My boyfriend recently lost a close friend but couldn’t bring it upon himself to attend his funeral. In his eyes the planned funeral wouldn’t bring his friend the respect he deserved and would be a shallow endeavor.
So we got to talking about funerals; in general movie funerals. My favorite movie funeral instantly jumped to mind; the cremation scene in Alien 3. It’s a great funeral as so many different things happen at the same time; it’s highly original. During this particular funeral Sigourney Weaver's main character Ellen Ripley has to bury yet two more people from her past; people she came to love and admire in Aliens so it is pretty dramatic. Watch the scene here.
Then there is the setting. The two bodies get dropped down from a height into a giant lead-smelting pit. It is bleak, dramatic and fits to the whole dreary setting of the movie. The same visuals are applied to her death scene at the end of the movie.
The whole scene is about death and rebirth. As the bodies get cremated, a dog, which gets impregnated with an Alien, dies brutally when a chest burster violently explodes out of it. At the same time we see Ripley's nose bleed – indicating that she also is impregnated with an Alien.
Lastly the characteristically strong and in control Ripley sheds some tears as the deceased get cremated, accompanied by an amazing movie score from Elliot Goldenthal. The music almost made me cry when I heard it for the first time.
Funerals are an important event in real life, but also in movies. So make the funeral original and in tune with the elements of the movie like tone, setting, character(s). Use the funeral to carry the story along.
Some other funeral examples which are amazing are:
In the Sixth Sense - Cole gives the father of the girl who died and haunts Cole, a tape, showing how the girl’s mother had poisoned her.
In Star Wars – Return of the Jedi the Jedi Funeral Pyre of Darth Vader. Powerful music, powerful visuals. Almost makes me cry every time. Watch it here.
In Wedding Crashers - Chazz shows main character John how to pick up chicks at a Funeral. Highly inappropriate and over the top, like the whole movie but hilariously funny. Watch it here.
What are your favorite movie funerals and why?