Hello guys! Today, here's my twentieth-seventh PE proposal, and it's about Russel Van Pelt, the main antagonist of the 2017 film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the sequel to our beloved 1995 Robin Williams classic Jumanji film.
WHO IS HE / WHAT HAS HE DONE?
When the cursed game Jumanji updates itself into a video game, it reshapes its original characters and setting for new players. In doing so, the original Van Pelt, a hunter who we first saw in the first film, becomes Russel Van Pelt, the main antagonist of the game. According to the game's backstory, Van Pelt was an archaeologist who was obsessed with finding the Jaguar's Eye. Van Pelt ultimately succeeded in retrieving the Jaguar's Eye and gained its powers and the ability to control all Jumanji's wildlife, cursing the land. One night, Nigel Billingsley stole it from him but was unable to return it as Van Pelt swore to kill anyone standing on his way to retrieve the Jaguar's Eye.
In 1996, a teenager named Alex Vreeke is sucked into the game and becomes Seaplane McDonough, but gets stuck in the game. In 2016, five teenagers named Spencer Gilpin, Anthony "Fridge" Johnson, Bethany Walker and Martha Kaply are sucked into the game and become Dr. Smolder Bravestone, Mouse Finbar, Professor Shelly Oberon and Ruby Roundhouse. Once they are informed about Van Pelt's plans to get back the Jaguar's Eye. They decide to work together, but Russel pursues and corners them at Jumanji's marketplace, but the quartet manage to escape with McDonough's help, leading Van Pelt to execute one his henchmen for failing him.
After repeated failed attempt of his henchmen to retrieve the Jaguar's Eye, Van Pelt comes to confront the quintet when they reach the statue where the Jaguar's Eye belongs. Desperate to retrieve the Jaguar's Eye, Van Pelt takes Shelly hostage and threatens to kill her if Smolder doesn't give him back the jewel because Mouse has it. Taking advantage of Van Pelt's distraction, Shelly attacks him and escapes. Ruby then captures the Jaguar's Eye and Van Pelt corners her, but she outsmarts him and manages to give the jewel to Spencer, who puts it back to its statue and as a result they beat up the game, resulting in Van Pelt's disintegration. After making it back to the real world, while Alex returned to his own time and had a family, Spencer, Fridge, Bethany and Martha destroy Jumanji, and while it eventually resurfaces, Van Pelt is finally destroyed for good.
WHAT'S THE WORK?
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2017 fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan and starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas. The film is about a five teenagers who get trapped into the cursed game, now video game, known as Jumanji, where they must survive an immense jungle and return the Jaguar's Eye, a magic jewel, back to its jaguar statue to lift its curse.
MORAL EVENT HORIZON
Unlike his original counterpart from the first film, Russel Van Pelt is more dark and evil, being portrayed as an unmerciful and savage mercenary who wants to retrieve the Jaguar's Eye at all costs to control all wildlife for the sake of power even if it means killing someone, either the protagonists or his own henchmen. Every PE villain must have crossed the Moral Event Horizon to be PE, and Russel Van Pelt definitely crosses it when he shows to be an unforgivable boss when he coldly kills one of his henchmen with an scorpion for failing him, cementing himself as a big threat.
HEINOUS STANDARDS/MITIGATING FACTORS?
While the original Van Pelt was trustworthy and honorable, Russel Van Pelt lacks all of these positive qualities. Russel Van Pelt is an arrogant, obsessive and murderous game boss who is far more evil than his original counterpart. A greedy archaeologist who just wanted and cared for power, Van Pelt steals the Jaguar's Eye in an attempt to gain power over all wildlife in Jumanji not caring on who he hurts. He also proves to be quite vengeful when Nigel Billingsley steals the Jaguar's Eye and swears to get it back to its statue to end Van Pelt's rampage, showing us how desperate is Van Pelt in keeping his powers not caring on who he has to hurt or kill to do so. However, instead of going after Nigel, Van Pelt wants to kill the protagonists just because they are doing the right thing Nigel asked them to do.
One aspect to this Van Pelt that differentiates him from the original one is that the original had a code of honor and just wanted to kill Alan Parrish and no more people because these were the game's orders, whereas this Van Pelt kills whoever he wants with his powers, demonstrating his sadistic side when he uses an scorpion to fatally sting one of his henchmen after he fails to capture the protagonists in the marketplace, showing that he doesn't forgive his own men and just sees them as expendables pawns whom he can execute if they fail him. He neither doesn't care on how much destruction he must cause to achieve his goals.
And finally, Russel Van Pelt shows a total disregard of life when he threatens to kill Shelly if Spencer doesn't give him the Jaguar's Eye and tries to desperately kill the protagonists in his final moments even though if he killed them they were going to die for real unlike him, who will likely always respawn for future playthroughs, which finally cements him as a deranged barbarian who just cares for power and loves to kill, definitely standing up as the evilest antagonist of the whole franchise.
Taking all of this into account, I would say yes about considering Russel Van Pelt to be approved as PE.