There are some moments in film, frozen in time for their heart-wrenching acts of selflessness, epic conclusions and beautiful friendships. In the case of Pokémon: The First Movie one such moment occurs after a brutal Pokémon vs. Clone battle that ends in a completely unexpected way.
For the sake of conceptuality the following feature on defining moments of heroic sacrifice does come with a few spoilers but they’re all must-see films so treat it like an education if that helps soften the blow.
Big Hero 6 – Baymax
Avid cinemagoers and casual viewers alike enjoyed a strong year in 2014. Including Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past there wasn’t much that could steal the limelight. But Big Hero 6 took many by surprise and became the unexpected star of the spandex roster.
Set in the fictional city (and once Marvel property) of San Fransokyo the instant charm of compounded cultures is captivating from the get go. But what really gets this film going is the star of the show, Baymax. With unerring affability and spurred by a deep rooted (read: programmed) desire to help those in need, this inflatable health nurse brings the most laughs and the most tears, the latter in one moment in particular. Stranded inside a self-destructive teleportation portal only Baymax’s rocket fist can satisfy Hiro’s care. This sweet, shared moment of empathy and selflessness is almost too much to bear but the relationship between the protagonists makes this an instant Disney must-see.
The LEGO Movie – Emmet
Another great movie to come out of 2014, but rather than a band of superheroes and an inflatable nurse we get Chris Pratt, in LEGO form. That’s by no means a negative. Emmet, the unlikeliest of heroes, literally living each day by the book couldn’t be further from hero material were it not for his good-natured spirit, earnest self-deprecation and selfless attitude to always put himself before others, especially when strapped to a 9V battery.
Inspired by the ghost of Vitruvius, Emmet plunges into the Infinite Abyss of Nothingness to deactivate Lord Business’s evil machine, thus saving the Master Builders. While this moment of heroic sacrifice is enough in itself it’s what Emmet goes on to inspire that raises his hero status. A moment of true heroism that knows no bounds.
300 – The 300
No animation here – just 300 disciplined, blood-thirsty, and loyal Spartan warriors. Led by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) 300 warriors make a last stand against the invading Persian forces of ‘God-King’ Xerxes. No frills to this one, just all out warfare and the ultimate sacrifice to defend their country. Ending in a glorious barrage of arrow fire, Leonidas’s demise and that of his 300 men was never in vein.
Independence Day – Russell Casse
“We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!” The famed words of President Thomas J. Whitmore, AKA Bill Pullman, were taken quite literally by one freedom fighter in particular.
While the battle for humankind rages on in the air around them the responsibility to end the impending alien invasion falls to one man in particular, the unlikeliest of characters: Russell Casse. The UFO ‘conspiracist’ turned last hope of humanity delivers one mighty payload as he yells in righteous sovereignty “I’m back!” The last sound, the last punch thrown, the endurance and survival of humanity all owed to one Russell Casse and his burning desire to have the last word.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Boromir
“For the greater good.” The mantra of the village of Sandforth may have been codswollop to Sgt. Angel in Hot Fuzz but for Boromir it couldn’t ring more true.
Sworn to protect Frodo, the heroic bearer of the One-ring of power, Boromir’s brief stumble into the realm of the weakness of man is over-shadowed by his sacrifice for the Fellowship’s cause. Jumping to the aid of Merry and Pippin in the face of a marauding horde of Uruk-hai, Boromir hurls himself into battle to fend off a seemingly insurmountable number of enemies but for Lurtz and three piercing arrows. It may have been heroic but what elevates this moment into LOTR lore is the final moment of redemption for a failing man.
To witness that heart-wrenching sacrifice from Pokemon: The First Movie again you can catch the original trilogy in the Pokémon Movie Collection out now on limited edition Blu-ray steelbook.