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Toon Talk Special: Disney's 50 Most Wanted Villains - Part 1
Page 1 of 5

by Kirby Holt (archives)
October 28, 2005
Kirby looks at Disney's Poor Unfortunate Souls - the best Disney villains of all time. (Part 1 of 2)
 
A Toon Talk Special:
POOR UNFORTUNATE SOULS:
DISNEY'S 50 MOST WANTED VILLAINS

Part 1 of 2

A great actor once said that it was always more fun to play the bad guy. After all, what better character than the villain to really be able to let loose, if not to chew the scenery, than to at least burn it down?

The villains in Disney films have always had an almost cult following, a special fondness in the hearts of movie fans, even if they were threatening to skin a puppy or devour our hero. Villain merchandise is everywhere in the theme parks, where they are the "stars� of the popular Fantasmic! show. Famed animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas even devoted a whole book to the subject.

So why all this fascination with the dark side of Disney magic? Perhaps we are unable to fully care for the protagonist without a suitably hissable antagonist, a carry-over from other forms of entertainment, from literature to drama to mainstream motion pictures. After all, what would Sherlock Holmes be without his Professor Moriarty, or Luke Skywalker without his Darth Vader? Or perhaps we see in these villains sides of ourselves that we keep hidden, letting these outrageous characters do what we would never dream of, a vicarious trip into the shadows of our own souls. Or maybe its just what that great actor felt: they are more fun.

From Lady Macbeth to Hannibal Lecter, the Wicked Witch of the West to Bill the Butcher, the bad guy has always been big - bigger than life, that is - and the Disney villains are no exception.

So, to celebrate All Hallow's Eve, we "honor� these thieves, fiends and evil queens, and the Seven Deadly Sins they so readily embrace - and we so eagerly relish.

GREED

To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, "greed is good�, especially for these would-be treasure hunters, who seek their fortunes in both gold and jewels as well as ... dead animals?

LONG JOHN SILVER

Films: Treasure Island (1950)/Treasure Planet (2002)
Actor/Voice Actor: Robert Newton/Brian Murray
Supervising Animator: Glen Keane
DVDs: Both available separately

In both Disney versions of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic swashbuckler, the character of Silver is a contradiction: on one hand, he's leading a mutinous plot to take over the ship; on the other, he becomes a father figure of sorts for young Jim Hawkins. But is their relationship just a ruse for Silver to get closer to the treasure map? Or will his true feelings for the boy overcome his true nature?

Partners in Crime: His fellow mutineers.
Quote: (from Treasure Island) "Fortune sits on the shoulder of him what schemes.�
(from Treasure Planet) "That treasure is owed to me, by t'under!�
Final Verdict: With the help of Jim, Silver manages to escape in a lifeboat.

PRINCE JOHN

Film: Robin Hood (1973)
Voice Actor: Peter Ustinov
Animator: Ollie Johnston
DVD: Available

While the king's away, the prince will play ... and the people of Nottingham will have to pay. "P.J.� wallows in gold-encrusted decadence while his minions tax the poor out of their homes. Their only hope: that pesky Robin Hood and his Merry Men of Sherwood Forest, who threaten to put an end to John's selfish little party once and for all.

Partners in Crime: Sir Hiss, the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Quote: "This crown gives me a feeling of power! POWER!�
Final Verdict: The treasonous mama's boy is sentenced to hard labor in a penal rock quarry.

MADAME MEDUSA

Film: The Rescuers (1977)
Voice Actor: Geraldine Page
Animator: Milt Kahl
DVD: Available

Although she doesn't have that cool "turn you to stone� stare like her mythological namesake, Medusa does strike fear - especially if you're an orphan. This skid row boutique owner wants to move uptown, and her eye is on the Devil's Eye diamond to do it for her. Too bad she's afraid of mice.

Partners in Crime: Mr. Snoops, pet crocodiles Brutus and Nero.
Quote: (To Penny) "You get down there and find the big diamond, or you will never see that teddy again!�
Final Verdict: Last seen sinking into the Louisiana bayou with her crocodiles snapping at her heels.
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