“Every good story needs a villain. But the best villains are the ones you secretly enjoy.” Can we blame American author Stephanie Garber (Caraval) for conjuring up this idea? How many times has work failed to seduce the audience, even though a hero wanted to be strong and charismatic, simply because the threat he faced was not up to the task or even too stupid? On the Pixar side, on the other hand, many animated films have managed to offer us (despite imperfect films) a cast of five-star characters, both on the hero and villain sides of the story. Today we come back to 10 of the smartest villains in Pixar movies!
#1 Lotso (Toy Story 3)
A cute old pink bear smelling like strawberries. Who would have thought that a being like him could turn out to be so manipulative that he would be able to hide his true nature from Woody and his cronies? His deception and ability to run Sunnyside School while keeping the other toys on a leash prove Lotso is as charismatic as he is intelligent.
#2 Gabby Gabby (Toy Story #4)
We stay with Woody meeting Gabby Gabby in the latest episode of Toy Story. Apparently nice, she actually doesn’t hesitate to manipulate the cowboy to achieve his goal: get his voicemail. Clever and eloquent, she manages to win it back thanks to her negotiation skills. But despite this and her capture of Fourchette, she remains much more caring than Lotso and on principle wants to do no harm.
#3 Chef Skinner (Ratatouille)
He’s small, he’s always angry, but he’s smarter than he looks. Chef Skinner runs a restaurant with a masterly hand and has brought it both financial and fame through his recipes. Thanks to his stepladders, sources of many false connections, he sometimes turns out to be an excellent spy, able to rebuke his anger when he has to keep up appearances. A more respectable antagonist than he seems.
#4 Karl f. Muntz (up there)
Unlike Chef Skinner, Charles Muntz is characterized by his very cold, calm, and calculating demeanor. Especially in old age, he had a life full of adventures and therefore acquired a lot of culture and knowledge. Ready for anything, he travels aboard his airship and has developed an army of intelligent dogs ready to fight for him using technology that allows them to speak.
#5 The One-Eyed (1001 Legs)
One Eyed is a ruthless bully who wants to control the ants, but is smart enough to know they might be useful to him, so killing them all isn’t the solution. Charismatic, he is the leader of the locusts and willing to display violence and cruelty to secure his place as leader. Proof that cleverness can also be used to do evil.
#6 Randall bug (monsters, etc.)
Randall Bogue, also known as Leon the Chameleon, is ambitious and intends to plan in his corner to revolutionize the horror industry without caring for others. But we’ll find out later in the film that Leon is ultimately just a minor player compared to Mr. Waternoose, planning alongside him to make the most of scaring people, and especially children. Smarter than his sidekick because he manipulates Bob and Sulli, he also has more power and therefore proves to be more dangerous.
#7 Syndrome (The Incredibles)
Syndrome is probably one of Pixar’s most dangerous antagonists. He is often described as extremely intelligent. He uses this intelligence to create machines that allow him to look like Mr. Incredible before sinking to the dark side. It was enriched and used it to develop many technologies, each more innovative than the last. Including the Omnidroids, which allowed him to eliminate dozens of superheroes. When Batman or Iron Man switch sides, the following could happen.
#8 Evelyn Deavor (The Incredibles 2)
It continues with the second part of the adventures of the Incredibles family. Evelyn Deavor is a businesswoman and the designer of her husband’s business. Apparently calm and friendly, she actually wants to destroy the reputation of superheroes and almost succeeded thanks to her ability to control them. She even manages to take control of Elasticgirl, saved in Extremis.
#9 Chick Hicks (cars)
Admittedly, Chick Hicks, the famous mustachioed green car from Cars, isn’t the worst villain at Pixar given the examples we’ve just seen. Still, he’s a con artist who will stop at nothing to stay ahead of the competition. Competition he does not hesitate to push and hinder in a way that is not very fair during his races, even if it means creating pile-ups that are favorable to him. So that’s the moral of the story: Being smart also means being a master of cheating.
#10 Ernesto de la Cruz (Coconut)
We end with the most deceptive of all, the hero’s father who is in fact not the real hero’s father, the talented artist who actually has no talent: Ernesto De La Cruz. Hugely popular in the world of the dead, the man didn’t hesitate to appropriate someone else’s songs with impunity for decades before he was discovered by his son, Miguel. He is so manipulative that he goes so far as to innocently pose as little Miguel’s father. To cover his tracks, he even had the presence of mind to murder the author of the stolen songs. As evil and harmful as it is malicious.
And you, which Pixar villains would you have included in this ranking? And if you want to delve a little deeper into the Pixar (and Disney) universe, here it is!