This is perhaps the most important one. Looking at the fifteen most successful films of the last decade, one struggles to find a film other than Avatar that is not a remake, an adaptation or a prequel/sequel. It's likely that this has contributed to Avatar's immense success, yet Hollywood doesn’t like taking risks. A-List stars, formulaic narratives and happy endings have rarely failed Hollywood and as much as we like to believe that it’s all about making the best possible movies, let’s not forget that it’s a business, after all. However, eventually audiences will grow tired of watching the same film over and over again; or at least that’s what I’d like to believe. The success of Pixar’s original and innovative films — The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up to name but a few — are just one set of examples which demonstrates that we are willing to enter unknown territory at our own risk every now and then when the rewards are so great.
New talents and old comebacks
J.J. Abrams and Judd Apatow epitomise a new ingenious and fearless generation of filmmakers that has emerged over the last decade. Although Abrams and Apatow have very different interests, they have a similar attitude to filmmaking. There is no fear of casting unknown talent (Apatow) or leaving audiences in the dark (Abrams) and this has proved to be both a huge success for them, and allowed us to discover something new and exciting. However, not everything positive in the past ten years has come exclusively from the fresh forces of Hollywood. Although Robert Downey Jr. is only two years older than Judd Apatow, he is a movie veteran compared to the man behind comedies such as The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. Whereas Apatow represents the “new”, Downey Jr. symbolises rejuvenation. Few actors have made a comeback quite as remarkable as his. After years of substance abuse the last decade saw him make is return with films such as Good Night, and Good Luck, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac and Iron Man. Ever since, his career has been going uphill and we can look forward to even more great performances from the actor with the perfect comic timing. Coincidentally, his next film Iron Man 2 will see him face Mickey Rourke, another actor who celebrated his comeback recently, as the villain. A mouth-watering prospect.
Despite the massive success of Avatar, it doesn’t seem like 3D has won over the hearts of the audiences quite yet. It’s still a bit odd to wear glasses to the cinema and a lot of the time 3D continues to be used as a gimmick which sits slightly uncomfortable with the viewer. However, there are spells in Avatar which hint at the great potential of 3D cinema and a lot can happen in 10 years. So let’s see what 3D can do even if it’s just so we realise, at the end of 2019, that in fact, everything is actually better in 2D.
The past decade has been exceptionally good in terms of the quality of international films, and this has quickened our appetite for more. Films such as The Lives of Others, Pan’s Labyrinth, City of God, Oldboy and The White Ribbon are just a tiny fraction of the incredible amount of great films that have been produced all over the world in the last ten years. Even though international films only account for 3% of the market in the UK, they should not just be an alternative when Hollywood is going around in circles, as they are often far superior in terms of what they offer to the viewer. Unconventional characters, innovative storylines and controversy; international cinema makes up for the dose of originality we don't get all too often from Hollywood films.
Not really cinema, but also not quite ordinary television, series such as Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and The Wire are among the very best drama we have seen in the last ten years; be it on the big screen or at home in front of the television. Originally broadcast by the American cable network HBO, these shows reinvented television drama; in terms of depth and quality, few television programmes can match the creative genius of the HBO writers. Needless to say, this is a personal opinion (I honestly understand if a person prefers to watch Coronation Street) but over the years, HBO’s programmes have produced impressive DVD sales and huge fan followings, which speak for their success. If you’re looking for inspiring high quality drama, look no further.