Thursday, 7 August 2014

The '90s: Rise of the machines

The Sith Lord Darth Maul (Ray Park) in 'Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace'.

The Sith Lord Darth Maul (Ray Park) in 'Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace'.

From computer-generated wonders to cult classics, here are our nine most important films of the 1990s.

THE 1990s were the decade when the computers took over the world. The world of movies, that is. Throughout the decade, we walked with dinosaurs, sailed on the Titanic, entered the Matrix, and returned to that galaxy far, far away; all thanks to the wonders of computer animated imagery (CGI).

From Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking Jurassic Park to Pixar’s Toy Story, this was the decade in which CGI really made its mark on movies, giving new meaning to the term “movie magic”, and kickstarting the penchant for huge, CGI-filled extravaganzas that continues on even today.

There were so many great movies in the 1990s that we could have populated this list 90 of the best films from the decade. The nine we’ve eventually chosen here were selected not because of how much they earned (though many of them earned A LOT), or how many Oscars they won, but for the impact they had on the film industry in general.

He came back, all right.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

He did say he’d be back after all, but what a way to make a comeback. Arguably Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most iconic role ever, T2 was also one of the best of the early CGI practitioners, helping to turn Robert Patrick’s T-1000 liquid metal killing machine into one of the deadliest villains in movie history. There is going to be another Terminator film next year, Terminator: Genesis, and guess who will be back.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Imperious rex: When you mess about in T-rex's domain, the consequences are all on you. p.s. his domain is wherever he decides.
Imperious rex: When you mess about in T-rex's domain, the consequences are all on you. p.s. his domain is wherever he decides.

Quick, who else remembers queuing up for hours just to get tickets for this movie? T2 may have started the CGI craze, but Jurassic Park was the movie that finally made it great. It is testament to the greatness of Steven Spielberg’s film that it hasn’t really aged at all (though some of the CGI does seem a bit dated), and there is even a FOURTH film – Jurassic World – coming out next year.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction with Samuel L. Jackson
Pulp Fiction with Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta.

There are just so many iconic scenes in this one – the dance scene between John Travolta and Uma Thurman, Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson’s “Royale with cheese” conversation in the car ... the list goes on. Quentin Tarantino made his directing debut two years earlier with Reservoir Dogs, but it was with Pulp Fiction that he REALLY established himself as one of the coolest directors working today.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Ranked #1 in IMDb’s all-time Top 250 list and voted by readers of Britain’s Empire magazine as the best film of the 1990s, The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies that may not have made a lot of money on its initial theatrical release, but managed to, ahem, redeem itself later on.

Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story

It’s hard to believe that before Toy Story, there was no such thing as a computer animated movie. Heck, the closest an animated film had come to a CG revolution at that point was Beauty And The Beast (1991), which had a very nice-looking CG chandelier, but that was about it. Its sequel, Toy Story 2 in 1999, was equally good,

Titanic (1997)


It was the movie that almost everyone wanted to watch (even if they didn’t want to admit it), and it seemed as though everyone did – the movie eventually became the first film to gross more than one BILLION US dollars worldwide, and was the undisputed No.1 film of all time until James Cameron decided to one up himself with Avatar.

The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix

There is only one word that can describe the way The Matrix turned our minds upside-down then inside-out, and finally, bullet-timed its way into our collective blown minds: WHOA.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

Come on, it’s STAR WARS. On hindsight, the prequels were not exactly the best additions to the franchise (curse you, Jar Jar Binks!), but although we may spit and swear at it now, back when this was released, it was THE movie event of the decade. Heck, it was worth it just to see that opening title crawl and hear John William’s epic theme in the cinema again.

Fight Club
Brad Pitt in Fight Club.

Fight Club (1999)

The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club. The unknown rule of Fight Club is: you do not leave Fight Club out of any list it is eligible for. So there.

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Tags / Keywords: movies , Jurassic Park , Star Wars , Terminator , Titanic , Toy Story , 1990s


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