2010, The Year of Lost Limbs

In 2010, many filmmakers cut down their main characters. Literally, we’re talking loss of appendages here. Arms were the popular choice as two out of the four amputees lost the ability to clap, the third got lucky with regeneration and the fourth gave an ‘eye for an eye’, or rather a ‘leg for a dragon’s tail flap’. One’s based on a true story and another one is animated. Jeff Bridges tried to save two of the limbs in question, one was a perfect recovery, the other he only bought time for. Let’s count them down in order of severity starting from least to worst.

#4: Digital Regeneration Movie: TRON: Legacy Character: Quorra Limb Lost: Arm
Quorra (played by Olivia Wilde) got off the easiest. Being a digital entity in a digital world really pays off when it comes to losing body parts. A little bit of magic programming by Jeff Bridges and poof, your arm grows back. No wonder she was so brazen in the film, jumping into any dangerous situation without a thought.

#3: Wooden Leg Movie: How TTY Dragon Character: Hiccup Limb Lost: Leg
After causing a dragon to lose his tail flap, Hiccup rightfully repairs it with a prosthetic that allows the creature to take flight again. Little did he see the setup for his own loss of a leg, but since this is a cartoon he got a kick-ass wooden leg with a hook on the end. And he got a dragon as a pet, won the affection of the one his heart desires and got the respect of all the other vikings. Not too shabby. The impact of losing a limb is a central part of this story, as you can see from Craig Ferguson’s character to the right. This movie took the ‘eye for an eye’ metaphor in the most literal sense.

#2: Snake Bite Movie: True Grit Character: Mattie Ross Limb Loss: Arm
Unfortunately for Mattie Ross, Jeff Bridges is not the ‘Creator’ of the wild wild west. So when a poisonous snake attacks, the best he can manage is sucking out the venom. Of course losing your arm is better than losing your life. It can also have a deeper meaning, especially in a Coen Brothers’ film. No helpful prosthetics here, just the loss of innocence. The second film one our countdown to feature Bridges and a lost extremity.

#1: Rock & A Hard Place Movie: 127 Hours Character: Aron Ralston Limb Loss: Arm
The #1 spot on our list of most severe loss of a limb, goes to Aron Ralston. The film chronicling his remarkable true story has ignited a firestorm of controversy. Since early reports of audience members passing out and throwing up began trickling in after it premiered at Cannes, last year. 127 Hours proves that it isn’t just the loss of a limb that matters, it’s how you lose the limb that really counts. This scene goes down as the most disturbing self-amputation in the history of cinema, completely deserving of it’s R rating.

Limb loss isn’t a new thing. Many films feature amputees prominently. But last year was special with four films, all of which are up for Academy Awards. Three in major categories. Five up for awards and four in major categories if you count Winter’s Bone. We feel that cutting off the hands of a corpse isn’t quite the same. But seeing as that corpse was the main character’s father, it is worthy of an honorable mention. Hell, even in Toy Story 3 Mrs Potato Head goes most of the movie having lost an eye, which to her is kind of an appendage. Have you noticed limb loss as being a major factor in a story before? Which films featuring appendage loss are your favorites?

One thought on “2010, The Year of Lost Limbs

  • February 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I know. People are really getting into amputation nowadays. Even last year had a few examples (like Where The Wild Things Are, Whiteout, etc.) I don’t know if this counts, but Toy Story 3 has amputation in it. Mr. Potato Head’s limbs and body parts kept falling off, and his tortilla body got sliced in half at point. Also, Mrs. Potato Head’s eye was missing throughout the whole movie. LOL. I know they’re just toy body parts, but it falls under that category in it’s own, kid-friendly way.


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