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Saturday, 23 December, 2000, 12:08 GMT
Hollywood's year of nostalgia
gladiator
Gladiator is considered one the highlights of the year
The past 12 months may have marked the dawn of a new millennium but in Hollywood there was a constant whiff of nostalgia in the air.

Across the board, from animation to high action to comedy, old themes and stories were revisited and rehashed for the big screen.

Many of these movies were novel in their reinvention, particularly in the use of digital technology.

But elsewhere praise was in short supply as most of 2000's movies disappointed, failing to create any pre-Oscar 2001 hubbub.

But things were not all bad. The year got off to a particularly strong start with the Academy Awards winners and also-rans.

American Beauty
Annette Bening contributed to the success of American Beauty

Sam Mendes' American Beauty stole Oscars night in March, winning five awards including best film.

Audiences in the UK responded enthusiastically, keeping the movie at number one in the box office charts for several weeks.

Other Oscar winners and contenders, including The Cider House Rules, The Green Mile, Being John Malkovich and Magnolia, also ignited passions and stood out for their depth and thoughtfulness.

The most impressive of the bunch, however, was The Insider, starring man of the moment Russell Crowe.

Special effects

Crowe went on to scale new heights in 2000 as Maximus, "the general who became a slave", in Gladiator - the best of the nostalgia movies and, for many, the film of the year.

Russell Crowe in The Insider
Russell Crowe got off to a good start in The Insider

Ridley Scott's movie re-invented the sand and sandals epic with extraordinary battle scenes and computer-generated imagery.

It also made a superhero of Crowe as he played his heroic character with aplomb.

Animated adventure Dinosaur was another movie using outstanding technology to bring the past to life.

Six years in the making, Dinosaur blended digitally enhanced live-action photography, special-effects wizardry and computer-generated characters.

And, at a cost of $200m (136m), the movie broke records as the most expensive film made to date.

Continuing the mood of retrospection, a fair helping of the year's screen offerings chose to revamp kitsch or classic characters.

Kevin Bacon in The Hollow Man
Kevin Bacon in the suspense-filled Hollow Man

Samuel L Jackson reprised the role of ultimate black detective Shaft from the 1971 movie of the same name.

Kevin Bacon's hit sci-fi thriller The Hollow Man revitalised Bacon's career and breathed hi-tech life into H G Wells' The Invisible Man.

In the same vein, comic book crusaders the X-Men were given a major make-over, complete with lycra and special effects.

Controversy

Figure-hugging costumes and extraordinary stunts were also much in evidence in Charlie's Angels - the most-talked about remake of the year.

Featuring the combined attractions of Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore, the movie remodelled the now cult lipstick-and-boilersuit 70s TV series

Charlie's Angels
Charlie's Angels returned in a tougher format

Another hyped high-action nostalgia flick was Tom Cruise's sequel Mission: Impossible 2 - based loosely on the 60s TV series.

Cruise gave fans a second helping of Mission's original winning formula, doing well at the box office as a result.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of flop flick Blair Witch II, which gave Hollywood gloss and complicated plot to the original rough-cut smash hit.

Controversy also dogged a number of films.

Heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach caused a row in Thailand over the alleged environmental damage to Maya beach, on Phi Phi Le island, during production.

Also in Thailand, government officials banned Jodie Foster's Anna and the King, because of its supposed irreverence to the 19th Century King of Siam.

Scary Movie
Scary Movie played a major part in the 'silly season'

Also causing a stink was the Jim Carrey comedy Me, Myself & Irene.

Carrey's comic take on a man with schizophrenia angered mental health campaigners and prompted critics to bemoan the demise of quality film-making.

Spoof films Scary Movie, Road Trip and sci-fi turkeys Battlefield Earth and Red Planet contributed largely to the general industry malaise.

Sadly, the British film industry was also responsible for a number of 2000's flops, including Honest, Love, Honour and Obey and Sorted.

Triumphs

But it also had one of its best years yet with movies finding success on both sides of the Atlantic.

Chicken Run
Chicken Run was a British success

Director Guy Ritchie improved on his first hit gangster flick Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with the acclaimed Snatch.

Nick Park's first feature-length film Chicken Run thrilled movie-goers of all ages with its stylish animation from the team which made the Wallace & Gromit shorts.

Then there was Billy Elliott, which - released in October - continues to ride high in the box office charts.

In fact, towards the end of 2000 things seemed to be looking up for the industry in general.

Chiller-thriller What Lies Beneath, indie movie Memento, French movie Harry, He's Here to Help and Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks are among those films praised as class acts.

Even Jim Carrey's family movie The Grinch, though not to everyone's taste, can be appreciated for its fantasy and technical achievement.

Meet the Parents
Meet the Parents hopefully points to a more inspiring 2001

But the movie to cap 2000 has to be comedy Meet the Parents, starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller.

De Niro's turn as the sinister father-in-law to Ben Stiller held the movie at the top of the US charts for several weeks.

And, according to predictions, it looks set to be the UK's number one movie well into the new year.

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See also:

16 Oct 00 | Entertainment
De Niro still box office leader
25 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Horror at the US box office
11 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Grinch's fourth week on top
18 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Box office mania hits Hollywood
08 May 00 | Tom Brook
Gladiator conquers Hollywood
28 Mar 00 | Oscars 2000
American Beauty's Oscar triumph
13 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Disney unleashes Dino magic
16 Aug 00 | Entertainment
X-Men fans mob Stewart
07 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Hollow victory at US Box Office
13 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Angels triumph over Sandler's devil
27 May 00 | Entertainment
Cruise's impossible mission
27 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Blair Witch II: The 'anti-sequel'
07 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Two arrested in Anna clampdown
03 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Chicken Run rules cinema roost
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Ford and Pfeiffer back on top
02 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Billy's box office leap
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