Saturday, August 2, 2008

Disposable Villians

Warning: A little spoilerific of Mummy III (but not really and you know you aren't going for the plot anyway).

Okay. So I blogged about Teh Great Virgin Trope in romantic literature, so it is only fair to spread the attention around. I have another rant, this time about plastic, interchangeable villians. You know exactly what I mean. I don't have to describe them. They are the mustache twirling, scenery chewing, heroine kidnapping, Baddy McBaddies for no other reason than they are evil.

Pure evil. Why? Maybe they feel they were slighted in the past or they hunger for power, but the excuse is always flimsy and out of proportion to their sheer badness.

"What do you want to do tonight, Brain?"

"The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world."

Seriously, what is it with the villians bent on world domination. Why? Why the whole world? Why not just England? Maybe Texas? What are they going to do with the world when they get it?

I just saw the Mummy III. It was unimaginably awful. I'm a big fan of campy adventures, but this wasn't entertaining. The plot...well...there wasn't one. Every device known to man (including a 2,000 year old virgin who wears lip gloss, knows kung fu, speaks Yeti and apparently understands ballroom dancing. I swear I'm not making this shit up.) is included in this big screen atrocity, most especially the disposable villian. Actually, there are multiple disposable villians and none of them made any sense. The dead emperor wants to raise his dead army and destroy everyone in the world and take over. What's he gonna do with this empty world? IDK. Got me.

He is aided in this quest by some modern day general who wants to serve him and help him take over the world. Why? IDK.

The general also gets his very own henchman (or henchwoman rather) to assist his nefarious purposes. She's got a nifty scar and mad skills and she's fiercely loyal enough to leap to her death when the general gets his just desserts. Why? IDK. None of this is ever explained.

You know you're in trouble when the best part of a movie is the ten minute info dump at the start. I think I might have actually enjoyed a movie that explored the character of General Ming and the circumstance that led to his betrayal of the emperor, but alas--Ming was dead in the space of ten minutes and the movie was downhill from there.

So the point is that I'm taking extra pains with my villian. She's likeable. She means well. She has noble motives, but twisted means to achieve them. She's a part of the story (I hope) not just pasted in whenever I need a little conflict to spark things along. After all, she is the Empress Consort and her son should have been the heir. It was really a fluke that a lesser wife gave birth to a son first. That should never have happened and the villian's son would make a much better ruler anyway. So a murder to fix that inconvenient fact wouldn't really be so bad now, would it?

She's not bad. She's just written that way.


Average Jane said...

ROFL She's not bad. She's just written that way. That is AWESOME!!!!

I totally agree about villains. There should be a reason they're bad and it should be believable to their level of badness.

Really who wants the "whole world" That's more effort to dominate than it's worth. My main villain just conquered and enslaved the Light Elves Realm for the cheese. LOL

Kim said...

My villains don't want the whole world, they just (usually) want what belongs to the hero - sometimes it's to right an age-old wrong, but sometimes it's just because he wants the heroine all to himself. Either way, he's in for a huge disappointment... =)

Anonymous said...

I agree. Fantasy and horror are genres that are especially bad at this, creating evil creatures or people who are evil for no reason other than that, well, they're evil. Which is completely not interesting. And I think movies are even bigger on the whole world domination thing. There's this assumption that everyone wants power and as much as possible, so they must want to conquer the world. I think it might work sometimes, depending on the story, but it's definitely overused. More personal stories where the villian has a closer relationship to the hero are often more interesting, at least to me.