The 5 Most Easily Avoidable Movie Deaths
There are a few things in movies that we totally get: gratuitous violence, unwarranted nudity and scientifically impossible explosions -- we understand why all of that happens.
What we don't get is when a movie decides that a character is going to die but then has to jump through mind-boggling hoops to make it happen, against all logic and common sense. Here are some prime examples.
P.S.: Don't you dare read this article and then complain about spoilers.
Darth Maul - The Phantom Menace
As we neared the end of The Phantom Menace, we all knew what was coming: the inevitable drawn-out lightsaber battle involving Qui-Gon Jinn, his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul, aka the one guy who almost made this big bucket of CGI turd worthwhile.
Three Force practitioners battled around the palace on Naboo at a furious pace until Maul managed to get Jinn by himself and kill his ass. Then, Maul fights Obi-Wan until he has him dangling over an abyss, unarmed, clinging by his fingertips.
But before Maul can kill him, Obi-Wan pulls some elaborate Jedi shit and cuts the Sith Lord in two as he, not Obi, falls into the pit.
Why it's baffling:
It's like at the last minute Maul completely lost his mind, or maybe had some kind of seizure. After managing to handle both Jedi at the same time without even a scratch, and getting Obi-Wan into that precarious position over the pit, what does he do?
He stands at the edge and starts mindlessly slashing his blade at the floor, like a kid who just got his first lightsaber. We're not kidding. This happens. He seriously just starts slapping the floor with it, to make sparks shoot up.
So he winds up standing there on the lip of the chasm for a long time. This whole time, he has Obi-Wan at his mercy. He knows Obi-Wan is a Jedi and thus can do some superhuman somersaulting tricks, and to do him in all he needs to do is lean down and knock Obi-Wan off his perch with his lightsaber. Really, just kind of reach down and poke his hands with it. Or just pick up something nearby and drop it on his fingers.
Instead, he just stands up there while Obi-Wan sloooowly looks over and notices Jinn's lightsaber lying on the floor, then slooooooowly figures out what he's going to do. Then he ponders it for a few seconds more. Then, finally, when Obi-Wan begins to make his move, this confused looked glazes over Maul's face. What did he think was going to happen?
Obi-Wan somersaults over Maul's head, retrieves the lightsaber and then lands behind the Sith. Maul has time to turn and look, standing perfectly still for a full second ...
... before Obi-Wan finishes him off for good.
Honestly, now. The guy had been flipping around like he was on fast-forward the whole fight, and he just freezes up when the fight is basically over? Was he coming down off his meth high?
Still, in terms of "standing still and waiting for death to arrive," he doesn't hold a candle to...
The Witch-king of Angmar - The Return of the King
The Return of the King is the last movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and features the last stand of Men and their allies against the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron. Nazgul soaring, elves killing elephants, dwarfs axing orcs, ghosts flying around being all green and shit. Everything you'd ever want in a Middle-earth battle is right there. On top of all that, the witch-king fights Eowyn, although we use "fight" liberally here, as he sort of just pirouettes around with a mace while she clumsily side-steps.
As the witch-king is about to strike the final blow, he commits the cardinal movie villain sin and decides to open his gaping hole for one last "You're so dead" line. Enter the hobbit Merry from left field to stab the bad guy in the leg, all but sealing his fate to take a sword to whatever it is he has under that hood.
Why it's baffling:
The witch-king had so much time to do Eowyn in. And he just didn't bother.
Even after he's been Tonya Harding-ed by Merry, why does he just sit there and wait for his comeuppance? In the 10-plus seconds it took for Eowyn to remove her helmet, deliver her obligatory "Hear me roar, bitch" line and then stab him, why didn't he just cut her in half instead of waiting on his knees and watching as the sword entered his head?
And we can already hear you hollering from the comment section: "You fools! In the book, Merry was using an enchanted sword made by the Dunedain of Arnor specifically to slay a Nazgul!" That's great knowledge to have ... for anyone who has read the books.
Unfortunately, there is no point where Peter Jackson includes this tidbit in the movie. Merry's just using a laughable little sword. Maybe he could have included a short exchange between Merry and whoever gave him the sword along the lines of: "Here you go, hobbit. This sword will really ruin a Nazgul's day," but then you'd have to ask why they couldn't get some of those swords for other people getting slaughtered by the Nazgul on the same battlefield.
Instead, we have a villain built up to be the most second-most-badass being in Middle-earth who is inexplicably paralyzed by a cut to the back of the leg.
Wicked Witch of the West - The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy's quest to get home takes her all over the Land of Oz, leading her and her crew of freaks to the Emerald City to meet the actual The Wizard of Oz. He offers to return her to Kansas if she can get him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West -- the same vengeful witch whose sister was killed by Dorothy at the beginning of the film. The same one the party has spent the better part of the film trying to escape from.
In an attempt to save her friend, Dorothy grabs a nearby bucket of water and throws it on him. Unfortunately for the witch, she was standing right behind Scarecrow as he was splashed, taking on some water herself. In a twist that would be stolen and subsequently ruined by M. Night Shyamalan, the witch melts in her clothes -- much to everyone's astonishment.
Why it's baffling:
No one foresaw the witch's weakness being water. Except, you know, perhaps the witch herself. She had to know, right? Having lived with that weakness her whole life?
So why exactly does she have random buckets of it lying around her castle?
It'd be like you keeping big, open buckets of hydrochloric acid sitting around your living room. Yes, there are uses for a bucket of water around a castle, true, but how clean do one's floors need to be when one is a) a witch, and b) deathly allergic to water?
And even if she absolutely had to have water in the building somewhere for whatever reason, why did she decide to fight Dorothy and company in the presence of it -- especially when her plan involves setting fire to a walking sack of straw?
The woman has the mentality of a video game level boss, leaving a bunch of ammo and power-ups lying around her fortress, right in the path of the hero. Is it all just an elaborate way to commit suicide?
Toad - X-Men
At the end of the first X-Men film, Toad was part of Magneto's welcoming committee for the good guys when they arrived at the Statue of Liberty for the climax. While Toad's not as hot as the other member, Mystique, it's still telling of how capable a fighter he is when he's about to pit his tongue-lashing, wall-sticking, goop-spitting abilities against mutants with vastly superior powers.
And laugh all you want, but he totally does it. While Mystique is busy fighting Wolverine, Toad is left to handle Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm by himself, and he incapacitates all three. Wait -- why isn't this guy in charge?
In typical bad-guy fashion, he takes a moment to admire his work, and sure enough Storm comes flying back into the picture, lightning a-blazing, sending Toad to his demise.
Why it's baffling:
The first thing that happens is Storm blows him out of a window. But he survives that, as you'd suspect. Half the people reading this have been thrown out of a window at some point. It's part of growing up.
But then, instead of letting himself continue onto the water (that's all of 20 yards behind him), he spits his tongue out and grabs on to the railing for dear life, as if the Atlantic Ocean is full of acid instead of the stuff toads live in.
OK, maybe we can chalk that one up to a "never quit" attitude. He's the bad guy and his objective is to defeat the good guy, which clearly hasn't happened yet, given the predicament he found himself in.
But then we start to get into witch-king territory as he proceeds to sit there, dangling by his stupid tongue, while his attacker slowly floats out of the window to say a sassy catchphrase. At least the Nazgul had the excuse of being wounded and immobilized. Toad? All he has to do is fall.
It's not like he doesn't know what's coming. He's just been blown out of the building by a woman who controls the weather. She literally could shoot thunderbolts out of her ass if she wanted to. Hell, there's lightning shooting out of her ass while she's standing there, in case he's forgotten. What did he expect was going to happen after she was finished delivering that line? That she'd arrest him?
We have, for the first time on the list, somebody who would have done better if he'd been unconscious. If he'd been knocked out cold from the trip through the window, he'd have fallen into the water and presumably lived.
Really, the only thing worse would be if he had actively sought out his own death, for no reason. Which brings us to ...
Granny Ruth - Dante's Peak
Dante's Peak's Dr. Harry Dalton (played by Pierce Brosnan) is a volcanologist -- yes, that is a real profession -- hot on the trail of some suspicious volcanic activity in the town of Dante's Peak. Along the way, he meets the mayor of the town, Rachel Wando, and her family: son Graham, daughter Lauren and ex-mother-in-law Granny Ruth.
Dalton's suspicions are proven correct when the nearby mountain range erupts and puts the town in danger, causing the group to have to make a frantic escape in hopes of exciting the audience.
At one point Dalton, Wando and her family end up in a lake that has turned acidic due to the volcano somehow, and the water is rapidly eating through their boat as they try to make it to the shore. This is where Granny Ruth decides to get heroic.
Ruth, fearing that the lake will claim her family, jumps from the boat and pulls them the rest of the way. Shortly after making it to safety, she dies from presumably having huge chunks of her flesh melted off.
Why it's baffling:
When she plunges in to make her heroic sacrifice, they are literally less than five feet from the dock. Seriously, here's the clip.
It's right there! They can practically grab it!
We might understand if she had done this when the group was, say, 20 feet away. Back then, things looked grim when they weren't moving fast enough and they realized the metal boat wouldn't hold. But then they discovered they could safely paddle themselves after wrapping their arms. Problem solved, right?
Apparently not for Granny Ruth. Deciding that the final three feet of the homestretch was just too much to cover, she leaps into the lake -- failing to do the math that would let her realize that elderly human flesh is actually not as durable as a metal boat hull -- and drags the boat the rest of the way.
It took all of three seconds for her to do it. The family probably could've done it in two if they didn't have to stop paddling to holler at the insanity that was transpiring in front of their very eyes.
Then, in what has to be the most simultaneously mind-boggling and gruesome sight you'll see outside of the Saw series, instead of jumping up on the dock she continues walking in the acid water, past the dock and to the shore.
So let's just recap here, because we're having trouble wrapping our minds around it. We started out with a witch for whom water is acid, but who treats it like water. Then we have a mutant toad for whom water is harmless, but who treats it like acid. And finally we have a literal lake of acid water that an elderly woman plunges into for absolutely no reason at all.
What the hell?
Be sure to check out Fitzgerald's friend Thad over at CallMeThad.
For more movie magic that leaves us scratching our heads, check out 6 Baffling Mistakes Every Movie Criminal Makes.
And to further expand your noggin, check out Cracked's De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew.
It's loaded with facts about history, your body, and the world around you that your teachers didn't want you to know. And as a bonus? We've also included the kinkiest sex acts ever described in the Bible.