Arguably, great movies are the ones that are holistically perfect. All of the cogs set in place by the director and producers work in accordance with one another and the end result is flawless. However, when there is one cog that is turning a little slower than the rest, in this instance, one of the characters isn’t as good as the others, should the film be punished. I am sure that in the original Star Wars trilogy, there is at least one character that you would rather wasn’t there. Below, I look at three great films that just have one character muddying up the works for them. Comment if you think they ruin the film or not.
3 – RACHAEL – 50/50
Not long ago, I wrote an article about how amazing the film 50/50 is. I am not taking it back, but at the same time, I felt kind of bad I didn’t manage to fit in my one problem with the film. I tried and it just looked out of place. Therefore, I am making up for lost time and telling you that there was one actor who let the side down and that was Bryce Dallas Howard.
It wasn’t her fault, in all honesty. The script just dropped her character, as soon as the story got set in motion. She plays Rachael, the girl who ends up being unable to cope with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cancer and cheats on him. She is made out to be a bitch and the film pushes on past her. It just feels weird that she went from loving him and then, without any explanation, she is sleeping with someone else. I understand that explaining her reasoning would have slowed the film down, but I just found the jump from caring to bitch too weird. I reckon there is a deleted scene out there somewhere that explains all. At the very least, the writer should have made her character look like an untrustworthy character from the start. That way, when she cheats, the audience would not need much reasoning; she was just not that nice a character.
On the whole, I don’t think it ruins the film too much. It is still a five star movie. Her cheating was just meant to be another knock for our out-of-luck character and shouldn’t really deserve much thinking about. It is just something weird you notice on a second watch.
2 – CYCLOPS – THE X-MEN TRILOGY
I love all the X-Men films in the trilogy (I am planning on discussing X-Men Origins: Wolverine very soon). Of course, Hugh Jackman steals the show, as the incredible Wolverine, but the good thing about the films is the fact that there are so many other good characters to root for. You have Storm, who can whip up the weather to strike down her enemies. There is Colossus, who was always a favourite from the comic books. And I think everyone loves Nightcrawler, especially after the opening scene of the second movie. Then why does Cyclops let the team down.
Sure, in the first, he is always getting stuck into the action, but when you stop and think about it, he does very little. Even the actor, James Marsden, complained his ‘stunts’ were little more than pushing a button by his temple. Also, his relationship with Jean Grey was compromised by Wolverine, who she is interested in the second she meets. Only, she was first checking him out when he was unconscious on an operating table, before they had even been introduced. So really she didn’t just cheat on Cyclops with Wolverine, but the first unconscious man she saw. It is just something to consider.
In the second film, his character cannot really be blamed for spoiling the film. He spent the whole thing captured and then brainwashed, unable to hold the team back. It’s just kind of a shame that his character was wasted. And speaking of waste, he is dead within the first ten minutes of the third film. Again, the films survive, as Hugh Jackman shoulders all of the lead male role. It’s more of a sad reminder that not every superhero was done justice in the transition between comic and film.
1 – LAMBERT, ALIENS
Regular readers would know how much I love the Alien franchise. It is both the best horror and best Sci-Fi, in my opinion. Usually, each movie introduces great characters: strong female role models, like Ripley and Elizabeth Shaw, or cool action heroes, like Hicks and Call. However, when the writers need some back-up characters that are literally just there to be killed off by the Alien, they get lazy. And that is how poorly-conceived characters, like Lambert, are brought into the plot.
First off, she is a fairly blank character, usually milling around behind the rest of the cast. At the same time, though, some of the forgettable characters at the start eventually grew into one of the better characters. Hicks wasn’t really any different from the rest of the marines, before most of the cast were killed off. However, when the action starts heating up, Lambert turns into little more than a crying girl in the corner, screaming her head off and really disrupting the tension.
Usually, I would put this under ‘sexism’, but Alien is not a sexist movie. Sigourney Reaver got the first female lead in an action movie ever with the role of Ripley, making this film very forward-thinking when it comes to female figures in cinema. I think Ridley Scott just wanted to show how terrified the crew were and there isn’t much better way to do that than have a shrieking woman onboard the ship. Or maybe she was just there to contrast Ripley, showing that not every woman just falls to pieces when their life is threatened. Whatever the reason for Lambert’s character being the way she is, I was just glad when she was finally killed off by the Alien. Maybe that was Ridley’s idea the whole time.