Saturday, September 20, 2008

The 50 Greatest Animated Villains of All Time (Part 4)

You've waited for it, you've asked for it, here it is! The 4th installment of my 50 Greatest Animated Villains of All Time list!

Let's see who didn't make the cut into the final 20:

Part 1 (#'s 50-41)
Part 2 (#'s 40-31)
Part 3 (#'s 30-21)

Today we're counting down Villains #20-11. It's only one more part after this one, folks.

Let me clarify some points for this list. All of these entrants are based on their appearances in the medium of of Animation ONLY. If this was a list of Comic Book Villains, there would have been no doubt that Darkseid, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Magneto and a few others that I'll cover later on would be right near the top, if not in the top 10 or so. Also, several forms of animation have been considered and included: Traditional Cel, CGI, Stop-Motion, even hybrids of Live Action and Animation. While in that sense I have little bias, I do believe that the "Golden Age" forged better villains and most of the greatest ones have all been Two-Dimensionally animated.

Let's get started, shall we?

#20: Starscream - Transformers

Voiced by: Chris Latta

Kicking off the Top 20 is Starscream, the self-proclaimed "Second-in-Command" of the Decepticons from Transformers. Why is he so awesome? Well, for one thing, his alt-mode is a jet. And being a jet, he can actually fly while shooting at crap, which is awesome. He's also voiced by the late Chris Latta, who also voiced Cobra Commander.

Due to him being such a douchebag and a semi-competent leader, he's the head of all of the other Decepticon Jets, who all happen to look like him. This little power trip has gone to his head and he constantly yearns for Megatron's position as the King of the Decepticons, and isn't concerned about keeping his aspirations a secret. At first he brown-nosed, which later evolved into outright "You're a pathetic leader! Just die already so I can usurp your job and glory!"

During the Movie, he finally got his chance and threw the injured Megatron into the cold depths of space to leave him for dead in order to finally be crowned as Ruler. And then a newly-reformatted Galvatron showed up to blast him to bits. You'd think that his story would end there, but it didn't. He's the only character whose vengeful ghost wandered Cybertron Post-Movie to seek revenge and be resurrected. After his body was finally restored after tricking Unicron of all things, he was later destroyed again, hopefully for good. But no, his spirit shows up again in Beast Wars, over 10 years after G1 ended, to continue causing havoc. You have to admit, that's pretty hardcore.

: Jafar - Aladdin

Voiced By: Jonathan Freeman

Bringing a Disney villain into the fray is Jafar from Aladdin. Not the first villain from Disney that made the list (see the Evil Queen at #21), nor is he certainly the last. Like many villains from this production company, he was a sorcerer, he wished to gain control of the world, and worked with deception.

You see, he was the Grand Vizier (top advisor) to the Sultan of Agrabah, but he wished to kill him and Jasmine and gain ultimate power. It's a shock that no one saw his evilness coming, despite looking like the male version of Maleficient from "Sleeping Beauty."

He had his trusty Snake Staff to use magic and mainly hypnotize people to do his bidding, a little prop that Disney obviously made I toy out of that I owned back in the day. He almost wins, but when he couldn't harness to power of Robin Williams's spontaneity, he wished to become "The Most Powerful Being in The Universe with a longer attention span," aka: A genie. Of course, his arrogance got the best of him and never realize that he had to become a slave to a lamp and was defeated...until the next movie. He was one of those rare Disney villains that didn't die at the end of the movie. In recent memory, that usually means a sequel and/or a tv series will follow.

Disney got lucky that "Return of Jafar" was actually decent. Now that Jafar had Genie powers, he was even more powerful and almost took over the Earth, until the Gilbert Gottfried parrot Iago destroyed his lamp in order to finally kill him.

#18: Skeletor - He-Man

Voiced by
: Alan Oppenheimer

What villains list would be complete without Skeletor from Masters of The Universe? Nerds that are trapped in the 80s will clamor that he should be higher but damn them, I grew up after this series faded from memory.

Like several 80's villains, he strives to rule the Ultimate Playset of Ultimate Destiny by constantly going forth with weekly schemes that were always thwarted by muscly homoerotic hero. But you must give Skeletor credit: He's got his hatred, muscles, and fucking skull-head working for him. No, he wasn't born that way, acid got thrown in his face and he miraculously survived. Or maybe it was always like that and he was just a demon. I bet it all depends on which blister pack you read off of.

He always sent his aptly-named minions like Beast Man, Ramm-Man, Two-Bad, Moss Man, Man-E-Faces (EDIT: Those last 2 weren't evil) and Evil-Lynn, who, surprisingly, was not a man, to kill and destroy the Eternians to gain control of Castle Greyskull, but since it was a G-Rated Filmation cartoon, all they could do was prod each other with itchy feathers sculpted to look like swords. Offscreen. Skeletor himself, however, seemed more badass than that. One of those "Raah, I'm a talking skull guy, and I'm actually going to find a parent-friendly way to kill you" villains with magical powers geared for death led him to be perceived as ultimate evil. I believe he's currently running for President. Good for him.

#17: Elmer Fudd - Looney Tunes

Voiced by: Arthur Q. Bryan, Mel Blanc

No one quite defines "Classic Cartoon Villain" much like the Looney Tunes' Elmer Fudd. Bugs Bunny's most reoccurring villain served to provide a hunter/prey perspective on the two characters. In most of the cartoons he appeared in involved Elmer attempting to hunt rabbits, finds Bugs and tries to shoot him, Bugs manages to not get killed by outsmarting him, Elmer gives up, cartoon ends.

Elmer might not be the smartest villain out there, nor does he have perfect speech, but he is certainly memorable. He never gives up his thrill for the hunt. He loves to track things down and shoot them for a nice trophy that he'll never receive.* Perhaps its for those three qualities.

You know that he is an excellent villain where every subsequent Looney Tunes villain was modeled after him. Yosemite Sam, Marvin The Martian, Taz, Pete Puma, Gossamer, Hugo The Abominable Snowman, Random hillbilly characters, and that really offensive racial stereotype that appeared in "All This And Rabbit Stew" were all clones of Elmer. But no one cared, as long as the children rooted for Bugs to give them their just desserts.

What were his finest hours? First of all, there was the Chuck Jones "Hunting Trilogy" from the 50's that pitted him against Bugs and Daffy, as well as the animation classic "What's Opera, Doc," the only time that Elmer managed to kill the wabbit with his "Speaw & Magic Helmet."

#16: Hades - Hercules

Voiced by: James Woods

No one quite exemplifies evil like the Greek God of the Underworld. Slightly bastardzing the Mythology, Hades ruled the Underworld and vowed to one day conquer Mt. Olympus and the World due to being given the job. As the movie went, he manged to unleash the Titans from their prison when the planets aligned to destroy Mt. Olympus, attempts to sabotage Hercules from fulfilling his destiny of stopping Hades, and manipulating Megara with the fate of her soul to accomplish the other two goals.

His greatness is mostly attributed to his voice actor, James Woods. He's one of those great actors that make awesome voice actors. He took a rather horrifying demon and turned him into a fast talking con artist. While a lesser VO would ruin the character, Woods does Funny/Evil quite well, as it shows in other projects like Family Guy, The Clerks Animated Series, and the Recess movie (but let's not talk about that one).

#15: Bizarro - Superman

Voiced by: Tim Daly (DCAU, pictured)

Bizarro is most famous in the villain industry for being the Anti-Superman. Where Superman is selfless, heroic, and embodies justice, Bizarro is dumb, evil, and wishes to save the world by destroying it with his backwards speech impediment. Hell, he even happens to have the opposite reaction to Kryptonite: While it weakens Superman, it only makes Bizarro stronger. That's not good no matter how you put it. In the animated realm, he serves this purpose, to give Superman a perspective of what he would be if he existed in a completely opposite manner.

He happens to be a denizen of Bizarro World, where everything that is "normal" here is the exact opposite there, right down to the clothes and the logic. If Bizarro is told that someone is his best friend in the whole world, Bizarro must kill that guy.

Thanks to him, in recent times, the term "Bizarro" means anyone or anything that is the opposite of something else. Need I remind people of the "Bizarro Jerry" episode of "Seinfeld" or the classic "Bizarro" episode of "Sealab 2021?"

#14: Ursula - The Little Mermaid

Voiced by: Pat Carroll

When one wishes to define the term "Classic Disney Villainess," the arrows usually point to Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Deceptive, bitchy, much uglier than the protagonist, and possessing magical abilities are all checked off on her list. As the story goes, she gives Ariel the opportunity to be human for three days to fall in love with Prince Eric, but Ariel had to relinquish her voice in return. If Ariel didn't get the kiss within three days, she gets her voice and mermaid tail back, but her soul would belong to Ursula and become a polyp in her lair.

Of course, a true villainess wouldn't let Ariel get "Happily Ever After," she stole Ariel's voice for herself to become a modestly hot human female to win the Prince's heart. This, of course, fails, and she's turned into sea foam and learned she has a soul all along. Wait...that's not how it went. No wonder why every sequel and prequel sucked.

#13: Shredder & Krang - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Voiced by: James Avery (Shredder, 80's series), Scottie Ray (Shredder, 2003 series), Pat Fraley (Krang)

If you remember way back when, Listverse's "Top 10 Animated Villains" list had Shredder as #1. I say, that's too high, #13 suits him a little bit better.

Once again, they're villains that define the 80's: Want to rule the world, have bumbling henchman carrying out increasingly elaborated schemes, and mostly served to pimp out merchandise. The leader of the Foot Clan, Shredder wishes to take over the world with his mutagen and Technodrome Playset, but is constantly thwarted by four mutant turtles that his mutagen inadvertently created. He's seen as the most evil person in the world, but his constant defeat made him into a whiny crybaby who eats pudding in the bathroom at night because he couldn't defeat the TMNT. Just like just about every neutered 80's animated villain. I'm pretty sure that he, Skeletor, Mumm-Ra, and Cobra Commander all go to the same "Villain Therapy" sessions.

But say what you will about the 2003 TMNT series, it did Shredder right. He was more terrifying, maliced, and feared by all than his 80's counterpart. He may have still created the TMNT, but at least he didn't whine about it. He pretty much turned Baxter Stockman into a brain in a jar instead of a fly, created several monstrous clones of himself, and rocked that awesome costume even more than the original version. If any of his henchman failed, it wasn't "Next episode, turtles!" Rather, it was "Bang, you're dead."

And I've believed that you can't talk about Shredder without talking about Krang. An exiled warlord from Dimension X, he was both figuratively and literally the brains behind the whole "World Domination" operation. Always pushing Shredder into plotting to take over the world or getting energy to power up the Technodrome, and demeaning him whenever he failed. He was at his most evil when he gained that famous Cyborg Body and wreacked havoc on New York himself. He almost won, but the turtles' new weapons (only $4.99!) stopped him in his tracks. Oddly enough, his look inspired the brain-like Utrom aliens in the 2003 series. (EDIT: Turns out it's the other way around. The Utroms from the original comic inspired Krang)

With apologies to the following spoiler, in a completely circular plot twist for this entry, the main Shredder of the 2003 series is revealed to be a murderous Utrom named Ch'rell. Not quite Krang, but it was close enough.

#12: Cruella de Vil - 101 Dalmatians

Voiced by: Betty Lou Gerson

She wanted to kill 99 Dalmatian Puppies to make clothes out of them. That's evil, folks.

She also got a song written by one of the protagonists about her in-movie about how much of an evil bitch she was. You don't see that kind of thing happen, in animation or real life.

#11: Boris Badenov & Natasha Fatale - Rocky & Bullwinkle

Voiced by: Paul Frees (Boris), June Foray (Natasha)

We end part #4 with one of the most classic animation duos that ever were: Boris & Natasha from "Rocky & Bullwinkle." Symbolizing the Red Scare, Boris & Natasha originally sought to steal the Rocket fuel Formula that "Moose and Squirrel" had discovered in an elaborate scheme to eliminate all television from the US that would aid their fictional homeland of Pottsylvania in world domination. Of course, this was met with obvious failure.

Since then, whenever Rocky & Bullwinkle went on an adventure, Boris & Natasha were following attempting to steal the treasure that our heroes were after. Again, it was met with failure. Humorous failure, but still failure. But the children of the 60's and beyond loved them all the same.

So it's come down to this: 40 villains down, 10 to go! Who is the Greatest Animated Villain of all time?

Tune in next time for "The 50 Greatest Animated Villains of All Time (Part 5)" -OR- "Buck, and Cover!"


Dan said...

I hate to do it but I'm gonna be "that guy" for a sec and nitpick. Now don't worry it's nothing major just a few little things, over all this was an awesome post and I'm loving the countdown.

With that being said two quick things. Moss Man & Man-E-Faces were actually good guys. Granted Man-E-Faces started out as a bad guy but only because Skeletor tricked him into being one, Mossman however was always a good guy.

Second thing, you actually have it backwards about Krang. Krang was actually inspired by the Utroms from the original Eastman/Laird comic series. They decided to make the 2003 version a little closer to the original source and brought the Utroms back as they were originally intended.

I know, I know. I didn't want to be that guy but my inner Geek wouldn't let me sleep at night if I didn't set the matter straight.

Galileo said...

The fact that I can't tell the difference between the good & the bad MoTU guys should simply say as much how bland that series really is. Purple seems to identify evil.

And touche on Krang. Did not realize that. I'll change it immediately.

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nostalgiajunkie said...

Ursula is one of my favorite Disney villains. She even gets a catchy song. Fantastic performance by the voice actress, too.

Cart Anggle said...

I don’t see animated movies a lot because usually I don’t like these types of movies. For me it’s totally a waste of time. But I liked your blog and your all information. Can you tell me about some of best villains characters in animated movies?

Quinn Alexander said...

I see a disturbing lack of Bill Cipher in this list. Why!?

Anonymous said...

Whete is Mumm-ra