it absolutely terrifying, I put her on this list.
LOTSO – TOY STORY 3
Lotso made this list for the opposite reasons the Shadow Man made the list. He isn't too intimidating really. He is a limping teddy bear with one strong baby toy as his muscle. Although I was more terrified of his clown friend, I felt that was a personal thing rather than a plot point. Lotso’s motivation was not only clear, but almost understandable. Lotso was the prized possession for this little girl and was accidentally left in a field. After finding his way back to the little girl he realized how easily replaced he was. Being hurt and feeling betrayed, he vowed to help other toys realize they aren't as important as they think they are. I don't know about you, but I don't blame the dude!
SCAR – THE LION KING
I know many of you think that Scar should be higher than this but let me defend myself. Not only do I feel the other three are stronger villains, I feel Scar lacks on the intimidation criterion. Scar is a conniving and brilliant villain. He saw three steps ahead and convinced everyone that he had nothing to do with Mufasa’s murder. He manipulated a child into thinking he was responsible for his father’s death and no one would ever forgive him. Scar gained power by putting together a small army of hyenas and not only constructed a whole plan, put executed it perfectly. What puts Scar at number four is his brilliance. What keeps him from number one is the fact that his power relies completely on the hyenas.
Fun thought - Honestly the heroes of that story are Timon and Pumba. They are the yin to Scar’s yang. Scar made Simba believe he couldn't do anything and Timon and Pumba made Simba believe he could do anything… Oh yeah… Rafiki too…
SHERE KHAN – THE JUNGLE BOOK (2016)
Animated? Maybe not, but he is too good to leave out of this list. I know many of you have not seen the new Jungle Book so I wont spoil anything, but I felt Shere Khan was the strongest part of that film. He was physically intimidating. He was intellectually intimidating. AND his motivation was completely clear. The steps this tiger takes to get what he wants make perfect sense. He is so bad that you start to love him. You fall victim to what I call the Darth Maul syndrome. Darth Maul was obviously evil. He was so bad and looked so cool that you were secretly hoping he would survive and maybe even win his fight against the two Jedi. Shere Khan is so bad and epic looking that you start to secretly root for him. That is the mark of an amazing villain.
JAFAR – ALLADIN
Jafar is the ultimate puppet master. He was magic and quite honestly could have killed the Sultan with ease, but he waited instead. He knew if he acted too quickly his power would be temporary. He secretly controlled the Sultan and got in his good graces for what we can presume was years. He then finds the “diamond in the rough” and manipulates him to go get this all powerful genie. Once that was successful he becomes a genie himself and finally gets to sit in the throne he’s always wanted, with all the people he hates waiting on him hand and foot. If it wasn't for one minor oversight, he would have won.
CLAUDE FROLLO - THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
This might come from left field and if that’s the case - I would bet good money you haven't seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame in your adulthood. This dude is MESSED UP! The trustworthy position held by a priest creates a stark and scary contrast to the evil nature of the character. He kidnaps a baby after killing his family. Raises the baby in captivity but makes the kid think it’s for his own safety. When the baby is grown and deformed, Frollo makes him think he is too ugly for anyone to love. After burning some villages and being a sadistic freak, he meets this beautiful gypsy. When he offers himself to her and she declines, he decides to kill her instead. An entire song in that film is about his lust for her and because he can’t have her no one can. “Like fire! Hellfire! This fire in my skin! This burning! Desire! Is turning me to sin… It is the gypsy girl! The witch who sent this flame! … And let her taste the fires of hell! Or else let her be mine and mine alone! Hellfire! Dark fire! Now gypsy, it's your turn! Choose me or! Your pyre! Be mine or you will burn!” The reason I put Claude Frollo as Disney’s number one bad guy is because he is a villain that could actually exist. He represents actual creeps in this world. Hades, Ursula, Scar and Jafar are all very obviously fictional characters. If you told me Claude Frollo was based on a real person, I would absolutely believe you. That’s why he is number one!
Did I miss any? I am human and believe it or not, I could have forgotten an excellent Disney villain. Let me know! Tweet me @Reel_contender or email me at email@example.com
Thanks for reading!