Of all the lessons we can take from the cinematic fable Blade II, the most important one comes when Blade's friend Scud betrays humanity for the chance to be a pet instead of livestock under the rule of vampires. He gives up on his species and joins the other side. Fortunately, the movie only tolerates this affront to biological imperative for about 30 seconds before exploding him to death for his transgression. It's a moral we like. We can cheer for Scud's death because it confirms what we've always known deep in our hearts: that every living thing has the obligation to perpetuate its species no matter what, and ignoring that obligation is to risk being detonated in a pink fog.
Pictured: The wrong kind of propagation.
But here's where the lesson gets muddied. Blade is still allowed to ram stakes through the hearts of vampires willy-nilly, despite being half vampire himself. So the real message seems to be: Preserve your species above all else, unless your species sucks, in which case, f**k those guys. A moral, for the record, with which I am still completely on board.
And Blade II isn't the only movie to preach that message. Looking across the landscape of fiction, it's easy to spot iconic characters we've always loved quietly building mountains of corpses out of their own s**tty species just to help humanity. They are heroes to us because they are playing for our team, but from the perspective of their own kind, these protagonists can't be anything short of mass murderers.
Ice Age very easily could have just been a kick-ass revenge story of nature against humanity. Both Manny (the mammoth) and Diego (the smilodon) lost family to hunters during a time when their respective species were already blinking out of existence. Instead, the story revolves around three animals on the verge of extinction trying to rescue a human baby. Blessed with the hindsight we have today and our greater historical context, that's the equivalent of the last person in an apocalyptic future succ*mbing to radiation poisoning while spending his final days caring for a nest of larval c**kroaches.
Getty With or without his help, they're going to be fine.
Still, the saber-toothed cat Diego rises above his own urges to eviscerate the baby and eat the mammoth because he learns the power of true friendship and responsibility in their company. Together, they fight off the other saber-toothed cats, and then the ragtag group of plucky yet utterly doomed species wanders the barren wasteland together until the next big storm.
The Ultimate Betrayal
In some of the soundest logic in the entire movie, Diego and the smilodons hatch a plan to lure the mammoth into a deadly trap where they all can kill him. Now, just to be clear, killing other animals is the only means that predators have to eat. They aren't just murdering a furry elephant because they're curious what sound it will make while bleeding out in the snow. They are relying on that meal to avoid starvation.
Or rather, they would be, except Diego betrays his pack, as well as thousands of years of instinct, by becoming friends with the mammoth instead. What's more, Diego tries to kill the other saber-toothed cats when they're just following the plan he orchestrated.
To the mammoth, that might seem like a heroic move, but from the viewpoint of Diego's starving pack, that's the s**ttiest thing he could have done to his friends. He even contributes to the death of the pack leader, causing Soto to be impaled by icicles.
The most prescient thing Sid does all movie.
Now short two of their best hunters, there's a good chance the other smilodons won't last much longer in the harsh conditions. Diego himself won't be able to hunt alone, and certainly not with a mammoth and a talking sloth lumbering behind him. He's just ensured the collapse of one of the last functioning animal societies in the ice age.
Hellboy is a demon who keeps humanity safe from the supernatural for no other reason than familiarity. The Allied Forces found and nurtured him from infancy after Nazis tried to summon something terrible from hell and wound up with a baby instead (typical Nazi goof). After growing up among people, Hellboy becomes as loyal as a Stockholm victim and continually saves humanity from forces of the occult despite the fact that some of those forces only want to help him reach his destiny as ruler of Hell on Earth.
The Ultimate Betrayal
Simply put, Hellboy is a demon whose job is killing demons under the guise of paranormal investigation. Not only is he a demon, but he is the one demon who is supposed to help his species rise to supremacy. Instead, he punches holes through everything that so much as peeks out from hell and never bothers to think about why he does it.
The only difference between good and evil is the color of their skin. Wow, that sounds racist.
In The Right Hand of Doom, he says,
"I never deal with what I am. I don't think about it. I just do my job, which usually involves me beating the crap out of things a lot like me."
Hellboy willfully ignores his own roots, opting instead to blindly help the species that keeps him stashed away until they need to use him as a weapon. His whole life is like the worst dog-fighting scenes from White Fang.
For a long time, it was mandatory for all cartoons about crime fighters, adventurers, rock bands and ghost hunters to have a pet mascot with a speech impediment. The Real Ghostbusters good-naturedly tried to adhere to that rule while paying homage to the original movie. The trouble was, they weren't really spoiled for choice in terms of characters. The only real options were that party pooper ghost that reads books, the spirit of a dead fat man or the monster-dog that lives in Dana Barrett's fridge.
Children will be so torn over which one they love the most.
Regardless of which supernatural being they chose, there would always be the weird underlying issue of a ghost helping the living to eradicate other ghosts. It's like if Sacagawea's entire contribution to American history was helping settlers subjugate Native Americans.
The Ultimate Betrayal
Cracked has mentioned before the horrifying implications behind the work of the Ghostbusters. Upon discovering that life exists after death, the three scientists respond by trapping that life in a tiny box, presumably for eternity. Equating it to a prison doesn't even do it justice. The holding center for all the spirits is more like an internment camp for the supernatural, and helping to cram all the ghosts into a box, ensuring them an eternity of misery, is the lovable Slimer. That is, when he's not busy eating a bunch of cheeseburgers!
Slimer is the only connection between worlds. He is the only ghost who can explain to the Ghostbusters that what they're doing is wrong. In fact, he's the only ghost who can even open his mouth in their presence without fear of it being violated by a thick proton stream. Yet he does nothing. Worse than nothing, he helps round up all the spirits and lock them away in exchange for hoagies. Every single ghost in existence must despise that duplicitous fat a*****e.
If you could isolate the most adorable characteristics from every pet imaginable, surgically remove those features and then sew them all onto one superpet, you would have a Mogwai. For anyone who's horrified by that prospect, prepare to be adorified by one driving a remote control car.
Gizmo is the original Mogwai in the movie and also the accidental source of all Gremlins that overrun a town. But like any responsible protagonist, Gizmo does what he can to clean up the mess by killing off the Gremlins. There's just one problem ...
The Ultimate Betrayal
Each one of those Gremlins is just the adult version of a Mogwai, and what's more, they are all the offspring of Gizmo. From a purely biological standpoint, Mogwais are creatures that reproduce asexually when exposed to water, and they live through two stages of life separated by a metamorphosis. Just like a caterpillar building a chrysalis and becoming a butterfly, the Mogwai encloses itself in a cocoon after gorging on food and grows into a Gremlin. Gizmo is essentially a Gremlin stuck in the larva state who refuses to take the necessary step (eating after midnight) to grow up. Not only does he hate the adult version of his species, but he actively helps the humans execute them.
Gizmo is like a worse version of Hellboy because he doesn't have the long history with a person to explain his loyalty to humanity. Gizmo is only Billy's pet for a few days before turning his back on the entire Gremlin species in favor of his owner. Then Gizmo murders his children in an effort to stop the proliferation of his own race.
Ultimately, Gizmo is a maladaptive, self-hating creature that actively tries to end his progeny. No wonder the other Mogwai hate him so much.
If Mogwai ever build a statue, I think we all know who it will actually commemorate.
For more from Soren, check out 4 Steps to Staying Relevant as a Bully In the Modern World and 5 Awesome Parasites That Torture Animals (That I Hate).