Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Favourite Film Characters

I'm a little late to this party of celebrating Favourite Film Characters, but it's such a great topic I couldn't resist playing along. I had a lot of fun coming up with these lists and met with some interesting challenges along the way, such as differentiating characters from performances. One of the most interesting realizations was that often I would pick a man and a woman from the same film, but only once was it a couple and even then they were rarely seen on screen together.

Thank you Trista for tagging me, Film Squish for starting the madness, and also to Bob and Piper whose lists both reminded me to get this out in the world! Here we go.

The Men
Bucking with tradition, I'm gonna let the men go first here. The one challenge I found was needing to resist picking anything and everything from my favourite actors, just because I love them. I had to think long and hard about which characters shone through and why. There certainly were surprizes along the way, in particular to repeating characteristics.

From: Night Watch / Nochnoi Dozor & Day Watch / Dnevnoy Dozor
Played By: Vladimir Menshov

Quote: "Every Night Watch officers must be proficient in combat. I don't need my people dying or killing anyone else"

The patriarch of the Night Watch, a organization of psychics, seers, shapeshifters and the like who have chosen the way of the light and to watch those who have chosen the dark. Powerful, wise, seasoned and can heal in a pinch. Can we say, awesome? Yes we can.

From: The Abyss
Played by Ed Harris

Quote: “When it comes to the safety of these people, there's me and then there's God, understand?”

As the head of an underwater oil rig, Bud is one tough cookie. He's got a job to do and a team that will get it done, but a character that can often be portrayed as a shouting, non-caring, all-for-the-money guy we instead get a strong leader and a loyal friend who is just as happy working along side his crew as he is taking charge. For those that know anything of the tarot, I remember my sister Jamie once describing Bud as the King of Cups which is absolutely perfect. Strong, yet caring - not something that is we see successfully done in film. Thankfully Ed Harris brought this to life beautifully.

From: Gladiator
Played by Russell Crowe

Quote “I've seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark, Rome is the light.”

Not only is Maximus the definition of Alpha, what is more than that is he maintains his dignity through exceptional circumstances. Plus, he can kick ass.

From: The Professional / Léon
Played by Jean Reno

Quote: “No discussion.”
Yes, that is an actual quote.

Ah, Léon. Who knew a professional killer could be so kind? And so naive? A character as complex as he is simple, you have to admire his skill, adept intuition and how the blinders are kept completely on.

Scott Hastings
From: Strictly Ballroom
Played by Paul Mercurio

Quote: “I'm just asking you what you think of the steps.”

So, Scott isn't really the nicest of the bunch - but he can dance up a storm and learn more than just new steps. As an outsider of insiders, you just have to cheer for him.

From: Mirageman
Played by Marko Zaror

Quote – ah, Mirageman doesn’t say much

Vigilante with a heart of gold, Mirageman fights evil in a unique and not-always-adept take at crime fighting.

From: King Arthur
Played by Ray Winstone

Quote “Of course I'm coming! Can't let you go on your own, you're gonna get killed.”

Tough call here, I could have just as easily picked Tristan (played by Mads Mikkelsen) or Dagonet (played by Ray Stevenson), or any of the cast of the 2004 King Arthur. But there is something about Bors that rocks. He can be rude and rash but he always speaks his mind and gets the job done.

John Lee
From: The Replacement Killers
Played by Chow Yun Fat

Quote: “You're safer with me”

I didn't think I would have any hit men on my list, let alone two of them. Skilled, deadpan, cold but with a conscience. Gets me every time.

The Big Kahuna
From: Gidget
Played by: Cliff Robertson

Quote: "Don't you ever give up?"

Kahuna is that guy that everyone looks up to. He's relaxed and accepting, which always gives a calming and cool atmosphere.

From: The Matrix
Played by: Laurence Fishburne

Quote: “What was said was for you, and you alone”

Morpheus represents complete and utter devotion to the quest. He believes, and the power of belief is an amazing thing.

From: Constantine
Played by Tilda Swinton

Quote: “You chose a higher path. Look how well you're doing!”

Ah, Gabriel. Truthteller or naysayer? Someone you aren't ever sure if you really want them around but they always have something important to say, but will you listen to them? Perhaps, or perhaps not.

From: Harry Potter films
Played by Robbie Coltrane

Quote: “I shouldn't have said that. No more questions, don't ask anymore questions!”

How can you not love Hagrid? Bumbling, well-intentioned and sweet as all get out even if he isn't the best wizard or even qualifies as a wizard. He wears his heart on his sleeve, knows how to take care of any creature and doesn't judge anyone (or thing) on how they look. Gotta love him.

The Women
The women fall into completely different categories than the men in terms of favourites. There are the those that would be great to be and those that would be fantastic to be around. There are also a few that are a little volitile but one thing is for certain, they are all women you'd want to have on your side.

One challenge here was that there are more great female characters I considered included, like Ripley from Aliens or Sarah Connor from Terminator but I decided against it as they are characters that went through extreme circumstances and therefore in a different life than the one intended for them. Not wanting to have this be an influence, I decided to go with characters that chose their path, as opposed to make the most of what they ended up with.

From: Some Kind of Wonderful
Played by: Mary Stuart Masterson

Quote: “Ray, this is 1987. Did you know a girl can be whatever she wants to be?”
and “You want shallow, call Amanda Jones.”

Watts is likely the first female character I wanted to be. A tomboy, a drummer, a tough chick all around. I just never understood what the heck she saw in that Keith dude.

From: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Played by: Miranda Otto

Quote: “The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.”

I love the bravery of Eowyn, and how she doesn't give in to fear. Love her character, in the films and the books as well.

From: Excalibur
Played by Helen Mirren

Quote: “A nal nath rath, Uth as dey ta, Doth yen pen dray”

Morgana is power hungry, mischevious and shify. She's definitely a troublemaker but you have to admire her drive, craftiness and skill.

From: Pitch Black
Played by: Radha Mitchell

Quote: “I’m not your captain”

Fry certainly isn't flawless, but that is what makes her so fantastic. Vocal, brave and sometimes rash she's a real 'feel the fear and do it anyway' kinda character.

Mrs. Weasley
From: Harry Potter films
Played by: Julie Walters

Quote: “How about a spot of breakfast?”

If I had to choose any house to live in out of all the fictional worlds it would be the Weasleys. Sure it's no mansion with too many people and craziness but there is always an underlying abundance hidden there and at the centre of it is Mrs. Weasley keeping it all together. Besides, who else would make you a monogrammed sweater Christmas?

Tank Girl
From: Tank Girl
Played by: Lori Petty

Quotes: “Well, that’s a bore!” “It’s been swell but the swellings gone down” “Look at the sheer size of it” “I won”

Tank Girl is possibly the coolest character in the world. She dives in, never gives up and has a good time pretty much anywhere. Plus... great clothes.

From: The Matrix
Played by: Carrie-Anne Moss

Quote: “Are there any agents? Goddammit”

Trinity is another one of the characters that is cooler than cool. A multifaceted fighter that kicks butt, online and off. Disclaimer on this one though, I'd have to limit it only the first of the Matrix films.

From: Aliens
Played by: Jenette Goldstein

Quote: “Look, man. I only need to know one thing: where they are.”

The definition of the tough chick, Vasquez kicks a whole lotta butt. Strong, loyal and with a singular vision. I find her character very inspirational, the very definition of 'you can be anything you want to be'.

From: Underworld
Played by: Kate Beckinsale

Quote: "For those like me, the death dealers, they signal the end of an era. Like weapons of the previous century we too had become obsolete. Pity, because I live for it."

Fearless. Woman. Warrior. Vampire. Selene rocks.

From: Gidget
Played by: Sandra Dee

Quote: “All I want to do is surf. That's all."

The enthusiasm and openness of Gidget make her irresistable. She really does go headstrong into getting what she wants and she always believes she'll get it. Imagine that!

From: Night Watch / Nochnoi Dozor & Day Watch / Dnevnoy Dozor
Played by: Galina Tyunina

Quote: "Nice vampire you've got there"

Wise, assured and unusual, Olga is one powerful woman. She has a powerful calmness and confidence that I don't find we often see in female characters, at least not often enough.

From: Ginger Snaps
Played by: Emily Perkins

Quote: "United against life as we know it.”

The bond of sisterhood between Emily and Ginger in Ginger Snaps is so strong. Even though the film is a crazy horror film, it really captures how far sisters will to go help each other.

Abigail Whistler
From: Blade: Trinity
Played by Jessica Biel

Quote: "I brought you toys"

What I love about Abigail character in Blade: Trinity is that her physical prowness and strength is never questioned. Never.

Serafina Pekkala
From: The Golden Compass
Played by: Eva Green

Quote: "There are many universes and many Earths parallel to each other. Worlds like yours, where people's souls live inside their bodies, and worlds like mine, where they walk beside us, as animal spirits we call daemons."

I cried a little in The Golden Compass when Serafina Pekkala came on the screen. Oh, what I would give to have been a kid growing up with films with characters like her, powerful, wise, kind and she's a witch. I don't think it gets better than that. Beautiful.

So those are my selections for favourite characters. Continuing with bucking tradition of tagging anyone, I've decided to share some lists of others I've found along with way: Do You Have a Flag?, Film Crack, Cinema Fist and Ferdy on Film, etc. There are a couple fellow rule breakers as well: The Dancing Image and Film of the Year. Please feel free to play along!


PIPER said...

That's one hell of a list.

There really is something to Morpheus and his complete and utter belief. I admire that. To give yourself completely to something.

And I love Helen Mirren in everything, but especially Excalibur. That's a great film that's always overlooked. Towards the end, you can see in her character that she has gone to depths she never thought she would and has realized that she's in a lot of trouble.

Jamie Ridler said...

I absolutely loved this list! In fact, I didn't want it to end so that I could keep hanging out with you and these amazing characters. I just loved that you included a quote for each of them. I could literally hear their voices in my head and be transported directly into the movie.

Thanks for that fantastic journey. I loved it!

Danette said...

YOU,are mind blowing, Shannon.

What an incredible, thorough, supremely organized fascinating list.

Watts...I'll never stop loving her.

"Eating and driving, that's about as handy as skiing and doing your taxes."

p.s. Thanks for the music tips! Soundtracks are awesome. Garden State is one of my favourites.

Zacery Nova said...

You are a goddess for choosing Tank Girl. Lori Petty is excellent in that role.

- Zac

tvlover1 said...

Hi Movie Moxie! I've read a few of your posts and have been impressed with the scope of your cinematic knowledge! Great list here - it really made me think!

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