Origin: Bolt (2008)
Motivation: Penny is a cash cow. An asset to be exploited. I don’t know anything about Hollywood agents–they tend to get portrayed as scummy despots, like dentists or salespeople or gym teachers. We get a glimpse of his true motivation at the end when he says he’s thinking of “executive producer” credit for Penny’s story.
Character Strengths: The Agent is pretty charismatic, but he’s terrible at lying. He never really convinces Penny to stop waiting for Bolt and to go on with the show. But he does succeed in getting her to the press junkets and photoshoots. And he never stops working, even when Penny’s in the ambulance he’s thinking of how to make money off this deal. Because that’s his sole job–he doesn’t get paid unless Penny gets paid.
Evilness: He seems pretty unpleasant to me. Not much sympathy or empathy for either Penny or her situation. Although I’m thinking how degenerate that studio has to be with no fire safety standards. When you’re dealing with live fire–even a single candle–you’ve got to have a fireman on set.
Tools: Well, he doesn’t have underlings or magic powers. All he’s got is a clipboard and a snappy suit. But he does have that “let’s put a pin in that” cliche that seems to be the key to sweeping Penny’s negative thoughts under the rug. His duty is to keep Penny working and happy (or at least not sad).
Complement to the Hero: Penny is sweet and innocent. The Agent is grimy and slimy. They’re pretty much opposite, but they don’t have very much screen time together, so their characteristics boil down to stereotypes.
My bigger beef is that this movie is based around a silly premise–that the dog is such a great actor that the studio has to keep it convinced the peril is real. My dog only knows the difference between the outside and the inside. Bolt is like a doggy version of The Truman Show. Wouldn’t it be more expensive to execute a one-take stunt spectacular like in the beginning than to just use CGI and editing. Who cares about the nuances of the dog’s performance? They don’t even have the facial muscles to express emotions like we do.
Fatal Flaw: Either he misunderstands that Penny and her mom are greedy like him, or he overestimates how much bullshit people will take. I don’t think they liked him or the Hollywood life much in the first place. But if that’s the case, I just want to say it’s ironic that Penny is voiced by Miley Cyrus.
Method of Defeat/Death: After Penny is rescued from the studio fire, The Agent slides into the ambulance with them and starts talking about how good this will be for them and their image, predicting tabloid appeal and selling story rights (of which he’ll get a percentage, of course). He is promptly punched out the back door (presumably by Penny’s mom) and never seen again.
Final Rating: One star
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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)