Feature 10 Hollywood Trendsetters

Movies.ie present ten of Hollywood’s trendsetting films from over the last ten years.

With the summer season soon coming to a close (it’s August already, Autumn’s here! ), we got to thinking about summer blockbusters. While Summer ’08 wasn’t up to much weather wise, summer movies were at their best this year with a variety of innovative films coming from a genre usually considered formulaic; films like Pixar’s Wall-e, Nolan’s Dark Knight and we’re expecting big things with Del Toro’s Hellboy sequel. This got us thinking about cinema and what films we consider to be innovative, ground breaking or indeed trend-setting (for good or bad!?) over the last ten years:


Here, we present 10 Hollywood trendsetters from days gone by:

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow 

It’s all about the green screen in  this 2004 American pulp adventure, science fiction film. Written and directed by Kerry Conran, this was one of the first major films to be shot entirely on a “digital backlot” -blending live actors with computer generated surroundings.

Impact : Sin City, 300, The Spirit





The Bourne Supremacy

Before Jason Bourne was pulled out of the Mediterranean Sea the majority of action films from the 90’s were high concept, no brainer. Although you can’t argue with the appeal of the mindless popcorn action blockbuster the Bourne trilogy combined an air tight plot with a realistic documentary aesthetic that made the action seem more believable. Audiences were now up close and personal to the action as we could feel the impact of every bone shattering punch and blow.

Impact : Casino Royale, Vantage Point




The Blair Witch Project

Keeping on with the theme of camera work arguably no other film has been more influential in recent years than this. Yes, it did induce nausea and headaches if you saw it in the cinema but the widespread success of this film will inspire future generations of filmmakers. The Blair Witch project made it seem that a lack of money or high production values were no longer an issue…it seemed that all you needed was a camera, cast and a good story.

Impact : Cloverfield, Open Water, Diary of the Dead






Marketing Campaign- Although JJ Abrams monster movie was very enjoyable it paled in significance to the marketing campaign that precluded it. The internet was a blaze as fans savaged to find links to hidden viral messages, videos, character biographies, stories etc.

Impact: The Dark Knight



The Matrix

The beauty of the Wachowski’s 1998 film (god has it been that long) is that not only did it revolutionise the action/sci-fi genres but arguably film itself. We could pick so many aspects of the film that were innovative but we settled on the journey of its leading man. Nearly all of the action heroes in the late 80’s and early 90’s almost became cartoon characters as muscles were more important than characterisation. Step up Keanu Reaves. Perfectly cast as Thomas Anderson he was equally adept at playing the everyman and hero.
Impact : Spiderman, Wanted




Kill Bill

Splitting movies in two- With Pulp Fiction he restored French new wave disjointed narrative to the mainstream but with Kill Bill Tarrantino started his own trend. Was the decision to make the revenge kung fu/ western a two part film a cynical attempt to get more money or was it justified on its artistic merit. Either way this trend seems to be only get more popular…will we see part three I wonder?

Impact : Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Grindhouse, Che (rumoured)



Although gore, blood and guts have been a key part of the horror genre it wasn’t until the release of Eli Roth’s Hostel and the creation of so called ‘torture porn’ that excess became the norm amongst most horror releases. Taking obvious Eastern stylistic influences from Takashi Miike this horror sub genre has come in for recent criticism but shows no signs of slowing down.

Impact :Saw, Stay Alive, Captivity,




Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Certainly not the first CGI character but Gollum remains the most lifelike character in cinema due to the technical brilliance of WETA and the passionate performance of Andy Serkis. The bar has been raised now who can jump it?

Impact : The Incredible Hulk, King Kong, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest




Moulin Rouge

The third instalment of Baz Luhrmann’s Red Curtain trilogy brought the movie musical kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Audiences and critics loved it as the film cleverly combined modern day songs and pop-cultural references with the traditional styling’s of the musical. Granted, there’s nothing unique about the love story but it is unique due to its visual flair and irreverence for conventional musicals.

Impact  : Chicago,  Mama Mia!


X Men

This film is far from being the best comic book movie adaptation….in fact it isn’t even close (cough Dark Knight). The legacy of Singer’s film however is that it did set the template for comic book films by showing studios and filmakers how to adapt them to the silver screen. Complex characters, intriguing plots and dark visuals became the norm. X-Men’s popularity showed studios once again that comic book films (when handled properly) weren’t restricted to the small core of comic book fans.

Impact : Spiderman, Batman etc etc.



Do you agree, disagree? We want to know! – suggestions, corrections, chastisement -all welcome in the comment box below!