How not to Redeem the Wicked in Fairy Tales
This is perhaps my favorite essay written by my wife:
There has been a trend of late that I find quite disturbing. It is the “Let’s Redeem A Villain” movie.
Now, keep in mind, I am all about redeeming villains. Were I not, would I have married one of the Evil League of Evil? No. Certainly not.
In fact, I love redeeming villains. I have spent the last 25 years playing roleplaying games where I spend all my time, yes, you guessed it: redeeming villains.
Real villains, too. The kind that it actually take 25 years to redeem.
So, you think I would be part of the natural audience for movies like The Grinch and Malificent. Well, I would have been, had they been done right.
What do I mean by right? I mean: Had these movies been about a villain who was redeemed.
They weren’t. They were something much less interesting and much more demeaning to the villains. To quote Malificent….the real Malificent, these movies are:
“A disgrace to the powers of evil!”
Why is this? Let us take a look at these two movies and compare them with the work of a real master, the man who invented the villain redemption genre.