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Top 10 Pixar Villains REDUX

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Kurt Hvorup. Even in an animated form, villainy can still shock and entertain us to no end. Join as we count down our list of the top 10 Pixar Villains. As before, we’re strictly looking at the many intriguing and oft-intimidating antagonists showcased in Pixar films. We’ve updated our rankings to account for newer films such as “The Incredibles 2”.

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Top 10 Pixar Villains REDUX

Even in an animated form, villainy can still shock and entertain us to no end. Welcome to and today we’re revisiting our list of the top 10 Pixar Villains.

As before, we’re strictly looking at the many intriguing and oft-intimidating antagonists showcased in Pixar films. We’ve updated our rankings to account for newer films such as “The Incredibles 2”.

#10: AUTO
“WALL-E” (2008)

Even the best of intentions can lead to terrible consequences. In “WALL-E”, humanity lives on aboard the space vessel Axiom, which is partially overseen by the shipboard AI known as AUTO. Portrayed using Apple’s MacinTalk voice synthesis technology, AUTO appears at first to be a firm but fair caretaker of the Axiom, who genuinely does have humanity’s best interests at heart. However, it’s later revealed that AUTO has secret orders to keep humanity away from Earth, being unable to defy his programming in spite of evidence that Earth can support life. Even as we root for AUTO’s efforts to fail, it’s hard not to feel a bit of sympathy for him.

#9: Chick Hicks
“Cars” (2006)

Talk about a sore winner. While the focus of 2006’s “Cars” is primarily on race car Lightning McQueen’s shift from arrogant competitor to compassionate racer, it doesn’t shy away from contrasting him with his rival Chick Hicks. Perpetually stuck in second place behind continual winner The King, Chick is ruled by his contempt for failure and his desire to win at any cost. Chick’s bitterness is such that, in a pivotal moment during the Piston Cup race, he opts to sideswipe the King in the name of victory. Despicable as he may be, Chick works well as a dark reflection of what Lightning could have been, had he stayed his previous course.

#8: Sid Phillips
“Toy Story” (1995)

So young, and yet so unsettling. Sid Phillips looms large in “Toy Story” as a major threat for toys Buzz Lightyear and Woody to overcome, upon being taken from a Pizza Planet restaurant into Sid’s home. As Sid’s tendency for torturing toys and mistreating his sister comes into focus, the threat to Buzz and Woody rises exponentially. He acts in stark contrast to Buzz and Woody’s actual owner Andy, whose compassionate and concern about his toys clashes with Sid’s more destructive tendencies. It ultimately serves to make the toys’ final confrontation with Sid – and their imparting of a stern lesson to him – all the more memorably intense.

#7: Randall Boggs
“Monsters, Inc.” (2001)

Mr. Waternoose might be the one guiding the behind-the-scenes machinations in “Monsters Inc.”, but it’s his cohort Randall who proves the more menacing adversary. Introduced as the bitter rival of heroes Sulley and Mike, Randall Boggs immediately makes clear his sheer contempt and barely-restrained cruelty. He not only aids in the construction of a Scream Extractor device and intends to use it for personal gain, but he also takes great pleasure in tormenting the young human child Boo. What makes Randall especially threatening is that, as a chameleon-esque monster, he can blend into the environment with ease.

#6: Stinky Pete
“Toy Story 2” (1999)

Riding the line between unrepentant bitterness and understandable grief is tough for any character, particularly those we’re meant to hate. Yet in “Toy Story 2”, the balance is achieved with Stinky Pete, a prospector toy once part of a larger Wild West brand. Pete – as one of several characters on the children’s show “Woody’s Roundup” - is defined by a clear yearning for better days, tinged with resentment and informed by years of neglect. Pete’s voice actor Kelsey Grammer imbues him with just the right amount of pathos and kindly presence, which makes his shift into a more manipulative and harsh villain all the more affecting.

#5: Ernesto de la Cruz
“Coco” (2017)

Being talented doesn’t let you off the hook for cruelty. When aspiring musician Miguel first seeks out the long-deceased spirit of his idol Ernesto de la Cruz, he seems at first to live up to the legend. Ernesto enjoys Miguel’s company and comes across as a passionate entertainer – and then it comes to light that Ernesto murdered Miguel’s great-great-grandfather Hector for his songs and guitar. Suddenly Ernesto’s performative demeanour takes on a much more toxic light, as he shows how far he’ll go to secure his fame. Quite a sharp character turn there, Pixar.

#4: Charles Muntz
“Up” (2009)

How the mighty have fallen. Formerly a world-renowned adventurer known for exploring uncharted regions in his airship, Charles F. Muntz definitely makes a good first impression. He welcomes long-time fan Carl into his company, cares for a group of dogs imbued with speech technology, and appears courteous... until the matter of Kevin the bird comes up. “Up” doesn’t hesitate in showing how Muntz’s search for the bird turned into an obsession, driving him to lash out against other adventurers. There’s a clear tragedy in how Muntz has become a hollow shell of a person, consumed by violent paranoia, and an unwillingness to move on.

#3: Hopper
“A Bug’s Life” (1998)

Some villains become memorable because of nuance, subtlety or complexity of character – this is not one of those times. Right out of the gate, Hopper establishes his perceived superiority and harsh demeanour as he bullies, browbeats and abuses an ant colony alongside his gang. Between his scarred eye and constant scowl, Hopper doesn’t lack for ways to deliver on sheer intimidation – and that’s before the physical violence and terrifying speeches. He also escalates into full-on murderous intent as “A Bug’s Life” progresses, with his aim to kill the ant queen, after taking every last bit of the ants’ winter food, being especially galling. Thank goodness for birds...

#2: Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear
“Toy Story 3” (2010)

Even adorable-looking teddy bears can be truly monstrous at heart. Case in point: Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear, or Lotso for short, is truly among the most devious and cruel antagonists in the Pixar catalogue. While he plays up his affable image as leader of the Sunnyside Daycare toys, Lotso is in truth a tyrannical ruler who regularly abuses his position and utterly despises children. He feels no remorse over letting toys be mishandled by the daycare’s toddlers, and goes to great extremes to secure his power. The added details that Lotso’s past as an abandoned toy drove him to such a harsh expression of cynicism just underlines how far beyond reason he has become.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are our Honourable Mentions:

Darla Sherman
“Finding Nemo” (2003)

Johnny Worthington III
“Monsters University” (2013)

Chef Skinner
“Ratatouille” (2007)

#1: Syndrome
“The Incredibles” (2004)

For every great superhero, there must in turn be a dastardly supervillain. Enter Syndrome, once an exuberant kid named Buddy who wanted nothing more than to be the sidekick of Mister Incredible... and got turned down. Years pass, and the bubbling resentment shaped Buddy into a thoroughly despicable arms dealer-slash-tech genius, hell-bent on revenge against his former hero. The way Syndrome flips back and forth between eccentric man-child and sadistic murderer of superheroes is startling to say the least, underscored by Jason Lee’s excellent performance. Watching subsequent villains such as Screenslaver attempt to live up to this careful balance of charisma and cruelty will certainly prove interesting.

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