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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The decade’s best movies

click to enlarge Pan's Labyrinth
  • Pan's Labyrinth

Never an easy task, confining the best films of the decade to a top 10 list seemed particularly difficult for 2000-2009. Does a single big-screen story that amounts to more than nine hours count as “one” film? How about one that’s nine minutes? Consequently, this retrospective list goes way over 10, and considers the points of connections between the decade’s best films and definitive talents.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring(2001), The Two Towers(2002) and The Return of the King(2003): “The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.” The first words of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein’s beloved fantasy trilogy uses down-to-earth details to convey the weight of the past, a persistent approach that makes The Lord of the Rings feel more like a lived-in historical epic than a glossy fantasy tale. Jackson’s craft with spectacular battle scenes and terrifying, monstrous set pieces remains unsurpassed, but beneath the archetypal tale of good vs. evil lies a theme of the corruptibility of the righteous (particularly in the first film). Andy Serkis’ motion-capture performance as Gollum offers a haunting, timeless portrait of obsession and, incidentally, blazed the trail for such spectacles as Avatar. With the extended DVD editions, the three films comprise more than 10 hours of running time, but remain one sprawling, inextricable story that will take its place alongside the likes of The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as classic screen entertainments.

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(Photo © 2006 Picturehouse)

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