The Jack-in-the-Box is the main antagonist in the Piano Concerto No. 2 segment of Disney's 38th full-length animated feature film Fantasia 2000. He is the Tin Soldier's arch-nemesis.
The Jack-in-the-Box went through several different designs during the production of the segment, including those of a king, a clown, a 19th-century melodrama villain, a French soldier, and a pirate.
The Jack-in-the-Box is a large toy encased in a brown music box with pink diamond-shaped markings on the sides and spots of gold paint on the corners. When out of it, he resembles a jester with a long pointy nose, a brown beard, thick eyebrows, a bald head, brown eyes, red lips, and rosy cheeks. He is dressed in a blue harlequin outfit, complete with a gold-lined collar and a blue and purple hat with two points, each with a gold bell at the end. His head also takes up the majority of his coiled body, while his arms are smaller when compared. Due to the box acting as the lower portion of his body, he can only hop around as mobility.
The Jack-in-the-Box is portrayed as a cunning, evil, lustful and manipulative toy. He is very misogynistic, oppressive, arrogant and cruel. He is also shown to be a competitive and pugnacious fighter, as he starts to take part in a violent struggle against the Tin Soldier while using a toy sword. Despite his flaws, he is shown to be in love with the Ballerina, so that he can marry her. He is also shown to be extremely angry when he confronts the Tin Soldier and the Ballerina.
Role in the film
At night, when all of the toys in the boy's room come to life, the Jack-in-the-Box is the second one to do so. The first toy to come to life is the Ballerina. She then catches his interest, and he decides that he must have her for himself. However, his attempts to woo her fail miserably as she rejects him.
Things get more complicated for him when the Tin Soldier arrives and wins the Ballerina over with his kind and sympathetic personality. Angered, the Jack-in-the-Box frantically confronts the couple, traps the Ballerina under a glass, and attempts to do away with the Tin Soldier. He first tries throwing some wooden blocks at the Tin Soldier in order to knock him out of the window, only to have the hero knock one back at him with his bayonet, dislodging the Jack-in-the Box's hat and revealing his bald spot (much to the Ballerina's amusement). However, when the Jack-in-the-Box tosses a wooden boat at his opponent, the Tin Soldier is successfully eliminated from and the Ballerina is left at his mercy.
While the Tin Soldier is away, the Jack-in-the-Box tries once again to win over his enthusiastic girlfriend, this time by offering her some plastic roses. Remembering what he did to her friend, the Ballerina rejects him again. Infuriated, he leaps forward and tries to grab her, only for him to hit his head on the door of the toy castle.
On the night that the Tin Soldier returns home, the Jack-in-the-Box becomes more determined than ever to have the Ballerina and grabs her, roughly forcing her to dance with him. Angered, the Tin Soldier rushes to her side to protect her, at which point the Jack-in-the-Box pulls out a sword, and continuously tries to strike his rival, chasing him to the edge of the table. Thinking he has the Tin Soldier cornered, the Jack-in-the-Box leaps toward him to finish him off. However, the Tin Soldier blocks his sword with his bayonet and pushes him over the edge of the table, where he falls into the fireplace below and immediately burns to his death.
The Jack-in-the-Box without his hat.
The Jack-in-the-Box forcefully dancing with the Ballerina.
The Jack-in-the-Box falling into the fireplace.
The Jack-in-the-Box's death.
Concept of the Jack-in-the-Box as a French soldier.
Concept of the Jack-in-the-Box as a King.
Concept of the Jack-in-the-Box as a 19th-century Melodrama Villain.
Concept of the Jack-in-the-Box as a Clown by Hans Bacher.
Concept of the Jack-in-the Box as a Pirate.
The Jack-in-the-Box as he appears in the 1938 storyboards by Bianca Majolie.
In the original story, the Jack-in-the-Box was a black goblin who lived in a snuffbox. It is implied that he may have been the one who caused the Tin Soldier to fall out of the window, but it is also said that it may have been the wind.
In the original story, it is not the Jack-in-the-Box who perishes in the fire but rather the Tin Soldier and the Ballerina.
In the 1938 set of storyboards for the short film version of the segment by Bianca Majolie, the Jack-in-the-Box appears as a green demon-like creature with horns and pointy ears. The ending shows him pushing the soldier into the fireplace, but (much to his dismay) the Ballerina jumps in right after.