“What happens next?” In books, on TV series and in film, this decade saw the triumphant return of the heroic narrative. Sometimes, as in (Spider-Man and Pirates of the Caribbean, movies had sequels because the box office told them to, but frequently the sagas were organic and complex, obliging viewers to recall story elements from episodes a year or two before. (You can do that in the DVD era.) We mean Harry Potter, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, maybe Christopher Nolan’s Batman series and, above all, Peter Jackson’s 9 hr.-plus adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy. The New Zealander spent seven years on the project, chose and directed its perfect cast and orchestrated the luminous effects work, all to create a fantasy epic of tremendous scope, gravity and heart. Props also to Jackson for his WETA digital shop, which helped bring the creatures of Avatar to persuasive life; for mentoring Neill Blomkamp on this year’s District 9; and for choosing Guillermo Del Toro, whose Pan’s Labyrinth found children’s fantasy in a much darker shade, to direct The Hobbit, the two-part prequel to The Lord of the Rings.
Next Slumdog Millionaire