1. Quantum of Solace (2008) – The Demise of Strawberry Fields
Upon returning to La Paz to meet with M (played by Judi Dench), secret agent James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) discovers that his fellow M16 field operative Strawberry Fields (played by Gemma Arterton) has been murdered by Quantum who drowned her nakedly in crude oil. This scene was a big tribute to the popular scene from the third Bond film Goldfinger (1963) in which Bond’s love interest Jill Masterson (played by Shirley Eaton) is found by Goldfinger’s henchman Oddjob who knocks her out cold and covers her completely in gold paint, leaving her to die from epidermal suffocation.
2. Alien: Resurrection (1997) – Remembering Newt
Although the film failed to meet expectations as a sequel, one of the biggest mistakes that led to this was leaving out this cut scene in which Ripley 8 is reminded of Newt, the little girl from Aliens (1986). Following her resurrection, Ripley 8 is subjected to a series of psychological tests in which a doctor presents her with visual cards and asks her to interpret them. Upon being presented one particular card that has the drawing of an ordinary little girl, Ripley 8 pauses, fails to respond, and suddenly breaks down into tears. If this scene were left in the theatrical cut, it would have helped slightly to give it that extra bit of emotion which 99% of the film did not have (with the exception of the Clone Room scene).
3. Land of the Dead (2005) – The Return of Blades
In the long-awaited yet poorly-received sequel to George A. Romero’s Dead trilogy, the climax of the movie involves the zombies finally breaking into the fortified city that is occupied by a large pocket of survivors who have been holding up, leading to many scenes of mass slaughter and death. In one of these scenes, Blades (played by Tom Savini) makes an appearance. Blades was a character from Romero’s second film Dawn of the Dead (1978) who was killed in the film’s finale, but here he returns as a zombie, fresh from the Monroeville Mall where his lifeless corpse was last scene in Dawn. This marked the first time in which a character returned in another film in the Dead series.
4. Avatar (2009) – Jake Sully vs. Colonel Miles Quatrich
In the finale of the James Cameron-directed blockbuster Avatar (2009), the film’s villain Colonel Miles Quatrich survives a ship crash and slips into an AMP suit. He proceeds to break the avatar unit housing Jake’s human body, thus exposing him to Pandora’s contaminated atmosphere, and then battles Jake’s Na’vi body before Neytiri interferes and kills Quatrich just in the nick of time. While James Cameron references many of his previous films throughout Avatar, this one scene in particular is an obvious nod to the final battle in Aliens (1986) in which Ripley dons a power loader to battle the Alien Queen.
5. Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) – The Death of Count Dooku
Episode III opens with an epic space battle in which Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker make their way onto the ship of General Grevious whom is holding Chancellor Palpatine hostage. After fighting their way through the ship, the Jedi duo finally reach Palpatine who is restrained in a throne-like chair, guarded by the evil Sith Lord Count Dooku. The two Jedi and the Sith engage in a three-way battle that leaves Obi-Wan unconscious and Dooku losing both of his hands, at the mercy of Anakin Skywalker who must decide whether or not he should finish him off. Palpatine urges Anakin to kill him, but Anakin is doubtful as he knows it’s not right, yet Palpatine remains persistent until Anakin finally murders Dooku. The scene is a huge tribute to the end of the duel between Luke and Vader in Return of the Jedi (1983) in which, after defeating Vader by cutting off his hand, Palpatine once again attempts to convert him to the dark side by killing his father and taking his place. The only difference is that Luke makes the right choice whereas Anakin doesn’t. Visual poetry at its best.