Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil: The Creation, The Inspiration, The Fascination by Jen Darcy (book review).

Whether it be the numerous nemesis of James Bond, the machinations of Moriarty or even Grendel from the annals of mythology, it seems that everyone loves a bad guy. But there is a special place in everyone’s heart for a Disney villain. Those mostly animated purveyors of evil have permeated 20th century culture and allowed young and old alike to boo their plans and hope that the good guys win, which they invariably do. Jen Darcy’s wonderful coffee table book, ‘Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil: The Creation, The Inspiration, The Fascination’, celebrates the history of the Disney villain.

Grouped under a number of different chapter headings, including ‘Oh So Vain’ featuring the Queen from ‘Snow White’ and ‘Spoiler Alert’ featuring those villains who only turn out to be bad half-way through the film, each iconic Disney villain is given up to a four page profile. Each contains a number of fascinating facts and a wealth of photos, initial sketches and behind the scenes goodies. There’s some brilliant stuff like the reference photos with live action actors dressed as the characters for animators to refer to, give a great insight into the production process while many of the sketches are a fascinating glimpse into the development of some classic characters. There are also profiles of animators as well as voice actors. The latter includes a lovely look at those who voiced both heroes and villains, including Sterling Price Holloway Jr., who was the voice of both Pooh Bear and Kaa, which when you think about it hard, actually isn’t that much of a surprise.

The book also features every Disney villain from the studio’s animated canon. Thus the stars of ‘Toy Story’, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs’ feature alongside those of ‘Oliver & Company’, ‘The Princess And The Frog’ and ‘Treasure Planet’. It really feels a comprehensive piece of work that is put together both with care and love.

Being bad has rarely been so good. ‘Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil: The Creation, The Inspiration, The Fascination’ is a wonderful and beautifully illustrated work that should take pride of place on every cinema and Disney fans shelf.

Laurence Boyce

February 2017

(pub: Disney Editions. 160 page hardback. Price: £33.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-48472-678-5)

check out website: http://books.disney.com/

Laurence Boyce

Laurence Boyce is a film journalist who likes Bond, Batman and Doctor Who (just to prove the things he enjoys things that don't just start with a 'B'). He is also a film programmer for various film festivals in the UK and abroad.

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