Premiered in: Brave (2012)
Voiced By: Frank Welker
Now I am well aware that I’m skipping the villain from Cars 2 in favor of Mor’du but there are three reasons for this. First, sad as it is for me to admit, I have not seen Cars 2 and, frankly, I’ve little intention to do so. As many a reviewer far more famous than I have stated, the world of Cars is plagued with far too many questions that no sane adult mind can comprehend. Again, a great film for kids but not so much for adults. Secondly, having read on the villain of Cars 2, I can’t help but feel… disappointed. He wasn’t distinct in any form and I swear I’ve seen his plan/goal done to death countless times before. Third… honestly, Mor’du is my favorite Pixar Villain and let me begin by telling you just how he came to be…
Mor’du was the eldest son born to the then ancient king of Scotland whom, upon his passing, decreed that Mor’du would inherit and share the kingdom with his three younger siblings. Enraged that his rightful inheritance was taken from him, Mor’du decreed war upon his brothers and though he commanded the larger, and far more brutal, army, it was a constant stalemate. Frustrated beyond words and declaring his desire to change his fate, Mor’du was led by the will-o-wisps to the cottage of an ancient witch whom he bargained his signet ring for a means of defeating his brothers once and for all. Declaring a false truce with his siblings, Mor’du met with them in the throne room of their deceased father and once more demanded their subjugation to his will and at their refusal, shattered the stone mural that depicted their once united family before downing the potion.
Mor’du had been promised the strength of ten men and his was given this and so much more as he was transformed into a monstrously large black bear. Rather than be surprised or even horrified by his changed body, Mor’du readily accepted being turned into a monster and slew his brothers in cold blood. Satisfied with his victory, Mor’du turned his attention to his waiting army whom, upon sighting the bloodied black beast, immediately turned against him and the last vestiges of Mor’du’s sentiency vanished as he fully became a daemonic beast and started a rampage that would last for countless years.
Now while I have argued that characters like Monstro from Pinocchio or the carnotaurs from Dinosaur are animals doing what nature intended of them to do, though admittedly with extreme prejudice in the case of Monstro, such is not the case with Mor’du. For one thing, he was human before becoming a bear and though he was an animal in body, he was not so in his actions. Mor’du’s one drive is to kill anything that is in his path, even going so far as to purposefully hunt down those whom have escaped his wrath even if it takes years to do so.
It has been told in words and in song that Mor’du has killed grown men, defenseless women, and innocent children over the years and Merida was no exception to this though no explanation is ever given what attracted his gaze to her in the first place. More than likely, Mor’du was drawn by the nearby royal caravan and he instinctively felt that he was being challenged for his place as king and so he sought to end the possibility of future generations coming back to bite him. He did pull a Tick-Tock move by gobbling down Fergus’ leg though he didn’t gain an obsession with eating him like the crocodile did with Hook.
One interesting thing of note amongst several fans of the film is that Mor’du is ancient. Even excusing a lifespan of a bear by arguing his human soul beneath the monstrous exterior, Mor’du had been around for so long that he was proclaimed as being as old as the Highlands themselves, and just as unforgiving. There’s also the fact that frankly, Mor’du’s skin is nigh impenetrable, with spears and arrows sticking out of his back and a sword outright shattering against his hide. While I’m no sorcerer and certainly not well versed in the old witch’s… particularities when it comes to her enchantments, I do have a speculation to Mor’du’s apparent immortality if not his invulnerability.
When Merida asked for a way to change her fate by, essentially, changing her mother’s mind on the engagement, she got what she had wanted in an extremely odd way. Excusing the witch’s obsession with bears, which I think is close to rivaling my own with dragons, her spell changed Elinor into a bear like it had for Mor’du but whereas Mor’du had become a monster almost instantly after his transformation, Elinor had bouts of becoming a bear on the inside and acting like a natural bear in those brief moments. In layman’s terms, her mind was being changed just… into a bear’s.
Yeah… Because that’s what Merida meant…
Anyway, Mor’du had asked specifically for the strength of ten men and that’s exactly what he got. He alone wiped out the combined armies of his and his brothers’ and had survived many a weapon. It is highly likely that the witch’s spell worked in such a way that it grounded him the literal strength of ten men if ten men had been turned into bears. That would make Mor’du not only insanely strong but also extremely tough to kill. There is also the consideration that perhaps, just an overly though out opinion mind you, that by giving him the strength of ten men, Mor’du also gained the lifetimes of ten men plus his own. It would certainly explain his longevity and how he had survived swords and spears until a literal monolith was dropped on top of him.
In the end, Mor’du is slain, rather surprisingly, by Elinor and rather than be of the same wrath that he had possessed before and during his time as the beast, the man that Mor’du had been was grateful for the release and gladly became one of the many will-o-wisps haunting the Scottish Highlands.
And that, my dear readers, brings an end to the Pixar line of Villains but that is not quite the end just yet. No, there are two more characters that I shall review/discuss before I move on to my next character theme. These honorable mentions are characters who, while not explicitly Disney and definitely not Pixar, are so closely connected to the Disney Family that they are such in all but name and well worth reviewing.