1. Gears
    Offline

    Gears Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago

    Cookie-Cutter Enemies

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Gears, Jul 25, 2008.

    Has anyone ever noticed, reading books or watching movies, that non-human enemies are all the same. I'm talking aliens, creatures, etc. Personality wise at least, they are all the same. Usually all are mean and want to kill or something along those lines. If humans tried to take over another planet, would we all have the same thing on our minds? While writing a story, I noticed this and wondered if anyone else did.
     
  2. SunnyRabbiera
    Offline

    SunnyRabbiera Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well sometimes the cookie cutter villain can be fun if used right.
    Look at Doctor Evil ;)
     
  3. WhoWatchesTheWatchmen?
    Offline

    WhoWatchesTheWatchmen? Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    The Shire
    I think this was a topic before but whatever...

    I particularlly loathe the Evil Wizard Bent On Taking Over The World. Hitler would be proud. Plus, I've seen enough mad scientists and James Bond baddies.
     
  4. Scribe Rewan
    Offline

    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    2
    I could never understand the point of wanting to dominate the world... Not in this era anyway. I mean what would you do?

    'haha now I control the world....oh, bugger, that's pretty much it then. Scrabble, anyone?'
     
  5. Necromortis
    Offline

    Necromortis Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    California
    Agreed. I find it very hard to relate to the 'evil overlord' type enemy. However, I think it can be done well occasionally.

    But I'd much rather read a story about a villain with realistic reasons for being "evil" (which is completely relative anyway), who I can relate and empathize with. It adds so much to the story.

    ~Christian
     
  6. BlackMatter
    Offline

    BlackMatter New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Behind you
    I dont know actually, i mean there are quite a few different types of them that you can create... and their motives might be different, but yeah i see where you're coming from :p seeing as they all want to own something in the end xD i guess that's what makes a villian a villian :p
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Really?

    A man who wants to acquire a piece of land and build a house on it to pass down to his children is a villain?

    Another man who creates a killer virus to wipe out the human race and give the planet back to the lower animals is not a villain?

    Also, history has often shown us that who is the villain, and who is the hero, often depends on little more than which side won the war.
     
  8. BlackMatter
    Offline

    BlackMatter New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Behind you
    Aha no i didn't mean it like that, i meant it on a much more selfish and larger scale, villains like to dominate others for personal reasons, whereas the reasons you've given are relating to others and giving. Although.. the second point you've made there i think actually would be a villain. Many have different views of villains, and you're forgetting that Adolf Hitler also attempted to gain a large empire for his own people, does that make him any less of a villain?

    -=BM
     
  9. Speedy
    Offline

    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    4,866
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Australia
    I think of Roland, from the dark Tower when you say this, and he wasen't a villain (well not to humankind, maybe to those around him, who hated him by the end) but he was my hero.

    But i guess all im saying is,villian, and hero will do this if their goal is so important.
     
  10. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Part of the reason for the goal of wiping out humanity (or humans) by aliens or creatures is so the novel (or movie) has conflict with high stakes.

    A couple SF examples where aliens invade the earth with the goal of colonizing the earth at humanity's expense:

    Harry Turtledove's World War Series. Here an alien race (basically 4 ft reptiles) invade during the height or World War II. Their technology is more advanced than ours today, but not too far. Their goal is to colonize the planet and assimilate humanity into their empire, as they have done to several other planets/sentient species that had previously dominated it. Things do not turn out as the invaders anticipated, based on their outdated information on humanity and differences in culture and thought processes between The Race and Humans ('Big Uglies'). Part of the confict also centers around humanity's different warring factions, how they cooperate, capitulate and/or undercut eachother in the global struggle.

    A second series would be John Ringo's Posleen War series. Here humanity is contacted by 'friendly' aliens five years before the invading Posleen reach earth and attempt to conquer it. Humanity is technologically inferior, but does not have the same inhibitions with respect to aggression and combat as the other 4 races being displaced by the Posleen. Of course there are other events at work to undermine humanity in the battle against the invaders. But the main conflict in the first 4 novels covers the centarur-like crocodile headed invaders, who are in someways mindlessly ruthless. Their numbers and techology prove a great obstacle to humanity's survival. Again the genetic heritage and limitations that the Posleen work to overcome to take full advantage of their superior equipment and scientific knowlege, is similar in a way to Turtledove's storyline. Yet it is completely different.

    The central core, however is the confict. The struggle of humanity to survive an alien invasion. The characters, setting, aliens, etc. are a bit different (a different backdrop) but the overall theme is the same. And it apparently works as these authors have sold very very well.

    Buy the definition set out at the beginning of this thread, The Race and the Posleen would be considered cookie cutter enemies. But they work for readers.

    Terry
     
  11. WhoWatchesTheWatchmen?
    Offline

    WhoWatchesTheWatchmen? Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    The Shire
    My favorite villian is The Joker. He created the whole mad-man maniac villian, plus he's original. Nice costume too, especially in Batman: The Dark Knight. He's a sadist though, which is sort of a modernized Evil Overlord.
     
  12. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Robert Bloch's Norman Bates (Psycho) was a fabulous villian. Even in his original form, he is not so much evil as confused. He cannot reconcile his adolescent desires with his mother's tyrany and obsession, so he becomes her to remove the source of his conflict. From then on he is trapped by the consequences of his prior actions and the need to keep his dirty impulses secret.
     
  13. WhoWatchesTheWatchmen?
    Offline

    WhoWatchesTheWatchmen? Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    The Shire
    Norman Bates is uncanny, except then they over used him with the four other movies ( which totally sucked ). He was such a great villian. But yeah, I agree with Cogito. He's not really a villian as much as vigilante's are considered good. Just confused and chooses to react to his confusion in an irregular way.
     
  14. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I've noticed it.

    Not sure how related anyone will find this, but I've recently been reading a little about the Spanish conquistadors exploring Florida and that was the very first thing I thought of when I read this post regarding "cookie-cutter enemies"! It's like one guy after another all doing and wanting the same thing. Substitute evil alien creatures for them, and it sounds the same. To me at least. :D

    So I think the idea of humans having the same things on their minds isn't quite unbelievable, because there have been times when we have.
     
  15. ManicHedgehog
    Offline

    ManicHedgehog Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ohio
    I think the definition of a villain depends equally on the end and the means. I'm preparing a novel right now where the villain is a formerly exiled, very intelligent, very well-read terrorist who returns the island with the intent of overturning the corrupt political system and ushering a new era of freedom that his people haven't seen in generations. But the way he goes about doing it is rather devious and violent. At heart, his intentions are good, but he's going about it all wrong.

    The best villains, I think, don't have as much to do with what they're going to do as how they're going to do it.
     
  16. Gears
    Offline

    Gears Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago
    I would consider that kind of person to be bordering on anti-hero. The villain in that scenario would depend on your point-of-view, much like V for Vendetta (the graphic novel version of V, not the movie where he is portrayed as a hero).
     
  17. Fluxhavok
    Offline

    Fluxhavok Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    517
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    San Francisco
    i think it's a perspective issue. Since the story is almost always told from the perspective of the humans, you never really get to see what drives the aliens to want to wipe us out. maybe they're a normally peaceful race, but they're desperately out of resources and are forced to act out of self preservation. Maybe not all of them agreed to attack, maybe people are protesting back on home planet "Urinius 5." My point is, usually an invading alien army isn't going to broadcast it's motives before it eradicates humanity. They're not going to go door to door handing out pamphlets, that tell of the unfortunate events that befell their race, ultimately leading to the decision to destroy ours. They're simply going to come in hard and fast, murder you, and eat your dog. They just want to get it over with so they can go home to their families.
     
  18. Heather Louise
    Offline

    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    32
    I actually disagree with your statement of all enimies having the same personality, Gears, unless of course you are talking in childrens novels. To me, if a villain is just going around being a villain for the sake of it, it makes a pretty 2D, boring charector. I love it when you get to see more of the villain, reasons why they are how they are, what makes them tick, etc etc. I hated that at the end of the Hitcher it never explained why he did it, and although is was a fantastic film (I'm on about the origional here), I think the villain was a little 2D for my liking, as we knew nothing about him.

    Personally, I think what makes a really fantastic, and beleivable story, is making sure of the the charectors are people, and have thoughts and feelings and reasons for doing what they do.
     
  19. chad.sims2
    Offline

    chad.sims2 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,051
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    KS
    Unless it's the US in which they anounce our intent allowing the other contry to get ready, as well as anounce our reasons. Giving the other side several advantages over us. :( Darn political correctness. (and it's useually all on CNN)
     
  20. Ungood
    Offline

    Ungood Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    6
    I would gander that is what makes them "Villains" to start with as "wanting to come in and plant trees and giving food to the poor" might make for poor establishment of villainy at least in my mind.

    But that depends on the "Hero" as the Prime Minister of China called the Dahlia Lama a cultural terrorist that needs to be eliminated.

    100% with out question that is how humans would approach the issue. Hence why we believe that is how all other alien races would approach the issue if they came to "deal" with us.

    Peaceful coexistence is not a human virtue. Either the Aliens need to come in and kick us down and subjugate us or we will attack and enslave them.

    Things like "Alien Nation" is the product of pure idealist views on this, but it was enjoyable.

    yes, and sadly that is what makes it realistic.
     
  21. Gears
    Offline

    Gears Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago
    I completely disagree. Vietnam for example. The entire country was split on whether war was a good idea. Granted those are other humans. If (in theory) humans decided to invade another planet for whatever reason, you KNOW there would be citizens, even soldiers, who would object to full-scale war. That, sadly, is a lot more realistic.
     
  22. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.

    Depends on what you consider cookie cutter rationalization. You have the Dalek's on Dr. Who who think they are the superior race, and everything but them should exist. You get that a lot in humankind now, aka Black Panthers vs. KKK.

    So, to an extent, mankind would probably be the exact same way.
     
  23. Ungood
    Offline

    Ungood Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    6
    There will always be individuals that will object to violence in any form.

    When you take the time to look at things you will see that there are humans that think killing animals for food is wrong. With that in mind it stands to reason that there would be groups that would object to killing other humans.

    But these people are not in control of the human military, and for the most part are not in control of government. In many cases they are consider "Fringe" groups.

    The War in Iraq is a prime example of Humanity's need to "get revenge" and for their lack of peaceful coexistance.

    Our history, and our current events are littered with humans lack of being able to peacefully coexist. Humans killing each other is ingrained in our history as far as back as we can recored it and beyond that.


    Here is a thought to Ponder:

    Humans as a species can't peacefully coexist with OTHER Humans.

    Can you imagine the blood bath that would ensue when you added in some alien race or species?
     
  24. chad.sims2
    Offline

    chad.sims2 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,051
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    KS
    Actually I bet humans would coexist fine if they had some allein threat to worry about. Just like tribes could pull togeather to fight invading nations. Look at the Huns!
     
  25. Ungood
    Offline

    Ungood Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    6
    Yes that is a philosophy that if an alien force came, humanity would unite against the force.

    It has also been philosophized that the ONLY way Humanity would unite is if an alien force came against it and was winning ("Babalon 5" for example).

    I would also add that if an Alien force came against the humans, humans would only deal with their combatants not their civilians or "peaceful" populations.


    With this in mind the Humans would only be in contact with the "Military" of the alien race, just like we would deal with things.
     

Share This Page