Percival C. McLeach
Premiered in: The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
Voiced By: George C. Scott
Don’t get me wrong. I like The Rescuers Down Under as an animated film and for its stunning visuals, particularly when the eagle Marahute is involved. That miniature roc owns every scene that she’s in and frankly, there was little else of the movie I had remembered aside from her and one other character whom I’ll get to in a minute. As to the film’s villain, McLeach…
By his own admittance, he’s an idiot. He is quoted as saying that he has, at best, a third grade education. Not something that I would go bragging to anyone human or otherwise but that’s McLeach for you. McLeach is distinct amongst most Disney Villains in that his “end-goal” of the film is essentially the same as it has always been prior to it. He is a poacher, trapping and killing animals for money and, I suppose, because of the “sport”, particularly in the case of Marahute as he had managed to trap and kill her mate prior to the beginning of the film. When he discovers that Cody not only is favored by the eagle, the young lad did rescue her from one of McLeach’s traps, and knows the location of Marahute’s nest and her eggs, McLeach kidnaps him and holds him hostage until he, surprisingly, comes up with a good plan to trick Cody into revealing where the nest, and Marahute, can be found.
Yet here’s where things get a little too stupid for McLeach. It’s painfully evident that Marahute is one of, if not the absolute, last of her kind. Marahute is an eagle both large enough and strong enough to carry an eight-year-old boy into the sky. Sad as it is to admit, I’m fairly certain that her kind were hunted down to extinction for that very reason but it makes me seriously wonder why, McLeach of all people, would see to it that her species went fully extinct by feeding Marahute’s eggs to his minion Joanna. I imagine that the hatchlings would be worth several times their weight in gold to any zoo, private or otherwise, but still I digress.
Joanna the Goanna, which is truly her title I swear, is a distinctive kind of monitor lizard in that she’s about as large as a komodo dragon, if not a slight bit bigger, but far more lively than one would expect from a cold-blooded reptile of her size. She’s also Marahute’s equal when it comes to stealing the scenery but for the exact opposite reasons. If Marahute is the regal nobility of the eagle conformed into animated form, then Joanna is the hilariously cunning reptile. She’s brilliant enough to outwit some lunch from her cruel owner McLeach, who comes close to killing her a few times and does physically assault her several times throughout the film, but dim enough to not realize that Marahute’s eggs had been replaced by similarly sized rocks. Honestly, I all but cheered at the end when she managed to unwittingly escape McLeach’s clutches despite how badly I felt for her when she waved goodbye to him shortly before…
Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Thanks to the interference of the mice Bernard and Miss Bianca, his attempt at killing Cody via feeding him to the crocodiles ends up with both him and Joanna in the river. Joanna rather comically manages to rescue herself from the hungry crocodiles by climbing atop McLeach as he proceeds to successfully fight off the hungry crocs. Dumb as a brick though he might be, I’ve got to give McLeach credit for doing what Captain Hook only wishes he could do. Of course, this is immediately changed when he failed to notice how quickly the crocs, and Joanna, retreated as he boasted his greatness shortly before realizing he was heading towards a waterfall.
Not the most graphic of Disney Villain deaths but one of the most common really at least as far as terms of execution. … Pun not intended there but my point still stands that falling to one’s death is one of the most common methods of offing a Disney Villain. How common? Well, let’s save for when we take a look at the next villain in line shall we?