bowler hat guy meet the robinsons disney

Analyzing the Disney Villains: Bowler Hat Guy (Meet the Robinsons)

BOWLER HAT GUY (a.k.a. Michael “Goob” Yagoobian)
Origin: Meet the Robinsons (2014)

Motivation: A long time ago Bowler Hat Guy was Lewis’s roommate in the orphanage. Because of Lewis’s late-night inventing, he doesn’t get enough sleep before the night of the big baseball game. When he falls asleep (standing up) in the outfield, he misses the winning catch. This caused his teammates to beat him up in full view of the audience and coaches and everyone.

Coach gives him some advice to let it go, and he’s about to take it when his future self (Bowler Hat Guy) comes in and tells him not to. Tells him to use it as fuel for his hatred, use it as motivation, “let it fester and boil inside of you”. As a result, he never gets adopted, grows up to be angry and bitter and never leaves the orphanage. And he blames Lewis for all this, until one day he finally decides to strike back… by egging Lewis’s house. That’s when he meets the hat (more on that in a minute) and becomes Bowler Hat Guy. Anyway, he provided his own motivation for his evil deeds.

Character Strengths: Probably has the fewest character strengths of any Disney villain. He reminds me a little of Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man 2, where he’s controlled by a malevolent AI that’s part of his body. Said AI acts like his id, fueling his desires to further her own ends.

Evilness: As a kid (Goob), he’s an annoying little twerp who talks too much and looks weird with dark sunken eyes like Tim Burton is his real father. He grows up to look like he should be tying a woman to some railroad tracks somewhere. He’s got a ridiculously evil look with the hat, stubble, exposed forehead, sinister smile, crooked teeth, black clothing, bushy eyebrows, bony fingers, and evil laugh. The only real act of evil he does is sabotaging a little kid’s science experiment for revenge? Not great. Just about everything else can be attributed to his hat. Who knows where the bowler hat begins and Bowler Hat Guy ends?

Tools: So now we talk about DOR-15 a.k.a. Doris a.k.a. the bowler hat. It was invented by future Lewis as a “helping hat”. But something was “wrong” with it (e..g chaos and evil from malevolent AI) so Lewis stored it in his vault of failures. Doris didn’t like that and escaped. Then it met up with Bowler Hat Guy (I guess he was just Guy then) and waited for the opportune moment to strike back. Said opportune moment came when Lewis’s future son leaves the time travel machine garage open. Bowler Hat Guy’s plan is to kidnap Lewis, force him to fix the memory scanner, sell the memory scanner to a big company, and ruin Lewis’s future.

Doris is pretty much just Hal or the steering wheel from WALL-E. It acts a little like a drone, especially because it can fly/hover, and most commonly uses tentacles with knives on the ends. It can take make offspring, control anyone’s mind, including a surprisingly limber Tyrannosaurus Rex. Unfortunately, the T-Rex is no match for modern technology, like a speeding train. (Do you ever get the sense that this script was written by manatees?) Unfortunately, Doris is no match for the power of time paradoxes.

Complement to the Hero: This movie is unique in that it pretty much contains ALL the villain’s origins and motivations. Both come cut from the same cloth. Goob is incompetent where Lewis is not. Goob doesn’t think plans through. Both drive forth the lesson of the movie, which is to let go of the past and “keep moving forward”. Because forward is the only way one can go.

But back to Goob. And this part I love–really the only redeeming part of the story–in that Lewis provides the origins for Bowler Hat Guy. Lame and contrived as it is. Because of Lewis’s late-night inventing, Goob didn’t get enough sleep before the big game. I bet there’s an element of his depravity that comes from this sleep deprivation. You know growing kids need rest most of all.

Fatal Flaw: There’s no good place to put this, so I’m putting it here–this was a bad time for Disney. Meet the Robinsons came out in the same period as Bolt, Chicken Little, Home on the Range, Brother Bear, and other highly forgettable movies in the 2000s where every other character is voiced by Patrick Warburton. I mean, come on–your inciting incident is leaving a baby on the doorstep of an orphanage in the rain? So cliche. And outdated–orphanages stopped long before 2007. Anyway, I’m supposed to talk about Bowler Hat Guy, I guess.

His big flaw is immaturity. He comes up with plans, but never thinks them through. I’m sure this has something to do with that one baseball incident (where his team beat the ever-loving snot out of him) but who cares.

Method of Defeat/Death: Once his plans are foiled, he just kinda walks away. That’s it. Oh, then Lewis just alters the timeline so Goob wakes up to make the winning catch, totally negating the timeline. So he learns no lesson and suffers the least cinematic comeuppance I’ve ever seen.

Final Rating: One star

Previous Analyses
John Silver (Treasure Planet)
Yokai (Big Hero 6)
The Agent (Bolt)
The Spirits (Frozen II)
King Candy (Wreck-It Ralph)
Abuela (Encanto)
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)
Hades (Hercules)
The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
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)

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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