As Disney’s infamous ‘Sleeping Beauty’ villainess Maleficent gets her own live-action reboot in theaters this week, we’ll use today’s Roundtable to highlight some of our other favorite animated baddies from movies and TV.
“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us!” Bugs Bunny had a real stable of rogues, but the Western outlaw Yosemite Sam was the fastest gun north, south, east and west of the Pecos. His visual design with those angry eyes, no face, and diminutive stature exudes cartoon villainy. In ‘Bugs Bunny Rides Again’, his shenanigans are as timeless as any Western to ever grace the silver screen.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
So many of the cartoons I grew up with stuck with very comfortable formulas. Oh no! This week, Skeletor is wielding the Diamond Staff of Whatchamadoozit! Aargh! It’s Mumm-Ra and the evil clone of Cheetara he’s sent to blah blah blah…
That’s why Cobra Commander and his gloriously insane schemes get the nod as my all-time favorite. One episode of ‘G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero‘ swirls around the Baroness and her Eau du Cobra mind-control perfume that was mixed together from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. They tried a variation of the same scheme by sneaking subliminal messages into the mediocre glam metal of Cold Slither.
In another episode, Cobra disrupted all other television programming, limiting the world’s broadcast entertainment to the Cobra Television Network. Not only did it empower Cobra to brainwash anyone who tuned in, but they extorted millions upon millions of dollars from advertisers by being the only game in town. At one point, Cobra Commander decides to not overthrow the United States but to use an obscure loophole in a treaty with Russia to lay claim to Alaska. Just Alaska. Later, Cobra hosted a telethon — complete with Destro doing stand-up comedy — to fund international terrorism. For crying out loud, Cobra shrank themselves to a few inches in height and donated themselves to a G.I. Joe toy drive. I could keep going, but I’d basically be recapping every single episode of ‘G.I. Joe’.
Although the movie itself isn’t often touted as being much, I sure enjoyed Disney’s last (and I mean “last” as in “the last ever”) traditionally animated princess flick, ‘The Princess and the Frog‘. I love the style, the music and the even the story itself. And my favorite part of it is the villain, Dr. Facilier a.k.a. The Shadow Man. It’s about time that Disney provided a genuinely creepy and disturbing bad guy. Using the dark magic of voodoo, his actions are evil and unpredictable. Truly adding fear to the character is the rich voice of Keith David. Even though his voice is deep and scary, it has a certain soothing charm that perfectly matches the conniving nature of the Shadow Man.
M. Enois Duarte
After racking my brain for a while (and after some light research to refresh my memory), I suddenly remembered a 1997 animated movie from Warner Bros. involving cats and the golden age of Hollywood. It’s called ‘Cats Don’t Dance’, and sadly, I don’t remember it being any good, except for one character in particular. Oddly enough, the villain Darla Dimple is quite memorable because she’s a screen diva at the height of her popularity and fame. Like a dark, twisted, conniving and ferocious version of Shirley Temple, Darla is the spoiled little brat of every parents’ nightmare – not because she screams and throws temper tantrums to get her way, but because she’s a despicably smart child who manipulates people while destroying the lives of others. There is absolutely nothing she won’t do to have the spotlight on her. She’ll show a sweet, innocent side one minute, yet instantly switch to a disturbed, vengeful miscreant the next.
I’m by no means an expert on this topic (I never watched a lot of cartoons, even when I was a kid), but I can’t imagine any animated character more dastardly (or more fun to watch) than Mr. Burns on ‘The Simpsons’. Burns may be old, weak and pretty much out of touch with modern society, but he remains the richest and most powerful man in Springfield, and never fails to bring some form of misery to the town. His appeal among fans of the show may also be due to the fact that his character embodies what most of us think big corporate CEOs are really like. Yes, when it comes to pure evil, I find Mr. Burns’ brand to be, “Excellent.”
I couldn’t narrow it down, so I’m going with the whole cast of villains from ‘The Tick’ television series: Chairface Chippendale (who literally has a chair for a head), Uncle Creamy the evil ice cream cone voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait, and the Idea Men fatally flawed by their inability to enunciate. There was also the Man Eating Cow, El Seed, the Guy with Ears Like Little Raisins, and more. Oh, it’s been too long since I watched this cartoon or read the comics… So good.
Adam kind of stole my thunder by picking the delightfully campy Cobra Commander. When I was a kid, I watched ‘G.I. Joe’ and ‘Transformers’ in a viewing block every day after school, so it seems only logical that I should move onto the latter here. Of course, with the ‘Transformers’ cartoon, you have to take the villainous duo of Megatron and his back-stabbing lieutenant Starscream as a pair. Ever plotting to wrest control of the evil Decepticons from Megatron’s hands, Starscream is a wonderfully duplicitous, Shakespearian character. Why Megatron put up with him for so long is never explained, but the eventual departure of both characters (at least in their original forms) during ‘Transformers: The Movie‘ was a huge loss for the franchise.
What are some of your favorite animated villains? Tell us in the Comments.