Thursday, 24 December 2009

Review of the Decade: Movies

I've decided to split this review into three parts:
1) The Most Important Trends of the decade
2) My top five directors of the decade
3) My top five movies of the decade

Part 1: The Most Important Trends
When looking back on the noughties, it's cool to see how things have changed since the 90s. How will this decade be remembered? What films or genres will sum up how things have changed? Here's some things I've noticed. Feel free to contribute your own below.

Foreign-language movies
Name a foreign-language movie you watched in the cinema before 2000? Foreign movies existed, they just weren't very popular, and the few anime movies that did get released over here were dubbed in English anyway. In 2000, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon showed foreign-language movies could do well in the box office. Since them we've had films like Amelie, Pan's Labyrinth, Slumdog Millionaire, and Babel using subtitles in their movies, yet being very well received by English-speaking audiences. Such movies are great for the industry, since foreign-language films are free from Hollywood's clutches, often producing a more creative and exciting experience for the audience.

The replacement of hand-drawn animation by CGI
The late 80s/early 90s was surely the golden age of hand-drawn animation. Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King are all modern classics in the truest sense of the term. In 1995 Toy Story changed the industry. Using the story-telling techniques of Disney classics, but with computer-generated graphics with which to tell their story. Disney's never recovered. And since then Pixar have ruled the animation roost with every film (with the possible exception of Cars) being of a very high quality. Since the turn of the century, the industry has very much run with CGI. However, as we reach the end of the century, we're seeing a certain nostalgia towards the ways of the past. Hits like Coraline and Disney's The Princess Frog mean we'll probably have a much more diverse range of techniques within the medium. Meaning the noughties may well be remembered as the decade of CGI.

Super-hero movies
In the 90s we had Batman... and not a lot else. Superheroes were relegated to animated shows on Saturday morning, and very much seen as a genre for kids. In the noughties two movies changed all that: X-Men and Spiderman. The former showed how to bring characters invented 40+ years ago into the 21st century. The latter showed how to do it and make shedloads of money. Now, we have more superhero movies than you can shake a cape at. So much so that Marvel, which almost went bust in the 90s, now has its own movie studio. There was talk in the mid-noughties of Marvel/DC running out of good characters to adapt. However, Iron Man showed how a relatively unknown character could make millions at the box office. Therefore I don't see the superhero movie phenomenon stopping anytime soon.

3-D movies
Since Beowulf in 2007, 3-D movies have taken box offices my storm. Films like My Bloody Valentine and Final Destination have shown that by adding 3-D to the title, you can suddenly make a whole lot of extra cash (especially because of the extra levy cinemas are charging for the privilege) I personally think 3-D adds little to the movie going experience. I feel Avatar would have been just as breathtaking on a normal screen. However, I think horror and animated movies will continue to do well using this format for the next five years or so. After that, unless cinemas charge the same for both 2-D and 3-D, it'll die a second death at cineplexes.

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