7 Recent Big Budget Films That Would Have Been Improved By A Major Character Death
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7 Recent Big-Budget Films That Would Have Been Improved By A Major Character Death

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | April 22, 2013 | Comments ()

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Snow White--Snow White and the Huntsman (2012): Yes, yes, Snow White does eat it briefly in Rupert Sanders' problematic fairy tale update. When the trailers were first released, I think we were all hoping for some slick post-feminist retelling of Snow White wherein the raven haired princess saves her own damn self and the kingdom all whilst wearing the latest in Joan of Arc fashion mail. But in casting that human splinter of driftwood, Kristen Stewart, as Snow, the filmmakers made a huge mistake. But SWATH isn't a complete waste. No one chews scenery like a deranged Charlize Theron and Hemsworth was completely, perfectly mud-splatteringly great as the titular Huntsman. Alas, alack, they're bringing Snow back for the sequel. Wouldn't you have preferred 90 minutes of Buckskin Ken and Batsh*t Barbie going toe to toe?

Lauren--This Means War (2012): Everyone and their gay brother knows that Reese Witherspoon only served to grind the homoerotic tension between Pine and Hardy to a halt. Ditch the blonde, make them Super Gay Spies Who Loved Each Other and you've got something.
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Julie Powell--Julie & Julia (2009): It's a truth universally acknowledged that Nora Ephron's last project was half of a good film. That would be the half featuring a warm and effervescent performance from Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Stanley Tucci as her adoring husband Paul. I maintain, however, that Julie and Julia is at least three-quarters of a great movie and that if that insufferable, self-pitying harpie, Julie Powell, had died tragically of lobster pinches or steam burns or something, we all would have enjoyed watching her darling husband Eric Powell tearfully, manfully finish her cooking project.
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Because ladies? Gay dudes? Bi-curious peeps? Ain't nothing wrong with a little more Messina in our lives.

Clu 2--Tron: Legacy (2010): I know that having any affection for this glossy sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic puts me squarely in the minority. And, trust me, I usually don't make this argument. But man alive was Tron: Legacy pretty. I cannot, however, bring myself to rewatch it. And no, not because of the rehashed Zen platitudes that burbled forth from Kevin "The Dude" Flynn. It's because of this guy, right here. The Mayor of Uncanny Valley himself, Clu 2. He doesn't look so bad in stills, but was absolutely irritating in action.

What's Tron: Legacy without a villain, you ask? Oh please, just upgrade Michael Sheen from Androgynous Henchman to full-blown Electronica Overlord and you're set.

Jane--27 Dresses (2008): Maybe you don't think there was enough good material in 27 Dresses to make it worth saving. Well you'd be wrong. Marsden churned out a one-man charisma supernova in this fluffy little rom-com. Now imagine, if you will, that Katherine Heigl's wet blanket of a character (tragically) fell off the bar to her death while belting out the wrong lyrics to "Benny And The Jets" and Marsden found comfort with one of the worthier supporting ladies. Me? I'd take Judy Greer or Krysten Ritter over Heigl any day.

Javert--Les Miserables (2012): Put down your pitchforks, theater geeks. I know we can't really have Les Miserables without an Inspector Javert. But isn't there an Obsessive Constable who could have risen up to take his place? Maybe after Javert tunelessly bleated out his first rooftop ditty and lost his footing?

Julia--Oblivion (2013): SOME SPOILER-ESQUE DISCUSSION OF OBLIVION. Dustin already handily covered the limp biscuit chemistry between Tom Cruise and his much younger co-star, erstwhile Bond girl Olga Kurylenko. Though I disagree with his assessment of the other leggy side of the Love Triangle. I thought Andrea Riseborough was aces. But back to The Kurylenko Conundrum. I don't know that the plot would have suffered if her character, who acts as a key to unlocking Jack Harper's emooootions, had bitten it early on. We certainly would have been spared some wet noodle hand-holding and, quite possibly, her death would have lent some actual f*cking emotional stakes to the movie. Maybe.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • bespired

    i like tron. disney should just have released it as a (pixar) animation movie. only trouble with amercans is they forgot their smiles are fake, the director captured that a bit too accurate.

  • Liz

    Les Miserables: haha what? Javert DID die! Did you even watch the whole movie? XD

  • Blind Jasper

    Correct me if I'm wrong but didnt several major characters die in Tron Legacy? Kevin Flynn, Clu2 and Tron all died. And for the record I loved it. Thought it was a nice 25 years later movie. And Clu2 did look very digital when he moved but its a computer world. Suspend your disbelief.

  • eddie eats belle in twilight. before she moves to that boring little town. just, how long was that movie? let's say ninety minutes. make it ninety minutes of belle squirming and dying in agony as eddie very graphically and disgustingly gores and devours her piece by piece like you'd imagine a velociraptor going to work.

  • tapzepol

    Um...this really is less about character deaths and more about how you wish certain characters weren't in certain movies. Lame.

  • JAJenks

    But...Russell Crowe DID die in Les Miserables...

  • Sorry, but I cant get the image and sound of Russel Crow singing out of my head... what is this post about??

  • Nathan Paul Kennedy

    Can we expand the category slightly and suggest the whole world would have been better off if Stephanie Meyer had bought it at an early age? Or been unable to type at the very least?

  • Jae

    ...Aaaand now we've come to wish death on real, actually living women. Because firdging fictional ones ain't cutting it anymore!

  • Devin McMusters

    Is there any Katherine Heigl movie that wouldn't be better if her character died in the opening credits?

  • duckandcover

    Javert—Les Miserables (2012): Put down your pitchforks, theater geeks. I know we can’t really have Les Miserables without an Inspector Javert. But isn’t there an Obsessive Constable who could have risen up to take his place? Maybe after Javert tunelessly bleated out his first rooftop ditty and lost his footing?

    You're kidding me, right.

  • Mrs. Beasley

    This Means War was idiotic. Who would choose the bland Ken doll over delicious Tom Hardy with his delicious accent? I don't believe it. You want me to suspend disbelief and follow along with your ridiculous plot lines Hollywood? Fine, fair enough. The idea that spy Tom Hardy gets rejected? Now you're just being stupid.

  • Lee

    I don't get this either. The non-Tom Hardy guy is weird looking.

  • Mrs. Beasley

    Exactly. He has a completely boring face, and even if he was sexier, he's still no Tom Hardy.

  • saedo

    I've always thought John Connor should've died in Terminator Salvation. Most of the world only know him as the voice on the radio. Marcus can take over using Terminator voice changing. Maybe use the tapes as reference, and be the one that sends Reese back in time.

  • koko temur

    Lets replace all the killed characters with Messina and call it a day?

  • ironjohn

    did you mean Super Gay Spies or Gay Super Spies?
    or does it matter?

  • " Oh please, just upgrade Michael Sheen from Androgynous Henchman to full-blown Electronica Overlord and you’re set. "

    I'm pretty sure that this is what I thought the plot was going to be, judging from the trailers.

  • dopedprinceses

    haha i love this.. but javer did die... suside... akward

  • Jae

    So, the point is that a woman dying makes (almost) everything better. Gotcha.

  • e jerry powell

    Hemsworth's junk is not wandering free in that photo. Of course, with Theron wearing a just-barely lined dress, it would mean that his sundial would be reading twelve o'clock.

    "...who acts as a key to unlocking Jack Harper’s emooootions..."
    All two of them!

    Heigl's characters should always die in all of her movies. Her characters should never survive past the first ten minutes of any of her films, in fact.

  • Mrs. Beasley

    You beat me to it about Heigl. She should only be cast in movies so we can watch her die in new and interesting ways each movie.

  • cgthegeek

    Andrea Riseborough's pupils were so OBVIOUSLY LARGE I was sure she was an android. Turns out I was half right.


  • cruzzercruz

    I still like Tron: Legacy. I'm not sure what everyone was expecting, since the original is no gem, but it's a a very pretty and lovely sounding movie with a mediocre plot that's about as good as any generic summer blockbuster or better.

  • Arran

    I like James Marsden just fine, but seeing him and the words "charisma supernova" in the same sentence feels off.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Man, that Messina is lookin' all be-haired Connery Bond up there.

  • Robert

    I stand by my initial review. Russel Crowe didn't sound any worse than Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, or that shriek singing harpie Anne Hathaway in Les Mis. This claim developed not based on his actual performance but on the ingrained knowledge from the even more inept Phantom of the Opera film. Crowe, as a rock singer, was closer to Javert as it's actually written in the rock theater score than the majority of the never performed the role onstage cast. A rock show, which Les Mis is, needs edge in the brooding rock ballads. It's not Crowe's fault that everyone else thought they were singing Gilbert and Sullivan orchestrated to vanilla paste status. Listen to the Les Mis OCR and tell me the men in the show are supposed to sound pretty in Javert's scenes. They're growling at each other and howling to the rafters.

  • Whoa.. I will concede that Crowe didn't sound as horrible as people like to say he did (gotta love bandwagons; one critic says it so let's agree and sound pompous, pretentious, and pseudo-intellectual). However, to suggest that his singing was anywhere remotely on par with Seyfried or Hathaway is downright ignorant. He sounded ok, but clearly the greatest voices in this movie were Jackman, Hathaway, Seyfried, and Samantha Barks. Furthermore, where do you get this silly notion that this is a rock show. It's not Rent or Rock of Ages. The music from the broadway show is orchestral and classical.

  • duckandcover

    I agree with most of what you said, but you're a bit off in your assessment of what Les Mis actually is. It's not a "rock show." Rock of Ages is a "rock show," We Will Rock You is a "rock show." Les Mis isn't either of those things.

    Most people have grown up with the 10th and 25th Anniversary editions, which were Philip Quast and Norm Lewis as Javert, respectively. Neither growled or, in Crowe's case, crooned. They sang like there was no tomorrow, matching their Valjeans (Colm Wilkinson and Alfie Boe, respective) note for note. Crowe is an adept singer, but he was pretty wrong for Javert's part. They needed someone who matched Jackman's and, in turn, Valjean's passion for life, living, and everything in between. Crowe simply wasn't the man for the job, but it shouldn't take away from the talent he does have.

  • chanohack

    Help me, how does Phantom of the Opera tie in?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm going to disagree with you strictly on the basis that Les Mis is not a rock show. I'd maybe give you pop musical, but even that is stretching it. They are not going for rock or pop sound in most of the singing, not in London, not in NYC original casts. (still haven't seen the movie. but can pretty much quote the musical front to back from memory).

  • carrie

    i cry every time on 27 DRESS when she tries the dresses in front of him

  • When I saw the article title and the header picture, my first thought was 'This is just going to be a list of Kristen Stewart movies, isn't it?'

  • ^^^THIS^^^

  • Nick Rowley

    Were you having trouble coming up with entries for this, seeing how at least one of them (I don't know most of them I couldn't be bothered to watch then) is really "films that could have been improved by having a major character die earlier" I mean the Australian French Inspector definitely karks it.

  • BWeaves

    What is wrong with Olga's lips? Gah, I hate white women with plumped up fat lips. They look STOOPID.

  • Mrs. Beasley

    White women in particular? Are thin lips a specific trait to white women? Overly filled, unnaturally plump lips look terrible on any women of any race.

  • Nicholas

    Cause the sistas and the chicas are queuing up for a good ole collagen-fest on regular bases.

  • Mrs. Beasley

    Right, I forgot every Hispanic and black woman in the world has full lips. Every single one. Except for the fact that my husband is Mexican, and most of my in laws don't. I worked with this Vietnamese chick once that had her lips done. Like two giant sausages. So no, it isn't only some white women that have thin lips.

  • cruzzercruz

    Yeah, I have no idea what the hell you're talking about. I'll take a full lipped, beautiful woman like Olga any day over the thin lipped averageness of someone like Kristen Stewart.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I'm pretty sure she's natural, that's just strange lighting. Have you seen her in Magic City? God, she's gorgeous.

  • Archie Leach

    Wait. What? kristy stewart was in Huntsman?

  • Pants-are-a-must

    If Lauren was killed in This Means War, considering the script and director, all we would've got was an unsatisfying gay spy movie straight from the 90s.

    Insert an interesting villain, a-la Bardem in Skyfall, and then we really would've had something to watch.

  • BendinIntheWind
  • DeltaJuliet

    Ummm....thank you!

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    So much yes to this list! Especially that Snow White garbage. While the other films might have been quasi-bad that one was the most offensive because it absolutely bored me. Just name all the dwarves Sleepy - it's that damn tedious. I'd rather watch all of Charlize's scenes intercut with Aeon flux rather than watch any of the film that focuses on Lady Scowls-a-lot.

  • I will never understand what the hell they were thinking to cast KStew as Snow White. In what universe will she ever be more beautiful and charismatic than Charlize Theron? CT could be 90 and toothless and she would still have 10x more "it" than KStew.

  • Kristin James

    befór℮ I saw th℮ dŕafţ which had said $9775, I didn'ţ b℮li℮v℮ ţhaţ my móţh℮ŕ in law wóz ţŕul℮y ℮ŕning món℮y paŕţ ţim℮ aţ th℮iŕ lapţóp.. ţh℮ŕ℮ n℮ighbóŕ has b℮℮n dóing ţhis 4 ónly abóuţ a y℮aŕ and ŕ℮s℮nţly ŕ℮paid ţh℮ d℮bţs ón ţh℮iŕ mini mansión and puŕchas℮d a ţóp óf ţh℮ ŕang℮ Fiaţ Mulţipla. gó ţó, . http://www.GoogleProjectsPosit...

  • * "Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul."


    Side-note: not even sure the $ sign is a recognised component of black speech. Whether Sauron's legion settled on a particular currency is contested by most Tolkien experts; popular wisdom states they probably just killed their fellow statesmen and took their shit. I digress.

    I suggest brushing up linguistically before flaunting your skills in public. Nobody likes a cocky upstart.

  • Lee

    Fuck, I just snorted coconut juice all over my computer. Too funny!

  • carrie

    KStew is young?

  • DeistBrawler

    Some other actresses born in the same year as Kristen Stewart, or close to it.
    Emma Watson
    Emma Roberts
    Evanna Lynch
    Indiana Evans
    Malese Jow
    Jordan Hinson

    There are more, and Snow White and the Huntsman would have been a perfect vehicle for an unknown, or relative unknown, actress. What with Theron and Hemsworth already billed.

  • $27019454

    Can we make Bella die in the Twilight shitfactory movies?

    Nah. They STILL would have sucked.

    O hilarity! You are my bitch!

  • Maybe not. Not if Edward hadn't jumped into save her from getting hit by that truck or SUV or whatever it was in the first book. With a bit of editing, and some gruesome details thrown in at the end, that shit could've been absolutely, shimmeringly... half-readable. Or if she'd died at the end of that first book and we'd switched to following the vampire trio that led to her demise instead of the Cullens. Or if Edward had attacked and brutally murdered her during their first biology class awkward-off. God, that chapter/scene would've been 1000x better if, after lulling us into a vacant malaise, Edward had just up and ripped Bella's throat out, mid-pointless-eye-related narration.

    (In all of these cases it is then assumed that at the point of Bella's demise, someone leaps in to steal the manuscript from Meyer and then continues the story from there.)

    Truthfully, my entire way through that series, I kept myself busy identifying prime spots for Bella to bite it. IT WAS A LONG AIRPORT DELAY, OKAY?

  • I haven't read the rest of the books, but I've always thought they would have been more interesting if Edward hadn't managed to save Bella at the end of the first book. If she had been turned into a vampire then, and we had gotten to see some kind of fallout from there? There's an interesting story to be mined.

    Especially if Bella's vampire superpower had been developing a personality.

  • I agree wholeheartedly. When she finally did get turned, I thought that was the best part of the series - getting the perspective of a newborn vamp (granted, that's not saying much, but still). Of course, that lasts for like, one chapter, in the last book, in between Edward chewing the mutant fetus free from Bella's womb and some anti-climatic ending shit. It wasn't so much that she gained personality, as that she had something to say for once that I gave any fucks about, and that made all the difference.

  • PDamian

    She did die. She got better. Unfortunately.

  • Maguita NYC

    This Means War - a Hardy-Pine direction. Watching those two go at it between fights à la Mr. & Mrs. Smith (in the kitchen no less) would totally cause some serious afterglow.

  • Lee


  • Guest

    Bruce Wayne - Dark Knight Rises
    Loki - Avengers
    Gwen Stacy - Amazing Spiderman
    Peeta Mellark - Hunger Games (Really this is a toss up with Katniss.)
    Aaron Cross - Bourne Legacy (or at least Dr. Marta Shearing.)

  • SWATH would have just plain been better sans KStew.

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