Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
The Scene: Ferris’ slow-motion leap from a trampoline. If we were to bunk off work tomorrow, we would make a point of finding the nearest trampoline and doing just this!
Why It’s Cool: It sums up Ferris’ whole raison d’etre in one fell swoop. He does things because they feel good, and what encapsulates youthful abandon more perfectly than flying through the air on a trampoline?
If It Was Sped-Up: The audience wouldn’t get as much time to consider what that sensation would feel like. It’s a little nugget of childish regression, and it’s bloody ace!
The Scene: The jaw-dropping opening credits montage, in which Alan Moore’s alternative vision of the 20th Century is played out to the tune of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’ .
Why It’s Cool: It’s an ingenious way of cramming reams of backstory into a couple of minutes, and sets the scene wonderfully for the action that is set to ensue. And Bob’s soulful vocals don’t hurt either…
If It Was Sped-Up: Snyder would have had to have wasted a good few scenes on exposition, whereas the presence of this smart piece of slo-mo allows him to dive straight in.
The Scene: The gore-soaked opening credits, which are both terrifying and hilarious. Run for your lives!
Why It’s Cool: If you need to have it explained why seeing a zombie stripper (complete with a thong full of ones) chase after a tubby, terrified punter is cool, there’s really nothing we can do for you.
If It Was Sped-Up: You’d lose some of the humour, although you’d probably generate a few more jumps, particularly when the last zombie comes crashing through the windshield!
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
The Scene: The bare-knuckle fight scene in which Holmes reacts badly to being spat upon by his opponent, and precedes to beat seven bells out of him, explain each blow to the audience as he does so.
Why It’s Cool: We get an insight into Holmes’ whips-smart mind, whilst watching him give a hulking great oaf a sound shoeing. It’s pleasing on both intellectual and visceral levels!
If It Was Sped-Up: Holmes wouldn’t have time to dispense zingers like the following: “In summary: ears ringing, jaw fractured, three ribs cracked, four broken, diaphragm haemorrhaging. Physical recovery: six weeks. Full psychological recovery: six months. Capacity to spit at back of head: neutralized.”
The Untouchables (1987)
Why It’s Cool: It’s a masterclass in tension, with the pram’s booming descent providing an ominous soundtrack to the violence as Costner desperately tries to save its gurgling occupant. Meanwhile, Andy Garcia’s last-minute save is pure punch-the-air gold.
If It Was Sped-Up: It wouldn’t be half as tense. Those steps seem to go on forever!
Thelma And Louise (1991)
The Scene: When Thelma and Louise decide to just “keep going”, reasoning that they’d rather die together than spend the rest of their lives in a cell. We’re welling up here…
Why It’s Cool: The juxtaposition between Harvey Keitel’s slow motion run and the normal speed acceleration of the car is a nice way of demonstrating the girls kicking off the shackles of their old lives, whilst the car jump itself, ending with the Thunderbird suspended in mid-air, somehow manages to makes suicide seem uplifting! No mean feat.
If It Was Sped-Up: It would be kind of a bummer to see the girls plough off the cliff into a fiery grave. This is far more poetic.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Scene: When the cogs in Agent Kujan’s head finally begin to grind into motion, and his coffee cup ever so slowly slips from his grasp. Goosebumps ahoy!
Why It’s Cool: As the coffee cup explodes, so does Kujan’s perception of everything he’s just been listening to spill out of Verbal’s mouth. As he gradually puts the pieces together at the bulletin board, one of the finest twist endings you’ll ever see begins to click into motion.
If It Was Sped-Up: We’ve spent the last few ours watching Kujan strut his stuff and give it the big I Am to Verbal. It would be a shame to speed up the moment where he finally has his pants pulled down!
Chariots Of Fire (1981)
The Scene: The opening titles in which the runners pound along the beach in slow motion as the Oscar-winning theme song swells in the background.
Why It’s Cool: The joy on the faces of the boys sets up all that is about to unfold perfectly. The use of slo-mo in the film’s climactic race scene is also pretty spine-tingling, particularly when Liddell intones, “I believe that God made me for a purpose…but he also made me fast!” Magic.
If It Was Sped-Up: It would just be a clutch of blokes splashing around on the beach, instead of a pulse-quickening opening salvo to an Oscar-winning movie!
Why It’s Cool: It sums up Face/Off in a nutshell: big, loud and fun. And it’s a scene that contains a man flying through the air firing a pair of gold-plated revolvers. What’s not cool about that?
If It Was Sped-Up: Cage and Travolta wouldn’t be able to have so much fun gurning and howling in slow-motion. You don’t mess with this kind of premium ham-on-ham action!
Teen Wolf (1985)
Why It’s Cool: It’s shamelessly cheesy, with the ball predictably hitting the rim twice before finally sinking, but if you can’t excuse that in a high-school sports movie, when can you?
If It Was Sped-Up: We wouldn’t have the chance to savour the last-minute drama! Okay, you always know it’s going in, but even so. It’s way more satisfying slowed down!