‘I have just met you and I love you.’
This introduction comes about half way through the film. By this point Up has already established great characters in the form of Carl, Russell and Kevin (the bird they find on their journey to Paradise Falls). As the heroes continue their journey across the rocky terrain, a shape emerges from the fog. As it gets closer, we see that it is a dog. After realising it is a friendly dog, Russell starts to give it commands.
Dug: “Hi there.”
The reactions of Carl and Russell really make the scene, the surprise and shock on their faces is priceless and helps to create a great sense of comedy surrounding the character instantly. Dug is immediately introduced as a loyal character, particularly to Carl, adding to the family that has been building around him, a family that has allowed Carl to feel love and compassion again after the death of Ellie his wife. Dug is added as another sidekick in the film and, as we have learned from Disney and Pixar, the role of a sidekick is pivotal to any of the studio’s animated releases. Dug is arguably one of the very best examples of this.
4. Miranda Priestly
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
‘Gird your loins’
Emily (Emily Blunt), the assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) the editor and chief of Runway Magazine, gets a phone call warning of her boss’s imminent arrival. Emily then sounds the alarm and the rest of the characters spend the time it takes for Miranda to get from the cab she emerges from to where they are to prepare themselves and the office for her entrance. Meanwhile Andrea (Anne Hathaway) looks on confused by the chaos as she is still trying to get to grips with her first day as Miranda’s second assistant, unaware of what is to come. Finally the elevator doors open and the figure of Miranda Priestly is revealed.
Miranda Priestly is one of if not the central character in The Devil Wears Prada, however her introduction doesn’t come until further into the film. Compared to the other introductions so far in this list, this may not seem as spectacular or memorable, and they way she is introduced with the walk into the office and the opening of the elevator doors may seem like a bit of a cinema trope by now. So why include this in a list of the greatest character introductions of all time? Simply, Meryl Streep pulls it off like no one else could, and the filmmakers know it. Throughout her introduction we barely see Miranda’s face and don’t even hear her speak, yet we already know what kind importance she holds and what kind of impact she has on the other characters.
5. The T-Rex
Jurassic Park (1993)
‘Where’s the goat?’
On a tour of the titular Jurassic Park, the tracked cars that the VIP guests have been travelling in break down as the electricity goes off. They’re stuck right outside a T-Rex enclosure at feeding time in the dark and in the middle of a storm. Nothing could go wrong there; right? The water in the glass starts to ripple as the thundrous steps of a coming T-Rex gets closer, the animal eventually escaping and all hell breaking loose soon thereafter. Intense tension building turns to absolute chaos in the space of about 5 minutes as we are introduced to the most impressive and dangerous creature Jurassic Park has to offer.
If Jurassic Park has taught us anything it is that recreating dinosaurs is never a good idea and that rippling water never leads to something cute and fluffy. There are so many things about this scene that make it one of the greatest character introductions of all time, from the tension built by the rippling water to the T-Rex’s eye peering through the car window, and right through to the first time we hear that deafening roar. Spielberg lets us know just what kind of creature this is instantaneously, the creature seemingly embedded into pop culture just as fast.
Recommended for you: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Review