Monday, November 11, 2019

Disnovember 2019 - Top 5 Villain Portrayals


One of the things I love most about animation is that a character can look like whatever you wanted.  There were no limits.  If your movie was about a living blender, you just drew the blender, maybe slapped a face on it, and there you go.  But that only gets you half way to a good character – the other half, usually at least, is an excellent voice actor, someone who can really emote with just their voice.  I’ll be honest with you, a good vocal performance in an animated movie has a much higher chance of bringing me to tears than any live-action performance.  And if they can do that, just imagine how much they can terrify as well.

5. George Sanders – Shere Khan – The Jungle Book
I really do love a smooth-talking villain, someone who can seduce a victim while sharpening their claws.  In The Jungle Book, George Sanders pull this off perfectly with Shere Khan, the tiger with an obsession with killing the human Mowgli.  Giving the Bengal tiger a British accent honed over decades in film and television work gave him a regal tone.  Besides having experience with playing royalty as the titular role in King Richard and the Crusaders, he had played a popular villain the year before Shere Khan when he was cast as Mr. Freeze in Batman (1966).
Favorite line – “You're trying my patience. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN!”


4. Pat Carroll – Ursula – The Little Mermaid
There’s something to be said when you can tell had a good time.  Familiar to a few of us doing voices in cartoons like Pound Puppies and Foofur, Pat Carroll has a much longer filmography than anyone on this list.  Surprisingly, she’s still playing Ursula to this day in Kingdom Hearts.  She exemplifies the manipulative witch so wonderfully, and unlike most of them before her, she doesn’t play the quiet evil like Maleficent or the crazy evil like Cruella De Vil.  She just enjoys being evil, and that’s great in my book.
Favorite line – "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. I can't stand it! It's too easy! The child is in love with a human. And not just any human. A prince!"


3. James Garner – Lyle Tiberius Rourke – Atlantis: The Lost Empire/Brian Murray – John Silver – Treasure Planet
I couldn’t choose between these two heel turns.  Both of these actors do a fantastic job playing the supportive characters to our main men, whether they’re in a leadership or mentoring role.  And then halfway through the movies when they show their true colors, the changes each character makes are different but equally great.  Garner’s Rourke shifts ever so slightly to still trying to be friendly but never dissuaded, while Murray’s Jones becomes over-the-top villainous, while still being reluctant to hurt the one person standing in his way.  Both portrayals really make their villains stand out from the rest of Disney’s obviously evil bad guys.
Favorite line – From Rourke: “It takes a lot to get under my skin, but congratulations, you just won the solid-gold kewpie doll.”


2. Keith David – Dr. Facilier – The Princess and the Frog
Here I am talking about Keith David again.  I could listen to this guy narrate pigs having sex and I’d still be cool with it.  I really enjoy how quickly he shifts from his cool persona to anger so quickly and back, like when he explains that he can’t use voodoo on himself.  It’s certainly different from the voices I’m used to hearing from him, but it’s a blessing because it tells me he could do absolutely anything and I’d still love him.
Favorite line – “Come on, Tiana... You're almost there."



1. Eartha Kitt – Yzma – Emperor’s New Groove
This is the biggest surprise for me.  Famous for her portrayal as Catwoman in Batman ’66, (the second Batman bad guy to make this list!) nearly 35 years later, here she is “scary beyond all reason.”  She plays a completely over-the-top villain, making up an incredible plan to get rid of her emperor that just sounds funnier the angrier she gets.  I just love hearing her complain about her imbecilic assistant, Kronk.  The only thing funnier than her normal voice work is the high pitch once she changes and how she just accepts it.
Favorite line – “I’ll smash it with a hammer!”


So do you have any favorites?  Do you like Jeremy Irons's Scar or Tony Jay's Frollo?

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