Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Villainy's Victors- Hexxus

89) Hexxus from Fern Gully-

This is yet another villain whose inclusion on the list is based on childhood nostalgia. Fern Gully was one of those incessant Disney rip-off animated movies that came out in the early 90s with an ecological theme. The premise of the film is that the fairies who live in Fern Gully in Australia are threatened when logging operation accidentally releases Hexxus, a pollution spirit made of toxic chemicals and smog.

This character is on my list because he left a strong impression on me as a child in what is otherwise an unmemorable movie. The character's in the movie are really, really bland. Pretty much all of them are stock character from an average disney film. The young princess who is curious about the outside world (NOTE: Dear Fern Gully fans, her father is the village chief. She's a princess. As if any of you read this blog in the first place), one obnoxious good looking male lead, his rival for the princess's affection, and the elderly overprotective father. Really, you've seen all these characters before in better movies.

As a result, Hexxus comes off as the only character in the movie who has any force of personality. This is primarily the work of actor Tim Curry who also portrayed another character on the list when he essayed the the role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in It. Curry is famous for his performance as the Doctor Frank N. Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Indeed, that character informs much of Curry's performance as Hexxus. Like Furter, Curry's Hexxus is an incredibly flamboyant and over-the-top, adding a sense of fun to a character that have could just easily been a one-note villain. This results in a high-camp character who is hilarious to watch while still maintaing a sense of menace. It also doesn't hurt that he gets the best song in the movie.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Villainy's Victors- The Wiseman

Note: In the interests of getting more content on the blog, I have decided to devote a whole post to each character on my list of the Top 100 Villains. This should give me more time to reflect on each post before I send it out and now, without further ado---

90) The Wiseman from Sailor Moon-

Now, I maintain that Sailor Moon, like many cartoons I enjoyed as a child is best enjoyed from a distance behind a thick veil of nostalgia. The power of memory lets you forget about the dubious animation quality, the truly painful voice acting, and quite frankly silly plots. Nine time out of ten, the show relies on Sailor Moon engaging in a normal activity that, by complete coincidence, turns out to secretly be an evil plot. (Beauty contest? Evil scheme. Cruise ship vacation? Evil scheme. I swear I remember in one episode a snack stand at the mall turned out to be a front for the latest group of villains).

So I can be forgiven if the my pick for number 90 on this list, Wiseman would probably seem silly to an adult eye. But in my defense, this character offered something we hadn't seen on the show before. Though there were many villains on Sailor Moon, some epic and others kind of pathetic, the Wiseman was the first Sailor Moon villain who was actively unnerving.

The Wiseman offered something I really hadn't seen in a villain before that point. Physically, he was unprepossessing, a short somewhat gnarled figure whose features were obscured by shadow and by the robe he always wore. The Wisman's main goal was the complete and total destruction of everything that existed, thereby, returning everything to a formless void.

Now, I was no stranger to villains whose plan was to destroy the universe. However, most of the time those villains a) had a plan in which destroying the universe would actually benefit them (i.e. being the God of the next universe) or b) were such megalomaniacs that I legitimately thought it never occurred to them that destroying the universe would be bad for them too.

Wiseman, on the other hand, was the first villain I had ever encountered who seemed to genuinely believed that nothing was, in the grand scheme of things, superior to something. A pure nihilist, it genuinely didn't matter that he would also cease to exist when and if he succeeded. Furthermore, he could be extremely persuasive in gathering converts cause thanks to his ability to literally rewrite peoples memories until they to believed that life was horrible and meaningless. To a kid like me, he was genuinely terrifying and the impression he made never really left. Thus, he will always remain one of my favorite villains even if the show he appeared on hasn't aged well at all.