2012 Calvin Awards: Best Scene
February 14, 2012
Best Scene is among the most novel awards in The Calvins each year. Rather than examine the entirety of a movie, we instead focus upon the smaller segments that comprise it and evaluate our favorites among them. Historically, a few stand out more than others but that was not the case at all with this year’s voting. No fewer than 50 scenes received votes, making this ballot a scrum whose eventual winner is predictable. The rest of the results are not.
Like everyone else in the free world, BOP’s staff anxiously anticipated the conclusion of the Harry Potter franchise. The most popular film series in movie history reached its inevitable ending, the one we all dreaded since it meant the last moments of J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece. We savored all of it and while there was some debate regarding which scene is the best, we reached a firm decision in the end. The Best Scene of the year is the hallmark moment from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the Battle of Hogwarts.
The brilliance of the Potterverse is that it has a depth of engaging characters, all of whose fates were in flux during the fight. I am not speaking only of Harry, Ron and Hermione, either. Neville Longbottom had grown from being the Ralph Wiggum of Gryffindor into a brave pureblood wizard and natural leader. The Weasley twins never stopped being comic relief yet they found a way to commercialize mischief. The Malfoys were placed in a position where they had to pick sides once and for all. And that total nutter Bellatrix Lestrange was surely going to get hers from someone. The only question was who…and that moment in and of itself is a wonderful surprise.
As was the case with Children of Men’s reckoning, the only real mystery with the Battle of Hogwarts is how to determine where it begins and ends. The entire climax of the movie is comprised of this battle with impeccable highlights such as Neville vs. Nagini, Weasley vs. Lestrange and Potter vs. Voldemort in the wizardry equivalent of Wrestlemania III. The Battle of Hogwarts is an unprecedented string of satisfying resolutions and a fitting swan song for the most recognized new literature of our lifetime. It is a heart wrenching, gut punching, tear inducing, laugh evoking celebration of all things Potter. We treasure all of it even if it is bittersweet to know that this is the end of the journey for Harry Potter et al.
The Burj Dubai is 2,723 feet tall. Someone involved with the production of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol had the insane idea to create an action sequence involving a trek up the face of the building. The end result is one of the most gripping action scenes ever filmed, our second favorite of the year. Sabine Moreau is an assassin whose fee must be paid in diamonds. When she comes in possession of nuclear missile launch codes by assassinating an IMF agent, Moreau draws the attention of persistent do-gooder agent Ethan Hunt, psychotic Russian nuclear scientist Kurt Hendricks and the leader/lover of the dead IMF agent, Jane Carter. What follows is a nerve-racking face-off between all of the parties that requires Hunt to mount a building in a dust storm, Hendricks to procure a transaction that endangers humanity and Carter and Moreau to fight to the literal death. One of them is dropkicked out of a window over a thousand feet above the ground. BOP fave Brad Bird has always been among the best in the world at envisioning landmark sequences and bringing them to life. In making a live action film, he somehow exceeds even our lofty expectations with this iconic mise-en-scène.