3) Comic Relief. Normally, this isn't an important factor in a villain at all, but we're talking about Disney here, not Saw. These movies are satisfying for everyone, because they are designed for everyone.
4) Ability. A bumbling villain isn't an effective villain. The more capable they are, the more dangerous they are.
5) Evil Acts. A villain is ultimately judged by their most heinous acts. It's up to me to decide if 101 pretty evil acts is more or less heinous than 1 truly terrible act. So... here we go.
Now? The candidates...
Over the past week and a half, I've conducted an informal little Villains tournament. I'll be using the winner of each category (known as Fan's Choice) plus the 2nd place nominees in the 2 closest races.
Here we go...
Syndrome was a fan of Mr Incredible as a youngster, and was rebuffed by Mr. Incredible one to many times.
Syndrome hated the notion of anyone being "Special" so he worked hard to kill any of the "Supers". Killing humans is a good way to earn points on the Evilness Scale. He also is guilty of kidnapping on several counts. Robbery too. He's pretty evil.
Syndrome is motivated by a childhood embarassment. He was humiliated by Mr. Incredible and decided that the best way to get even was to prove that his human-made gadgets could replace the powers of the Supers. He even plans to sell his inventions, because "When everyone's super, no one will be."
Syndrome is funny, mostly in appearance. He's got clever dialogue that will appear to the adults in the audience, and his demise with Jack Jack is definitely hilarious, but for the most part, he's not particularly funny.
Syndrome has a ton of aptitude for villainy. He's been successful enough to get himself a giant private evil island. He was inventing rocket packs when he was a kid. He invented the Omnidroid, a veritable killing machine.
Syndrome unleashed the Omnidroid on Metroville in order to stop it himself, thus becoming the hero he'd always dreamed of being. Not really that evil. He killed some supers. Very evil. I'd give him a 6.5 out of 10.
3 out of 5. He's all over it in Ability, Motive, and Evil, but he's not funny and his evil act is pretty weak overall.
Hopper (A Bug's Life)
Runner Up Pixar Villain Division
Hopper, the grasshopper, is the leader of a grasshopper hive... er...clan...or whatever. He's basically made the ant colony into his indentured servants. He requires them to gather grain and seeds to feed his group, most importantly at the expense of the ants, whom he terrorizes.Evilness:
Well... on an evil scale, terrorizing innocents is high on the list. Having slaves is also high. Enjoying having slaves is even higher. Hopper is not a nice dude in any way. He's cruel to his brother. He's cruel to the ants. He's cruel. Very evil.Motive:
His motive is a little weak, I'd say. He's basically evil just because he's bigger than the ants, and because he's lazy. He doesn't want to gather the grain himself (not that he would even if the grasshoppers were), so he's used his imposing strength and stature to enslave a whole colony. Not cool, but not some sort of higher evil purpose either.Comic Relief:
Hopper is NOT funny. Not at all. In fact, Annie
(Who will hopefully be providing a Guest WWW column in 2 weeks) thinks he's too scary. I know for a fact his animatronic doppleganger at Disney World is absolutely terrifying to children. (which IS hilarious, but not the kind of comic relief I'm talking about.)Ability:
Also kinda low, to be honest. He's duped a couple of times by a rag-tag group of circus bugs. He's not brave. He's a bully, and that's pretty much it. An effective one, but just a bully.Evil Acts:
Again... Slavery is pretty evil. If you have to pick one especially bad thing, he does try to strangle Flik at the end of the film before he's snatched up by a bird.SKULLS
: 3 out of 5. He's really mean and scary, but lacks a lot in the Motive and Comedy departments..Ursula (The Little Mermaid)Winner of the Hand-drawn Animated Female Villain DivisionShort Synopsis:
She's a creature known as a cecealia, or Sea Witch, who lives under the sea (har har) and basically acts as a "Devil" of sorts. She magically gives mer-people their desires in exchange for their souls.Evil:
Well, first off, she steals people's souls in sucker deals. Not cool. She's deceptive. She really, and I mean really
hates King Triton (and by extension his offspring). She's got no qualms about killing, lying, cheating or doing whatever she needs to do in order to get her way.Motive:
Her motive is very similar to Malificent's (who came in last in the poll). She was once part of the kingdom, but was banished by King Triton (For unspecified reasons). Her entire purpose in life is to get revenge on King Triton and the Mer-world. Her biggest catch would be the soul of Ariel, Triton's daughter (and the title character).Comic Relief:
Ursula is truly an awesome character, and one of her strengths is the balance Disney found between her being pretty mean and evil and her being funny. She IS funny. Her song "Poor Unfortunate Souls" is full of puns and humor. Great stuff. Also her appearance was modeled after the famous Drag Queen, Divine. How could it not be funny?Ability:
She's a pretty adept witch. Over the course of the movie, she makes Ariel a human. She makes herself a human. She steals Ariels voice. She makes herself a giant. She creates a huge storm. Basically, she's got skillz.Evil Act:
Hard to pick just one, so I'm actually gonna go with her general enjoyment in setting the mer-people up to fail in order to get their souls.SKULLS:
Ursula gets a solid 4.5 out of 5. She's evil, funny, able, and has performed the deeds to back them up. The one downfall is that I think she's maybe her mark (Ariel) is a little too easy. A gullible teen, essentially.Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmations)Runner up Hand-drawn Animated Female Villain DivisionShort Synopsis:
A rich old woman who wants to turn dalmation puppies into a fur coat. That's...about it.Evilness:
Well... She wants to kill puppies for her own fashion-forwardness. That's pretty bad. Also not entirely different than your average dog-eating person in real life. It's only evil because we westerners have made dogs into something more than cows. I dunno.. obviously, I'd prefer for her to not kill puppies.Motives:
Fashion? Eh... I dunno. It's lame.Comic Relief:
Well, she's not particularly funny either. She has Horace and Jasper as her sidekicks, and they are pretty funny, but she's probably the most...absentee of all the villains in this poll. Not there much= not funny much.Ability:
Well... Um... She drives like a maniac, but she also wrecks them. She's fairly intelligent, I suppose, but more manipulative than anything.Evil Acts:
Again... she PLANS to kill some puppies for coat-making purposes. That's about it.SKULLS:
1 out of 5. I honestly think Cruella wouldn't even be this beloved if not for the animation itself. She's mostly along for the ride.Scar (The Lion King)Winner Hand Drawn Animated Animal Villain DivisionShort Synopsis:
A character modeled after Claudius from Hamlet. He's the brother of the king, he plots to kill the king and succeeds. He takes over the kingdom.Evil:
Gotta say... Killing your benevolent brother who cares about you more than you deserve is pretty evil. Pinning it on your innocent nephew? Really evil. Making an unholy alliance with Hyenas? Just plain evil.Motives:
Weak, I'd say. He wants to be king. It wasn't good enough being the well fed brother of the king. That's pretty much it. Simple jealousy. Kinda boring.Comic Relief:
Some would say that Scar isn't funny, but his lines and Jeremy Irons' delivery are both so perfect. I think he's hilarious. I especially love his dry dealings with Simba and Zazu both.Ability:
Well, he's a great strategist (in the short term) but he's severely lacking in foresight, knowledge of the ecosystem (I mean...how in the hell did the Pridelands get so barren so fast? C'mon Scar!), and he's definitely not an adept fighter. Damn he's smart though.Evil Act:
The aforementioned murder/frame-up plan. Pretty much as evil as it gets.SKULLS
: 4 out of 5. Very evil. Very funny, but sort of lacking in the Motive department, I'd say. Captain Hook (Peter Pan)Winner of the Hand Drawn Animated Male Villain DivisionShort Synopsis:
A pirate captain, stranded in Neverland, who really hates him some non-growing up Peter Pan.Evilness:
Who hates kids? I mean... c'mon man! Actually... he's mostly just bored, and he just wants Peter to leave him the hell alone. Not that evil really... more crotchety. He does, on many occasions seriously try to kill a bunch of kids which is pretty evil, I'd say.Motive:
Again... boredom and the want to be left alone. Also, he's got himself this whole notion that as a pirate, he's obligated to act like a pirate. In this case, killing and pillaging.Comic Relief:
Here's where Hook takes it over them all. He's funny because he's got that dual quality of being both mean and a pretty big coward. He's hilariously terrified of Tic Tock Croc (not that you can blame him). He's a dandy. He's a fop. He's the archetype of several different comic antagonistsAbility:
He's obviously got some pirating skills, as he's been the captain of a pirate ship (without mutiny) for what can only be many, many years. He is a manipulator, and he's educated, and he's not a bad swordsman...especially for having just the one hand.Evil Acts:
Probably his worst act was either trying to bomb Peter (and at the same time loop-holing Tinkerbelle in the process) or the many, many times he tries in earnest to kill Peter, the Lost Boys, Wendy, Smee...Everyone.SKULLS:
Well.. He gets a 4 out of 5. The Motive is weak, at best. The comedy is as high as it gets, though, and really I think he's got a lot of evil in him. It takes someone evil to choose piracy to begin with.