Friday, 27 March 2015

11 Perfect Cinematic Moments


It's been a while since I've participated in any blogathons, but when Fisti put forward this one - well, it was a no-brainer. 

Titled 'A Fistful of Moments', the premise is simple - to compile together and showcase a collection of our personal favourite cinematic moments in film and cinema. You know, the kind of scenes that capture our collective imagination and are showered in love and adulation for encapsulating the very essence of cinema. Not an easy ask, but here's what I put together...

The rules for Fisti's blogathon are as follows;

1) Pick a number between 1 and 100
2) Choose that many cinematic moments that are either your all time favourites or ones that could, on any given day, be your all time favourites
3) Post them on your blog or Tumblr with the above header
4) Send me the link by either posting it here in the comments or getting ahold of me on Twitter (@fististhoughts)

So, what does Fisti mean when he says 'cinematic moments'? Well, I'll let him explain...

"We all have them in the back of our minds; those moments that make us think "man, this is what the movies are all about". We relive those moments in our mind's eye, remembering them and dissecting them and adoring them. They come in all shapes and sizes, from all types of films, and yet they all share one very important aspect; they define why we love the movies. It could be the way that the moment is cut; the way it's edited together. It could be the way the moment uses it's actors to evoke a powerful emotion from us. It could be the way that music floods the scene and draws us even closer to the moment in question. It could be a grand climax, a breathtaking introduction or a simple interchange. It could be any and all things, because for every film lover, the list is different."

Well, I didn't have the brain capacity to dream up anything in the region of 100 moments so I stuck to those that instantly sprung to mind and went with 11. Most are pretty obvious choices - but that's because they're memorable for a reason.

Give them a read and let me know what you think!



Star Wars (1977) - Death Star Dogfights


Star Wars is a series with enough 'cinematic moments' to fill a whole Top 100 list but I'll pinpoint just one and move swiftly onward - we don't need a whole essay on my love for the series (again).

I thought about going for the doom and gloom finale to Empire Strikes Back but I settled on the original Death Star attack from A New Hope - after escaping the clutches of the Empire, Luke steps up to bat in his shiny new X-Wing. One by one, the Rebel fighters are picked off by Darth Vader and the swarms of TIE Fighters until it's down to just Luke, Biggs and Wedge to destroy the battle station.

It's a thrilling sequence that culminates with Luke bulls-eyeing the target (with a little help from Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon) and soaring away as the Death Star erupts into flame. Right down to the wire, it's classic 'saved at the last second' stuff that'll make you feel like punching the air in delight.



Back to the Future (1985) - Clock Tower Lightning Strike


Another last second save, the finale of Back to the Future remains one of my favourite cinematic moments to this day. After ensuring his parents do indeed get together at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, Marty McFly races back into town just in time to catch the lightning strike he needs to send him back to the future.

It's not that simple though - with the storm rolling in and the Doc rushing to assemble the wire to channel the lightning, it's a nail-biting scene that I wouldn't chance a simple frame of. Simply amazing.



The Avengers (2012) - Avengers Assemble


Amongst the chaos of the final battle in Joss Whedon's first Avengers film, he takes a moment to swing around the entire group and create the ultimate hero shot ever. It's a fantastic shot that always makes me grin.



The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - Mexican Standoff


Another finale that is just perfectly staged and soundtracked. The tension just keeps amping up in this scene until that sharp pistol crack from Clint Eastwood's iconic hero. 



Singin' in the Rain (1952) - Rain Dance


This euphoric scene from quite possibly the greatest musical ever has the ability to make everyone smile. Seriously, try and watch this scene without grinning from ear to ear. It's impossible for anyone with half a heart and a love of cinema.



Inception (2010) - Hallway Brawl


Christopher Nolan's mind-bending heist Inception has its fair share of eye-popping visuals, but the most striking is without a doubt the rotating hallway scene. With gravity fluctuating around him, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Arthur is faced with fighting an enemy as the floor and walls begin to literally shift underneath. It's the kind of shot you really struggle to wrap your head around - when you first see it, it's almost impossible to comprehend.

Dizzying and thrilling, this scene sticks out as one of Nolan's best - especially when you consider the lengths they went to get the shot. Seriously, look it up - it's amazing. 



Birdman (2015) - Riggan Takes Flight


For most of its runtime, Alejandro Inarritu's Birdman is fairly reserved - the camera slowly pans around the pokey interior of a dilapidated old theatre and most of what takes place is driven by the dialogue. And then, this scene. Both the character of Riggan and the film itself literally explode into complete mayhem - all whilst adhering to the 'one-shot' technique throughout. It's a stand-out sequence from a film that isn't short on memorable cinematic moments.



Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) - Quidditch


The first Harry Potter film is not short on iconic cinematic moments - the Hogwarts Express, the Sorting Hat, the Forbidden Forest. I chose this moment from the film's midpoint where Harry catches his first Golden Snitch and lives up to his father's legacy. It's a great moment with that shot that pans around as Harry holds the Snitch aloft to the whole crowd cheering and John Williams' rousing score in the background. 



The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum 


When directed to pinpoint Jackson's most cinematic moment from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, many would point towards Aragorn's stirring rally call at the Black Gate or Gandalf's arrival at the Battle of Helm's Deep.

But for me, the most stirring scene from the saga comes around the midpoint of Jackson's first Tolkien chapter, The Fellowship of the Ring - specifically, the stand-off between Gandalf the Grey and the Balrog of Morgoth atop the Bridge of Khazad-Dum and the thick dark void below. It's an instantly iconic moment as Ian McKellan's booming voice ("You shall not pass!") and firm stomp of the staff echo across the cavern, pushing back against the forces of darkness all set to Howard Shore's soaring score.

It's a scene that feels every bit as epic and striking as anything else in the saga, possibly more so because, at the time, the loss of Gandalf feels so devastating and impactful to the rest of the Fellowship.


Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) - Evil Ex #1


I love Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World to the end of the Earth so picking one singular moment was almost impossible. Scott facing off against Brandon Routh's vegan bassist is another favourite scene of mine, but I finally settled on his first encounter against the League of Evil Exes. 

Up until this point Wright has been having fun with the various video game motifs the film leans heavily on, but upon the arrival of Matthew Patel, he unleashes the full extent of his visual imagination and arcade nosiness. It's a brilliantly staged scene that zips back and forth with snappy dialogue and vivid colours and, believe it or not, a Bollywood dance number complete with demon hipster vampires for backing dancers. Seriously. Look it up. It's awesome. 



Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Golden Idol


What a way to introduce a character! Right from the get-go, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg set the tone of the Indiana Jones series with this thrilling sequence where Indy tries to make off with a priceless golden idol. It's all going so well and he's on a roll - until something much larger starts to roll his way.


So there we have it - a pretty decent list if you ask me! What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below! 

Also, a big thanks to Fisti for coming up with a this great premise for a blogthon! 

28 comments:

  1. Great list! Loved that scene in Fellowship of the Ring! I haven't seen the Indiana Jones movies in quite some time, should revisit those soon.

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    1. Thanks! Definitely do, they're a load of fun (well, the first three are anyway)

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  2. The same Inception scene will be on my list (if I ever finish writing the post ha). Great list!

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    1. Awesome! I look forward to seeing your list Tanner (hopefully!). Thanks for commenting :)

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  3. Oh, great list! It was all from cult movies and I loved it, especially Back to the Future one! I just did mine, too.

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    1. Thanks! Back to the Future is easily one of my favourite films of all time so its inclusion was a no-brainer :) I'll head on over and check your entry out now. Thanks for commenting :)

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  4. Love your choices! I'm still putting my list together but there's a Harry Potter and Birdman moment in mine...and not the same ones! :)
    - Allie

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    1. Thanks Allie :) Ooh, very cryptic. I look forward to reading your list soon!

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  5. I love these scenes! Especially the ones from Star Wars, Inception, Birdman, Indy, HP, LOTR and Scott Pilgrim. Excellent list

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    1. Thanks Brittani! That's pretty much the whole thing haha ;)

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  6. So, I saw Fellowship of the Ring for the first time last week, and during the Bridge scene I literally thought to myself "this BETTER BE on someone's list"...and it's here! So many great picks here, iconic but for the best possible reasons. Love the Star Wars moment and the Back to the Future moment (such memories!) especially, but they are all great. Thank you so much for playing along.

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    1. For the first time? Wow, how'd you miss out for that long? :) My pleasure mate, it was a lot of fun.

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    2. That genre isn't really my thing...and by the time I decided to give it a go, they were all released and the idea of sitting through 9 hours of it was overwhelming...but I finally buckled :-P

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    3. You'll be glad you did - fantasy isn't my favourite genre either (the lore can be so dense!) but LOTR opened up a lot of other exciting series' that I now love so I can't complain too much :)

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  7. Hallway brawl = as much yes as possible. Lots of other great scenes here, too. And you can definitely fill a top 100 with just Star Wars moments.

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    1. Now that's an idea...all I need is a spare week or so haha :)

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  8. Love that Birdman scene, it was simply breathtaking!

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  9. Perfectly great picks! It doesn't get better than some of these classics. I like your inclusion of Inception too; that's one of my favorites.

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    1. A lot of love for Inception in these comments! Thanks for commenting Katy :)

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  10. My enthusiasm over Singing in the Rain more than makes up for my dislike of The Avengers. I really enjoyed reading your list. I was especially happy that you chose a scene from my favourite Star Wars and LOTR movies.

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    1. :O Dislike for the Avengers? I didn't know there was such a thing ;) Thanks for commenting mate!

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  11. Great list. I haven't seen Star Wars OR LOTR but there's still more than enough here for me to appreciate.

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    1. Sit your ass down and watch Star Wars...like, right now! :) Thanks for commenting.

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    2. You've only got yourself to blame for missing out ;)

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  12. Awesome list! I'm kicking myself for not including anything from Singin' In The Rain, since it's my All-Time #1, but there are just SO MANY moments that I couldn't pick just one. I can't even pick one that's the most representative of the film because I can't step far enough away from it!

    That scene in Fellowship of the Ring is without a doubt the best scene of the entire trilogy. I still get chills every time McKellen opens his mouth in that scene, and I've seen it way too many times to count.

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    1. Likewise, that scene is one of many reasons why I always consider Fellowship to be the best in the series! Thanks for commenting Daniel! :)

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