I was really impressed! The structure and theme of the movie was faaaantastic. The character who really made it work was Bowler-Hat Guy.
Although he seems like the Snydley Whiplash mustache-twirling character, Bowler-Hat Guy has the most depth of any animated character I’ve seen in a long time. He’s underhanded and mean, sympathetic and uncertain, evil and pathetic, all at the same time. It was easy for me to like him.
But what really made Bowler Hat Guy work is his place in the story. He’s more than just an antagonist–he’s the anti-protagonist.* Both Lewis and Goob are faced with the same disappointments in life. Lewis learns to move on, but Goob doesn’t. Lewis becomes a rich and famous inventor, thinking of ways to make the world a cooler place. Goob, on the other hand, feeds his anger and resentment, never making a positive difference in anyone’s life and eventually becomes the villain set on Lewis’s demise: Bowler-Hat Guy. Bowler-Hat Guy is so stuck on the bad thing that happened to him that he hasn’t even changed from his little league clothes. His cape is his old blankie.
At the end of the movie, Bowler-Hat Guy realizes his villianous deeds haven’t done anything for him. He’s spent so long focusing on the bad in his past, he has no future. Some critics are disappointed with Bowler-Hat Guy’s demise; I thought it was fantastic. What does happen to those in life who focus on the negative and don’t learn to keep moving forward? They simply fade away.**
I’m really pleased with how well the theme and structure was pulled off in this movie. It was done without being preachy but still getting the point through. I’m rooting for Disney again.