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Top 6 Animated Villain Songs + Win "Rio" on DVD

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The story of a hero battling evil has hit the screen time and time again and with varying degrees of success. With animated films, the villain isn't always so pronounced (Bambi - forest fire or hunter, you decide), but when they are, you can usually get a pretty solid song out of them. And isn't that all anyone ever wanted out of their villain? A song?

Today, Rio, the story of macaws Blu and Jewel in their quest to get home (wherever that may be), hits DVD. As if fully aware of the value added by a singing villain, Rio sees Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords* cast as Nigel, a psychotic cockatoo and former television actor who hates exotic birds, after being replaced by a parakeet. Unfortunately, Rio (both the movie and location) are filled with exotic birds, and thus his ire is never ending. To capitalize on his hatred, Nigel specializes in capturing birds like Blu for his owner Marcel, the animal smuggler. In Rio, Nigel does his rendition of “Pretty Bird” for Blu and the other captured animals. That got us thinking, what are the five best animated villain songs?

Check out our list below, and if you want to win a copy of Rio on DVD, leave a comment telling us which villain song you think should have been on the list, and we'll choose the best.

“Be Prepared” by Scar (Jeremy Irons) – The Lion King

Lion King, arguably one of the greatest non-Pixar animated Disney movies of all time (even if it is derived from Kimba the White Lion), Scar performs a grand villain song with his crew of hyenas in “Be Prepared” as they plan to kill Mufasa. This is all about Jeremy Irons, let's just ignore the Hyenas and Nazi imagery.

"The Oogie Boogie Song" by Oogie Boogie (Ken Page) - The Nightmare Before Christmas

He leaks worms and spiders, he gambles, he commissions the kidnapping of Santa Claus and he seems to have an affinity for the big band era, Oogie Boogie's song is as much a taunt of his captor as it is the audience's first solid introduction to the character. Sure, that might make him something of a weak villain, but the song is damned catchy and Tim Burton's mind combined with Henry Selick's brilliant stop-motion animation makes the presentation undeniably fun to watch.

“In the Dark of the Night” by Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) – Anastasia

Christopher Lloyd delivers this brilliant performance (growling as much as singing) with “In the Dark of the Night” as Rasputin, the evil mystic in Anastasia. The movie is the story of Anastasia voiced by Meg Ryan who is the daughter of the last Russian Tsar. She is found by two Russian conmen --Dimitri (played by John Cusack) and Vladimir (voiced by Kelsey Grammar)--who seek the reward her grandmother promised to whoever finds her. However the evil Rasputin who forced Anastasia’s family out of Russia is bent on finishing the job he started.

“Toxic Love” by Hexxus (Tim Curry) – FernGully: The Last Rainforest

Tim Curry stars as Hexxus, a polluting force of destruction that gives a great performance of “Toxic Love” (an 80s love song title if ever there was one) after giving orders to the lumberjacks to cut down the rainforest that the fairies live in. Ferngully is about a fairy girl named Crysta that shrinks human lumberjack Zak to save him from being hit by a falling tree. However, with the destruction, Crysta is worried that Hexxus (the evil spirit of pollution) and all that is toxic has escaped. This magical adventure about friendship and protecting the environment is one to remember.

“Prince Ali Reprise” by Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) – Aladdin

Jafar is one of the all-time great villains out of the Disney studios, and in this song he shows Prince Ali/Aladdin for what he really is after he has control of the Genie’s powers in “Prince Ali’s Reprise.” The Disney classic revolves around Aladdin, a street urchin who falls in love with Princess Jasmine. He is thrown in jail by the Sultan’s evil advisor Jafar who is plotting to rule the land with the aid of a mysterious lamp that is said to contain a magical Genie. Yet only one person who is a “diamond in the rough” can retrieve the lamp from the Cave of Wonders, which is Aladdin. However Jafar has plans to take his seat as the Sultan and take over the kingdom.

“Poor Unfortunate Souls” by Ursula (Pat Carroll) – The Little Mermaid

Another Disney classic has Pat Carroll playing Ursula the sea witch who woos Ariel to strike a deal so that she can become a human and no longer a mermaid. In The Little Mermaid Ursula sings her very famous song “Poor Unfortunate Souls” as she tries to convince Ariel to turn her into a human. Ariel yearns to live among humans and falls in love with one when hanging out above the surface of the water. Constantly struggling with her father King Triton and his rules, she goes to the sea witch Ursula who has bigger plans for her, since she can make her a human, however, Ursula’s lucrative deal could change everything for life under the sea.

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We're well aware that were we to delve into the world of Japanese animated features we'd have a few different contenders on this list, but we're sticking with American animated features just for the sake of simplicity. There are a lot of great non-Disney animated features, but finding one with a good villain and then one that sings is actually harder than it should be. Disney kind of has the market cornered for the most part. But even when you get to Disney, it's surprising how many songs are hard to call "Villain Songs". Take Gaston from Beauty and the Beast for example. "Gaston" is sung mainly by his little toady friend and "Kill the Beast" is barely Gaston's song at all, even if he starts it, and yet up until we watched it again for this article, we'd really thought both would be solid contenders.

*Thanks to reader beanz for the "Flight of the Conchords" correction

rio_DVDTo win Rio on DVD, you just have to do two things...

1) "Like" JustPressPlay on Facebook (or click "Like" on the Facebook box in the upper left-hand corner)

2) In the comments section below, tell us who you think the best animated cartoon villain is (singing or not). 

The contest ends on August 10th, 2011. One entry per person. Many will enter few will win. By few, we mean 1.

 

 

Congratulations to Bobcat37 (who suggested Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective) and P (who was the first to suggest Mark Hamill's The Joker from Batman: The Animated Series). Contact our editor at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to claim your prize.

Aug
02
2011
Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.

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