It’s been a long time since I did a Top 10… mainly because I couldn’t pick my favorite romantic moments, so I switched to Disney. There’s a lot not to like about Disney, sure, but you have to admit they do create some interesting characters, but instead of focusing on the protagonist/antagonist, I decided to pick from the supporting cast, where we always get some of the most interesting personalities be they someone like John Falstaff or Rafiki (who we’ll meet again later). A good supporting cast gives the movie texture– it’s full of characters rather than stick figures, and we meet plenty of ’em over the decades of animation.
So, without further ado, let’s move on to number 10… the Crocodile from Disney’s Peter Pan.
There’s no doubt that the Crocodile is a character. The audience always knows what he is thinking, whether he is mad at being shooed away, licking his chops in anticipation of eating the rest of Captain Hook, or swinging his elbow in disappointment that neither Hook nor Pan has fallen into eating range. He never talks, but he still engages in dialogue.
“Why Mr. Crocodile, do you like codfish?” Pan asked the beast as Hook dangled by his hook from a cliff, to which the Crocodile nodded vigorously and bit off the tail of the pirate’s coat.
When the Lost Boys chant, “Hook is a codfish! Hook is a codfish!” The crocodile splashes the water in time to the words.
Clearly, he’s smarter than he looks. Though that being said, even with his goofy eye-twitch and tail-wagging, it’s very obvious why Hook is so afraid of him. He’s huge, clearly very strong, and never misses an opportunity to strike. Like any good predator, he isolates his prey and goes in for the kill.
Funny and sinister, silent but expressive, this character was a tall order for the animators at Disney, but they rose to the challenge admirably– creating a very memorable result. Its impact is still easily found today– even in the Batman: Arkham Asylum games the very scary Killer Croc chants “Tick tock tick tock feed the croc” in reference to this movie.
Mr. Crocodile even has his own theme music, tied to the clock sounds that signal his arrival. That’s more than most of the rest of the cast– or even Hook, who lacks a villain song.