Name: Flynn Rider (or Eugene Fitzherbert)
Book/Film/TV Show: Film
Personality: The most wanted man in the Kingdom – a thief, a rogue and a total charmer.
Why They’re A Great Character: I confess to being a total sucker for the ‘bad boy turned good by love’ archetype. It’s been a while since I watched a Disney film – in fact, I think Wall-E was the last one I sat down on purpose to watch – but the advantage of having younger siblings is that they have a steady supply of the classics and the new features. In a fit of ‘I just want to watch something nice and fluffy’, I borrowed Tangled.
The leading man Flynn Rider, or Eugene Fitzherbert as we later discover, is in no way a three dimensional, original character. He is in every way the archetypal bad boy – attractive, charming, shallow, quick to betray his companions and interested only in how he can make lots of money, but with a hidden past that makes him appealing and conveniently explains all his flaws.
But, while he gains no points for originality, his character works because the story he exists in is so charming and ‘fluffy’ that you can forgive any two-dimensionality. Also, the fact that Zachary Levi voices him helps. He should read audiobooks. I would buy them, just to listen to his voice.
A lot of people talk about originality being very important. And while I agree to an extent, there is no such thing as a story never told before. Everything could be described as having roots in some mythology, a different story, or a piece of art work, music or anything. Writers accumulate things, store them in the back of their minds and regurgitate them later in various combinations when coming up with their own ideas. As long as there is enough of a twist, or an injection of freshness from somewhere, even the oldest, tiredest ideas can work well.
Case and point: Flynn Rider. Who I am a little bit in love with. But possibly not as much as I love Pascal the chameleon.