5 Movies That Totally Forgot To Punish Their Villain
A common trope in movies that are made for young, innocent children is the brutal, disgusting evisceration of the villain. The Wikipedia page for The Little Mermaid includes the word "impaled." We're all just trying to have a good time here, and then impaled showed up to the party and made it weird. The villain in Oliver And Company is hit by a train. The Lion King ends with Scar being eaten alive. Syndrome is sucked into a jet engine at the end of The Incredibles. But kids need to see that being a villain doesn't pay, right? That's why movies sometimes go a little overboard when punishing their villains. But then there are the times when children's movies seem to completely forget that consequences exist. For example ...
Maui In Moana
Pop quiz: What do Maui, the lovable trickster demigod from Moana, and Jigsaw, the terrifying murder puppet man from Saw, have in common? If you said that they're both sexy, you're right, but what I was looking for was they both enjoy torturing people. In the Moana intro, we learn that Maui stole the heart of the island goddess Te Fiti. It looks like a little green glowing stone, so it's not that disturbing ... until we find out it's her literal heart. Even more disturbing, we know that this isn't the first body part Maui has stolen. Dude is making a hobby out of this.
When meeting the giant crab Tamatoa, Maui tells Moana that Tamatoa doesn't like him because he ripped his leg off. As far as reasons not to like someone go, this one feels surprisingly valid. I get unreasonable if someone asks me if they can have a Cheeto and then takes two Cheetos. If they asked me for a Cheeto but then took my entire leg, I would be fairly concerned. One stolen body part could be an innocent accident, but two is a pattern. Throw in the fact that Maui wears a necklace of teeth, and you've got a serial killer on your hands.
Maui is the catalyst for the events of Moana. He stole the heart at the beginning of the movie, which created Te Ka the lava monster. Sure, in the end he helped Moana return the heart, but only because she dragged his sorry ass across the ocean and saved him multiple times along the way, while he complained the entire time. Also, he was voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and I'm pretty sure there's a clause in his contract that says that he has to be the hero in some way by the time the credits roll.
In the end, Maui never sees justice for anything he did wrong. His punishment is basically a "meh" face from Te Fiti, who then immediately gives him a present. I guess her thinking is, "Well, he ripped a vital organ out of my body, but look at that gorgeous hair and those house-sized pecs. You can't stay mad at house-sized pecs."
The Bumble In Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph The Red Nosed-Reindeer is a beloved claymation movie that features the titular reindeer exiling himself from his pals because they're all dicks. During his exile, he encounters a miner named Yukon Cornelius, the Island of Misfit Toys, and a carnivorous abominable snowman called the Bumble. This is, of course, all based around the classic lyrics from the original "Rudolph" song:
Rudolph was feeling real sad / but then a miner made him feel refreshed
They got together with some freak toys / The Bumble only wants your flesh
The Bumble seems to be remembered by most people as a puffy, lovable goofball, but he tried to eat everyone in that movie at some point. It's heavily implied that he kidnapped Rudolph's parents and girlfriend Clarice, but I could be wrong about that. If so, it was a real faux pas when he picked up Rudolph's girlfriend by her neck and tried to put her in his mouth. Party foul, am I right?
When Rudolph shows up to politely ask him not to put his girlfriend in his mouth, the Bumble goes after Rudolph instead. This is a calculated move. It shows that the Bumble has some sort of guiding intelligence. He's not just an animal trying to eat. If he were, Clarice would be a pile of Bumble turds. The Bumble then fights with Rudolph, hitting him over the head with a stalactite and laughing maniacally when Rudolph passes out. This proves that he has a sense of humor and enjoys slapstick -- redeeming qualities, but nothing that necessarily outweighs his other, more homicidal qualities.
When the movie ends, it's only been a few hours since the Bumble pummeled Rudolph, but Yukon Cornelius, emperor of misguided optimism, declares the beast "reformed." The Bumble ends the movie happily placing the star on Santa's Christmas tree. Aww, the rampaging animal is nice now. I guess it just goes to show you that even vicious cryptozoological terrors can have hearts of gold. Please. If that movie had gone on for two minutes longer, it would've ended with an elf buffet.
Le Fou In Beauty And The Beast
The new live-action Beauty And The Beast gets super dark when ultra bro Gaston leaves bookish Belle's dad tied to a tree in the hopes that wolves will eat him alive. Again, this is a children's movie. Gaston's sidekick Le Fou isn't 100 percent on board with this murder, but he definitely doesn't stop it, which is 100 percent still accessory to attempted murder.
Le Fou then gets a fantastic chance to redeem himself when Belle's dad survives and shows up to accuse Gaston of trying to murder him. He immediately takes that chance and lovingly drop-kicks it into the sun. Again, he seems reluctant, but he still lies on Gaston's behalf, getting Belle's dad thrown into an asylum for his crazy notion that Gaston sucks. This cycle of awfulness seems to take up half the movie. I know it's called Beauty And The Beast, but an equally fitting title would be Beauty, The Beast, And Belle's Dad Who Is Having A Very Shitty Week.
It takes Gaston refusing to help Le Fou directly to finally turn him against the insane, homicidal douche. Keep in mind that this doesn't happen until they are already actively battling the Beast's appliance-people. He switches sides during the battle. It's the most 11th-hour double cross possible. An apology doesn't mean much if you say it in the middle of the punch.
Then Le Fou ends the movie doing a big dance at the house party of the daughter of a man he helped try to murder very recently. It seems like that should be a little awkward for him. There needs to at least be a scene where Belle's dad glares at him, and Le Fou winks and shoots some finger guns. Then Belle's Dad laughs and shrugs, like, "Oh Le Fou, you serial-killing little rascal."
Gru In Despicable Me
I guess bald mastermind Gru isn't technically the villain of Despicable Me, but he's definitely a villain. We know he's committed multiple large-scale thefts. Sure, he's only stolen things that were objectively silly as hell, like a big TV in Times Square and the Eiffel tower (the Las Vegas version, so it's cool). But that doesn't mean those objects weren't valuable. It's tough to price a giant Eiffel Tower replica, but you have to imagine it would be somewhere in the hundreds of millions of dollars range, right? Someone has to pay for that. We never see Gru return it. I'm not sure what he would say if he did. "I just found it lying in the street" doesn't really work in that scenario. Maybe "I caught that guy who stole your Eiffel Tower who wasn't me. But I got him real good, because if he was me, I wouldn't have gotten him real good. And I got him real good. It wasn't me."
The most disturbing part about Gru's past evil deeds is when he jokes about murdering his neighbor's dog. He complains to the neighbor about the dog pooping in his yard, and the neighbor blows him off, saying, "Oh, you know dogs, they go where they want to go." Gru responds, "Unless they're dead." Later in the movie, he is seen with a pair of spy binoculars disguised as a dog. Is it a robot dog? Is it a taxidermied dog? Is it that neighbor's yard-pooping dog? We never see the offending dog, so absent of other evidence, I assume dog murder has occurred.
All this and another 40ish years of off-screen villainy go without punishment for Gru. As soon as he makes the decision to adopt a few little girls, all of his past indiscretions seem to be magically not problematic anymore. Being a dad is ... his punishment, I guess? For your continuous acts of terrorism around the world, you're sentenced to a lifetime of child-rearing.
Draco Malfoy In The Harry Potter Series
Here's another great example of switching teams at the last possible second. Malfoy was a terrible wizard racist who was best friends with wizard Hitler for a few years. He's so hated by Harry Potter fans (at least, the ones who don't want to fuck him) that you can find an almost unlimited amount of YouTube videos devoted to the clip in which Hermione punches him in the face, and I watched all of them. If you're wondering what I'm doing at any given time, put money on "watching the Hermione-punches-Draco clip."
There are innumerable instances of Draco being shitty in this series, probably the worst being his many attempted murders of Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince. He doesn't end up going through with it, of course, but remember when he attempts to curse Dumbledore and ends up torturing Katie Bell instead? Then he tries to poison Dumbledore with wine and puts Ron in the hospital. That's two counts of attempted murder, punishable by life in prison in England, that are never addressed. Not even with a "Hey, remember when you tried to assassinate the most famous wizard in the world? That was a tad mean."
He switches sides during the final battle at Hogwarts and his family members do a few small things along the way to help Harry and company, because the Malfoys aren't really evil. They're total cowards. They play for whatever team looks like it's winning at the time. By doing this, they avoid almost all consequences of being on Team Evil for generations. But they make some sad faces at the end, so I guess the real punishment is deeper frown lines.
Malfoy ends the Harry Potter series in the same happy place as Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who were consistently on the side of good. This sends a weird positive message about the benefits of being a shit weasel. You too can grow up to be a rich piece of ass litter who looks like an evil used car salesmen, as long as you habitually flip-flop between Evil and Too Much Of A Coward To Be Evil. And if you're on the latter side when Good ultimately makes the touchdown, you're in the clear.
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