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Film

The top 10 perfect scenes in average movies

@Russellisation

Of the thousands and thousands of films throughout cinema history, there’s only what seems like a couple of hundred that are properly celebrated in pop culture, particularly with modern internet criticism branding a particular movie unequivocally good or bad. 

Though, it’s easy to forget that behind every commercial and critical flop is almost always a team of highly creative individuals made up of set designers, costume makers, stunt coordinators and writers. Such creatives are no fools, and often create several scenes of brilliance within a middling cinematic release, making for a strange moment of unbridled joy amidst a dull viewing experience. 

Often occurring in high budget blockbusters with more money than sense, the following list of ten films includes the likes of Peter Jackson, Luc Besson, Darren Aronofsky and George Lucas and highlights thrilling moments in otherwise average films.

10 perfect scenes in average movies:

10. Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (Luc Besson, 2017) – Introduction

Showing off a similar vibe to James Gunn’s commercial Marvel success Guardians of the Galaxy, the opening scene of Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets by Luc Besson is infused with funky visuals and a frenetic fun factor. Using the David Bowie classic ‘Space Oddity’, Besson perfectly captures the tone of the iconic French comics on which the film is based. 

Showing an ever-growing space station dangling in the earth’s atmosphere as increasingly more bizarre races of aliens climb onboard, this is a thrilling opening to an underwhelming sci-fi.

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson, 2010) – Riddles in the Dark

The Hobbit trilogy was a notorious flop when it was released in the 2010s, particularly as the series paled in comparison to the utter superiority of the Lord of the Rings films that remain some of the best fantasy films of all time. One of the few shining moments in the 2010 film was the appearance of Gollum, played by Andy Serkis, who engages in a game of riddles with Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins.

Taking a moment of quiet amidst the bombastic film, Peter Jackson allocated the greatness of his original trilogy, if only for a moment, in this eerie, yet utterly compelling sequence. 

8. Prometheus (Ridley Scott, 2012) – Pregnancy scene

Despite having tried to make the Alien series relevant again, Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox just can’t seem to get it right, with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant both disappointing critically and commercially. By being based on such strong source material, however, it’s impossible that Scott wouldn’t get at least one thing right, with the pregnancy scene in Prometheus involving Noomi Rapace standing out as by far the strongest scene. 

Viscerally intense, Rapace works together with the terrific soundtrack, visual effects and set design to deliver a truly terrifying sequence that plays on the fears of body horror and cosmic dread. 

7. Troy (Wolfgang Petersen, 2004) – Achilles vs Hector

Loosely based on Homer’s Iliad, Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy tells the story of the assault on Troy by Greek forces, focusing specifically on the characters of Achilles (Brad Pitt) and Hector (Eric Bana). This concludes in an epic showdown between the two characters that is perfectly captured by Wolfgang Petersen, utilising few flashy effects in showing the brutality of the two men’s fight. 

Though not an entirely bad cinematic experience, this climactic moment is the standout moment of the film, being one of the best-choreographed fight scenes in all of popular cinema.

6. Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014) – Creation scene 

Endlessly subversive, the films of Darren Aronofsky are not used to sticking to the rules, with his 2014 film, Noah, starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins being no different. Telling his children about the creation of life on earth according to the bible, Crowe’s titular character narrates a beautiful, part-animated sequence that shows us every step of God’s process. 

Realised in stuttering stop-motion, the final appearance of the scene is a joy to behold, utilising some fascinating cinematic techniques to bring the story to life. 

5. Ted 2 (Seth MacFarlane, 2015) – Liam Neeson scene

Is the humour of Seth MacFarlane outdated? There’s certainly a debate to be had about this question, with his dismal sequel to 2012s Ted showing that maybe the Family Guy creator has lost his touch. However, whether it’s the genius of McFarlane or the performance of Liam Neeson, there is one particular scene that is gut-bustingly hilarious amid a rib-tickling middling comedy.

Approaching the anthropomorphic teddy bear working at a supermarket, Neeson asks whether he’s allowed to purchase the Trix cereal despite him ‘not being a child’, all delivered with deadpan sincerity. It’s a comedy spectacle to behold.

4. King Kong (Peter Jackson, 2005) – Insect pit

Director Peter Jackson is no stranger to horror, with the first three films of his career, Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles and Braindead each dabbling in the terror of the beloved genre. Using his proficiency for horror, Jackson injected his 2005 remake of King Kong with a terrifying moment of its own as the explorers of Skull Island come across a batch of carnivorous giant insects.

Those who suffer from entomophobia look away now, as this one particular scene is a gruesome one, utilising almost no soundtrack at all as it shows the brutal slaughter of several men at the hands of violent fantastical beasts. 

3. The Matrix Reloaded (Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, 2003) – Highway chase

Unless you’re a die-hard fan of The Matrix franchise, many will recognise that there’s only one film in the four-film series worth watching, and it’s not The Matrix Reloaded. The second-best film in a middling collection of movies, the sequel to the original film does contain one of the franchise’s finest action moments, depicting a thrilling car chase that takes place on a busy American highway. 

Creating a giant set to achieve this sequence, the Wachowski sisters committed themselves to the filmmaking craft, showing a frenetic battle between Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and mysterious white-clad ‘Twins’.

2. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (George Lucas, 1999)

Popularly known as the biggest cinematic disappointment of all time, George Lucas’ follow up to his original Star Wars trilogy doubled down on merchandising and missed the memo on a compelling narrative structure. Once you’ve gotten past hours of politics and trade disputes, however, science fiction fans are treated to one of the series’ greatest single scenes as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn face off against the evil Darth Maul. 

With an iconic score from John Williams fuelling the fight sequence, George Lucas puts together one of the most influential action scenes of modern cinema history, charged with anger and emotional pain.

1. 28 Weeks Later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2007) – Introduction

Whilst not an entirely average film, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s follow-up to 28 Days Later certainly pales in comparison to its well-constructed predecessor, with the new film complicating itself with needless sub-plots only to follow a rather dull narrative. With that being said, there’s no denying that the introduction to 28 Weeks Later is one of the greatest horror moments of all time. 

At first quiet and serene, the secluded barn that the main characters are hiding within is suddenly bombarded by a wave of relentless zombies, with each individual getting picked off one by one in a visceral scene of pure terror. Escaping the house and making for the boat on the river, the film’s protagonist, Don (Robert Carlyle) is chased by hundreds of zombies as the anxiety-inducing sound of ‘In the House, In a Heartbeat’ plays in the background. It’s an iconic movie moment in a disappointing sequel.