Disney Animated Villains Too Evil To Get A Sympathetic Origin Story
Nothing makes an animated film from the House of Mouse more fun than those purely evil Disney villains. Would The Little Mermaid be as memorable without Ursula? Would Aladdin have been as exciting without Jafar pulling the strings in the background? Would there even be any other animated Disney movies if it weren't for the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?!
And though the entertainment giant has shown a desire to mine their old films for new villain-based stories like Maleficent and Cruella, there are plenty of antagonists in the company's history this just wouldn't work with. Some villains are just too evil to get a sympathetic origin story.
- 13,244 VOTESPhoto: The Hunchback of Notre Dame / Buena Vista Pictures
For whatever reason, Walt Disney Animation Studios decided to go much darker than usual with 1996's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While the two films that were released by the Mouse House just before Hunchback - The Lion King and Pocahontas - had their moments of melancholy, they can't hold a candle when compared to this adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1831 novel.
What other Disney film involves family-friendly subject matter like lust, genocide, and sin? And Claude Frollo is at the center of it all. He mistreats Quasimodo constantly, loves to burn people at the stake, and basically wants Esmeralda to be his plaything. How exactly did this particular motion picture get a G-rating again?
- 22,188 VOTESPhoto: Oliver & Company / Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Do you really think Disney is going to make an origin story about a loan shark? A film about Bill Sykes wouldn't be a dark fantasy about a fairy like Maleficent or an origin story about a fashion designer who will eventually lose it a bit and want to make a coat of dog fur like Cruella.
There is absolutely no way a family-friendly company like Disney is making a movie telling the story of how a young man becomes a twisted, sadistic loan shark. The guy ties a child to a chair and tells her his dogs are going to eat her! Come on!
- 32,345 VOTESPhoto: Pocahontas / Buena Vista Pictures
Governor Ratcliffe is your stereotypical, mustache-twirling antagonist. How evil is the guy? Here's just one line he utters in 1995's Pocahontas: "...I say anyone who so much as looks at an Indian without killing him on sight will be tried for treason and hanged!" Clearly, the man is calm, cool, and collected. Nothing to see here, folks! His men end up turning on him in the end, sending him back to England to face justice for his transgressions.
Funnily enough, he squirmed his way out of that and ended up being the villain again in the straight-to-video sequel, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. Sadly, a powerful, unscrupulous man getting out of his punishment might be the most realistic thing to come out of Disney's Pocahontas franchise...
- 41,725 VOTESPhoto: The Rescuers Down Under / Buena Vista Pictures
You probably forgot The Rescuers Down Under was even made. And if you did know it was made, you probably thought it was a straight-to-video sequel of the 1977 original. And if you did know it was a theatrical release, you probably forgot it technically was released during the "Disney Renaissance," sandwiched between The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. It doesn't reach the lofty heights of those films, but The Rescuers Down Under is a solid little flick with some incredible animation and a bad guy you can't help but hate.
That bad guy happens to be Percival C. McLeach, a cruel poacher with a bad temperament and worse morals. The plot of the movie sees McLeach snatch a kid and eventually try to slay that kid to cover his tracks. Seems pretty evil to us.
- 51,921 VOTESPhoto: The Rescuers / Buena Vista Distribution
Come on. Her name is "Madame Medusa." She's not getting a sympathetic origin story. The antagonist of 1977's The Rescuers captures the adorable Penny so she can get her hands on the world's largest diamond (known as the Devil's Eye), which happens to be buried in an underground pirate's cave with an entrance too small for Medusa to get through.
You might think Medusa would treat Penny well to get the girl on her side in her diamond scheme, but no. She treats Penny like garbage and ends up holding her at gunpoint during the film, just to hammer home the fact she's evil. There is just no redeeming backstory for this one.
- 61,592 VOTES
Professor RatiganPhoto: The Great Mouse Detective / Buena Vista Distribution
Looking to take over London, it's pretty clear Professor Ratigan is an evil dude right from the jump. Early on in The Great Mouse Detective, the wannabe ruler lets his pet cat, Felicia (don't ask), eat one of his hench-mice as punishment for insulting him. Not a good guy. He wants to put heavy taxes on those he sees as parasitic to society (i.e., those who are unhealthy or cannot help themselves). Not a good guy. He tries to slay his right-hand man - er, bat - in the midst of a temper tantrum. Not a good guy!
Also, he's a rat, so a film featuring a sympathetic origin story for Ratigan seems highly unlikely.