The 2000s (The Decade That Defined Gen Y): Part 5 - Showbiz
The Death of Michael Jackson
The 2000's also witnessed the death of one of the world's biggest pop-stars, Michael Jackson when on June 25th 2009, it was reported he had reportedly suffered a heart-attack at his Beverley Hills mansion after apparently over dozing on prescription drugs.
The death of Michael Jackson came just as he was planning on embarking on a final tour later that year at London's O2 Arena entitled 'This Is It' before announcing retirement but commentators and family members believed that the pressure on him both regarding the tour and his personal life (where it was alleged numerous times that he was a pedophile) eventually got to him.
Michael Jackson's death caused shock waves across the music industry and the world and reminded everyone that despite the success one may have thanks to their music, the personal toll that the pressure to perform and maintain an image takes on someone is no different for anyone, even if your album's the best selling album of all times (i.e. 1982's Thriller).
Investigations squarely pointed the blame towards MJ's doctor, Conrad Murray for apparent lack of due care and medical malpractice and the case went to court.
Michael Jackson: 'Secrets of a Legend'
Michael Jackson: Albums for Sale
The Mainstream success of Electronic Dance Music
If the 1980's were known for being dominated by 'glam-metal' and synth-pop, and if the 1990's can be characterized by house music and 'dream-house', the 2000's will without a doubt be known for the emergence of Electronic Dance music which brought together mainstream artists and professional disc jockeys to create compilations which would rank high in almost every mainstream music chart across the world.
Starting in 2001-2002 with Spanish DJ, DJ Sammy and his songs, 'Heaven' and 'California Dreaming', the trend of club songs which were previously heard only in Ibiza Nightclubs to transition onto mainstream music channels like Channel-V and MTV more or less became the norm in 2000's and its a trend which is going strong in the 2010's.
DJ's like Meck, Michael Gray, David Guetta, Benny Bennasi, Cedric Gervais and Calvin Harris are just one of the few artists who have essentially brought the 'Ministry of Sound' culture from the underground and obscurity to the global mainstream road-map and have essentially defined the music industry and tastes of people of my generation and younger
Daft Punk - One More Time (2000)
'Ministry of Sound' Albums for Sale
The Finales of 'Friends', 'Will & Grace', 'Frasier' and 'King of Queens'
The 2000's also saw the quick and successive end of 4 of the biggest television series in the world including Friends, Will n Grace, Fraiser and King of Queens - All 4 franchises which began when my generation were still living in our pre-pubescent years but nevertheless were old enough to remember their influences on us as people and our sensibilities and also how we actually grew up watching our favorite characters on Prime Time.
It was in 2003, that the series 'Friends' also saw a first in Hollywood in that the 6 leading actors of the show (Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow) were consistently paid $1 million per episode each which was practically unthinkable by even major Hollywood standards.
The finally for Friends and Will n Grace drew record numbers of viewers on NBC and it is a number which is unlikely to be matched even if a comparably famous show today decided to call it curtains.
The Last scene of 'Friends' (2004)
The Last scene of 'Frasier' (2004)
The Last scene of 'Will & Grace' (2006)
The Last Scene of 'King of Queens' (2007)
'Friends': Box Set for Sale
The Reboot of James Bond (2006) and Star Trek (2009)
Two of Hollywood's biggest movie franchises also saw them dying out and then being re-incarnated for a younger audience (i.e. Gen Y and beyond) with the same characters and story lines but with 21st century graphics and production standards.
In my review of Star Trek: Nemesis, I explained how it was essentially the last movie to be released within any Star-Trek franchise and how, with the demise of 'Enterprise', an unsuccessful prequel to the events in original Star Trek, the series was never to be booted again.
Then in 2009, JJ Abhrams, the acclaimed creator of TV series 'Lost' decided to reboot the Star Trek saga (with the intent he wanted to introduce and explain Star Trek to both die-hard Star Trek fans and to those who had no knowledge of Star Trek at all). Released in 2009, the new Start Trek saw the return of Captain James Kirk, Spok (with special appearance by Leonard Nimoy who played the original Spok in the original series), Sulu, Chekov and the antagonist played by Eric Bana as a Romulan bent on revenge against Vulcan - The movie was met with critical acclaim and commercial success and has even prompted a sequel called 'Star Trek: Into the Darkness' which was released last year.
Along with Star Trek, another movie franchise also saw its near end when Pierce Brosnan announced he was leaving the James Bond franchise after playing 'Bond' n 'Die Another Day' in 2002 - An iconic moment for the decade indeed, as producers did not know what to do with Bond, exactly 40 years after the release of Dr No and whether they should seek a new actor or should they wrap up the franchise completely.
In 2006, it was announced that blonde and blue-eyed actor Daniel Craig (the first blonde to play James Bond) would appear in a reboot of 'Casino Royale' (which was the first novel by writer Ian Fleming). While the actor was met with initial disapproval, his performance in Casino Royale along with the movie's plotline and action sequences (the plotline being very similar to the novel) was a box success and it was confirmed that the Bond-franchise was there to stay. However, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the unthinkable happened - Metro Goldwyn Mayer (or MGM Studios) declared they were on the verge of bankruptcy and production of the 3rd Bond outing starring Daniel Craig had been suspended indefinitely (the movie named 'Skyfall' did eventually get released in 2012 marking 50 years of Bond in mainstream film).
Nevertheless, the 2006 and 2009 reboots of James Bond and Star Trek has certainly educated younger audiences about two of the 20th Century's most famous characters and why almost 50 years down the line, they still have what it takes to keep their Entertainment Quotient high.
Casino Royale (2006): Trailer
'Casino Royale': Movie for sale
Star Trek (2009): Trailer
Star Trek: Movies for Sale
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
The 2000's certainly saw its share of very gripping and interesting movies out of Hollywood. Some examples including 'Spiderman', 'Syrianna', 'Batman and The Dark Knight' which saw the Batman franchise being rebooted with Christian Bale taking on the lead role of Batman/Bruce Wayne, the reboot of Miami Vice and the controversial gay cowboy themed 'Brokeback Mountain', directed by Ang Lee.
However, during this decade, no other movie gained more notoriety than 'The DaVinci Code', based on the international best-selling book of the same name, written by Dan Brown.
Released in 2006, the DaVinci Code's basic premise was that Jesus Christ had a bloodline which survives to this day however two organizations have kept the whole saga a top secret for two very different reasons - a cult orgazation named the 'Priory of Sion' have kept it a secret to protect Jesus's living relatives from the wrath of the catholic church, while a cult organization within the Catholic church named 'Opus Dei' is keeping this fact a secret (and thereby trying to hunt down any living members of the Priory of Sion) as revelations that Christ was married and had a child would practically destroy any faith people have in the largest religions of the world and as such destroy Christianity and the power of the Catholic church.
In the book (and the movie), Dan Brown suggested (claiming he had done thorough research) that Leonardo DaVinci's painting of the 'Last Supper' had a hidden clue that Jesus was sitting next to Mary Magdalene not because he was being seduced by the alleged sex worker, but because she was his pregnant wife carrying their child.
Starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou, Jean Reno, Sir Ian McKellen and Paul Bettany,in lead roles, the film sees Professor Robert Langdon and his French cryptogropher associate Sophie Neveu decipher a series of clues within the drawings of Leonardo DaVinci (including the Mona Lisa, Vitruvian Man and the Last Supper) and search the location of the 'Holy Grail'.
The film was a massive commercial success but was met with equally gigantic controversy, including being banned from certain countries all together while being censored in certain other jurisdictions due to massive protests from Christian groups. Nevertheless, the success of the film propelled Ron Howard (the movie's director and the actor who played Richard Cunningham in 'Happy Days') to an elite rank of film directors and the movie itself has gone down in history as an all-time classic.