We’ve all seen our fair share of bad movies and we’ve all seen a ton of flawed films, but what about the ones in between? The ones where it’s all bad throughout but then for one glorious scene it all comes together. Here is my list of those kind of movie scenes. First, a few ground rules for myself. This isn’t for half of a good movie ruined by the other half (ex “Dreamcatcher”) or movies that constantly show you examples of how it could have been better (ex “Alien 3”). It has to be a substantial scene, not just a moment (ex Depp hypnotizing Dracula himself Christopher Lee in “Dark Shadows”). Are we all on the same page? Good, let’s get started.
5.)“Robocop 3” (The Police Walk-Out)
God do I love the original “Robocop.” The sequels… not so much. In many ways “Robocop 2” is a more frustrating film because it almost seems like it could work. The premise is good and throughout the film we get scenes and moments that do work. But then these scenes are followed by a scene that doesn’t. “Robocop 3” at least stays at about the same level, mostly flawed from the get-go. OCP is finally moving forward with its plan to create Delta City over old Detroit. They do this by forcefully removing people out of their homes by a separate army task force called The Rehabs. But there is a resistance that Robocop joins and even becomes a fugitive for. Late in the film with the deadline approaching, the villain McDaggett calls upon the police force to help with a final siege. Sgt. Reed refuses and in defiance takes his badge off and leaves. It gets better as all the other officers one by one do the same.
Why this scene? In many ways this scene is what all the previous Robocop films had been building up to. At the beginning of “Robocop” one of the first things we hear is that the company OCP has taken control of running the police department. I don’t think I need to explain why this is probably a bad idea in real life. That combined with the fact that the world of “Robocop” is one that is slowly falling apart. Their most inspirational hero is someone who was brutally murdered and had his whole life taken away from him. He was made into a freak that can NEVER go back to the way he was. But “Robocop” strangely (very strangely) does have an inspirational quality to it. It certainly says a lot about the strength of the soul and what it can endure. I think the cops (the non-crooked ones anyways) recognize that. Earlier in the film they seem pretty apathetic to the Rehab situation. Although what Reed’s line, “I’m thinking that I have to go home and face them,” says to me is that he has been thinking about it. Perhaps this business of seeing Murphy, someone he (and most of the other cops we see in the trilogy) respects, taking this stand makes him think he can do so too. The “Robocop” movies are dark films, even their humor is dark but it does surround something uplifting and this scene for me is a perfect expression of that.
4.) “Oz the Great and Powerful” (Fixing The China-Girl)
I know a lot of people really enjoyed this movie but not me. I was honestly more forgiving of “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” than this. After watching this I put on “Return to Oz” to wash the taste out of my mouth. The only thing I can say I really enjoyed was the scene where the “wizard” finds the destroyed china land, all the citizens (who are living china dolls) are smashed to pieces (meaning dead). He finds a house with a scared china-girl with both of her legs broken off. He glues them back on while reciting a monologue about magic from earlier.
Why this scene? This scene actually builds upon an earlier scene. During the Kansas scenes (which creates a HUGE continuity problem with the original film) the wizard working at a circus is entertaining the audience, basking in the applause and then a couple brings in their wheelchair bound daughter. Being simple farmer folk they honestly believe that he is a real wizard and can make her walk again. The look of hope and utter belief in him that he can be their salvation is heartbreaking and even more so when he explains that he cannot. He sees the power and dangers of what he pretends to be. So later in this scene he gets a little bit of redemption by actually being able to fix the china-girl’s legs yet still be the “wizard” he makes himself out to be. It also helps that James Franco really sells it for these scenes. Throughout most of the movie it constantly took me out as James Franco does not seem like someone from the early 1900’s in how he talks, acts, or his general style of humor. Also the CGI on the china-girl herself is topnotch. The effects in the rest of the film did not look good to me but it looks like they put all their effort into making her look like a real china doll come to life and even her movements made her feel like the real thing. It and Danny Elfman’s subtle score for the scene just come together to make something that makes the rest of the movie look like it could have been something special.