There's a great disturbance in the film Force today. Hundreds of fan voices are crying out in anger, only to be silenced by frustrated "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn.
A recent study by Go Compare tallied on-screen casualties in the best-performing Hollywood movies since the 1940s, and shared some interesting (and controversial) results. Part of their research, maybe the part we should care about most, showed the average number of deaths in movies has risen over the years: "In 1940, there was just one film with 50 or more on-screen deaths, rising to four in 1950, 33 in 1960, 44 in 1970, 84 in 1980 and 119 in 1990. Four films from 2014 made it into the top 10."
Speaking of the top 10, three "Lord of the Rings" films made the cut, along with two Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Topping the list was one of those MCU titles, Gunn's 2014 film.
Here are the top 10 deadliest Hollywood movies, as listed by The Guardian:
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – 83,871 on-screen deaths
2. Dracula Untold (2014) – 5,687
3. The Sum of All fears (2002) – 2,922
4. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) - 2,798
5. 300: Rise of An Empire (2014) – 2,234
6. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – 1,741
7. The Matrix Revolutions (2003) – 1,647
8. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) – 1,417
9. Braveheart (1995) – 1,297
10. The Avengers (2012) – 1,019
The list goes beyond 10, so check out all of it here.
The Guardian shared the story early on, with Collider following, and their comments are filled with fans calling shenanigans. Some readers missed or ignored the "on-screen" part of the site's death tally, while others argued that you could include more films under that umbrella.
Here are some very earnest and occasionally angry reactions from Collider readers:
• Umm, no. Melancholia has the highest number of on-screen deaths. 7.5 BILLION CONFIRMED DEATHS when Earth was destroyed by a rogue planet. As long as Alderran has less people on it than Earth, Melancholia has the highest death total of all films.
• This is absolutely dumb as sh*t, and doesn't make any sense. Especially considering all the cities you've seen destroyed, oh or planets. Remember that cool scene in the Wolverine when a plane dropped a bomb on the city across the water from the pow camp? That killed 140,000 people in real life. So, yeah... Fluffy puff piece clickbait bullsh*t is bullsh*t.
• What about Melancholia? You know, the one where the entire Earth is obliterated by a rogue planet. That was on-screen. Or am I completely missing the point?
• I guess Alderaan, or the entire Hosnian system don't count then? I mean, I don't recall seeing 83,000 individual deaths on screen on GotG, but if those count you would think an entire planet of "millions of voices" vanishing in a ball of fire would count as well. Oh well.
And here are some similar reactions from The Guardian readers:
And here are tweets from James Gunn, who first seemed unsure of how to react to his film being called the most deadly, then jumped in to defend the list results and chide fans who didn't read or understand the methodology:
• This is stupid. I watched Guardians and wasn't even aware of those deaths. The violence and deaths that matters is the one's that are shown in graphic and brutal fashion. Not the ones that are just referred to in the story. I mean 11, 000 people die in the Star trek battle at Wolf 359. But we don't know that unless we look it up.
• Uhm, Star Wars blew up planets.
• What about Noah? Wasn't the whole planet wiped out with a couple exceptions... Not to mention Alderaan. And what about Deep Impact and Knowing?
• Nobody has mentioned "Ender's Game", the kid alone killed all aliens creatures in one planet (probably trillions) without even counting the thousands of people that were sacrificed in the human fleet. And that is only at the end of the film. There were more casualties along the film.
• As others have stated, this list has so many omissions and miscalculations. Man of Steel easily had more than 5k, being the one the nose metaphor for several 9/11s... (list has it at 123). SNyder has also lowballed it (imo) at 5k when asked. Star Wars VII should have this by a mile, four (five?) planets blowing up. List has it at 791... Of course the list is dominated by one science fiction that seem accurately judged. (credit where its done to Gunn for it being shown creatively the barricade being destroyed). For my contribution I will include "The Quiet Earth" a old school New Zealand film based on a book of the same name that starts with the death of everyone on Earth except three people. Admittedly it is probably disqualified due to low budget vfx and off screen disappearance of all other lifeforms.
They're only counting ONSCREEN deaths, not seeing a planet explode. There are tons of movies where billions of people die, unseen. https://t.co/CivvMMdfr7— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 4, 2016
It might help to read the article. You see over 80,000 ships actually explode on screen when the Dark Aster crashes through them. https://t.co/730eAhmdAl— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 4, 2016
They're talking about actual onscreen, individual expirations. We see tons of planets explode in movies, even in the Collectors' museum. https://t.co/fHmSvTfjWV— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 4, 2016
I am still stunned every day that people comment on/argue with articles without reading them. Which, I guess, makes me the foolish one.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 4, 2016
Careful now, Mr. Gunn, you need to keep those people on your side for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"! The bottom line is that all of these fans are getting upset over complete fiction. But, for the record, when asked if he thought the "Guardians of the Galaxy" sequel would top "Vol. 1" on this list, Gunn simply replied, "No."
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