Thursday, February 24, 2011

Edward Scissorhands (1990 Movie Review)


      When it comes to talented Hollywood writers and directors, one that I find to be one of the most interesting is dark vision-ist Tim Burton. He always has a unique style, heavy atmosphere and imaginative look for his dark and elaborate movies including “Corps Bride”, “Batman” and “Beetlejuice”. One big reoccurring theme in his movies is that there about outcasts, rebels that don’t fit in with the rest of society. One of my favorite films of his that tackles this subject beautifully is the 1990 classic “Edward Scissorhands”. This is a sweet little gothic fairy tale about a creature named Edward that was created in a lab and is now trying to find his way in life.

     The opening credit sequence for this movie is outstanding, full of crazy images and is boasted with yet another terrific score from Danny Elfman. It’s like a tradition for Tim Burton’s movies to have a musical score by Danny Elfman, the two just go together like bread and butter and of all the musical scores that Elfman has composed for Burton, this one is my favorite. It’s creepy, yet it almost sounds like a melody you’d here in a Christmas song. This score was so successful that it’s been used in trailers for several other films including “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and for some reason “The Master of Disguise”. 

The late great prince of horror films Vincent Price makes a few small appearances as the lonely inventor, it’s such a nice little role for him and it’s so appropriate that one of his last films would be a Tim Burton movie because Burtons very first film was a short movie titled “Vincent”, a story about a boy who was obsessed with Vincent Price (Vincent Price also did the narration in this short film). We get to see the inventors crazy lab in all its glory through flashbacks and it’s just a stamp of Tim Burton’s classy look and design, it almost looks like “Frankenstein’s” lab rented out by “Willy Wonka”.    

    The inventors plan is to create a living creature that he can regard as a son, so his life would be more complete. He comes very close to completing it but unfortunately he dies before he could give his creation hands. The look and feel of Edward’s character was inspired by two popular Horror movie monsters. Edward’s scissor hands are very reminiscent of Freddy Krueger’s razor sharp gloves from “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. This character is also very reminiscent of Frankensteins monster from “Frankenstein”. Both creatures were created in a lab by scientists, both are living beings with feelings and emotions, yet there regarded as monsters. One day a local Avon saleswoman named Peg discovers him in the inventors abandoned castle and she invites him to live with her family. The two have really good chemistry, peg is also an outcast in a sense because she is always ignored by her neighbors and is a person that’s often made fun of. Surprisingly, it’s the first half of the film, that you feel the most uncomfortable watching. At first Edward is actually excepted into this neighborhood and everything is all nice and fluffy for the first half but you have this aching feeling that something is going to go wrong and that something bad is going to happen to poor Edward that will change the mood of the film. Once it finally happens, the drama just keeps on coming and it’s an interesting depiction of how someone who differs from the norm can be rejected from society.

     During the second half of the movie, we see a new relationship take place, which is something that I have mixed feelings about. Edward begins to fall in love with Pegs daughter Kim and she in return grows feelings for Edward. I don’t know why but something about this relationship makes me feel like it’s just bringing it down for a wider audience, the two just don’t have as much in common, the same way Edward and Peg did but this is still a very sweet relation. Kim is played by the beautiful young Winona Ryder, (who also starred in an earlier Tim Burton film “Beetlejuice”) and is a true delight to have on screen. What these two characters lack in chemistry, they make up for with some genuinely beautiful scenes. I love that moment with Kim dancing under the falling snow that Edward is creating by chipping of ice for an ice sculpture and the background music once again is a perfect match. Of cores I can’t go without mentioning that beautifully tragic scene where Kim wants Edward to hold her, to which he simply responds by saying “I can’t.” Yeah, according to every woman on the planet, your considered a bad person if you don’t get water eyed at that. There’s actually a lot of comedy in this film that balances off the drama perfectly. My favorite scene is when Kim and Edward first meet, she comes home late from a camping trip, goes into her room only to discover Edward in her bed and what fallows is side splitting laughter from the audience. 

     Aside from honest emotion and dramatic depth, this is a very artistic film. The music, the imagery, the settings, it all gives this film a very unique atmosphere and I absolutely love it. Burtons films usually take place in a warped reality of our own world and this film is no exception. There are distinct looks for the different locations in this film, from the dark and gothic look of the castle, too the wild and crazy factory, too the bright and colorful neighborhood. 

The look of this small neighborhood is just the perfect example of how Tim Burton can take a perfectly normal setting and twist it around. Streets bend at weird angles, hedges are trimmed to look like dinosaurs or family portraits and with so many different, brightly colored houses and cars, it almost looks like a very unique Easter themed town.

     Of cores in the role of Edward is none other than Johnny Depp in his very first collaboration with Tim Burton. His role as Edward is definitely one of his better character performances. The blank look on his face combined with a sweet, kind loving personality is terrific. Depp would go on to be the reoccurring star in many other Burton films including “Sleepy Hollow”, “Ed Wood”, “Corps Bride”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Charley and the Chocolate Factory”, “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Flint Street” and he will be staring in Burtons upcoming production titled “Dark Shadows”. Gosh Burton, I may like Depp as much as the next fan but give someone else like Robert Downy Jr. a chance to star in your films.

      Overall, despite the gothic overtones in this movie, there is still a heart at the center of this film. Throughout the movie you feel magic, drama, beauty and discomfort, making it a very unique movie experience. It’s not a huge re-watch film but it is still masterfully crafted, holds a strong atmosphere, a hypnotically beautiful musical score and likable characters which make the whole experience worthwhile. I give “Edward Scissorhands” 3 ½ stars.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A look at video game Adaption’s that aren’t that bad

      Why is it so hard to make a good adaption of a video game into a movie or a TV show? Never before has a videogame spinoff been successful, but to be honest, it’s not hard to imagine why. The whole enjoyment of videogames comes from playing them yourself and getting yourself out of situations and watching it doesn’t give you that same rush of excitement. In fact most of these movies have been one of three things, just okay (like “Lora Croft Tomb Rader”), terrible (like “Doom” and "Hitman") or downright, piss offal (like "Pokémon the First Movie" and "Alone in the Dark"). However while every video game adaption has been a failure there are still a few that really aren’t that bad. They may not be masterpieces of film but never the less are descent, nostalgic and defiantly rank in the category of good. So I’m just going to view some video game spinoffs, (in no particular list or order) that all have their flaws but are still worth giving a look.
  Let’s first look at some kids TV show spinoffs of videogames. Well, there were plenty of bad ones that I grew up with including “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog”, “The Super Mario Brothers Super Show”, “Captain N”, ”The Adventures of Link” and the later seasons of “Pokémon”. No, seriously why did Pokemon have so many different seasons. I suppose for the time it was a descent show but 14 seasons and still running is ridicules. If that wasn’t enough, there are also 15 animated Pokémon movies and 5 of them were released in theaters. Really, out off all those amazing animated Batman movies, only 1 was released in the cinema but Pokémon had 5. Now to be fare, the second film “Pokémon 2000” wasn’t that bad. It’s not something I’d show to my children but it did excite me as a kid, the animation was great, the villain was fun, there was an actual effort put into the story, the action was thrilling, best of all was the sensational music. The score ranges from fast paced and exhilarating to calm and soothing. Even the end credits are worth sitting through just for the music. I would actually recommend pulling up some of this music on You-Tube” and that’s saying something.
      Another show that I remember enjoying as a kid was "Sonic the Hedgehog" (the second Sonic the Hedgehog show) and it was surprisingly descent. It’s not one of the greatest shows I grew up with but it is admirable for taking a video game that was about nothing and then turning it into something with substance. It had a subtle environmental massage, the animation was cool and dark, the characters were nicely thought out and the theme song was unforgettable. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s one of the all time greatest openings to a children’s T.V. show, it absolutely rocked. Like I said, not one of the best animated shows from my youth but at the very least I would put it in the category of good.
       Now let’s look at some of the live action video game spin offs. I didn’t love the “Lora Croft Tomb Rader” films but they weren’t terrible, the second film “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” is worth a rent. The action is alright and the premise of someone looking for an artifact that holds the secret to the creation of life is an interesting concept and Angelina Jolie is great in the leading role. Neither of these films are that amazing but they made for entertaining adventure films.
 Now I don’t care who you are, but I really like “Mortal Kombat”. This is a fun, fun movie and it doesn’t take an expert critic to tell you that this film is bad but never the less there’s nothing boring and you get plenty of enjoyment from it. The visual effects and set design’s have so much charm to them and it returns you to that feeling of a child playing video games or going to Disney Land, it’s a very strong otherworldly atmosphere. You may think that all comes from seeing it at a young age but I was a sophomore in high school when I saw this. The characters are nothing special but they do keep the film going. Sonya is my favorite, a chick who can kick ass and still look really hot in skin tight outfits. The action is great, it may not be big time exciting but the duals do keep you very entertained and there is some great choreography combined with appropriately cheesy visual effects. Once again like several other films on this list, the music is the best thing about it. The score get’s you all hyped up for action and it combines these cool musical notes with sounds that you would hear on game boy or Super Nintendo, it’s absolutely brilliant. So if you find yourself bored and can’t think of the right film to watch, turn your brain off and enjoy “Mortal Kombat”, its good mindless fun. Just don’t see the sequel “Mortal Kombat Annihilation”, it sucked.
        My favorite video game spinoff would have to be “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within”. This film broke the boundaries to how much ass an animated film can kick and it raised the bar for how believable animation can look. This is a film that really transports you to another world and you really get cot up with the situations at hand as well as the characters involved. The music was soft and emotional and the action was just a spectacle. One of the highlights of this film was the characters, in “Mortal Kombat” and “Pokémon 2000”, the characters were nothing great but they kept the film going. This film gave us real characters that you get emotionally attached with and you really want to see what happens to them after words. The whole look of this film is just awesome, not just with detail but it looks almost like live action. Once the credits roll, you feel like you just returned from a fun adventure in space. Now like I said in the opening, every video game adaption has met with bad results and unfortunately this film is no exception but I still I insist that some video game adaption’s are fun and of all of them “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” shouldn’t just be regarded as the most competent but as a genuinely good film.  

 So will we ever get a successful video game spinoff, well maybe they should just be left as video games but I would to like to imagine that someday there will be a successful video game spinoff.     

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lost in Space (Movie Review)


        We see several times in cinema that film makers have good intentions or at the very least had a good set up and the promise of something decent but failed to deliver all the way. The 1998 movie “Lost in Space” certainly fits that description. The film is based off the cult favorite 60’s TV show “Lost in Space” but it wasn’t meant to be a tribute to the fans of that show, more of a chance to just get a big Sci-Fi blockbuster out there. While it was a big box office success, beating "Titanic's" 15 week run, the film didn't get favorable feed back. To be honest, this film was on par with several fascinating new Sci-Fi movies that I was introduced to at a young age in the late 90’s including “Independence Day”, “Star Trek First Contact”, “Men in Black” and the special edition relies of the original “Star Wars Trilogy”. But off all those great action Sci-Fi’s I grew up with, “Lost in Space” has aged the worst with me.

       As a young 1st grade student, I was always hyped about big budget movies like this one and the trailer looked really cool. However, like I said before this is one of those movies that had a lot of potential to be far better than what it turned out to be, but for what it is, it’s not the biggest disappointment I’ve ever seen either. The set up goes like this, the Robinson family are assigned to find a new planet for the people of Earth to colonize on because there planet is getting to populated. However, a saboteur stows away on the ship, screws things up and an accident sends them soaring across the galaxy into unknown space. Now this broken family has to pull together and find a way through the endless dangers of space. That’s an excellent set up for a big blockbuster Sci-Fi film and it really shouldn't have been that hard to do something good with it. 

    The first big problem with this film is the Robinson family themselves, they are so one dimensional, such obvious cardboard cut outs, share really stupid dialog and are completely forgettable. Every time there on screen, the audience is forced to listen to wit-less banter, dry personalities and lots of unengaging performances. To be fare, there is one memorable character, the evil saboteur named Dr. Smith, played by the always fantastic Gary Oldman, who manages to be the single bright spot in the film. I also enjoyed the robot character called B9. The B9 was one of the biggest trademarks of the show and he get's a fairly decent redesign that keeps that classic image alive while also updating it properly. His voice was awesome, he gets two really cool and different looks for the price of one and he made for a really awesome, best selling action figure to for us kids.

     My biggest complement I have would be the look of this film. Unlike the futures seen in films like “Minority Report” or “Blade Runner”, where everything is dark and depressing, this was an awesome looking future with lots of colors and comfortable environments. I love the interior designs of the space ships, it had a very big Disney land like feel to it and it just looked like a future that wouldn't be that depressing to live in. The effects themselves are you usual impressive visuals for the 90's, which honestly had a little more charm then what we get all the time today.   

      So where does this film go south, well, while the set up certainly had potential, they just don’t do anything with the premise after words. There’s a nice little space battle in the opening of the film, we get a slightly exciting fight with some space spiders and another slightly exciting climax with Dr. Smith turning into a giant monster spider creature. But the rest of this film literally gets lost in this really messy plot about time travel, time bubbles, an Alternate reality future, which honestly isn't that hard to correct, constant plot wholes and one too many confusing things that just don’t add up. It’s just a complete mess and it didn't need to be, it could have been an exciting adventure about a family traveling through space but it’s wasted with boring characters, a convoluted time travel script and little too no alien creatures or even planets. Aside from all the space spiders, the only other alien creature we get is this stupid looking space monkey, I mean holly cow, that has to be one of the worst looking special effects I've ever seen.

    Overall, it’s one of those bad movies that’s bad in a fairly harmless way. It didn’t hurt me to watch it, but it didn’t give me any reason to see it again. Maybe if it was a pilot for a TV show, it could have been more salvageable but there’s really no substance to this. So that’s it, no real anger or frustration, just a missed opportunity to be something better. I give “Lost in Space” 2 stars out of 5.       

Every Animated Batman Movie Ratted (direct to video) (Updated for 2018)

      Originally, I had a series of individual reviews of all the theatrical Batman movies, starting here, however, they were scattered all over my site and harder to notice. So I’ll be moving them all in a new location, the July 2012 Colum along with a new review of “The Dark Knight Rises”. So in their place, I’m going to do a quick list of my thoughts of all the animated, direct to video Batman movies. “Batman Mask of the Phantasm” will not be on this list because it was released in the theater and I’m giving it a full review along with the other live action Batman films. I also won’t include any videos that are just compilations of batman episodes, and this list is for solo Batman films only, no Superman crossovers or animated Justice League movies.   

Batman and Mr. Freeze Subzero (1998)

 My personal score is 7/10.
Mr. Freeze is easily my favorite of all the Batman villains and this film succeeded in telling a conflicting, even emotional story from his point of view. The only downside is that Batman has little else to contribute, and almost feels like a side character. Despite that, "SubZero" is still a worthy adaption from the classic 90's series and a high point for one of the franchises greatest villains.  
(Featured Villains: Mr. Freeze and Greg Belsen)

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)

 My personal score is 10/10.
An absolute masterpiece, its dark and brooding but it’s also very exciting, smart and manages to celebrate Batman Beyond as well as the classic Batman. Great focus on the characters, terrific action, and a stunning hero villain conflict. This is a film that should have been released in theaters because it’s right up there with some of the best Batman adventures ever. 
(Featured Villains: The Joker, Harley Quinn and the Joker Gang)

Batman Mystery of the Batwoman (2003)

  My personal score is 6/10.
This is a decent little adaption from the 90’s TV show (released in the 2000’s), it has some good twists, a thrilling climax and all the good stuff you'd expect from Batman. However, the story was nothing special and the villains were boring. This adds up to a competent but average good film.  
(Featured Villains: The Penguin, Rupert Thorne and Bane)

The Batman vs. Dracula (2005)

 My personal score is 8/10.
A far better crossover than “The Batman/ Superman Movie”, the chemistry and rivalry between Batman and Dracula was well thought out, and it’s really cool to see the two most famous bat themed characters going into battle. There’s plenty of nods to the lore of both Batman and Dracula, and some well placed characters from the Batman universe including Vicki Vale (who was featured in the 1989 Tim Burton Batman movie). The music was dark and haunting, the animation was very stylish, especially in the dream and flashback sequences, the story was fast paced, and action packed. For the only movie adaption from "The Batman" TV series, it definitely ranks high as one of the best.  
(Featured Villains: Dracula, The Joker, The Penguin and a small cameo from The ventriloquist)

Batman: Under The Red Hood (2010)

 My personal score is 9/10.
The first stand alone, animated Batman movie that wasn't adapted from a TV show, and easily my second favorite of the direct to video Batman films (the first being Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker).  It may be predictable and full of used plot lines from other Batman films, but it’s still dark, brooding, action packed, epic, and full of great character complexity helps to make this a terrific gem in the Batman saga. 
(Featured Villains: Red Hood, The Joker, Black Mask, Ra's al Ghul and a small cameo of the Riddler)

Batman Year One (2011)

 My personal score is 4/10.
It stays true to the source material, but it's too much of a cut and passed of the comic it's based off, giving those of us who read the comic nothing new. There are hardly any villains, not much of a plot, disappointing climax, and Commissioner Gordon mostly hijacks the film from Batman. In the end, it doesn't leave you with much and while it’s not terrible, I’d say it’s a safe one to skip. 
(Featured Villains: Catwoman and various crime lords) 

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 (2012)

 My personal score is 5/10.
Darkly stylish and respectful to the source material, but the story trudges on to many familiar grounds, with hardly any new surprises, and the whole affair just comes off as average and forgettable
(Featured Villains: The Mutant Gang, Two-Face and The Joker) 

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 (2013)

 My personal score is 6/10.
Not for the faint of heart, "Part 2" takes the animated Batman universe into very violent, bloody and intense territory. There’s still lots of triumphant moments and features a thrilling battle between the two most legendary hero’s of all time, but once again, nothing that special stands out. It has good concepts and character driven story arch's, but the lesser story keeps it from being as good or as memorable as other Batman outings.  
(Featured Villain: The Joker) 

Son of Batman (2014)

My personal score is 8/10.
Aggressively violent but competently made and a nonstop thrill ride from beginning to end. With Robin depicted as a vengeful youth, our hero as the conscience that guides him and Slade as the evil mastermind pulling all the strings, "Son of Batman" is a worthy installment in the animated Batman saga, and one that breaks away from the common formula associated with the character.   
(Featured Villains: Slade (also known as Death Stroke), Man Bats, Talia Al Ghul, Killer Crock, Ra's al Ghul and small cameo's of Two-Face and The Joker)

Batman: Assault on Arkam (2014)

My personal score is 7/10.

With an action packed plot set in Arkham Asylum, a dark sense of hummer and no shortage of cool Batman villains, "Assault on Arkham", is an imperfect but highly entertaining entry in the animated Batman cannon. 
(Featured Villains: The Suicide Squad, The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Riddler, and cameo appearances of The Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Bane and Scarecrow) 

Batman vs. Robin (2015)

My personal score is 9/10.

Focusing on complex themes of faith and family ties over the typical comic-book formula, make this a stand out Batman film, but it's still not without some first rate visuals, atmosphere, and a menacing group of less popular, but noteworthy villains

(Featured Villains: Talon, The Doll Maker, and the League of Owls)

Batman: Bad Blood (2016)

My personal score is 7/10.

Batman's children have all grown-up and get to star in their own movie. The result is good superhero fun with great action set pieces and a nice focus on side characters that rarely get to shine under Batman's shadow. 

(Featured Villains: Talia Al Ghul, Black Mask, Fire Fly, Mad Hatter, Killer Moth, and The Penguin)

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

My personal score is 5/10.

For an animated adaption of one of Batman's most classic graphic novels, limited theatrical run and a reunion of the outstanding voice cast ... it needed to be better then just "average". It had it's moments for sure, but it was mostly meandering, formulaic, and forgettable. 

(Featured Villain: The Joker and Paris Franz)

Batman and Harley Quin (2017)

My personal score is 3/10.

While this Hero and Villain team up has some admittedly funny moments, this film just can’t help but feel like wasted potential and wasted time as it’s bombarded with needless filler, strung together with the most average plot imaginable, and the ending inexcusably bad. 

(Featured Villains: Harley Queen, Poison Ivy and Floronic Man)

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)

My personal score is 8/10.

Setting both Batman and Gotham City in the Victorian Era was a creative and very refreshing change of pace, giving the film a unique atmosphere, and is strung together with white knuckled action, a competent mystery plot, and some refreshing surprises along the way.  

(Featured Villains: Jack the Ripper, Poison Ivy and Hugo Strange)

Be sure to check out my reviews of the other theatrical Batman movies, where I go into a lot more detail.

                            The End  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Animated Female Villains

Recently I watched a video counting down the best animated villains, and I noticed that less than half of them were females. I then began to notice more and more animated villain countdowns that featured less and less females. Because of this I suddenly felt like giving some animated female villains a chance to shine, as there is quiet the large gallery of them. From famous female Disney villains to female super villains, there’s countless that have entertained us by making evil look oh so good. So, whether it be animated movies or TV shows, here is a countdown of my personal top 10 favorite animated female villains.

#10 Fairy Godmother (Shrek 2

The appeal of the Shrek movies is how they always take these well known fairytale tropes and not only makes them funny, but re-invents them in very creative ways. Case in point, Fairy Godmothers were always portrayed as the loving, nurturing moral support for the hero, but in “Shrek 2” we get a very original twist on this stereotype. This Fairy Godmother is more of a celebrity and follows a strict status quo in which only the good looking Prince and Princess can have a happily ever after while the films heroic Ogre should be left in the swamp. It’s a great concept for a satirical fairytale of this sort, and she makes for a menacing yet enjoyably hammy villain all at once.  

#9 Mystique (X-Men Evolution

Every team of superhero’s needs a dominate external threat, and in the case of this show it comes from the blue skinned, shape-shifter Mystique. I think most would say that Mystique from the original 90’s “X-Men” cartoon is more iconic, but it’s this particular version of the character that always stood out as the most sinister and memorable. She has two deep family connections with members from the Heros team, which gives her some much appreciated humanity and depth, but she’s also very threatening and unpredictable. This is the version of Mystique who captured the X-Men’s leader Professor X, infiltrated their home by taking his place, and even blew-up the entire X-Men mansion in an effort to kill all her enemies. The voice is also very malevolent, and it goes hand in hand with her menacing design. Weather this cartoon version of the X-Men worked or not, I absolutely think  this shows portrayal of Mystique is one of the best animated super villains I’ve seen.   

#8 Eris (Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

When famous adventurer Sinbad sets sale for another quest, he finds himself battling a Goddess whose specialty is screwing things up for the good guys. In short, this is a very straight forward and one dimensional character, but she’s entertaining as hell to watch. Her design is great, her powers are very creative, and the animation for how she moves, teleports and shifts shapes is a thing of beauty. Voice actress Michelle Pfeiffer also infuses her with a lot of personality, and subsequently a good deal of menace. When you combine that with just the sheer creativity of her unique God-like powers it makes her all the more fun to watch. While I find this movie to be extremely forgettable, Eris at least has always stood out as one of my all time favorite animated villains.    

#7 The Evil Queen/ The Old Witch (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Princess Snow White is the fairest one of all, which is a problem for her evil step mother, who aims to slay her own daughter just to win the title of "fairest in the land". Being Disney’s very first villain, it makes her one of the most memorable from childhood, and for most kids she was the first they ever saw. What makes this evil Queen interesting is that she's the only Disney villain to have two classic images, first of her as the queen and second of her as the old witch. There's nothing I enjoy more from a single character then a wide range of theatrics, and this evil Witch covered the full range. As the Queen she was quiet, menacing and had this permanent frown on her face. As the old witch she was loud, frightening and was enjoying every second of what she was doing. This gives us two different portrayals of evil from one character, making her all the more fun to watch. With such a mysterious and threatening presence mixed with an awesome look and design, the evil queen made for a great first Disney villain and a perfect character for this list.

#6 Asajj Ventress (Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Hand's down, one of the greatest villains of the entire Star Wars universe, and subsequently one of the best female characters. She is one of the first female dark Jedi's, and when Asajj Ventress made her grand appearance as one of the main antagonists in the Clone Wars saga, fans were very satisfied. She has everything you’d want from a cool villain ... a feeling of shadow menace ... check, a sad back story ... check, a menacing design ... check, a sinister voice that will make your skin crawl ... check, a personal journey of her going from evil villain to anti hero that just wants to find her place in the world ... check and double check. I don’t think I need to list any more reasons as to why she belongs on my list, but I will say that she’s one of the few villains from the expanded Star Wars universe who can really hold their own as a memorable character in the saga.  

#5 Harley Quinn (Batman: The Animated Series

Perhaps the cutest and most enjoyable of Batman’s rouge gallery is the Jokers kooky love interest called Harley Quinn. Making her first appearance in the classic 90’s Batman animated series, Harley has become one of the biggest fan favorite characters from the Dark Knights ever growing universe. This bubble headed goon walks a fine line between being nasty and lovable all at once. It’s hard to explain, but there’s something instantly joyful and appealing about this character and her energetic, yet completely psychotic personality. Who would have thought that a villain as famous as the Joker would need a side-kick, but honestly, he’s just not complete without his loony girl friend. Also her occasional partnerships with Poison Ivy is just the perfect match between two popular super villains. Poison Ivy by the way disserves an honorable mention, but she just doesn’t take the cake like Harley Quinn.  

#4 Other Mother (Coraline

In this spooky animated children’s adventure, a young girl named Coraline finds a paradise world that parallels her own boring life at home. Ruling over this realm is an entity claiming to be Coralines mother from the other side, who’s secretly luring the child into a death trap through the promises of love and joy. I think that the scariest villains are the ones that don’t seem threatening until it’s too late. Case in point with the sinister other mother, who at first glance seems like the nicer, more loving parent when really she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Actually she’s more like a giant spider, but same principle. Once she reveals her true form, it leads to one of the most spectacular monster designs I’ve ever seen. Both monstrous and manipulative, the other mother is simply the stuff of nightmares for kids, and makes them appreciate the real parents they have. 

#3 Azula (Avatar: The Last Airbender

In a magical land of four kingdoms, select individuals harness the elements of Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Of the four, it’s the nation of fire that instigates war, with the titular Fire Lord standing as the shows main antagonist. However, it’s his daughter the princess Azula who dose all the action and completely steals the show. As both a master planer and skilled warrior, she absolutely thrills as a challenge to the shows main hero’s. Throughout the majority of the series, Azula is a calm and calculated threat who keeps her frightening inner demons subdued under a lot of personality. Azula does have a deliciously evil fork tongue to boot, and no shortage of quotable lines. She’s crafty, intelligent and soft spoken which of sets her sinister nature perfectly. She’s even a little complex, and has enough back-story to make her more than a one note antagonist. Need I say more, it’s Azula and you can always count on her to set people ablaze ... literally.   

#2 Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty

When a new child Princess is born into the kingdom, this evil Witch comes out of hiding to in-act her vengeance for being outcast, and it all begins with a prophesied death for our young heroine. I think that any Disney villain list would have Maleficent ranked very high among the best, and for good reason. She has such a cool design, with a long purple and black clock, bat-like wings coming from the neck, a green face and devil horns. Even her name is awesome, so it's definitely an A+ with the presentation. Another strong element to her is that Maleficent combines both quiet, sophisticated evil with monstrously dominate evil. In other words she can attack you both mentally and physically, a deadly combination. Plus, she can transform into a dragon ... that's awesome! If someone were to label her the number 1 Disney villain of all time, there would be no argument from me. However, I still have 3 others that I personally like a little more, but only by a hair.

Before I reveal my #1 favorite, here are some Honorable Mentions ... 

Ursula (The Little Mermaid)

Roodaka (Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows)

Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)

Black Fire (Teen Titans)

Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)

#1 Demona (Gargoyles

In this Dark Disney action series, stone Gargoyles come to life every night to protect the people of the city from threats both internal and external. One select Gargoyle named Demona stands apart from the others with a ruthless hatred for humanity and all that would protect them. This character conveys all the excitement and menace of a super-villain but has the depth and complexity of a Shakespeare character. Demona is my personal favorite animated villain because unlike all the previously mentioned antagonists, I actually felt like I went on a journey with this character. Her back story is so deep and multilayered that it took several episodes to flesh out her story. She strikes this perfect line between menace and pathos where “we the audience” both fear her, but we also sympathize with her. Demona’s actions also speak volumes as she’s surprisingly violent for a character from a Disney cartoon, and brings levels of pain and death that rival what most other cartoon super-villains can get away with. Oh and I can’t forget the sensational voice work from actress Marina Sirtis who infuses the character with a haunting yet beautiful voice. Formidable, sophisticated, complex, menacing ... personally beyond just being my favorite animated female villain, I think Demona is one of the all time greatest animated villains in general.