A miscellany of infographics about the flicks

As there’s a new Star Wars film out soon, I felt it was time to do another Star Wars infographic. After all the first infographic was what started this off.

One of the highlights of seeing the new trailer was seeing the return of the Millennium Falcon, a ship so core to the original trilogy it was pretty much another character. So here is a simplified version of those first three films as seen through the journyes the Falcon made. A handy cheat sheet to remind you of what happened and boil the plot down to a simple set of icons.

Data from watching the films too much.

A simple infographic, this one. Looking at what became of the somewhat all-star (they’ve all had decent film careers) squad who set out to rescue Private Ryan. Only two of eight survive in their mission to save one man, making the point about the futility of war.

The bars represent approximately how long they last in the film and the order they met their fate. I might update this with a more detailed version with exact screentime for each actor. I’ve also put some iconography in there to show their rank/role and how they were killed.

Data from the Saving Private Ryan wiki. WW2 Insignia from here. And if you need to remind yourself of which actor played which character, you can check on IMDB.

Just what is going on with Liam Neeson these days? Didn’t he used to be a great actor once? Oscar nominated for Schindler’s List, he now finds himself in the likes of Taken 3, Run All Night and Non-Stop. Films that from the posters look almost exactly the same (man holding gun).

I’ve taken a look at his Metacritic score (the average of all reviews for a film, out of 100) across his leading roles over the last 25 years. I’ve looked at films where he’s been in the top three billed actors as outside that it’s hard to say he’s influenced the film too much. The lines represent the Metacritic boundaries for positive (green), mixed (yellow) and negative (red).

Looking at it, his career does unfortunately appear to be on a bit of a downward turn. Schindler’s List is certainly an outlier and most actors would be happy to be in a film like that just once in their career. However, the negatively reviewed films have all appeared since 2009, with Taken 3 representing the nadir at a score of just 26. Surely it’s time someone like Quentin Tarantino re-invented him, as he did with Travolta? Kinsey and The Grey have proved he is still capable.

Data from Metacritic.

I tried OK, I tried. But whatever system the makers of these films are using is beyond me. Has there ever been a more nonsense sequel naming convention than this?

By the third one it seemed like things might be heading in quite an expected direction. Other than the fun they had on the second one with a bit of pun-work around the number 2 (and who couldn’t resist that?) it seemed the rest of the sequels would be following the template laid out in the third film, i.e. add a subtitle for each one. So the fourth one would be The Fast and the Furious: Rome Skid or something, right?

Oh no. The fourth film had its own set of rules. Time to shed those definite articles and even switch up to an ampersand. It seemed they were starting a new convention. And why even make reference to what number in the series it is? Who cares these days, grandpa?

Except in the fifth film they did. And this one saw the revolutionary dropping of the ‘Furious’ part of the brand so the only consistent element is the word ‘Fast’ (although they missed the opportunity of calling it something like 5ast 5ive or similar – see the boyband 5ive). Perhaps this was them finally settling on a new, streamlined system? Of course not.

Only by number 6 & 7 have they finally found a common pattern to follow. Hey, it takes a while for films to find their rhythm.

When it comes to comparing James Bond with other spies, he’s probably best known for two things: his gadgets and his ‘girls’. So here’s just which actor has been the most-Bond like when it comes to sexual encounters (up to and including Skyfall). As with most things in the James Bond world, it’s a Connery v Moore battle but you can see things have changed with time. Daniel Craig’s Bond has modernised things by having the spy be not quite so promiscuous. Maybe he’s finally settling down.

Unsurprisingly most of the actresses are from Britain but I was surprised at how well represented Swedish actresses are in the Bond girl world (five of them).

Data from this list on Wikipedia.

There’s now been five X-Men films and a whole bunch of different mutants pop-up throughout, to the point where in the latest film, I was trying to work out exactly how many of them I’d seen before and which were new. All these powers get confusing.

So here are all the mutants with names whose powers you see by film (not including the Wolverine movies because they were rubbish) on a timeline. I’ve split Days of Future Past into two for this: the past bit and the future bit. Thought I didn’t include that revised version of the ‘present’ at the end because that was very brief and a bit confusing.

I’ve also shown who the different actors were that played the roles, as to add to the confusion a few of them are played by different people – that’s without including flashbacks, which would add several more. They’re split by ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mutants, though this is a bit rough with a few of them crossing that boundary through the series.

The Last Stand features the most named mutants in a film with 23, albeit several being cameo roles, with the combined future and past parts of Days of Future Past adding up to 20 mutants.

Data from the X-Men movies wikia

It’s a simple one this. Rocky has had a fair few outings at the cinema (six in fact) but as a boxer on-screen what’s his actual record? For a start it turns out he doesn’t actually box very much. Each film one tends to be build around one fight. If it’s the boxing action you’re after then Rocky III is for you with 13 opponents faced, although ten are in a montage and one is more of a wrestling match with Hulk Hogan (aka Thunderlips).

The data is from Rocky’s Wikipedia page, where they’ve actually included a ton of other fights. Somehow someone has incredibly worked out the rest of his journeyman record (including names and which round the fights ended in), which makes his total stand at 57 - 23 - 2. I did add one additional fight from Rocky V where he has a scrap with Tommy Gunn in the street, which whilst not a ‘proper’ fight I included so that that film could get a mention. Also if the fight with a wrestler is going to count…

But in terms of on-screen boxing it’s 15 wins (15 knockouts), three losses and one draw. What stands out (other than the series not being afraid to have a few losses) is all of his wins coming by way of knockout. Showing the film industry’s love for a dramatic finish but somewhat surprising for a character who was more about his impressive stamina, granite chin and lasting power.

This started with a hypothesis. As all good pieces of research tend to. And the hypothesis was my girlfriend insisting that “all famous people are small” (it came after being surprised by the height of David Beckham in real life). I wondered if this applied to the top film stars. Is it true that film actors have some kind of ‘short man syndrome’ driving them to success on the screen? One immediately thinks of Tom Cruise and figures there must be something in it…

What’s a good proxy for fame? Box office success seemed to fit the bill, so I found the top ten grossing male and female actors at the time of writing and compared their heights. One edit: Bonnie Hunt (“who?” you ask – check the Pixar credits) pops up in the women’s top ten but as her success has come through being a voice actress, her height is irrelevant so I ignored her. Anyway I’ve then compared these top ten with the US average heights (as the majority are American).

The results? The men’s ten somewhat match the average with six over and four under, which actually brings the group out at 3cm above. But the women are notably taller, coming in at a whole 6cm higher than the women’s average height in the US, with eight stars above it. Even if the very top grossing actress bucks this trend by a significant amount.

So there you have it, to be a successful film actor you need to be tall. Maybe.

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