Alan Rickman’s Top Five Nerdy Films

Fandom communities have been double hit this week; first the death of David Bowie, and now Alan Rickman. Both died at the age of 69, both lost their battle to cancer, and both will be dearly missed by fans the world over . . . and as a tribute we present to you The Pandora Society’s top five voted list nerdy films to feature Alan Rickman.

Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman (February 21st, 1946 – January 14th, 2016)

At the age of 32, Alan Rickman’s first screen role was to play Tybalt “The Prince of Cats” in the BBC’s 1978 production of Romeo and Juliet, but his big break into international stardom came ten years later with the film Die Hard (1988). As the deadly charismatic villain Hans Gruber, Rickman managed to steal the stage from Bruce Willis, and this would not be the last time that he would upstage a Hollywood lead.

5. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) – Sheriff of Nottingham

Alan Rickman Sheriff of NotinghamKevin Costner was a hot commodity in the early 90’s, but his British accent was terrible and his performance as Robin Hood forgettable; however, Rickman totally owns this movie as the film’s villain. Rickman has all the best lines of the film, “That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas” and his timing is delightful. It is the mixture of slimy villainy, quick wit, and comic relief, in a movie that otherwise takes itself far too serious, that makes Rickman shine from the rest of the film. Perhaps his most memorable moment comes when the Sheriff declares to his confused cousin that he will cut Robin Hood’s heart out with a spoon, “Because it’s DULL, you twit. It’ll hurt more.”

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) – Marvin the Android (voice)

Marvin the AndroidRickman’s performances are so powerful that in 2005 he managed to steal the show once more with just his voice. The film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which started life as a radio play before becoming a series of novels and a TV show) should have been amazing. It starts well, and Stephen Fry as the voice of the book is another strong aspect of the film, but ironically it is the clinically depressed android who had the most personality of the cast. The performance is a combination of Rickman’s voice and Warwick Davis inside the suit giving us the body language of the super intelligent robot cursed with GPP (Genuine People Personalities) technology. “Life? Don’t talk to me about life.”

3. Galaxy Quest (1999) – Alexander Dane

Dr. LazarusGalaxy Quest is not only the perfect satire of science fiction fandom, it is also a superbly constructed film in which nothing is wasted. Rickman plays British actor Alexander Dane who plays the TV alien scientist Dr. Lazarus. Dane is a direct parody of Leonard Nimoy’s conflict between his fame as Spock from Star Trek and his self image as a serious actor. Throughout the film a running gag is Dane’s nostalgia for when he played Richard III on the stage, and he literally shudders each time someone insists that he recite Dr. Lazarus’s catchphrase, “By Grabthar’s Hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged.” The build up with this catchphrase, however, leads to the most powerful scene in the film when Dane utters the words in utter sincerity to a fallen comrade.

2. The Harry Potter series (2001 to 2011) – Professor Severus Snape

SnapeSnape is role for which Alan Rickman will be most remembered, and almost was the number one choice of The Pandora Society as well. When first writing the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling already imagined what actors would play which characters, and for her Snape was always Alan Rickman . . . so Snape is Rickman, and Rickman is Snape! From the very beginning of the Harry Potter series Snape is the most faceted and dimensional character with so many twists and turns that leave one constantly unsure of his true motives, and Rickman manages to perform the role with all the subtlety and nuances that it commands. Snape does not need, nor want, anyone’s sympathy, but when his tragic love story is revealed he steals the audience’s hearts . . . always.

1.  Dogma (1999) – Metatron

MetatronAs if upstaging Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest in 1999 was not enough, Rickman manages to also be the most memorable character, other than Buddy Christ, in Kevin Smith’s film of biblical armageddon, Dogma. Metatron, the seraphim “voice of God,” fully utilizes what Rickman is best at, a dry performance laced with sarcasm; the common thread that runs through all the roles on this list. There is so much by which to remember Rickman’s Metatron, but the image that tends to stick most in people’s mind is not the impressive wing span, but rather his complete absence of genitals, “I’m as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll.”

There are many great actors. Alan Rickman was a great actor, but he was also unique. He was not a Hollywood hunk, but people all over the world are enraptured by his handsome features and gentlemanly charm. It is, however, his voice and its delivery that makes Rickman like no other . . . the perfect vessel through which the essence of British dry humor was poured like a glass of fine wine . . . a vintage . . . which is what Alan Rickman is . . . a vintage . . . always.


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