Unreal Power Rankings: Animated Disney Villains


Not that I’m not blown away by the computer animation seen in today’s movies, but I sort of miss the traditional animation, particularly in Disney movies.  We may see a reversion back to that type of animation here and there, but for the most part, I’m afraid it’s gone for good.  One of the things I really liked about the traditionally animated Disney movies were the villains.  It takes a real sadistic villain to make the protagonist seem heroic, and some of Disney’s villains have been quite memorable.  Especially when they get to sing a song about how evil they are.

I went ahead and ranked the animated Disney villains in this edition of Unreal Power Rankings, except instead of the top 5, I ranked the top 10.  After the jump, take a look at the very best animated Disney villains presented – as always – in reverse order.

10. Cruella de Vil – 101 Dalmatians


It should be an automatic red flag that Cruella smokes her cigarettes with a filter (by the way – how odd is it to see cigarettes in a Disney movie?), but her ridiculous hairstyle gives everyone fair warning that she’s out of her gourd.   And she is: the reason she is so set on acquiring a great number of puppies is so that she can turn them into fur coats.  Her great wealth and submissive henchmen make Cruella formidable for anyone, especially a small Dalmatian puppy.

9. Shan-Yu – Mulan


It’s tough to look more bad ass than Shan-Yu, the conqueror.  His Hun warriors are loyal, numerous, and deadly, and Shan-Yu has no qualms about resorting to classic villain behavior – like kidnapping.   Shun-Yu seems to get off on killing, and his falcon, Hayabusa, is just about the only pet bad ass enough for him.  Even Shun-Yu’s death was awesome; he was attached to a rocket that slammed into a tower, creating an incredible explosion.

8. The Horned King – The Black Cauldron


Seriously, just look at this guy.  Just looking like that immediately gives you villain street cred.  The Horned King seeks out the Black Cauldron so that he can create an army of undead soldiers and – like many awesome villains aspire to do – take over the world.  John Hurt voiced the Horned King, helping to create one of Disney’s scariest villains.  The Black Cauldron, unlike almost all of Disney’s animated movies, was rated PG, and a lot of that has to be due to The Horned King.

7. Ursula – The Little Mermaid


Ursula’s design always intrigued me: her top half is an overweight, seemingly sexually aggressive diva, while her bottom half is that of a giant octopus.  Pretty nasty.  When brute force or the use of her pet eels don’t get the job done, Ursula relies on sorcery and trickery to get what she wants.  Ursula managed to get a hold of Triton’s trident and would have ruled the oceans were it not for Eric killing her in the same way Ellen Brody killed Jaws.  Which, incidentally, is the only cool part about the Jaws video game for Nintendo.  Remember?

6. Gaston – Beauty and the Beast


He’s not disfigured or magical or anything like that, but Gaston comes in the six spot simply because of his overwhelming douchebaggery.  I’m surprised he didn’t walk around with his collar popped.  He’s incredibly self-centered and focuses on superficial things, and his general intolerance makes for a terrific villain.  I’m guessing that we all know someone like Gaston.

5. Queen of Hearts – Alice in Wonderland


The Queen of Hearts takes full advantage of her status as Queen.  Everything is “her way,” right down to the matter in which her people speak.  The Queen enjoys playing croquet using flamingos and playing cards, and if she misses a shot, she’ll hold someone else accountable.  And that means a beheading.  Anytime anyone even slightly annoys her, the Queen of Hearts orders that they get his or her head chopped off.  That, my friends, is true power.  You do not mess with the Queen.

4. Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty


The “Mistress of all Evil” is indeed very evil, and quite powerful to boot.  Because she was not invited to the christening of the king and queen’s daughter, Aurora, Maleficent decided the best thing to do was to put a curse on Aurora that would render her dead on her sixteenth birthday.  That’s probably overdoing it a bit, but when you can teleport and turn into a gigantic, fire-breathing dragon, who’s going to tell you that you’re out of line?

3. Jafar – Aladdin


Jafar is an evil sorcerer and a known backstabber.  Once he obtained the magic lamp, Jafar was gifted with a number of abilities, such as shapeshifting, physical manipulation, and the ability to create weapons out of thin air.  Using his staff, which resembles a cobra, Jafar can hypnotize people.  Despite all his power, Jafar’s downfall was his greed.  By wishing to become a genie – and presumably all-powerful – Jafar was sucked into a magic lamp, trapped and at the mercy of a future master.

2. Hades – Hercules


As lord of the Underworld, Hades in essentially evil incarnate.  The fact that he is voiced by James Woods lands him all the way in the number two spot, as nobody can channel pure assholishness like Woods.  It fits perfectly.  Hades desires to rule Mount Olympus but knows that Hercules stands in his way.  Naturally, he wants to destroy him.  Hades is a master manipulator (what else would you expect from Greek mythology’s version of the devil) and smooth talker and at one point strips Hercules of his power.  Unfortunately for Hades, cheesy, cliched, sappy love saves the day.

1. Scar – The Lion King


The best Disney animated film (we’re talking pre-computer animation/Pixar, here) also features Disney’s best animated villain.  Voiced by Jeremy Irons, Scar sets out to kill his own brother (Mufasa) and nephew (Simba) so that he can reign as king.  He’s cowardly when it comes to confrontation, but Scar is as deadly an opponent as one could have.  He makes good on part of his aim and actually kills his very own brother.  Even near defeat, Scar is a slimeball.  Faced with fighting his Simba, he blames all his crimes on his mercenary hyenas, just before flinging hot embers into Simba’s eyes.  That’s the equivalent of an animal sucker punch.  Scar is the lowest of the low, which is why he’s number one in this edition of Power Rankings.

Any Disney animated villains I left out?  Maybe Captain Hook should have cracked the top 10?  Hit me up and let me know.

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  1. What about Robin Hood. King John commanded an army of Rhinos and Elephants that imprisoned a whole town, including the children. The Sheriff might have actually been more evil though, as King John was a coward. But this is the best Disney movie EVER!!!

  2. Others that I can think of would be Madame Medusa from “The Rescuers” (total disregard for Penny’s welfare) or Shere Khan from “The Jungle Book” (he wanted to EAT Mowgli).

    Normal lists always have The Queen from “Snow White” which if you’re going with the old-school Grimm story she deserves it. Eating White’s heart is pretty bad-ass, but she’s much tamer in the Disney movie.

    Lastly, anytime someone talks about Disney villains I have to say something about Mad Madam Mim from “Sword in the Stone” just because the wizard’s duel is one of my favourite movie scenes.

  3. What about the Stepmother from Cinderella? She was a total bitch. I mean, locking your stepdaughter up is pretty twisted. And treating her like a freaking slave. Ah I feel the love.

    I like the old school Disney, but I did like the Emperor’s New Groove, so also Yzma (I had to look that up…no way I would have remembered that name/know how to spell it).

    I was always terrified of the dragon lady in Sleeping Beauty. That thing breathes green fire!!!

  4. Shan-Yu in “Mulan” is interesting because, unlike other Disney villains of the era (Gaston, Ursula, Scar) he really had no backstory, no motive for his badness other than – he’s bad, and China is there, and so he will take it. I might have expected a “the emperor is my brother and I’m entitled to the throne” kind of story, but no, he’s just big and bad. That seems unusual for modern Disney, but still cool.

  5. A good list, as for Captain Hook, he did not deserve to be included. For one was he really any more evil than normal pirates? Second he was scared to death of one crocodile.. an animal that today is killed and has it’s hide used for shoes and handbags. Not that badass in my opinion.

    Hades would get my vote as number one since he has power (well some) over the titans. Where as scar is just a lion. An evil one, yes, but still a lion. He can’t possibly rule the world.

  6. @ Bdougs:

    I think the King is a better villain than the sheriff, simply for the reasons you mentioned. Imprisoning children? Very villainous. And being a coward is always a plus for villains.

  7. @ Tishy

    Madam Mim isn’t prominent enough to make the list, but she was awesome. That wizard’s duel scene is also one of my favorites – Merlin and Mim keep one-upping each other, until Mim cheats and Merlin becomes a germ. Nice.

  8. @ Laura

    There’s definitely some merit to your point. Not all scary villains have to have magical powers or be disfigured or whatever. Sometime, just being a total, heartless bitch is enough.

  9. @ Dorkus Malorkus

    I think part of what makes Shan-Yu such a great villain is that he does indeed seem to be an exception to how villains are portrayed. He’s shrouded in mystery and his sole motivation seems to be power.

  10. @ John

    It’s a close call between Hades and Scar. The voice acting helps them both out tremendously.

    And that was my reasoning for Captain Hook: you’re a pirate, for crying out loud. You can’t deal with one friggin’ crocodile?

  11. I would just like to point out that Disney animation reopened their traditional studios about two years ago and have been working on The Princess and the Frog as well as Rapunzel. Both met with excitement by fans, and they appear to be visually up to the caliber of work we have come to expect from Disney.

    So, I just wanted to point out that traditional animation is not “gone for good,” but rather making a strong comeback.

  12. okay what about frollo he is ununsually dark for a disney character. The dude was…. lusting for esmeralda. Ya, thats out there. He even wanted to burn down the entire city for her and he also murdered a gypsy lady holding a baby in cold blood and he almost murdered the child as well. HE IS THE WORST!! The voice is also totally creepy

  13. Just wanted to point out that there was CG in the Lion King. There was CG sequences in Beauty and the Beast, but they did it in a way where people wouldn’t notice unless they really knew what they were looking for.

    and personally I’d put Cruella De Vil as number one. Everything about her is evil. Her name is Cruel Devil just flourished a bit. But considering that she wants to kill puppies and wear their skins just screams evil! She tries to cover her weak scrawny evil frame with large fluffy furs yet its still obvious that she’s no good. Definitely the character I love to hate the most.

  14. Omg!!!! I love this!!! I have a new fascination with the villains. I went to WDW in pril with my family and going back in June alone and was looking online where to find the chars. I didntsee any villains other than capt hook and a maybe sighting of Cruella.

  15. Yeah, I would personally vote for Frollo to take Shan Yu’s place. Dude was an evil and totally sketchy mofo, made worse by his pretensions to purity. (Though I will have to say his song “Hellfire” is totally awesome and gives me chills. “Destroy Esmeralda! And let her feel the fires of Hell! Or else let her be mine and mine alone!” Scaaary.) Shan Yu’s supposed mystery just kind of makes him one-dimensional and boring to me, though I will admit his design is pretty badass.

    But I totally agree with Scar for number one. Killed his own brother in cold blood AND with an evil one-liner (“Loong liiiive the kiiiing~” *toss*) and thoroughly traumatized his nephew under the guise of helpful advice WHILE planning to finish the job anyway. (“But the king is dead. And if it weren’t for you, he’d still be alive. Ohh, what will your mother think?” “What should I do??” “Run. Run away and never return.” ….. “Kill him.”)

    Obviously scary enough to leave a huge imprint, as he even shows up in Simba’s nightmares in TLK2. Mwahahahaha!!

  16. I think that Rourke from Atlantis should probably be number 1. He was willing to wipe out a entire civilization thousands of years old they just discovered because of greed. He killed their king, his partner Helga, and he would gladly would have killed all his former companions and sold advanced technology to Kaiser Germany during WWI.
    Also should have been included: The governor from Pocahontas, for similar reasons of trying to start a war that would wipe out a civilization because of greed, glory, and hate.
    Also, Aunt Sarah and her Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp. Aunt Sarah was a hateful busy-body, completely unjust and loathsome. I think we have all had to put up with someone like Aunt Sarah, someone who really screws us over and hurts people we love by “just trying to be nice” or “just trying to help out” by just trying to run our lives. Probably my most disliked of all Disney characters. And her cats were just so conniving and entertaining, you just wanted to see more of them.

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