Deformed Evildoer:

Colonel Quaritch in "Avatar"

Director James Cameron’s science fiction/epic/romance/western/ecofable takes us to new worlds with breathtaking computer generated images.  Yet Cameron grounds his innovation with standard movie storytelling.  The plot includes elements from his own Terminator franchise, as well as old Western flicks. 


When Stephen Lang strides onscreen as the aggressive soldier Colonel Quaritch, he features one of film’s oldest fixtures:  traumatic scarring.  His character took quite a slashing in the jungles of Pandora—the thickened scars bulge angrily in 3-D.

For those who have not yet responded to Cameron’s siren call and actually seen “Avatar,” we won’t act as spoilers, except to say that Quaritch is not a cute cuddly scarred character, but the traditional stereotype:  A scarred villain.

This image of Frankenstein represents the special effect breakthrough of its day, a hundred years ago in 1910.  We’ve come a long way, Frankie!  Except with the concept that damaged skin reflects damaged morals. From Darth Vader to Pacino’s “Scarface”  and Freddie Krueger, scarring has been a film maker’s crutch to telegraph a character’s malevolence. Even Disney got in on the act with the murderous “Scar” in “The Lion King.”

Surely, audiences would have a clue based on the colonel's actions. Does he need to have a record of his physical trauma as well? Maybe Cameron decided to throw the prosthetic makeup crew a bone since so much of the film was done with cgi.

While topical scar creams do little to flatten thick skin scars, lasers can be used to reduce redness and cortisone can be injected to thin the excess collagen.  Clearly chugging coffee isn’t helping his skin or his mood.

It makes us appreciate another blockbuster franchise all the more.  Can you imagine a series where the hero sports a significant facial scar?  Kids unfortunate enough to suffer facial trauma might have a positive role model, instead of yet another malformed malevolent murderer. Maybe the “Avatar” sequel can feature a cameo from a certain adolescent wizard.  Quidditch on Pandora in 3-D?  We’re there!

Runner up, Deformed Evildoer:
Giant Frenchie Thug in “Sherlock Holmes”

As if his hulking stature and phony French accent weren’t enough, this gruff Gaul goon was given grotesque burn scars.

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