Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the Year 2079...

In the year 2079…

What makes a classic a classic? Any film buff will tell you that becoming a classic is mostly a matter of time. If your film stands the test of time, if it survives a certain number of years, if it passes some sort of hurdle, it is deemed a classic and can be caught one Sunday afternoon on TCM. But who decides what that year mark is?

I believe that a classic film classification must depend on more than just age. Because let’s face it, at less than 10 years old, it’s already been decided that “The Lord of the Rings” is a classic film. At 15, so is “Toy Story.” But I’m 21 – I don’t consider myself a classic. So it can’t only be a matter of time. Surely, if your film stands the test of time in a Hollywood as productive as it is today, it means something. But I think instant classics are made by films that break the mold, set a new standard, or give us something we have never seen before.

Last year we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the greatest year in movies. People still watch these movies like they are brand new because they are timeless and don't look 70 years old.

While I am sure no one in 1939 could fathom that we would still be watching their movies 70 years later (they hadn't even begun to conceive the VCR/DVD player), it makes me wonder: in the year 2079, what movies will people be watching for the first time? What movies have we made that will stand the test of time?

I have no doubt that in 70 years people will still be watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which gave us the most realistic CGI I have ever seen on film, making it the finest piece of filmmaking in our generation. They will still enjoy “Toy Story,” the first 3-D computer animated film, which forever changed the way we view animated movies.

In addition, they will probably still watch the original Star Wars trilogy. I also hope that future generations will enjoy the splendor that is Titanic. They will also still enjoy Disney and Pixar animated movies, but hopefully the dreadful Disney sequels will have fallen into the same oblivion as I hope the new Star Wars trilogy will. And I have no doubt that the best piece of American Cinema, “The Godfather” Trilogy, will still be shown 70 years from now of whatever form TV is in.

While it’s impossible to know what films will stand the test of time, I think some assumptions are safe. Only time will tell.

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