In the time that I’ve been alive I’ve had more exposure to evil masterminds than pretty much anything else that exists in the world, and that includes the peas I’ve hidden under my mashed potatoes since I was five. That is, evil masterminds who want to take over the world. I’m not going to ask the question of why they wanted to take over their respective worlds because to some guys doing, just about anything beats a nine to five punch clock job, am I right? You shouldn’t look down on them either, just because they’re working from home because if your home looked like a giant skull you wouldn’t want to work from anywhere else either. You might want to hang some of those window garden boxes outside the eyes to spruce things up a bit, but that made me really think about the throne rooms we see in fiction. They kinda suck, don’t they? I still remember the first time I watched “Return of the Jedi” and I don’t care what anyone else says, I liked the film. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight and repeated viewings that I’ve started to ask myself some questions about the throne room. There’s nothing in it. Nothing at all other than a huge chair. This guy is the sole ruler of the galaxy and all he has in his gigantic man-cave on his floating doom fortress the size of a planet is a big chair that looks like it turns spines into accordions if you sit on it long enough.
I guess the emperor did have his priorities straight since he did make sure that his giant death laser was fully armed and operational but come on guys. If it were me, the death laser would be on the list but I would also want more than a chair. I guess that’s all he needs to be happy. His death laser that can destroy planets and an enormous window to take it all in from. I wonder if the Property Brothers do throne rooms or would I have hire a personal contractor? It made me start feeling really badly for evil overlords in fiction. I mean take Lord Sauron from the Lord of the Rings. He can’t take a form beyond a giant lidless eye. So he’s a giant ethereal eye that can’t blink and is in desperate need of some eye drops and do his minions build him a giant plasma television so he can catch up on the decades and decades of television he missed while he was AWOL? No. Of course not. No wonder he wants that ring so much. I would be bored out of my ungodly powerful mind too. I get the impression that if the last alliance of men and elves had just brought some Clear Eye with them and Ben Stein to explain how awesome it is, preferably with a beach ball, then maybe Sean Bean would still be alive.
We’re introduced to this concept early on, at least if you grew up watching mutant turtles named after renaissance painters. The Shredder in the old cartoon series had that giant rolling doom fortress replete with treads but it hardly looked like a comfy place to live. All sharp angles and hard backed chairs and alien overlord CEOs and the ninja equivalent of the Borg. We at least know The Shredder has some form of television because he regularly hacks into the Turtles television to show them commercials on how evil he is and how he has the product they need to turn Splinter back into a human. Kind of like real commercials, only less subtle and maybe a smidge more evil. This ad of killing teenaged mutant turtles who are also ninjas is brought to you by Michael Bay, because if it isn’t broken then clearly it needs more explosions and breasts. That always made me kind of wonder why they would want to turn Splinter back into a human in the first place. Wouldn’t he feel even more out of place living in a sewer with four turtles than he already does? I haven’t seen the sequel to the first film yet, since nobody’s had the time to tie me down and pin my eyes open a la A Clockwork Orange, but that would explain the aborted plot line where the Turtles could become human turtle things.
Maybe this is what starts bad guys down the path of evil. There was nothing and I mean nothing to do on Saturday night and I just had a bunch of guys sitting around so let’s go get into trouble. Oddly, I think the one bad guy who gets this whole thing right is James Earl Jones in the Conan movie. He’s got a big throne room so he fills it with pillows and some incense and stuff. There was nothing really going on at the moment so he just decided it was time for an impromptu orgy night. Then he turned into a snake, like you do, when Conan came and crashed the party. No wonder he was so mad. I would be ticked off too if some giant Austrian man crashed my orgy without an invitation. Clearly I’m not moving to California any time soon. It always feels weird when I sit here thinking about some of the most terrible despotic figures in fiction ever and I feel sorry for them because they must get so bored sometimes. Look, somebody just play Apples to Apples with Darth Vader for a bit. He needs to mellow out because his son never writes and would rather jump off a deadly precipice than take over the galaxy with him. He’s had a rough day, cut him some slack.
Not that I have any experience making evil man caves, also called throne rooms, but looking around my downstairs living room I’ve realized why those rooms are empty. It must be like how houses used to have a drawing room to receive guests in so they didn’t have to see that, like everyone else, you have clutter and mess. Imagine if Luke walked in to see the Emperor and he had fast food wrappers all over the place and a large comfy couch in front of a big flat screen television. It kinda humanizes the guy, and I didn’t even think that was possible for a man who looks like his face is in the process of trying to escape and run away to join a boy band. I’m sure he has a more intimate throne room where he chills when nobody else is there so he doesn’t have to sit in that horrible chair. I’m sorry, just every time I look at that thing I realize all over again that they don’t have Lazy Boy in a galaxy far, far away. Yoda had it right, pain leads to suffering and that leads to the dark side and thanks to Palpatine’s palpable lower back pain means he is the most evil Sith who ever lived. What? Destroy a planet? Yeah, they can go to hell and get me some advil.