Friday, December 9, 2016

Worst Disney Villains

            I have not been posting nearly enough this year and I want to steer back from that.  To that end I have found a 30-day blog challenge and fluffed it out to 31 entries (since December has 31 days).  I have done a 30-day challenge before for movies, though that one was poorly executed (I started it in the middle of a month, at one point I posted 2 entries on one day, it is a mess).  I did another one just this year in August on Video Games, that one was better, go read it after this one, all of it.  Or don’t, no pressure.

            Today is day 9 and the topic is “Worst Villain”.
            This is kind of a cop out day because I am surprisingly busy dealing with the uncaring and sometimes outright painful bureaucracy of higher education.  So no massive comparison of 11 candidates and their rankings on the various modes of villainy.

I have mentioned before in this blog that I do not care for “Frozen” and while I have laid too much blame for this at lesser issues, there is something I can say without any difficulty, the movie has a problem with its villains.
            Generally speaking, the movie did not need a bad guy other than Elsa herself.  Her exile resulting in a winter without end is enough of a problem that you did not need another bad guy to drive the plot.  I do not know why they included them but they are there and both of them are just lame.

In this scene, Hans is trying to assassinate Elsa.
Later in the movie the writers assassinate his character potential.
             Hans, the would be lover of Anna who at first appears to be a dashing and competent administrator, giving every indication that he is as swept up with Anna’s annoying charm as Anna is swept up in him being both handsome and not a dick, turns out he is not only a dick but a murderous dick.  This was a misstep.
Hans’ motivation in the story could be tweaked from, “I want to rule a kingdom” over to “I need to save the kingdom if I am to help rule it”; and his role as a physical threat to Elsa could both be done from the perspective of a good person.  For instance, “Elsa, evil or not, is threatening the lives of thousands, I need to stop her even if it means killing her.  I’m sorry.”  It is possible for a good person to do a bad thing for the right reasons, especially if they feel they are cornered and have no choice.  Make him not a villain, but an antagonist who thinks they are the hero.
By making him a good person the rift that trying to kill Elsa would create between Anna and him is good drama.  I have never had to fight, let alone murder a significant other’s sibling to save lives, most good people would never be put in that situation, that’s interesting and not villainous.

You all did not make good use of your Alan Tudyk.
Just like the rest of Hollywood.
The second and even more unnecessary villain is the skinny Duke who sees the opening of the Kingdoms boarders as a chance to make a bank load of money exploiting them financially.  This character belongs in a completely different movie, at no point does his personal greed or desire for trade relations serve any function in the story.  The movie has nothing to do with trade and all of the action takes place in or around this kingdom and no other.  There is no point in the movie in which the Kingdom is mentioned to be poor and in need of new trade partners, wealthy and looking for new products, or afraid of other nations attacking because their closed boarders have alienated the other kingdoms.  Duke is in the wrong movie.
All he does is use his goofy charms, try to have Elsa killed after her dangerous powers are revealed, and then fail to be a factor in the story afterword.  At no point does he make a moral or ethical argument as to why something needed to be done that was informed by his stated motivations.  And aside from his stated motivations of wanting to make money off trade he has no other motivations discussed, mentioned, or illustrated thru his actions.  Apparently witchcraft spooked him.  It also spooked everyone!
The Duke, if you must have him should be the ticking clock element of the story.  That no one knows where Elsa is in the wilds and he sends off mercenaries to kill her, have them be witch-hunters and a real threat rather than just typical nameless soldier-goons.  Anna has to find some backway around those mercenaries and save her sister from them (and them from her) to reach a peaceful solution.  Play up his bigotry toward magic, you could easily have some statue to a wizard in the town square and have him comment on it while walking to the palace, “Wizards and witchcraft.  Makes my skin crawl.”  Boom, motivation established.  You could even have the parents discuss that society has such taboos against magic that they were trying to suppress Elsa’s powers specifically because the other royals would have tried to kill Elsa.  As is, Duke is greedy, but his murderous fear/hatred of magic comes out of nowhere.

Or you could have just had the nads to make Elsa a full on villain.
Again, you don’t need the Duke, he adds nothing.  Hans being the misguided hero and Elsa being the heroine who can’t control her powers because her abusive dipshit parents failed so completely to understand the Trolls’ instructions are more than enough conflict.  You could change to focus on those elements and “Frozen” would still end the same way, with Anna sacrificing herself to save Elsa.

            I talked about both of these things before.  And have a link to it here.  Feel free to see some minor adjustments I suggested—even smaller than those discussed here—would make the movie a lot more complex and interesting.  Rather than how it is now, which is messy.

            Share your own thoughts on this in the comments.  I know I am not the only person out there who is nostalgic for Disney products, and I am sure many people disagree with my selection for today’s entry.
            I picked Disney stuff just because I knew there was so much of it to talk about and it lends itself to discussion in the comments.  So please, tell me how my opinion about cartoon movies is biased and how your opinion on cartoon movies is objectively right.


If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

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