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2010 in review: Movies

Maija Gustin | Tuesday, December 7, 2010

After a 2009 that was dominated by successful blockbusters —”Avatar,” “Star Trek” and “Transformers 2” to name a few — 2010 fell a little flat. For every “Inception,” there was a “Last Airbender,” and for every “Harry Potter,” there was a “Percy Jackson.”

There were, however, also a string of movies that perhaps didn’t get as much hype as they deserved. Leonardo DiCaprio messed with our minds before “Inception,” in early 2010 with “Shutter Island,” overall a pretty good movie that didn’t seem to impress audiences enough. “Robin Hood” and “Prince of Persia” weren’t particularly great movies, but they were perfect summer, popcorn-and-escapism fun. “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” though disliked by many, was loved by many more, but didn’t prove its popularity at the box office.  

2010 saw a wave of sequels, remakes and adaptations, and while a few were great, most were subpar to their originals. Though Robert Downey, Jr. will probably always be great as Tony Stark, “Iron Man 2” was missing the formula that made the original such a fantastic movie. “Sex and the City” wasn’t a great movie, but it was enjoyable and pleased many of the HBO series’ fans. “Sex and the City 2,” however, should never have been made, which was even more evident after seeing the actual movie. “

Eclipse” was the best “Twilight” movie yet, but what does that really say about it? “Wall Street 2” proved that the box office loves Shia LeBeouf, but also that even he can’t save a movie. “The Lovely Bones” tried to turn a beautiful book into a beautiful movie, but failed due to the weight of its own ambitions.

No one actually saw the comic book adaptation “Jonah Hex,” but many fans were satisfied with the hilarious-but-violent adaptation of “Kick-Ass.” “The Karate Kid” proved that the charismatic progeny of Will Smith are box office gold.

 If 2010 thrived anywhere, it was in animation. “How to Train Your Dragon” was a magical, mythical ride from Dreamworks, and “Shrek Forever After” closed out a popular franchise. “Despicable Me” was the second-most popular animated film this summer, falling only behind the tremendous “Toy Story 3.” This threequel had big shoes to fill and Pixar totally delivered. It’s a shoe-in for the Best Animated Oscar. And “Tangled” just beat “Harry Potter” at the box office, proving to be popular amongst young and old alike.

Notre Dame hasn’t seen this much love from Hollywood since “Rudy.” In 2010, two movies were released, both based on the experiences of Notre Dame alumni. Check out Scene’s past coverage of “Extraordinary Measures” and “Love and Other Drugs” for the stories behind these films.

Some of 2010’s worst films came in the form of coming-of-age movies and romantic comedies. Despite starring a stellar cast, “Valentine’s Day” just couldn’t pull off the romantic holiday “Love, Actually”-style. Miley Cryus’ “The Last Song” also proved an unsurprising letdown. Julia Roberts is always fantastic, but “Eat Pray Love” was only good for its beautiful scenery. And the usually wonderful Amanda Seyfried turned in two mediocre rom-coms, “Letters to Juliet” and “Dear John.” Rising star Emma Stone, though, proved that the teen genre still has some bite to it in “Easy A.”

Though the winter is usually the season of Oscar fodder movies, several front-runners for the movie awards have already been released. David Fincher’s “The Social Network” was one of the most buzzed about, and most critically acclaimed, movies of the year and is sure to be up for more than a handful of major prizes come awards season. “The King’s Speech,” a British film starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, is still only in limited release but looks to earn Firth a long-overdue Academy Award. “The Kids Are All Right,” released over the summer, also has Annette Bening and Julianne Moore looking to vie for some much-deserved hardware. Ben Affleck surprised everyone with his directorial debut, “The Town,” which looks to send him back to the Oscars as a nominee. Oscar co-host James Franco will also be well represented at the ceremonies by his Danny Boyle-directed film “127 Hours.” The recently released “Black Swan” is also already a contender for the big awards.

It’s only been out for a few weeks, but “Harry Potter” has already earned more than $600 million worldwide, further catapulting the film series into the realm of Most Successful Franchise Ever.

But 2010 isn’t over yet. And as the holiday movie season gets into full swing, there is a lot to look forward to. If bored this winter break, consider getting out of the cold and heading to the multiplex, where you can check out the third “Narnia” film, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” You can also see Helen Mirren take on a traditionally male Shakespearean character in “The Tempest.” “Tron: Legacy” looks like 3D with a purpose and the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit” is a guaranteed Oscar-contender.