Dr. Phillium "Phil" Benedict (or usually referred to as Dr. Benedict) is the main antagonist in the 2001 Disney animated film, Recess: School's Out. Vowing to destroy Summer Vacation and create Permanent Winter in a lunar perigee in order to raise U.S. Test Scores, Phillium Benedict and his band of Anti-Recess Terrorists must first face T.J. Detweiler and his best friends.
During the 1960s, Benedict was once Principal of Third Street Elementary and a former friend of Principal Prickly. While in his office Prickly proposed an idea of having classes outside the playground which would later become recess. Benedict liked the idea, however as his first official act as Principal he decided to get rid of recess. A shocked Prickly, tells him that recess is like a major play-in and is the one place where kids have their freedom. Benedict denies it, and tells him that recess is not going to help his career, and to do that kids will have to remain inside where they belong so test scores can go up, and that starting tomorrow he'll get rid of recess once and for all. When he tried to cancel recess, Prickly, with the intention of just trying to stop Benedict, unintentionally gained his position as Principal of 3rd Street Elementary School and Benedict was demoted to teacher as well as even Muriel Finster disagreeing with Benedict and calling off their relationship since she could never be with a man who doesn't love recess, causing him to develop a grudge against Prickly. Since then, Benedict quit teaching and went into politics, and then became Secretary of Education in order to carry out his recess cancellation crusade nationwide, but was fired by the President. Benedict eventually amassed an army of Ninjas and men dressed like Secret Service agents, as well as two lackies Fenwick and a scary-looking bald person, and was bent on eliminating Summer Vacation for good.
Role in the film
After stealing a Tractor Beam from a U.S. Military Base, Benedict and his henchmen took over 3rd Street Elementary School and used it as their homebase, since it was closed for the summer, and since it was the last place on Earth authorities would look. He also rigged the lock of the school to shock and transport anyone carrying the keys into the school in case someone (i.e., Principal Prickly) did actually attempt to investigate, and had the scary-looking bald henchman pose as Prickly just to ensure no one got suspicious. He also had the scientists conduct frequent tests at the school involving miniature tractor beams in the Cafeteria, one of which TJ accidentally witnessed while fuming about how his summer was going. He also had the Auditorum altered to be the main control room for the tractor beam.
He decided to make the Principal's office as his main office, which was fitting due to him being a former principal. Benedict eventually had the first head scientist detained after the latter's attempt at moving the moon shut down unexpectedly due to the tractor beam having bugs in the system and promoted his second command into the position. Shortly afterwards, TJ and his gang ended up being forced to expose themselves due to Mikey having an unexpected and uncontrollable urge to belch, as well as the vents giving way to their weight. After TJ was captured, he attempted to explain to TJ that he was running a "night school", although TJ was not easily fooled. He eventually learned that TJ and Prickly had managed to sneak into his office and found his walky talky, although not before TJ alerted his friends that Benedict's plan was to get rid of summer vacation after stumbling on a mural (presumably painted by Benedict and his men) depicting the end of Summer Vacation. Phillium then explained how he planned to accomplish this goal: on Lunar Perogee, he will fire the tractor beam at the moon to alter its orbit with the intention of causing the entire Earth to freeze over into an ice age and eliminate summer, thus eliminating the need for Summer Vacation. He later explains to the kids that his main motivation for this, shortly after they invaded the school as a last stand, was because the top three highest countries in the world with test scores (Canada, Iceland, and Norway) were also three countries with a cold climate, which meant they couldn't play ball, so the only other method was to study. Despite the team up between the children and the teachers under Finster's command and cutting through most of his men, as well as being sucker-punched by Prickly, he still managed to activate the Tractor beam. The plot ultimately failed when TJ threw his lucky baseball to Vince and had him throw it at the reactor core of the Tractor beam. Benedict was later arrested by the police (with the policeman, when Benedict tried to protest that he was a former secretary of education, sarcastically responded that he was also the "former princess of morocco.")
- Benedict is very similar to Hades from Hercules. Both villains are cruel, selfish, short tempered, and sarcastic. Ironically, both villains are voiced by James Woods.
- Ironically regarding Benedict's plan, another character James Woods voiced, Owlman in the DC animated film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, ended up warped to an alternate earth that underwent a permanent ice age in the climax by Batman, similar to the ultimate outcome of Benedict's anti-Recess plan.