We often use the term “revolutionary” today, as when we say “I warn you Catherine, this juice extractor is revolutionary” or “The triple thickness PQ has revolutionized my life Didier” or “Patrice’s methods are revolutionary, no one would have dared to shoot the CEO before him”. In the world of cinema it’s the same, as soon as a film does something original we say that it has revolutionized the genre, but here we are going to talk about those who have really brought a new piece to the building of cinema ( non-exhaustive list, I’m not going to summarize 120 years of cinema in 11 points, calm down).
The Jazz Singer: The First Talking Film
Historically, the musical film “The Jazz Singer” is considered the first talking film in history. In reality it includes some passages where there are words (songs and dialogues) but it is mainly composed of silent passages. However, it was a real revolution in its time.
Georges Méliès: the father of special effects
Georges Méliès was literally the inventor of special effects as he was so creative with so many staging ideas at a time when we didn’t think of doing such inventive things. He is considered today as the father of special effects and unfortunately many of his works have been lost forever because he did not pay attention to his business at all.
And if you want to know more about the guy, I can only recommend this brilliant piece “Le Cercle des illusionnistes” (yes, ok, it’s played in Paris, but it’s often on tour, don’t shout).
Jaws: the first (real) blockbuster
In the midst of the New Hollywood movement where a host of talented directors had just offered an alternative cinema to the aging codes of Hollywood in the 1950s, Steven Spielberg arrived by making it a point of honor to put the show back in the spotlight. That’s what happened with his movie Jaws because the reel was sent en masse all over the country, where before its arrival success was expected in a certain locality and then the copies of the film traveled to other cinemas. It was therefore one of the first massive simultaneous releases in history, as well as the first “monster summer movie”.
The Lord of the Rings: The Leading Role in Live Motion Capture
Motion capture has revolutionized cinema but especially video games. The very first character to have been filmed in motion capture is that damn Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: The Phantom Menacebut the very first to be filmed LIVE is Gollum in The Lord of the Ringsand it is really this new technology that we continue to use today, even if before them Bill du Bigdil had traced the furrow of this new path.
The very first remake: The Indian Woman’s Husband
If today we find that there are far too many remakes, know that historically the first dates from 1914, so it will not have been necessary to wait very long to see this principle arrive. This is “The Indian Woman’s Husband” by Cecil B DeMille. The thing is, good old Cecil had also directed the original in 1913 (a year before then) and the third remake in 1931, so he really liked that script. And believe it or not it’s not even one of the movies with the most remakes.
Cannibal Holocaust: the first film in “found footage”
It’s always a mess to know which film is the first to have invented the principle of found footage: some believe that it is On the other side of the wind which Orson Wells never finished (and which was edited long after the director’s death) others think it’s Cannibal Holocaust and still others consider Blair Witch as the first of its kind. However at the level of the dates we still keep Cannibal Holocaust as being the first FINISHED film that uses this principle. A film with magnificent music by the way, but which I do not recommend for a Sunday evening with the family.
The first film with digital special effects: Westworld
Before being an unjustly canceled series, Westworld was a novel by Michael Crichton (also author of Jurassic Park) and a 1973 film. It is also the very first film to use digital special effects. The effects being quite rare in the footage, we mainly remember the film tron (1982) for being the one to have made a real significant use of it since it contains nearly 20 minutes of digital special effects.
Toy Story: the first computer-generated film
Historically, Toy Story redefined the animated film since it is the very first film entirely filmed in computer graphics. Before its release, everything was animated by hand by extremely patient people, which still cost less. Needless to say, it completely changed the world of animation and put Pixar on the front of the stage.
The Muppets the movie: the first post-credits scene
Today the principle of post-generic scene is found a little in all films (hello Marvel), but the very first work to have invented this principle is the first Muppets film whose post-generic scene simply consisted of showing one of the characters yelling “go home” to the viewers. How to enter the legend.
The movie that brought 3D back to life: Avatar
Avatar was not the first film in 3D, we had already seen some attempts close to the relief or the 3D but the technology did not attract the public in mass. But when Avatar arrived in theaters, the world was charmed by its universe and the finesse of its well-detailed and film-optimized 3D, which was a real hit in cinemas and reimbursed the colossal cost of production.
Avatar 2: the way of water, the question of high frame rate
Historically, The Hobbit Trilogy was the first to be released theatrically at 48 frames per second (compared to the traditional 24 frames per second) the audience had a strange effect, as if the image was too diffuse and gave an effect ” TV” instead of giving a “cinema” effect, we call it the “soap opera effect”.
The problem comes from the fact that the eye is not accustomed to this kind of frequency in the cinema, suddenly James Cameron opted for a hybrid which oscillates in 48 frames per second during the action scenes and 24 during the dialogues ( Variable Frame Rate), which will get the eye more accustomed to this new frame rate.
It is therefore very likely that the next big productions will start using VFR because this technology improves the details in action scenes and avoids jerks or excessively blurry movements. Get ready to see a lot of movies (well, blockbusters) opting for this technique, and who knows, one day our eyes will be used enough to watch a movie in full at 48 frames per second without undergoing this disgusting soap opera effect. In the meantime, several movie theaters have already crashed in full screening of Avatar 2 because they were not sufficiently equipped to broadcast this film which was still a little too ahead of its time.