From ‘Harry Potter’ to ‘Drive,’ MTV News mourns — and praises — the year’s best fictional deaths.
By Kevin P. Sullivan
It is traditional at the end of the year to look back on those we have lost in Hollywood. Usually this means a poignant montage of actors, actresses and crew members during the Academy Awards, but it should also be noted that plenty of fictional passings occurred in 2011 as well.
They may have been memorable, sad, thrilling or even funny, but each movie death meant something, and if we were to look back on the characters that passed away this year, these are the five that would get the biggest applause.
It should noted that this article contains nothing but spoilers.
Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon in “X-Men: First Class”)
All it took was a coin through the skull to remind us why Kevin Bacon should be in more movies. His character, Sebastian Shaw, lived large and in style, choosing a submarine as his method of world travel and double-breasted suits as his villainous costume. When Magneto finally met up with him to serve up some revenge extra cold, Shaw ate it in one of the most memorable scenes of 2011.
Fred Weasley (James Phelps in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”)
Many characters didn’t live to see the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, but none hurt as much as the demise of one-half of the ginger-haired duo. George may have lost an ear in Part 1, but he lost a twin brother during the series finale, and we were there with him. At the very least, we can all remember the fun times we had together and rest assured that there is still one genetically identical person walking Diagon Alley.
Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow in “Contagion”)
The look of terror on Paltrow’s face from the trailer may rank among some of the year’s most horrifying movie images. Beth Emhoff’s death early in the film starts the chain reaction that sets the film’s wheels in motion, but none of the millions of deaths caused by the virus are shown with as much intimacy. She may have been patient zero, but she’ll always be #1 in our hearts.
Shannon (Bryan Cranston in “Drive”)
Bryan Cranston’s Shannon didn’t have much time to accept his fate, and neither did we. Before we knew it, Bernie Rose (played by Albert Brooks) had declared it “over.” Even the toughest of moviegoers had to flinch at the sight of the razor blade cutting through the neighborly mechanic’s arm. Shannon added both comic relief and charm to a movie that benefitted so greatly because of it.
Planet Earth in “The Tree of Life” and “Melancholia”
The character we’re all closest with bit the dust not once but twice this year at the movies. It’s never an easy thing, watching the planet you’ve grown up on destroyed — just ask Princess Leia. But never has the destruction of our home world been shown with as much stunning cinematography as it was in mouth of these art house hits.
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