|“||I'm gonna prove to the world that you were wrong and I was right! (Principal Prickly: About what?) About RECESS!! About freedom, about test scores! I found a way to prove my theory. I'm gonna get rid of the biggest recesses of them all! I AM GONNA GET RID...OF SUMMER VACATION!!||„|
|~ Benedict ranting out his true plan to Prickly and T.J.|
Dr. Phillium "Phil" Benedict is the main antagonist of the 2001 animated Disney film, Recess: School's Out!. He is the former principal of Third Street Elementary School and former Secretary of Education. He is also the former best friend of current principal Peter Prickly, and the ex-boyfriend of current groundskeeper Muriel Finster.
|“||Look, Pete, the 60s are over. All that peace and love and freedom stuff.... sure, yeah, it was great for pickin' up chicks, but it's not gonna help my career! To do that, I gotta make test scores go up, and to make test scores go up, I gotta keep kids in class where they belong. That's why, starting tomorrow, I'm tuning out recess.... once and for all.||„|
|~ Benedict announcing his first act as Principal of Third Street Elementary.|
In the past, Prickly, Finster and Benedict went through teacher training when they were young and were close to each other. Starting up in his first year as principal of Third Street Elementary during the spring of 1968, Benedict plotted to abolish recess in order to keep students in their classes to raise test scores and further his career. However, the plan did not seem to work well to anyone in campus (including Prickly and Finster), and all the students felt miserable after Benedict put his no-recess policy into action. As a result, many of the parents laid down a protest against the school, demanding that recess be reinstated. Despite the protests, Benedict refused to give up his plan, which forced Prickly to report to the Superintendent about the situation. Though the Superintendent assured the parents that Benedict's plan would never be carried out in the district, Benedict still refused to back down, leading the Superintendent to demote Benedict and promote Prickly as the new principal. Benedict then assumed that Prickly turned his back against him to get the job as principal, though Prickly states that he never intended to do such a thing. Benedict refused to listen and broke up his friendship with Prickly, leading a disgusted Finster to finally end her relationship with Benedict for his rude behavior towards Prickly and his hatred of recess.
Upset over this loss, Benedict angrily swore revenge against Prickly and quit teaching. During the next 30 years, Benedict went into politics and was eventually elected U.S. Secretary of Education. Two years prior to the film's events, Benedict exploited his position in an attempt to abolish recess at a nationwide scale, but this was foiled by the President, who saw through the plan and fired Benedict for it.
Having failed at his latest attempt to get rid of recess after being sacked from his job, Benedict plans to get rid of the biggest recess of them all: summer vacation.
After stealing a tractor beam from a U.S. military base, Benedict, his assistant Fenwick, and his henchmen took over Third Street Elementary School and used it as their home-base, since it was closed for the summer, and since it was the last place on Earth that the 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 did actually attempt to investigate, and had his scary-looking bald henchman Kojak to pose as Prickly just to ensure no one got suspicious after the real Prickly was taken captive. He also had the scientists conduct frequent tests at the school involving miniature tractor beams in the cafeteria, one of which T.J. Detweiller (the protagonist of the film) accidentally witnessed while fuming about how his summer was going. He also had the auditorium altered to be the main control room for the tractor beam.
Benedict later claimed Prickly's office as his main office, which was fitting due to being a former principal. As the plan progresses, 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-in-command into the position. Shortly afterwards, T.J. 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. Though the gang manage to escape, T.J. was captured and imprisoned along with Prickly in the stock room. There, Benedict introduces himself and explains to both Prickly and T.J. that he was running a "night school", but they're not convinced. He eventually learned that T.J. and Prickly had managed to sneak into his office and found his walkie talkie, although not before T.J. alerted them that Benedict's plan was to get rid of summer vacation after stumbling on a mural (presumably painted by Benedict himself and/or his men) depicting the end of summer vacation.
The next day, Phillium summoned Prickly and T.J. into his office, where he explained how he planned to accomplish his goal: on Lunar Perigee (the time when the Moon's closest to the Earth on orbit), 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 summer vacation. He later explained that his main motivation for this was because the top three highest countries in the world with test scores (Canada, Iceland, and Norway) all had cold climate, which meant they couldn't play ball, so the only other method was to study in his mind. However, T.J. counters this by stating that the kids can do lots of fun on a cold climate, such as a snowball fight or camping in iglooes. Despite this, Benedict still plans to eliminate summer vacation once and for all, much to T.J. and Prickly's dismay. He then proceeds to have both T.J. and Prickly locked up in a cage to prevent them from interfering.
Fortunately for T.J. and Prickly, T.J.'s friends gathered up all of the students to help rescue them and reclaim the school; even Finster gathered up all the teachers and staff to help the students in fighting off Benedict's men during the final conflict. As the moon is about to enter Lunar Perigee, in a last-minute attempt, Benedict attempts to personally fire up the tractor beam, only to be stalled by Prickly, who furiously punches him in the face after making him believe that he has a spot on his tie. Despite this, Benedict still managed to activate the tractor beam after slumped by Prickly's punch, and Prickly is unable to reverse the process. Fortunately, T.J. threw his lucky baseball to Vince and had him throw it at the reactor core, destroying the tractor beam and the machine, much to Benedict's distraught. Gazing of what's left of the destroyed machine, Benedict yells out in agony over the failure of his plans, and both the students and teachers cheer for their victory of saving summer vacation. With his plans foiled, Benedict and his men end up being arrested by the authorities and sent to prison for their crimes; Benedict furiously tried to protest that he was a former Secretary of Education, only for the arresting policeman to sarcastically respond that he was also the "former Princess of Morocco."
- Dr. Benedict is similar to Aloyse Von Roddenstein from Phineas and Ferb, as they both seek to plunge the Earth into an eternal Ice Age using laser technology to get rid of summer. However, unlike Benedict (who attempts to do this for his efforts of raising test scores), Roddenstein does it in his selfish desire to take over the world.
- Burt Reynolds was orginally chosen to voice Benedict, but was later dropped out of the film during production, leaving James Woods to take over.
- Dr. Benedict's face design is close similar to Doctor Claw's face.
- Despite his intelligence and former reputation as an educator, Benedict is very deluded and has a lack of common sense, as he doesn't realize that his plan to bring in permanent winter will only endanger billions of lives as opposed to raising test scores. Even when T.J. angrily pointed out the flaws of the plot before the final fight, Benedict didn't care and instead continued with his plot, saying that he still could try.