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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Perspectives on The Decade (2000 - 2009) in Film

By John C.

It’s been a great decade for film. Plain and simple, the 2000’s have seen many great movies, and the dawning of new technologies that have advanced the film making and film going experiences. It would be near-impossible for me to create an official decade’s best-list, so I am assembling a different kind of decade’s end salute.

This decade has seen many interesting, diverse and excellent films. I’m not trying to list the best ones, (though some of these titles would make my personal list), just some of the moments that stick out in recent movie memory.

This decade alone has seen 6 Harry Potter films. Before this decade, the stories about the boy wizard had barely been written. They immediately became a pop-culture phenomenon. Since 2001, six of the films have been released, and each one was hugely successful and very good.

Peter Jackson has made five films this decade. Most notably the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Each film stood atop the box office, and the third one swept the Oscars in 2003.

In early 2008, Heath Ledger untimely passed away. That summer, his final complete film, The Dark Knight, was released. The film was a modern masterpiece, and went on to make a billion dollars. It was unfairly ignored for a Best Picture nomination at last year’s Oscars, though Heath Ledger did very deservingly win a posthumous award for his brilliant and iconic role as The Joker.

CGI animation, though an earlier creation, finally broke free in this decade. Not to mention the numerous films from different studios, Dreamworks and Pixar each released numerous films, each one very financially successful.

Dreamworks has released 11 CGI films this decade, including 3 Shrek films, 2 Madagascar films, as well as many others including Over the Hedge, Flushed Away, and Kung Fu Panda. The Shrek films alone have grossed over 2 billion dollars.

Pixar has released 7 films, each one excellent and absolutely brilliant in its own right, each one a triumph. They were, Monsters Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007), WALL•E (2008), and Up (2009).

James Cameron made only one feature film this decade, and oh what a film it was. Avatar is visually astounding, incredibly entertaining, and groundbreaking in terms of special effects. No matter what you think of the actual film, it was a cinematic moment that will not be forgotten.

Mo-Cap (Motion Capture), was also one of this decade's inventions. Revolutionized by Robert Zemeckis in 2004 with his masterpiece The Polar Express, and fully utilized this year with Avatar. Other Mo-Cap films included Monster House, Happy Feet (which used the technology for the dance sequences), Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf, and Robert Zemeckis' A Christmas Carol of this year.

And finally, the Best Picture winners. 9 Films have won Best Picture, so 45 have been nominated. After this years Oscars, which will feature ten nominees for the first time in 66 years, this decade will have seen 55 films nominated for the title of Best Picture.

While this years winners are still up in the air, here are the 9 films that have won over this decade. Gladiator (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Chicago (2002), Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Crash (2005), The Departed (2006), No Country for Old Men (2007), Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

Here’s hoping that the next decade is just as important for movies as this one was. My retrospectives on 2009 at the movies will be up closer to awards time. Until then, Happy New Year!

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