If you watch enough movies and TV shows, you will start to note a few trends. One of the more unrealistic trends that you will note in movies and television shows is that (unlike real life) a vast majority of clearly evil schemes will fail. This is usually because (at some point) the villain will make a critical error. As we all know by Newton’s law, all actions tend to have consequences. The consequences are generally equal and opposite to the initial action. So, there are examples when an action by an evil or villainous character can actually result in the saving of countless lives. There is also the tidiness of this action that leads to good will also ultimately result in the villains own downfall. Lets take a look at a few examples.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980): There are a lot of decisions that eventually lead to the fall of the Empire. After all, as they say, no good deed ever goes truly unpunished. Lets look at a critical moment on the precipice of victory that really changed the tide for the Rebellion. In the cloud city of Bespin, Vader had everything under control. Han Solo was captured and about to be lowered into carbonite. Princess Leia was under control. The last robot who would ever call him ‘Ani’ was a discombobulated mess. To top things off, Chewbacca has what can only be described as a ‘wookie moment’ and starts attacking Stormtroopers. Boba Fett points his gun (ready to dust said walking carpet and discuss the fee later) when all of the sudden… Darth Vader stops him from shooting. There has to be some sort of law that states attacking Stormtroopers in the middle of a prisoner transfer is punishable by death. Chewbacca was not really a good source of information or particularly important to Vader’s plans. We are not sure on the success rate of torturing a Wookie for information, but it cannot be high if their initial result to anger management is to rip arms off. The issue is never addressed again but immediately starts to foil Vader’s plans. Leia would have never gotten away with out Chewbacca’s help. Without Leia in the Falcon, it is a simple matter of Force finding Luke at the end and sending an imperial ship to collect his defenseless, one armed, soon to be unconscious rear. Everything else falls into place nicely. Even if they managed to escape, Fett’s own life would not have been forfiet at the Sarlaac pit if Chewbacca dies. Moving forward, the shield generator would have stayed up if Chewbacca had not been there to throw the director of the movie out of the AT-ST and the Rebellion would have been crushed. That was the one inexplicable, uncalculated decision that really seemed to bring Vader’s plans down. Interestingly, it was due to saving a life.
THE ROCK (1996) : Brigadier General Francis X. Hummel (as far as cast ‘villains’ go) was actually a dedicated Commander who was simply attempting to do right by his men. That was clearly demonstrated when he diverted the missile to save the fans at the football game. You could write a whole article on why Hummel’s self sacrifice was above and beyond the call of duty for his men. Hummel’s main problem was that the people that he thought would be on board with his plan actually were dedicated to the darker elements of it. So, Hummel (as far as making a life saving decision) is clear and comes out in the wash. The cosmic tipping point in the moving was Major Tom Baxter. Baxter would have allowed the people to get blown up and collect his check. He would not allow Hummel to go down without a fight. Baxter turning on the other mercenaries was actually the point in which Goodspeed and Mason got an opening to foil the entire plan. Baxter did not care about the 80,000 fans. Baxter did not care about Goodspeed and Mason. Baxter cared about Hummel and that ultimately saved lives in that the other mercenaries were not able to go ahead following through on the initial plan.
TRON LEGACY (2010) : Kevin Flynn’s disk contains the secret to moving people from the ‘grid’ to the world of the ‘users.’ A calculating program alternately known as Zuse or Castro decides that the ruler of the grid (Clu) needed the disk more than anything. Zuse believes that the disk will allow him to control the downtown area which Clu will willingly give up. So Zuse allows Flynn and his son to get away, but takes the disk. The act of the Flynns getting away leads to Clu’s eventual downfall and saves the world of the ‘users’ (ours) from an unstoppable grid army. Zuse simply allows them to get away as long as he has the disk. Once he gives the disk to Clu, Zuse has nothing more to bargain with other than Clu’s good faith. Clu then destroys Zuse’s entire building with Zuse and all of his minions in it. Had Zuse captured Flynn and his son, then he would have had more to bargain with and possibility could have saved his own existence. There would also have been that whole matter of the unstoppable grid army..ummm… occupying the world of the users.
JURASSIC PARK (1993) : Dennis Nedry, the lawyer, the games keeper, and Samuel L. Jackson’s computer programmer are the ones that stand out as dying in Jurassic Park. You know what this means? Dennis Nedry saved lives. Nedry did not mean to but actually did. Hear us out on this one. The security system was not brought off line until the last boat was filled. This means that to begin with, no one other than the skeleton crew left behind on the island was ever in any actual peril. The whole system was hackable and faulty anyway which Nedry’s actions pointed out. The failsafes were terrible and the system was so easy to navigate that an over privileged twelve year old girl figured it out in what …ten seconds? Nedry successfully stressed tested the entire system and proved it to be unworthy before the first actual tourist ever stepped foot on the island. In the course of action, he also left a trail (that could be potentially be used to catch) to industrial espionage by way of accepting the initial payment as well as having contact. A quick track of Nedry’s contacts and phone records would have unveiled the competing corporations. Stress testing like this on supposedly secure installations is some thing that not only companies routinely do but our own government does as well. Had a total system failure occurred when the island was full populated with engineers, scientists, workers, and tourists – the damage would have been unthinkable. That it never happened is all thanks to Dennis Nedry.
LOST IN SPACE (1965 – 1968): Lets please just forget that the 1998 film and the career of Matt Leblanc has in any way occurred. OK… done. Now, lets focus on the actual television show Lost In Space. Thank You. The entire premise of the show is that the evil Dr. Zachary Smith working for unnamed ‘foreign’ interests sabotaged the Robot and the mission. The led the Space Family Robinson to go way off course and become Lost In Space. Smith was always blamed for their troubles. However, like many things in life, Smith has his place as well. This is revealed in Season 3 Episode 18 to be precise. This episode is called the Time Merchant. In this episode, a lord of time known as Chronos actually sends Smith back in time to allow him to undo what he has done. Smith realizes that his extra weight on an already miscalculated trajectory was the only thing that kep the Space Family Robinson from being Lost In Space to being Dead In Space. With a heavy heart, Smith allows the events to unfold as they originally did and saves the lives of the Robinsons who never knew that this mess up kept them Lost but Alive.
BLAZING SADDLES (1974) : Hedley Lamarr wanted to drive out the citizens of Rock Ridge by any means necessary. His ultimate idea was to send them a black sheriff to convince these 19th century racists from ever believing that they would have hope of a stable life. To this end, Lamarr actually stops Bart from being hanged. Bart is then promoted to Sheriff. Ultimately, Bart will also foil and eventually shoot down Lamarr. Rock Ridge would have probably also agreed to abandon the town as they almost actually did when Lamarr sent his mercenary army anyway. As a matter of fact, the only decision that Lamarr would make that would ultimately work in any way against him in his Rock Ridge campaign was when he actually decided to save the life of Bart.