Unprecedented Movies of the 2000’s

I loooooove movies. I’ve invested quite a bit in my home theater and enjoy a good experience in the theater (of which I’m quite picky about.) I guess I’m an escapist at heart; I love to get involved in a good story. So I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the game-changers in movies from the last decade. I probably won’t remember all of them, but these are the ones that stick out in my mind and why. Random order.

1. Batman Begins/Dark Knight – I put these movies together because they spawned the “reboot” era of movies and added that word to our movie lingo, once it was shown to be a success. Thus we get such successful franchises like “Star Trek” once again. “Dark Knight” is there because it was one of the first–if not THE first–feature films to be shot with IMAX film, albeit just parts. But it was those parts that made going to see a movie in “IMAX” cool…even though nothing has really be shot in IMAX since. The actual cameras to do so cost several hundred thousand dollars and only 4-5 are in existence. (They accidentally destroyed one in the making of “Dark Knight”.)

2. Lord of the Rings trilogy – this was the first time a studio foot the bill for THREE movies to be filmed at once. It was a massive undertaking. I believe the typical movie can shoot in a period of 3-4 months. These guys filmed on-location and in studio for about a year. Not to mention the 7 or so years it took to plan the movie, then do post-production work. There hasn’t been anything quite like it since, though some successful first outing movies have filmed two sequels together. Also, their revolutionary detail of a complete CGI character in Gollum spurred the technology to make movies like “Chronicles of Narnia” possible. (We won’t give that credit to JarJar Binks, okay?)

3. Harry Potter franchise – it is unprecedented for one main reason, in my opinion: they kept the same actors for all 8 films. Okay, well Dumbledore’s actor changed but that was because the actor passed away. But this is seriously unheard of…actors don’t like to be type-cast or nailed down to one project for so long, typically. (Of course, Daniel Radcliffe is doing his best not to be type-cast by appearing in the play Equus between filming.) But not only is this fact unprecedented, but the turn-around time for such a special-effect driven film pretty remarkable. They were turning them out about once a year in the beginning, then lengthened it to once every 18-months. And now the last film (due Nov. 2010) is coming out in two-parts (2nd part July 2011). They say it is because they can’t get it all in one film. Bah. They did okay with books 4 and 5…they just want to milk that money. Hopefully the Blu-Ray will have them together? (Yah right.)

4. Avatar – Come on, you really didn’t think I’d leave this off? The 3D craze was a gimmick to draw in crowds until this movie. But James Cameron just did “something” different here that made 3D viewing the only way to see this movie. That’s amazing, but at the same time Hollywood is going to make EVERYTHING in 3D now which is really gonna suck…because without a visionary person like Cameron, it will still be only one thing: a gimmick. But Cameron shot Avatar with this new 3D tech that made you feel like you were there. You seriously can’t get any closer than actually going. It is hard to put into words, but I have never visually experienced something like that ever. And it just wasn’t about the 3D, it was about the new, innovative motion capture technology. The facial movements for speech and expression is unsurpassed and sets a new, high bar in motion capture. And it begs the question, who should win an award for motion captured roles? The actor; the special effects team? This is new territory.

5. Shrek – I thought of this one late into this post. Actually, I wasn’t sure it was from the 2000’s, but it is. I think this is the computer animated movie that put computer animated movies on the map. Hardly anything has been hand-drawn since. Pixar and Dreamworks exploded on to the scene after this movie.

If I think of others, I’ll add them. But chime in with your own and why you think it changed the movie industry.

Unprecedented Movies of the 2000’s

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