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What exactly does Zorg expect from the arrival of the "Great Evil"? Once it would have reached the temple, life would turn into death, including Zorg's life. He tried to explain to Fr. Vito Cornelius why, but it still doesn't make sense. What did Zorg expect from the evil for himself?

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    I assume Zorg was planning to be off-planet at the time of the arrival. And would use the chaos to make himself even more rich and powerful
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 16:19
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    Wasn't it just that Zorg was promised a financial reward? I'll have to watch it again, but I am fairly certain he mentions getting paid when talking to "Mr Shadow". Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 16:23
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    @GeoffAtkins Zorg points out that his costs have tripled, to which Mr Shadow replies that "money does not matter" (perhaps somewhat disingenuously, because money does not matter of the economy is gone on account of the planet being destroyed). I am not sure Zorg was quite aware what he had gotten himself into, else he would not have quibbled over small change with "absolute evil". youtube.com/watch?v=dioZmKCFNOU&t=54s Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 17:00
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    Zorg always seemed like a cut-and-dried instance of the famous quote that "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." Just very plainly ruled by myopic greed.
    – Tom
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 17:13
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    Everyone, please stop answering in comments. If you have a (supportable) answer, please put it in an answer.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 17:22

4 Answers 4

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Money is mentioned in a conversation between Zorg and "Mr Shadow" (who we know is the voice of the evil sphere because he demands things the sphere needs); as they speak, Zorg is trying to drive up the price.

The larger implication seems to be that he is not aware of the true nature of "Mr Shadow". He makes no attempt to relocate to another planet, and he does not acknowledge that Mr Shadow is "absolute evil" as the Priest Cornelius calls it, or that he will destroy (at least) Earth, even as the voice makes his head bleed. He is basically just trying to conduct a business transaction, and is misunderstanding "money is of no importance" to mean that Mr Shadow has unlimited money, when basically Mr Shadow means there will be nothing left to support a currency, or an economy, or even life.

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    There is that scene where Zorg shatters a glass and explains in elaborate detail about the side effect of chaos. Maybe he's being poetic, but he's conveying some level pleasure and not only profiteering.
    – 杜興怡
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 21:41
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    @杜興怡 Fair point, but that seems just a riff on Schumpeters gale a.k.a. creative destruction. Entrepreneurs are saying similar stuff right now. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 7:50
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    @杜興怡 He was arguing that chaos is a justification for him making profits. "Notice how each one is useful. What a lovely ballet, so full of form and color. So full of life!" Except that every single one of the lively machines that are cleaning up his mess are products of... you guessed it, Zorg Industries. And not one of them is alive, they're all machines. The only non-human animal in the place is a genetically engineered sessile pet.
    – Corey
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 9:29
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    He absolutely did relocate to another planet, though maybe he wasn't planning on staying there, since he blew the place up (with himself inside it, which he definitely didn't plan on). It's pretty clear at least that he had the ability to travel to other planets, and not unreasonable to assume he's got holdings on other planets besides Earth. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 14:31
  • @DarrelHoffman "relocate" implies permanence. Flying somewhere in a warship to steal stuff and blow the place up is somewhat antithetical to settle down permanently. He literally states that one hour at Fhloston Paradise is "more than I need". That's not relocation, that's a pit stop (which is his actual excuse for landing). Commented May 1, 2022 at 8:58
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Luc Besson explains Zorg's motivations in the scene where Zorg demonstrates his philosophy to the priest. Zorg breaks a glass which puts all robots to work cleaning up the mess and gets a fresh glass.

This is the Parable of the Broken Window. The parable's lesson is that while recovering from destruction does provide work, it is not a benefit for society. The "boring" glass is doing its job holding liquid. Once broken, it is useless. Effort must be expended to clean up the mess and replace the glass. The net effect of this effort is zero; everything is how it was. That effort could have been put to do something useful instead.

Zorg sees it differently because Zorg is the one selling the glasses. To whomever bought the glass, it is most useful whole. To Zorg, a whole glass is "boring" because once he's sold it it is no longer of use to Zorg; he can only sell you a glass once. Breaking the glass means Zorg gets to sell you another glass! Bad for the owner of the glass, good for Zorg!

Zorg choking on the cherry with no-one to help him is supposed to demonstrate Zorg's fallacy. The priest is demonstrating the fifth element which Zorg has ignored: love, compassion, and care for your fellow man. A simple hand to help when in need. The system which Zorg is exploiting is also necessary to support him. Unfortunately it comes off a bit muddled, involving robots makes it seem more like a screed against technology.

Zorg missing the point is Luc Besson's point about people like Zorg. Zorg is a narcissistic, sociopathic economic parasite who only considers the benefits to him. He is so rich and powerful he is completely shielded from the societal consequences of his actions. He's happy to help society burn while he is selling the torches from his fireproof house. Zorg attempts to morally justify his parasitic profiteering by claiming to be a jobs program.

This is how Zorg sees his deal with the Great Evil. Zorg thinks he'll profit from the deal (either directly or because he will be protected from it, probably both). He's convinced himself destruction and chaos is morally justified, and the Great Evil is just more destruction and chaos. Zorg is such an isolated narcissist he does not even consider there will be consequences for him.

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The Great Evil likely contacted Zorg for this reason. The Great Evil needed someone extremely powerful, but also so delusional that they would work with an entity that's going to destroy all life. Zorg is the real evil of the movie: a smugly self-satisfied parasitic traitorous profiteer.

Except this time Zorg is dealing with an even more powerful agent of chaos and destruction than Zorg, and he cannot escape the consequences of his actions this time. Zorg will die with everyone else, and he probably still won't understand the parable.

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  • this would be better with coboration w/ textual evidence from the script
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 21:51
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    @NKCampbell That would confirm this was what Besson intended to convey, but the audience ultimately decides what meaning was actually conveyed.
    – Schwern
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 22:02
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    _"... Oh no, not me; I never lost control; You're face-to-face; With The Man Who Sold The World." -- David Bowie
    – B.Kaatz
    Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 0:16
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My understanding is that the evil being can exert some degree of mind control. You can see this in an early scene when General Staedert freezes up and starts to bleed from his head. He's unable to give any orders while his ship is destroyed.

Zorg bleeds in a similar way while speaking with "Mr. Shadow". You can also see him sweating and trembling during the conversation.

I take these hints to mean that the evil being is manipulating Zorg's mind directly, so I don't expect Zorg to behave logically or act in his own best interests.

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    If by "bleed" you mean "drip chocolate syrup," then yeah. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 16:31
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    I always thought that was his hair product melting...
    – pladams9
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 16:44
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It's a completely commonplace plot element (a "trope" if you will) that the "greedy villain" is so blinded by greed that they don't realize they'd actually be destroying everything (ie, even their own situation) by chasing their greed.

This is a commonplace plot element from antiquity to action movies today.

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  • Including themselves?
    – Wingfoot
    Commented Apr 30, 2022 at 17:49
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    Yes, of course. It's commonplace.
    – Fattie
    Commented May 1, 2022 at 17:12
  • You obviously realize I'm from another planet. If it's that commonplace on yours, can you provide an example for another such story? One in which the villain doesn't notice the fact that they are making fodder of themselves?
    – Wingfoot
    Commented May 1, 2022 at 17:20
  • @Wingfoot Maximilien Robespierre, leader of the French revolution. The Reign of Terror was exactly that, and he was later executed by his own followers. The concept of a leader or radical being blinded by ideology is absolutely NOT a new concept.
    – killermist
    Commented May 1, 2022 at 21:24
  • @killermist Of course not, but Zorg is undertaking means to get killed himself. If the sphere reached the temple, life would turn into death. That includes Zorg and I think people on all other planets too.
    – Wingfoot
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 5:19

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