Professor Padraic Ratigan II
Otherwise Known As: Napoleon of Crime (By Basil of Baker Street)
Premiered in: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Voiced By: Vincent Price
Let me make one thing perfectly clear from the start. Vincent Price voices Professor Ratigan. That alone gives him a bonus of unequaled proportions that overshoots most Disney Villains that preceded and followed him. More than that, Vincent Price even admitted that this was one of his favorite roles and if there’s one thing anyone should know, when a voice actor cares enough about his character to proclaim him, or her, as their favorite they put everything they’ve got to bring that character to life. Such is the case with Professor Padraic Ratigan II, the “Napoleon of Crime” in the mouse-dom world of The Great Mouse Detective.
Professor Ratigan is, essentially, Professor Moriarty though his name and story is based on the then popular book series that featured him and Basil of Baker Street. That being said, Professor Ratigan’s primary goal in the film is to become permanent king of the mousedom. Though I’m no historical buff, I simply cannot get why anyone assumes that by becoming king of anything that they would automatically be in charge of a complying populace. Look at the countless numbers of uprisings and rebellions in our world’s history let alone works of fiction like Star Wars. True the later was on a galactic scale but my point still stands. The best part of Professor Ratigan’s plan however is how he goes about doing it.
He kidnaps a highly skilled toymaker and forces him to make a robotic double of the Queen of Mousedom and uses it to declare himself its new ruler with such extravagance that I would honestly be surprised if Professor Ratigan doesn’t have a drop of royal blood in his veins. The villainous rat’s love for overly extravagant theatrics borderlines on the obscene at the best of times, especially with his “villainous” song that consists almost entirely of praises to him and his wicked genius. Ironically enough, though Basil’s frightening brilliance is a major force against him, I can’t help but believe that Professor Ratigan would have succeeded in his ploy if not for his incompetent minion Fidget, a bat with a peg leg, a crippled wing, and a big mouth.
Yeah… I’ve got nothing though I will say that in the “official” comic continuations, the little guy turns a new leaf and works for the toymaker’s daughter as an assistant detective.
So anyway, Professor Ratigan’s one major weakness, aside from incompetent minions, is his rather frail temper when it concerns one particular word associated with him. Should anyone ever dare to call him a rat, be they drunk as a skunk or sober as sober can possibly be, Professor Ratigan will not hesitate to see them dead in quite possibly the worse way possible. For you see, Professor Ratigan’s true “ace in the hole” is a tiny golden bell that, when rung, summons his topmost enforcer. A fat cat by name of Felicia whom, upon being directed towards the transgressor, proceeds to swallow them whole, much to the devilish delight of Professor Ratigan.
There’s kill, there’s overkill, and then there’s that.
One could argue that it is Professor Ratigan’s temper that does him in, particularly when Basil manages to escape Ratigan’s most ingenious means of ending the detective’s life via a mousetrap, a gun, a crossbow, an axe, and an anvil in that order. It is during the climatic chase scene through Big Ben, that we see Professor Ratigan change from a person of distinction to a deranged, feral monstrosity of a stenchus rodentus or as they’re more commonly called…
A sewer rat.