The 2000s were a pivotal decade for the development of cinema. Looking back, we can see the groundwork for today’s incredibly lucrative extended universes of comic book franchises being lain down and a trend adaptations of literary blockbusters being established. Whether you think these influences have been a blessing or a curse to mainstream cinema, there’s no denying that audiences have eaten them up. So let’s look at some of the cinematic hits that have defined the last decade.
James Cameron’s sci-fi extravaganza was one of the first films to feature true 3D, and audiences lapped it up to see what the new technology was capable of. The eco-friendly story of an industrialised human military fighting a planet’s indigenous species broke the mold not just in technological film-making but in box office receipts, making it the highest grossing film ever released, and moving Hollywood’s CGI industry into the future. The only downside being that the formidably talented Cameron now seems to have dedicated himself to only making movies for this particular franchise since.
The Dark Knight
Widely regarded as the finest superhero film ever made, Christopher Nolan’s sophomore Batman film benefited tremendously from a career-defining turn from Heath Ledger as the psychopathic Joker, Batman’s demented nemesis. The film itself is one of the darkest and most mature visions of a superhero as audiences have ever seen.
The second outing for Dreamworks Shrek series was a huge hit with young fans and managed to make a strong challenge to Pixar’s supremacy within the sphere of CGI children’s films. The film follows Mike Myers’ semi-Scottish ogre as he embarks on a quest to reconcile his in-laws with he and his new wife’s ogre-hood. Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy have memorable voice performances as well.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
If you’d told anyone in the 1990s that one of the biggest franchises of the next decade was based on a theme park ride, you might have understandably met with some strange looks. However, that’s just what happened, as the series has endured in popularity with Mecca Bingo Casino for passionate players, in no small part thanks to Johnny Depp’s charismatic performance as pirate captain Jack Sparrow. The second, and biggest-grossing film in the series finds the gang racing to recover Davy Jones’ soul to repay a debt made by Sparrow.
Given the comic’s phenomenal popularity with generations of fans, it’s surprising it took this long for a Spider-Man film to hit the big screen. Understandably, Hollywood may have been waiting for special effects technology to get to a point where the web-slinging antics of everyone’s favourite neighbourhood wall crawler to be satisfactorily translated to celluloid. When that movie finally arrived in 2002, it seemed that moment had finally come at the hands of director Sam Raimi, proving like never before that with great power comes great responsibility.