Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Characters (Part 3 of my top 30 favorite Characters)

There are many things that bring me back to the movies or TV shows I love. Sometimes it’s the writing, or the experience, or the visual appeal, but more often than not, it’s the characters that bring me back for more. Sometimes, even if the movie isn’t that great, I’ll still be on board just because I love the characters, and love watching them on the journey. There are so many characters I love from various TV shows, and movies that I’ve always wanted to highlight my personal Top 30 favorites, the cream of the crop, the ones that have stuck with me long after viewing them. In order to give this rather long list some variety, I’m going to break it down into three classes. They will be my top 10 favorite animated characters, my top 10 favorite villains and my top 10 favorite characters in general from various movies and TV shows. Also, with some exceptions, I’m only selecting a single character from a series or movie. With all that said, lets close my three part countdown with my top 10 favorite characters in general from movies and TV shows ...

#10 Gandalf (Lord of the Rings series) 

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a big “Lord of the Rings” fan. The books were good, but I’ve only read them once, and the original movie trilogy was very good, but they’re not movies I re-watch too often. Having said all that, the franchises elder wizard named Gandalf the Grey has always been one of my favorite characters. We’ve seen the classic archetype of the old mentor character countless times, and while Gandalf falls into this category, he just feels more human. He definitely acts like a moral compos, and I just want to hold onto every word he says, but more often than not he succumbs to the side effects of his age. He can be grouchy, he can be angry, he can even be doubtful, which makes him more relatable, rather than just being a good role model to look up to. This also makes his words of wisdom all the more impactful when they come from a character who’s not all together perfect. He also has a great sense of hummer, and Sir Ian Mckellen just shines in the role. I may not be a die hard “Lord of the Rings” fan, but I’m definitely a fan of this great character.

#9 Evie (The Mummy) 

Up next is the character who did something special for the clichéd damsel stereotype, this being the beautiful and intelligent Egyptologist named Evie, played by Rachel Weisz. This is the role that’s most associated Rachel Weisz, despite winning academy awards for performances in other films like “The Constant Gardener”. Regardless, Rachel Weisz is just so naturally lovable in this role, and I enjoy every second she’s on screen. The character Evie is like a little child that gets excited on Christmas, but she’s also adventurous and very useful with her knowledge of Egypt and its history. Also, I love that she’s more than just an attractive damsel stereotype. Even when she does get captured it’s a pivotal part of the story, and not just something that happens because she's a stereotype. Of course Evie made it at #1 on my top 10 Damsels list, but I’d honestly go further and say she’s one of my personal favorite leading female characters of all time. With her cute smile, helpful knowledge, charming, lovable and spunky personality, Evie raises the bar for clichéd damsel’s and is a great addition to the film.

#8 V (V for Vendetta) 

In this epic comic book movie adaption, a sinister totalitarian government has taken over London, and one lone masked terrorist simply known as “V” stands in defiance against them. If I had the opportunity to perform as any movie character, it would have to be the mysterious, poetic, masked vigilante “V”. Without any doubt, this was the performance of a life time for star Hugo Weaving, who is outstanding in the role. We’ve seen hero’s in movies that stand against the oppressors condemning the innocent people of the world, but “V” is very different, and doesn’t follow the typical “rebellious hero conventions”. While his motivations and actions are noble, he goes about them like a devious master mind of sorts who’s always one step ahead of his foes. V is like the best of Shakespeare characters rolled into one, and dressed like a comic book character. He’s poetic, charming, sympathetic, frightening and just runs the whole gambit of things I love from a great character.  

#7 General Patton (Patton) 

Some may argue that this shouldn’t count as obviously Patton was a real person and not a work of fiction. Regardless, I love this portrayal of the historic general so much that I couldn’t help but include him on my countdown. The first thing to highlight of course is George C. Scott who is phenomenal in the role. His sympathetic, unflinching portrayal is what cares this great war epic, and it’s as definitive as any performance in the history of American biopics. On top of that, the movie itself is just a fascinating character study of this famous military general. This is a guy who lived for war, and almost viewed it like a religion in of itself. Many of his actions were questionable, but by the end of the day, he was still someone to look up to and admire. He was daring, and didn’t always go by the books, but he was also dignified and willing to admit when he was wrong. When it comes to American biopics, “Patton” will always be one of my absolute favorites, and it’s George C. Scott’s captivating performance that makes it a classic.  

#6 Satine (Moulin Rouge) 

In this magical 2001 musical, the star of the Moulin Rouge is Satine, who’s the best at seducing men and stealing the scenery. However, even though she shows off and goes over the top with selling herself, she has a burning passion to escape this world of sin, be a real actress and just make something of herself. In the process of putting on a show, Satine falls in love with a writer, who’s the first person to love her for who she is and not what she sells. It’s a concept that’s been done before with other great characters, but there are two stand out things about Satine that make her a personal favorite. First of all, the movie makes it clear early on that Satine is dying of Tuberculoses, which unfortunately means that she’ll never be able to escape, follow her dreams and make a life for herself. Because of this, it makes the audience savor every second she has while alive, as she makes the most of the moment, and the fact that she has fallen in love with someone. The second thing that always stands out to me is Nicole Kidman’s performance. She is so passionate in the role, and runs the whole gambit of different emotions. I’ve admired Nicole Kidman as a very talented actor, and this is the role that proved she could do it all. It’s a performance that’s everything whimsical, tragic, fiery, adult, and she just shines on the screen.   

#5 Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones) 

To be honest, I think the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones” has one of the greatest ensemble casts I’ve ever seen. Heck, I could fill this list mostly with characters from this show, but that wouldn’t be fair. So let’s just cut to the chase, Tyrion Lannister played by Perter Kinklage is un-be-firkin-lievable! I’m convinced, Tyrion will go down in history as one of the great TV show characters of all time. He’s a midget born into an evil corrupt Kingdome, and his job is to be the tuff as nails, scheming conscience who puts everyone in their place. He knows the disadvantage of being a little person in this time period, but he wears it like a badge, because once you embrace it, no-one can harm you with it. His strength is his intelligence, vision, cool intellect, and capabilities as a master planner. There’s really nothing more satisfying in this show then seeing Tyrion out-smart his rivals and putting his enemies in their place. While the writing for this show is fantastic, it’s Peter Dinklage’s charisma and style that really elevate this character. He may be a little person, but no-one walks taller than Tyion.

#4 Rocky (Rocky series) 

When it comes to a conventional “hero archetype”, I’m always drawn to the underdog the most. The hero’s that rise to the challenge, the ones that face all odds, and for me, Rocky will always be the panicle underdog hero. It’s the small town boxer who gets a shot to fight in the heavy weight championship, and surpasses all expectations. This is a character that always spoke to me, about how an everyday man can go above and beyond, and Sylvester Stallone is just so humble and sincere in the role. Honestly, how could anyone not love Rocky, he’s perhaps the most humble and human character from any film franchise. This is a character that inspires me to do more with myself, to break out and make a difference. Even if it’s something small, Rocky has always encouraged me to stick to my passions and follow them through to the end.  

#3 Captain Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation) 

I’ve been a long time “Star Trek: TNG” fan for years, and just like “Game of Thrones”, I’ve always regarded this show as having one of the greatest ensemble casts of any TV program. Leading the charge is Captain Picard, who’s brought to life masterfully by Sir Patrick Stewart. No other “Star Trek” captain seemed to capture the same authority and command that Picard had. He was large, in charge and his greatest strength was his intellect. He was a great strategist, one who could out think his enemies without resorting to physical action. That’s not to say he didn’t take physical action when required, he simply resorted to his intellect as his first tool. Also, much like the previously mentioned Gandalf the Grey, Picard wasn’t always a perfect moral compos to rally behind, he could still make misstates, he could be grouchy, but that only made me respect him more when he did do something dignified. Finally, there’s just something about Patrick Stewart’s performance that makes this character feel iconic, like one of the great classic character portrayals for the silver screen.  

#2 Wolverine (X-Men series) 

It’s been long debated who the greatest comic book super hero of all time is. Some say it’s Batman, others say Spider-Man, most say it’s Superman, and really it’ll always be up for debate. As I’ve said many times before, my personal favorite superhero of all time is and always will be Wolverine. This is the guy who stands apart from other hero’s, and just seems to have everything I want from a great character. Wolverines the ultimate outsider, and his greatest battle is the one within himself. He’s more wild, out of control and doesn’t really have a code in which to fight his enemies ... he’ll just waist them. However, underneath his beastly, bad ass persona is a warrior with a conscience to do what is honorable, and in the end he’ll always be there for his allies. This makes me respect and cheer for Wolverine more because he’s not a “perfect hero”. We can admire Superman as a great role model that will always save the day, but when someone flawed like Wolverine acts heroically, it just feels special. With Batman as my favorite superhero of the animated character spectrum, then Wolverine definitely takes top honors in the live action world of my favorite superhero portrayals. His image, healing powers, and his indestructible claws are every bit as iconic as Spider-Man and his web swinging. The ace up this characters sleeve is that he’s played by Hugh Jackman, whose frikin amazing in the role. He doesn’t even feel like an actor playing a part. When I see him on screen, I see Wolverine alive and in the flesh. This was actually Hugh Jackman’s very first role, and he’s played Wolverine for over 17 years, which is more than any actor has ever played a superhero on film. It’s a performance that’s just as iconic as Sean Connery as James Bond, and it’s a superhero I’ve always admired. 

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

Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird)

Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air)

Elena (The Mask of Zorro)

Dock Brown (Back to the Future)

Wayne and Garth (Wayne's World)

#1 Indiana Jones (Indiana Jones series) 

When it comes to iconic movie characters, Indiana Jones played by the great Harrison Ford is about as legendary as they get. As a kid, I was once asked “If you could be any movie character who would you want to be?” and my immediate response was Indiana Jones. This guy makes top spot on my list, not because of how deep or complex he get’s, but because I always wanted to be this character. He’s an intelligent, witty, thrill seeking adventurer who in my opinion is the definitive Hollywood action hero. Unlike other action hero’s, Indiana Jones could clearly get exhausted, or tired, showing that he’s not invincible, but it doesn’t stop him for keeping cool and putting up a good fight, which just made me admire him all the more. I love his biting sense of hummer, I love his heroism, I love his charm, and I love how smart he is when either getting out of a tight situation or just understanding an ancient culture. Harrison Ford of course is just incredibly charismatic in the role, and he just makes me wish he was real so I could go on a journey with him. There’s lots of great movie characters out there, some admittedly more resonant than this, but it’s Indiana Jones who I’ve enjoyed the most, and stuck with the most. He’ll always be remembered as an iconic movie character, and he’ll always be my personal all time favorite. 
 The End

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Villains (Part 2 of my 30 favorite characters from movies and TV shows)

    There are many things that bring me back to the movies or TV shows I love. Sometimes it’s the writing, or the experience, or the visual appeal, but more often than not, it’s the characters that bring me back for more. Sometimes, even if the movie isn’t that great, I’ll still be on board just because I love the characters, and love watching them on the journey. There are so many characters I love from various TV shows, and movies that I’ve always wanted to highlight my personal Top 30 favorites, the cream of the crop, the ones that have stuck with me long after viewing them. In order to give this rather long list some variety, I’m going to break it down into three classes. They will be my top 10 favorite animated characters, my top 10 favorite villains and my top 10 favorite characters in general from various movies and TV shows. Also, with some exceptions, I’m only selecting a single character from a series or movie. With all that said, lets continue my three part countdown with my top 10 favorite movie villains ...

#10 Dark Helmet (Spaceballs

Darth Vader from the “Star Wars” franchise is obviously one of cinema’s most iconic bad guys, but he’s not the one kicking off my list of favorite movie villains ... oh no. Instead of an intimidating strategist, I’ll take this pathetic dweeb in the same role. Rather than just being an obvious parody of Darth Vader, Dark Helmet manages to create his own unique identify, largely in part of Rick Moranis, who’s fantastic in the role, and improvised many of his own lines. Personally, of all the popular funny villains out there, no-one entertains me more than this guy. The reason he works so well is because everyone in the movie still treats him like he’s Darth Vader, everyone is terrified of him, he has a giant empire at his command, yet he’s clueless in how to run it. For my money, there’s nothing funnier than a powerful, all controlling villain who’s a complete looser. He has over a dozen quotable lines, Rick Moranis is just full of energy, and he’s the biggest driving force that always brings me back to one of my favorite comedies.

#9 The Invisible Man (The Invisible Man)

Naturally my favorite horror movie villain of all time is one of Universals classic golden age monsters, but it’s not Frankenstein, Dracula or The Wolf Man taking the top honors on this list, instead it’s the Invisible Man. This is a villain that goes beyond your stereotypical horror movie bad guy, in fact he feels more like someone that belongs in a Shakespeare play, and the performance is just as operatic. Of all the talented actors who’ve brought these classic monsters to life, no one excites me as much as Claude Rains in this role. Not only is his voice chillingly sinister but his personality is outstanding, he perfectly balances the line between being intimidating, sympathetic, ruthless, heartless and hilarious. He also has one of the most spectacular evil laughs I ever heard. You can never tell what this guys going to do next, sometimes he’ll flip out and let lose all his anger, then he’ll do something sadistically funny. More often than not, he’ll be delivering an ominous monologue that’ll send chills down your spine. For his charismatic performance, chilling voice and dominating screen presence, the Invisible Man still stands as my favorite villain from the horror movie catalogue. 

#8 Biff (The “Back to the Future” series)

When it comes to the generic “bully” character, no one owns it quiet like Biff from the “Back to the Future” trilogy. On the surface he may come off like a one-note bad guy, harassing woman, picking on kids and yelling at his elders. However, he just feels more interesting and more charismatic then just a clichéd bully. Thomas F. Wilson’s performance is about as solid as they get. He’s also extremely funny, has lots of memorable catchphrases and we see him evolve and change in various time lines, as well as alternate time lines. He may not be anything more than a “bully”, but he’s also an iconic movie villain in his own right. One thing’s for certain, if you ever cross paths with this guy during a time traveling adventure ... you better make like a tree and get out of there!      

#7 Judge Doom (Who Framed Rodger Rabbit

From the recesses of my child hood comes Judge Doom, portrayed brilliantly by the great Christopher Lloyd. In this classic combination of live action and animation, we get a bad guy who’s basically a live action cartoon character, and thus he can get away with every cartoony villain cliché you’d expect from a character of this sort. He’s tall, dark, intimidating and has a personality ranging from quiet and subdued to manic and over the top. I love a villain that can cover a wide range of theatrics and Judge Doom just seems to have everything I enjoy in a classy antagonist. I love it when he’s quiet and imposing, that way it makes his over the top scenes all the more exciting, fun and perhaps even a touch scary for kids. I was very little when I first saw this movie, and to be honest I don’t remember him scaring me too much, with the exception of that one scene in which he killed that cute little cartoon shoe ... yeah, that got to me. Whether he actually scared you or not, he’s undeniably a sinister presence, and a highly entertaining villain all the same.    

#6 Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2)

When it comes to Super Villains from comic books, Spider-Man’s classic foe Doctor Octopus has always been a personal favorite of mine. Naturally, it was his appearance in the 2004 movie “Spider-Man 2” that launched him into absolute greatness, and secured his reputation as one of Hollywood’s greatest comic book movie villains. He did all the evil things you’d associate with a super villain, and then some... He was imposing, had a dark sense of hummer and while the character has his signature robotic arms, its Alfred Molina performance that takes the character up to the next level. Personally, nothing excites me more than a villain with a good reformation story. Doctor Octopus transition from good to evil is one of the more subtle, yet effective to come from a villain of this sort. I like that despite all his actions, somewhere deep down is a good scientist with a continence, and one willing to give his own life to save the city from the very dooms day weapon he created. Ranging from menacing and dominate to sympathetic and reformed, Doctor Octopus will always be a shining example of an admittedly clichéd super villain done right.    

#5 Agent Smith (The Matrix trilogy) 

In the world of The Matrix, human kind has been enslaved by machines, while a small band of freedom fighters aim to set them free. The biggest obstacle standing in their way is a well dressed, un-killable super agent that will stop at nothing to see mankind destroyed. While he’s basically a computer programed to terminate all who resist, Smith has his own personal goal, to break out of the system and become an individual. Hugo Weaving absolutely shines in the role, and gives the character a sheer presence of dread and menace. Even though the character gets very hammy in the later films, he’s still a malevolent foe, with a commanding presence. The best villains are the ones who always keep calm, collected, and yet can still put up a fight. I also love antagonists that are polar opposites of the protagonists, and Smith is a perfect offset to our hero Neo.    

#4 The T-1000 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)

It’s hard not to be intimidated by a giant, super strong killer robot played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, yet it’s the smaller, less muscular T-1000 terminator who really comes off as the more terrifying killer cyborg. He has liquid metal shape shifting abilities that visually will knock your socks off, and a stunning performance from Robert Patrick that’s the real icing on the cake. Much like Agent Smith, this is a very one-track villain with a simple goal to kill the hero, yet he has this captivating presence and just feels like something more than just an obstacle for our protagonists to fight. Once again, this is a performance that covers a range of theatrics and emotions. Were as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s terminator was consistently robotic, this guy could act very human, and very normal. This makes him all the more intimidating, and it’s an absolute thrill whenever he’s on screen.   

#3 The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz)

As far back as I remember, “The Wizard of Oz” was one of the very first movies I ever saw in my lifetime, and thus the Wicked Witch of the West was one of my first introductions to classic villainy. To describe a perfect villain is something I can’t do justice, but I know it when I see it, and to this day, phew other villains have had the same commanding screen presence as this literary witch brought to life on the silver screen. This the character that would be the archetype for several other movie villains to aspire from, and the perfect model for an on-screen witch. The green skin and black attire obviously make for a memorable design, but it’s the joyously evil performance from Margaret Hamilton and maniacal nature that makes this villain so fun to watch. Over the years she’s stood the test of time as one of the great iconic villains, and she’s still the stuff of nightmares for young children. 

#2 Darth Vader (The “Star Wars” Series) 

What a shock, Darth Vader ranks high on my list of favorite villains. Sorry to be so predictable, but I’m not going to lie about my opinion, and Darth Vader is without a doubt one of my all time favorite villains. He’s often regarded as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) villains ever in film and for a good reason. Right from the first movie, he’s intimidating and a powerful enemy, with one of the sharpest designs I’ve ever seen. That awesome helmet, long cape, red lightsaber and the commanding voice of James Earl Jones ... it’s just perfect. Throw in a complex story of him going from a tragic fallen hero, too evil galactic conqueror and then in the end he becomes a hero again, and you got yourself an A+ bad guy. This was the first time I ever found myself caring for a villain, and with that bit of emotional depth and back story mixed with his awesome look and design, that’s the perfect ingredients for one of Hollywood’s best villains and my personal favorite character from the Star Wars series.

Before I reveal my #1 favorite, here are some quick honorable mentions ...

Two-Face - (The Dark Knight)

Hall 9000 – (2001: A Space Odyssey)

Scaramanga – (The Man with the Golden Gun)

Imhotep – (The Mummy)

Shinzon – (Star Trek Nemesis)

#1 Magneto (The “X-Men” Series) 

In my opinion, villains don’t get any better than Magneto. He’s powerful, methodical, tragic, heroic, complex, frightening, intimidating, vengeful, and just about everything you need for a great character. He’s like the Shakespeare villain of all comic book movie villains, and is every bit as sophisticated and classy as his characters too. The most frightening villains always seem the most human, but are always hiding something sinister. Adapted from the X-Men Comic books, Magneto is a super villain with the power to control metal objects, but he only gets more interesting from there. Shaped by the atrocities of world war II, Magneto’s contempt for human kind is far more vengeful, and makes his goals to liberate mutants from their human oppressors all the more personal. Magneto is scary both as a metaphor, and as one who believes he’s taking the right actions against others who in his mind should be branded as villains. Even his relation with the hero’s is interesting as he doesn’t hate them the same way other villains just want to see their adversaries dead. He’s also been brought to life through two stand-out performances from Ian Mckellen and Michael Fassbender, who both convey the tragedy and the menace of the character perfectly. Ian Mckellen’s performance as Magneto has achieved iconic movie villain status, right up there with the Joker and Darth Vader. How he ranks among them is up for debate, but for me personally, he isn’t just my favorite comic book villain, he’s my favorite villain I’ve ever seen in a motion picture series.

     To Be Continued ...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Animated Characters (Part 1 of my top 30 favorite Characters)

There’s many things that bring me back to the movies or TV shows I love. Sometimes it’s the writing, or the experience, or the visual appeal, but more often than not, it’s the characters that bring me back for more. Sometimes, even if the movie isn’t that great, I’ll still be on board just because I love the characters, and love watching them on the journey. There are so many characters I love from various TV shows, and movies that I’ve always wanted to highlight my personal top 30 favorites, the cream of the crop, the ones that have stuck with me long after viewing them. In order to give this rather long list some variety, I’m going to break it down into three classes for three separate posts. In part 1 I'll cover my top 10 favorite animated characters. In part 2 it'll be my top 10 favorite villains. In part 3 it'll be my all time favorite characters in general from various movies and TV shows. Also, with some exceptions, I’m only selecting a single character from a series or movie. With all that said, lets kick part 1 off with ... My Top 10 Favorite Animated Characters!

#10 Belle (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast)

    I'll admit that as a kid, Belle never stood out to me as a memorable Disney princess, but looking back as an adult, I think she’s hands down one of the greatest female characters to ever come from an animated feature. Belle is stronger, smarter and more independent than any of the clichéd Disney princesses that had come before her. She’s kind and loving but she has her limits and can be firm and tough when the situation requires it. The things that make her good are really good, and help her stand apart without showing off. Every Disney Princess has had their own wants, desires, but what sets Belle apart from them is a need to discover something greater then herself, something impact-full, something she can't even comprehend. That's kind of a deep and inspiring character trait, and it all pays off because what she was looking for came from the last place she expected. Belle may look and sound like your typical Disney princess, but she’s so much more special than that.

#9 Megamind (DreamWorks Megamind)

He was once a super villain that did every sinister thing a super villain could do, and worse, right down to killing the superhero who protects the city from evil. Once the city belongs to him, Megammind realizes that he lost a part of himself, and when he unintentionally creates a new super villain who's even worse, Megamind has more than a change of heart, he has a serious change of character as he takes the place of a superhero. It’s a change of heart story that’s every bit as touching as it is clever and funny. Will Ferrell is about as lively, charismatic and hilarious as you can possibly in an animated role. To be honest, despite not being on screen, I think this is his best role by far. Aside from an outstanding performance, and terrific character arch, I actually see a lot of myself in this character. Weather he's being a villain or a hero, Megamind's ultimate goal is to just find a place in the world, and to make a life. I think a lot of people can relate to that on some level. Throw in a great theatrical performance, touching reformation story and you got an animated character that oddly enough is one to look up to.      

#8 Gadget (Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers)

    Growing up in the 90’s “Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers” was one of my favorite animated programs, and after all these years, the character Gadget has always stuck with me as a personal favorite. Being completely honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more charming and all around likable animated girl then Gadget. She’s a brilliant inventor but also a clumsy goof, which are the perfect ingredients for hummer and charisma. In many ways she’s the smartest member of her team, crafting high-tech vehicles ranging from plains to boats and even a submarine just using small, common everyday things that she finds lying around. At the same time, her brilliant, hyperactive mind leads to a lot of funny scenes or situations. What can I say, I love how energetic she is, I love how excited she can get creating inventions, I love her chemistry with the other characters, and I love how funny she can get when doing something completely unintentional. I’ve been around the block with many charming animated characters for years, many of which can instantly put a smile on my face, but Gadget has this special charm that’s all her own. She had a wonderful personality, she was inventive, heroic, funny, emotional, tough, caring and always a real joy to watch. 

#7 Frollo (Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

   I know I shouldn’t like a villain as much as a hero, but Frollo has always been a personal favorite of mine. This guy probably did more evil deed’s than any other animated villain, yet he’s actually a rather complex character. For all the terrible things he does, he tries to justify his actions every time and even convince others that it’s what needs to be done. Most villains like Maleficent are evil and did terrible things, but Frollo is a frustrated, psychopathic, holly man that can’t control his emotions, and really believes that these are things he should be doing. It doesn’t justify what he does, but it makes you except the fact that there are no limits to the things he can do, get away with and why he doses them. You just believe he’s out of his mind and that adds a layer of fascination to his character. Also big points go to his villain song “Hellfire”, which is by far the greatest villain song ever. For all this and more, Frollo stands as not just one of my favorite Disney villains but as one of my all time favorite villains in cinema. 

#6 Woody and Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story series)

     Of all the classic animated Disney characters I grew up with, no two were more special to me then Woody and Buzz Lightyear from the “Toy Story” series. I know I’m cheating by including two characters in one spot, but this is a packaged deal, and I just couldn’t imagine one without the other. Both have iconic designs, are brought to life perfectly by their respected voice actors, have no shortage of quotable lines, are both brimming with personality, and both have a heart of gold underneath the plastic stuffing. They were rivals who hated each other’s guts, but through a series of well placed and funny events, the two became inseparable. I don’t know why, but this is probably my favorite movie friendship I’ve seen between two characters. I just love all the peaks and valleys it goes through. The two will always be staples from my youth, and I love that over the years they continue to take new generations of children on adventures through infinity and beyond.

#5 Princess Nausicaa (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind)

      Kicking off my top 5 animated characters is my personal all time favorite movie Princess. One that unfortunately isn’t as popular but shouldn’t be ignored, nor should her movie. In an apocalyptic future, civilizations wage war for ownership of the last surviving human populations, and cot in the middle is a brave young Princess named Nausicaa who’ll fight to her dying breath to insure peace is made across the land. So what, is she another stereotypical Princess that switches between being a soft spoken mediator, and a cunning, sword wielding action heroin, well, yeah she is ... and more. Princess Nausicaa has a warm heart and charming personality, but she also has grit, and is driven by her passion. You also knows how to lead her people, if a sudden attack happens, she’ll quickly think of a plan on her feet, and take charge the way a strong leader should. With that said, she never talks down to her people like their in any way beneath her, in fact she see’s everyone on the same equal ground, and has the same love and devotion to the smallest inhabitant of her Kingdom that she has for her own family. More than anything, this is a Princess who really inspires her people, raises their hopes, and you just feel that warm connection she has with everyone in her home valley. Also, like any animated princess, she has a real love for nature and can form an instant connection with animals. Now underneath her warm smile and selfless devotion to a just cause, Princess Nausicaa dose in fact have a dark side, an unstoppable rage that lashes out, and it terrifies her when she loses herself. This add’s a lair of complexity to the character which keeps her from being a stereotypical good role model. She is in fact a person bound by the human condition, but that only makes us respect her all the more when she acts heroically. In my opinion, she’s just an all around perfect character who earns her title, and set’s a new standard for other Princess characters to aspire from.

#4 Prince Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

    Next on my list is yet another complex villain from one of my all time favorite animated shows. Prince Zuko was initially the main antagonist of the first season of “Avatar: The Last Air Bender”, and was a bad as they got as he pursued the shows hero’s in an effort to hunt down and kill “The Chosen One”. His soul reasoning is to restore his honor after a mistake that forced him to be exiled from his family. While I’ve seen tragic villains before, there’s so much more substance and intrigue that goes into this character. He dose bad things but with honorable intentions instead of greed, and throughout the show we see him go through some huge changes. In season two he becomes an anti hero who just needs to find his place in the world while also battling his personal demons that corrupt his soul. Then in season 3 he becomes a hero who gradually gains friendship among our hero’s. Watching this banished prince go from menacing villain, to anti hero, to champion has been an awesome experience, and I just loved watching him slowly gain acceptance and friendship among the shows team of protagonists. It’s one of the shows biggest highlights, and one of the most captivating stories of evil turned good I’ve ever seen.

#3 Raven (Teen Titans)

    Every superhero has their own motivation or back story as to why they become hero’s, and personally it’s Raven from the 2003 animated “Teen Titans” series who’s always stood out as one of the most multi layered, complex and intriguing. Initially created by a demonic villain to bring about the end of the world, Raven feared the harm she would inevitably bring to others, but decided to utilize her life as a super hero, whatever good she can possibly achieve. She’s a powerful witch, with hex casting charms, but her greatest strength and power is “hope”, hope that that she can accomplish more good then evil. Even with that said, she still keeps quiet to herself and is still very dark. However, despite being so cold and mysteries, she is still brimming with personality, and has some really funny remarks for just about any situation. Voiced by the incredibly talented Terra Strong, Raven might just be one of the funniest and most charismatic animated hero’s I’ve ever seen. She’s a Gothic super hero brimming with personality, has a deep back story, and is a strong fighter. More than anything Raven is a great example to follow in regards to how one persons “hope” can bring about something pure from a dark place.

#2 Hiccup and Toothless (How to Train your Dragon)

     Hollywood has had no shortage of memorable stories revolving around a boy and his pet, that’s also his best friend. However, I can’t think of any pair more special then this Viking boy and his pet Dragon. Hiccup and Toothless are two of the most enduring, and charming characters to grace the silver screen in years ... animated or not. These two have great chemistry and are both just brimming with personality. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you can’t help but wish for a special connection of your own with a creature as awesome as Toothless, who in my personal opinion is the cutest animal character I’ve ever seen on film. That might sound odd to call a dragon cute, but honestly, there’s so much more to Toothless then just an adorable mug.  This dragon conveys so much personality and charisma with no dialogue at all, making him one of the best animated characters I’ve ever seen. Both Hiccup and Toothless individually are excellent characters, but the two of them together make for something very special. 

Before I reveal my #1 favorite, here are some quick honorable mentions ... 

Wolverine (Various X-Men shows)

The Genie of the Lamp (Disney's Aladdin)

Demona (Gargoyles)

Mrs. Brisby (The Secret of Nimh)

Dinobot (Beast Wars: Transformers)

#1 Batman (Batman: The Animated Series)

     I could have filled this list entirely with animated superhero’s, but that would have been too easy. Instead, let’s just cut to the chase and highlight my absolute favorite animated superhero to ever grace the silver screen, that being none other than Batman. More specifically, the animated Batman voiced by Kevin Conroy, who in my opinion will always be the definitive Dark Knight. This was the version of Batman that never seemed intimidated by anything, or at least never showed that he was intimidated. He definitely has his weaknesses and shows his emotions, but he was always so cool, collected and always kept the problem his own, no one else’s. He fights his own battles, but will still put his trust in those he respects. Whenever this Batman battled his demons or his enemies, he always did it in a way that could be admired, respected, while still thrilling us at the same time. As a kid, Batman was always my ideal super hero, representing tragedy at a young age but an overcoming strength in his later years. What else do I even need to say ... it's just Batman!    

This concludes the first half of my top 30 favorite character countdown, so check in for part two were I countdown my all time favorite villains.