Let’s state the obvious first. Looking back, 2006 will be remembered as a steady Hollywood year but not a spectacular one by any standards. Otherwise, this year’s output was fairly evenly balanced in terms of genres. Thrillers, super-hero flicks, comedies, horror films, horror-comedies (some would say horrific comedies!), period dramas, animated films and documentaries- practically every genre made its strong representation in the year’s hits and misses.
‘Franchise movies’- the prequels, the sequels and the remakes dominated the major Hollywood successes this year. But then hasn’t that been the standard trend for years in this world’s most glamorous and most discussed movie-making industry? It is so easy to take a piggyback ride on the past success and acceptance of a theme or a central character. That’s why we have so many top hits of the year, just carrying forward the old popular themes and characters like Captain Sparrow and his pirates (Pirates of the Caribbean- Dead man’s chest); the mutant friends-turned-foes (X-men 3); the world-saver Superman (Superman returns) and the British super-spy James Bond (Casino Royale). Amongst all these, Brandon Routh playing Superman and Daniel Craig playing James Bond received special kudos for breathing new life into their famous characters.
Add to that long list of sequels and prequels, moderately successful films like the animated Ice Age 2, Tom Cruise’s fast-paced spy-story MI- III, Tim Allen’s Christmas-flick Santa Clause-3 and the quite meaningless installments of interminable horror-film-chains like Scary Movie 4, Saw 3 and Texas chainsaw massacre – The beginning.
Dan Brown’s bestseller thriller novel The Da Vinci Code on the ever-winding trail of mythical Holy Grail was quite convincingly translated to the silver screen by the successful director-actor team of Ron Howard and Tom Hanks.