Magic-Fantasy Blockbusters: One Whimsy to Rule Them All
Smith-Rowsey posits that the reputation of “magic-fantasy” blockbusters has considerably improved from the twentieth to the twenty-first century, and this change was led by strong, believable performances. Smith-Rowsey explains how the excellent acting in the first three live-action Lord of the Rings films both elaborated those films’ themes and, along with the initial films of WB’s Harry Potter franchise, transformed possibilities for blockbusters. In response, Disney mounted a fantastical Pirates of the Caribbean that centralized the protean, unpredictable performance of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. The author compares Depp’s non-blockbuster work to his work as Sparrow, as well as Ian McKellen’s non-blockbuster work to his work as (the Lord of the Rings’) Gandalf, in order to better understand how (or if) accomplished actors “scale up” or alter their performative styles for blockbusters.
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