Geek Guide to the 90’s Movies (1995-1999)!

Jondee here in The Matrix,

pocahontas

The early 90’s gave us potential in computer graphics to fulfill the wildest science fiction visions and soon every super power. Disney hit its heights in the early 90’s, but will stumble here, until finishing in the 2000s for computer animated films. 1995 gave us Waterworld which was a terrific bomb at the box office, but still manages to remain as a stunt show at Universal Studios. Bruce Willy was transported to the present to find The Army of the 12 Monkeys. This is currently a series on Sy Fy. Comic book movies offered us Batman Forever with director Joel Schumacher increasingly going into the camp with Jim Carrey as the Riddler. Jamie Hewlett’s post apocalyptic comic strip, Tank Girl, was made into film by Rachel Talalay. Tank Girl’s future was a paradise compared to the drab Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd that missed the parody and cleverness of the comic by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. There was true horror in the H.R. Giger designed Sil in Species. There as also Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie that had the rangers facing Apocalypse, I mean Ivan Ooze. A new Power Rangers film is set for 2017. There was some more fighting from one of the last gasps of video game movies, Mortal Kombat! Disney had Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend”, Pixar had it’s Toy Story, and animation never was the same again. In anime, Motoko Kusanagi uncovered the mystery in Ghost in the Shell, maybe she will find out how Scarlett Johansson is playing her in the 2017 film.

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Independence Day was a sensation in 1996, the explosion of the White House was like the earlier alien invasion movies. We finally have the sequel this year with Independence Day: Resurgence.  Interesting was Star Trek: First Contact which is the one Star Trek film that can stand without knowledge of Star Trek or ST:TNG. An entry with fantasy films was Dragonheart, but the CG dragon voiced by Sean Connery had a cartoony look. Superhero film, also a pass, The Phantom. Horror brought us From Dusk Til Dawn with a collaboration of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, the series is on El Rey. We also were given a Scream, a clever twist on the slasher movie by Wes Craven. Animated films include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, singing gargoyles are added to Victor Hugo’s story with the one of the creepiest Disney songs about damnation. There was also the stop motion animated James and the Giant Peach based on the Roald Dahl book. 1997 was the year for science fiction with Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element, original with some creative designs influenced by comics artist, Moebius. We finally had the film for Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, it focused on the Bugs rendered in CG, no powered armor, and an Archie comics romance. Still, Robert Zemeckis gave us the adaptation of Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact, one of the few films that I saw where the audience was dead silent at the opening. An incredible vision of science fiction. There was also Gattaca by Andrew Niccol about a genetically pure future. We had a number of sequels, the nonsensical The Lost World: Jurassic Park, not a great follow up novel for Michael Crichton, and Alien: Resurrection which ended the Alien franchise and moved it to fighting the Predators. Comic book films had Batman & Robin which ended that run of films, Todd McFarlane’s character, Spawn, went to the big screen with mixed results, and a bright spot was Men in Black based on the comic by Lowell Cunningham. Disney films were also winding down with Hercules, I could only watch five minutes of it, compared to the more fun Anastasia directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman with fun songs and a solid story. Still, in anime, there was Princess Mononoke from Hayao Miyazaki, a powerful work.

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1998 had some strange entries. There was The X-Files: I Want to Believe film, I know it had something to do with aliens, they were oil or something. We had the vision of Alex Proyas’ Dark City, a neo-noir sci fi film compared to another film the next year. The most wondrous film was the exploration of the afterlife in Vincent Ward’s What Dreams May Come. We had the incredible waste of CG excess in Godzilla, his size varies from scene to scene, and then there was Charlize Theron fighting to protect Mighty Joe Young. Blade set the stage for Marvel films pulling the half-vampire character from The Tomb of Dracula. Disney gave us Mulan which was a fun retelling of the Fa Mulan story and from Pixar was A Bug’s Life. I will say that more memorable was Dreamworks’ Antz, a more clever, exploration of insect behavior than Pixar’s entry. Then, there was Dreamworks’ Prince of Egypt, an artistic version of an important story. The end of decade, 1999, set the stage for current films with bullet time in the Matrix, the found footage of Blair Witch Project, and digital effects and film with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. A seeming parody of Star Trek, Galaxy Quest, brought it’s own charm to a popular sci fi entering the “real world.” The prequels begun with Phantom Menace and gave a peek at the expanse and failure of CG, it wasn’t the Star Wars that Star Warriors remembered. Still, what was mind blowing was the world and effects of The Matrix, whoa!, it took a philosophical premise into a sleek, dark, world dominated by artificial intelligence, martial arts, and cyberpunk with the guns of a crime caper. We were brought into the terror of discovering found footage in the Blair Witch Project. In animation, there was Tarzan for Disney and also Fantasia 2000 which was meant to be a regular update. Pixar brought us Toy Story 2 and one of the interesting films was The Iron Giant. 5 Blair Witch Project, 4 Star Trek: First Contact, 3 Iron Giant, 2 The Fifth Element, 1 The Matrix.

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