THE SPIRITS OF THE ENCHANTED FOREST (a.k.a. the Elements)
Origin: Frozen II (2019)
Motivation: This movie is, in a word, messy. There are too many protagonists and each has their own motivations (Elsa has wanderlust, Anna wants things to stay the same, Kristoff wants to propose, Olaf wants to be relevant to the plot). So how can the antagonist not be equally messy?
As far as I can figure, Ahtohallan chose that particular moment in time to call out to Elsa (just in time for the second movie to start). It wants Elsa to learn the truth so that the dam can be broken and the river can flow again. But it does this in the weirdest way.
Why do the spirits keep attacking them? The little salamander sets fire to the camp, the wind spirit assaults Olaf, the water spirit horse attacks Elsa, the Earth Giants nearly kill Anna with rocks. Who are they working for? Why don’t they want to help? Don’t they want the land to be freed as well?
Character Strengths: When you’re talking spirits of nature, you’re talking about all the destructive power that goes along with it. Earth giants can throw boulders. Salamanders can scoot around and set everything ablaze. Wind spirits can whip you around in a tornado. Of course, the question is, do they hold a candle to Elsa’s power?
The answer is no. Elsa dispatches the tornado by bringing down the temperature, smacks the little fire lizard around, tames the horse and… well we don’t see her interact with the rockbiters. But if she did, I bet they’d get a walloping.
Evilness: Like nature, I don’t think the spirits are evil or good. They simply are. They do what they do. Of course, that’s a petty excuse, because once you anthropomorphize something, you’re giving it a modicum of free will. Meaning I have no idea what the spirits want. They have power, but what are they using it for, besides giving our protagonists some obstacles. They don’t gain anything by keeping Elsa from the river of Ahtohallan. Wouldn’t the spirits want to work in conjunction with Ahtohallan? Is there a jealousy thing here?
Tools: Each spirit, like the cliche expects, has its own weapons according to its specialties. Fire can set things on fire, wind can blow things over, etc. Just imagine any X-Men, but Disneyfied (wait, doesn’t Disney own X-Men now?)
Complement to the Hero: Ironically, as we find out in the ending (spoilers), Elsa is the Fifth Spirit. The one who acts as a bridge from the natural world to the human world. So they are both cut from the same cloth. (Literally, as one of the Northuldra uses a cloth to demonstrate this.) Of course, none of this explains how Elsa got cursed/blessed, what she did to deserve it, who did it, and so on. Nor does it explain why the spirits keep trying to kick her out. What are they afraid of?
Fatal Flaw: I’m not sure what to put here because the spirits are pretty mindless. I don’t understand their motivations, their evilness, so I can’t think of what their fatal flaw might be. Ignorance? Lack of understanding? This movie is a mess. I’d make a case for the movie’s writers to be the real antagonists. Do you see how many questions I’ve asked in this article?
Method of Defeat/Death: Well, they aren’t really defeated either. Anna teases the rock monsters to destroy the dam. This opens up the river, lifts the fog, and frees everyone inside. Yet the spirits are still around. One even acts as a mail carrier. Another acts as a highly merchandisable pet, but we don’t talk about Bruni.
Final Rating: One star
King Candy (Wreck-It Ralph)
Prince Hans (Frozen)
Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)
Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Percival C. McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under)
Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio’s Villains (Pinocchio)
Sykes (Oliver and Company)
Alameda Slim (Home on the Range)
Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Willie the Giant (Mickey and the Beanstalk)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)