Help me make an Evolution of Movies collection.

Get the DVDs American Cinema and * A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies* and do some fun research. I saw both on TV years ago. Scorsese in particular picks out fascinating reasons for the films he chooses to discuss. In fact I’ll go so far as to say that without the Scorsese documentary your collection is incomplete.

I really think Kangaroo Jack should be on that list.

You might want to narrow your focus. The evolution of special effects will bring you in one direction, the evolution of narrative devices, quite another. You could even chart the rises and falls of Disney animation, or James Bond movies (Dr. No has very little in common with later, more influential installments; it looks like the Cary Grant drawing room mystery it was originally intended to be), or Science Fiction spectaculars.

I didn’t notice The Wizard of Oz on any lists; that sure set some kind of high water mark. Birth of a Nation was mentioned, but got kind of a short shrift; people forget how cinematography sucked before that movie opened up new possibilities of camera angles as storytelling elements. And the whole Dogma 95 movement deserves a mention for giving the American blockbuster a well-needed bitch slap; it hasn’t caught on here in the States, but it has influenced such films as Blair Witch Project and Ghost World.

Some Woody Allen might be nice; while Annie hall and Manhattan are considered his breakthrough movies, I think he hit his zenith with Crimes and Misdemeanors in terms of balancing extreme elements into a superlative bit of filmmaking.

I’ve been told some of them fired back…

Astronomer’s Dream or The Trip To the Moon

Any idea if this is the first sci-fi movie?

Well, if it’s science fiction, where’s the “science”? It’s not actually about a trip to the moon, it’s about Satan, the Fairy Queen, and the mischievous Man in the Moon visiting an astronomer. And then the astronomer wakes up and discovers it’s all been a bad dream.

You bring up a good poing Walloon. I definately believe in the definition of HARD Sci-Fi: which is, it’s got to be based on science, or possible science. Star Wars is fantasy. Star Trek is fantasy (aliens). 2001 is fantasy (aliens). Blade Runner is science fiction. Gattaca is science fiction. Jurrassic Park is Science Fiction. Vanilla Sky is science fiction. A.I. WAS science fiction until they brought in those blasted aliens at the end!!! Boy, there are FAR too few hard science fiction movies, aren’t there?

Anyway, do I stick to my guns and proclaim that “the first science fiction is not science fiction” even when it is popularly called the first sci-fi? I can get away with calling it “speculative fiction.” But if it is a dream and not reality, then it is science fiction, or just fiction. Or is that your point? It’s not fantasy or Sci-Fi. It’s just fiction. So Wizard of Oz isn’t fantasy? It’s just fiction?

I think they were terrestrial robots/AIs that had evolved over the thousand years the Sixth Sense kid was frozen. (God that movie was long and dull. I almost thought the end was filmed in real-time).

From a technological point of view, I believe Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones was the first all digital movie.

Of course it is technically not a movie but a 143 minute marketing promo for Industrial Light and Magic.
Space Jam was the first movie to combine live action, cell animation, and 3D graphics

I believe Lord of the Rings may have been the first trillogy to be filmed all at once.

IIRC, they weren’t aliens, but advanced robots/whatever, so it would qualify.

Okay , forgive me if some of these were mentioned:
Singin in the Rain
Gone with the Wind
Casablanca

What’s the deal with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? If its there as the first live action/cell animation combo, there were actually others before that. Disney’s The Three Cabellero’s was first although Song of the South is probably better known.

Of course, Song of the South is locked in Disney’s “special” vault along with Nazi propaganda films they produced in the late 30s and Bambi 2000.

From a technological standpoint, The Evil Dead might be worthy of addition to your list. The director, Sam Raimi, is credited with inventing what I believe is called the Stillcam, but someone may be along momentarily to correct me on that.

msmith, Ralph Bakshi’s LOTR used Rotoscoping HEAVILY, and that predates Roger Rabbit by at least a decade.

Bladerunner (pretty significant in its f/x at the time)
Aliens
The City of Lost Children
(visually amazing)
The Wizard of Oz
The Ten Commandments

The movie Clue showed multiple endings. Any previous movies do this?
You might also consider a Tim Burton movie or two.

Batman
Beetlejuice
Edward Scissorhands
The Nightmare Before Christmas
(beautiful stop-motion)

swingchick, prisoner6655321 has clarified that he isn’t not looking for a list of the greatest movies of all time. He’s wants to study the evolution of technological advances in the movies.

msmith537, I was careful to say that The Three Caballeros (1945) (no apostrophe) was the first feature to combine live action and animation throughout. It was not by any means the first time live action had been combined with animation. Disney started out in the 1920s with a series of shorts called “Alice in Cartoonland”, featuring a live action girl interacting with cartoon characters. And the Disney feature Fantasia (1940), of course, had Mickey Mouse shaking hands with Leopold Stokowski.

Nor is rotoscoping anything new; it goes back to the 1910s. Both Fleischer and Disney used it in features in the 1930s and 1940s, especially when drawing realistic human figures.

It seems The Song of the South is available on home video everywhere but in North America. You can order it from online from foreign distributors.

Thanks msmith537, I’ll be taking Roger Rabbit off the list. Shoot, now that I think about it, even Mary Poppins had cell animation with live action.

And thanks go to Walloon again for some great info. Maybe I can get more information from a source of the Scientific and Technical Award Oscars. Anybody know a good source? Is there a book or a website?

Nevermind, I found it. THE source:
http://wwwdb.oscars.org/scitech_db/index.html
Of course it only lists the winners, and I can’t find any movie info.

Yes, prisoner6655321, the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards go to technical developments (or more precisely, the companies and individuals who created them), not to particular motion pictures. For instance, the invention of the Steadicam or the introduction of a new color-balanced lighting arc.

Unlike the artistic awards (the ones you see on television), there aren’t slates of nominees announced for the scientific and technical awards. Various committees formed by the Academy recommend recipients, and the recipients are invited to receive their awards at an earlier, separate ceremony. The winners of the Class I scientific and technical awards (for the most important innovations) get an Oscar statuette. Class II and Class III recipients get plaques and certificates.

Yeah, I figured for simplicities sake that prisoner6655321 would probably want to stick to full-length features. I imagine there would be a lot of movie shorts where animators would try to experiment with new techniques.