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Good Adventure Movies (2000-05): Seeking Adventure!
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Good Adventure Movies (2000-05): Seeking Adventure!

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Joseph Carro itcherAdventure films are a dime a dozen. But every once in a while, the universe gets it right and gives us adventure tales so bright, fun, and memorable that we talk about them for years. The half-decade from the years 2000-2005 gave us a veritable treasure trove of fun and memorable adventure films, and I’m going to revisit some that you may have forgotten about over time. So strap on your swords and tighten your boot laces – it’s time to follow me through this adventurous half-decade! ~ Joseph Carro

No End to the Adventures

When I think of some of the best and most fun adventure films I’ve seen within the past couple of decades, 2000-2005 is pretty high up there with premium content. We had the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies, which seem to be the only adventure films most people can remember from that time period. But we also had lots of other adventure films that sort of got lost in the shuffle – or didn’t live up to critical acclaim – but are still really fun films.

Well, I haven’t forgotten those “lost films” of the early 2000s – and neither should you!

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Memorable Adventure Movie Recommendations

‘Black Knight’ (Gil Junger, 2001)

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the presence of fear, yet the will to move on…

Jamal Walker (Martin Lawrence) works at a theme park called Medieval World. Jamal is hit on the head and wakes up in 14th century England, soon finding himself at odds with the sinister King Leo (Kevin Conway) and his henchmen, Sir Knolte of Marlborough (Tom Wilkinson) and Percival (Vincent Regan) . However, with the help of a beautiful chambermaid named Victoria (Marsha Thomason), Jamal may just be able to survive and find a way back to his own time.

So, here’s the thing – ‘Black Knight’ was pretty much panned by critics. It does have its cheesy moments (I mean, it’s a film that explores vast cultural differences between a more “modern” hip-hop culture versus an outdated chivalrous one, but against the backdrop of comedy), and there are other, more serious films that explore this theme of time travel such as ‘Timeline’ – but I think ‘Black Knight’ deserves more recognition. Most of the reason is because it’s just FUN. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this film. Every time, I still laugh at some scenes, and when I come away from it I am satisfied having watched it. I can’t say that for every film I watch these days. You need to just have an open mind while watching it, and I promise you – ‘Black Knight’ may just surprise you in all the right ways. (PS – where the heck did Martin Lawrence go, anyway?)

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‘The Four Feathers’ (Shekhar Kapur, 2002)

I never wanted to join the army! I did it for my father. I thought I’d serve my commission for a year or two and keep everyone happy and then I could…

Set during 1898, the film follows British army officer Harry Faversham (Heath Ledger) who resigns following the news that his regiment will ship out to Sudan to clash with the Mahdi. Three of Harry’s friends, as well as his own fiancée, send him four white feathers – which symbolize cowardice. Harry disguises himself as an Arab and moves to the conflict from the opposite side, trying to rescue his friends along the way.

This film is beautifully shot, and has been lovingly produced to look like a true epic. To be honest, though some folks may disagree with me on the acting – this is one of Heath Ledger’s finest performances (though, nothing can top ‘The Dark Knight’). Wes Bentley, Kate Hudson, and Djimon Hounsou especially turn in great performances as well. The reason people have forgotten about this film is, I think, because the story is a bit more complex than what seems to be presented at face value. Taking place in the 1800’s, it’s easy to just dismiss this as a historical drama, or a period action piece. But the scope and breadth of what Harry must go through and endure makes this a true adventure film, and in my eyes one you shouldn’t miss. It might seem stuffy, but it’s got a lot of heart…and that’s what matters. Everyone loves an adventure with heart.

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‘The Rundown’ (Peter Berg, 2003)

You borrowed money from the guy. You shot the wrong guy. You slept with the wrong guy’s wife. I-don’t-care. Your mistake…

Beck (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is an aspiring chef who also happens to be a “retrieval specialist” for a rich mob boss, Walker (William Lucking). Wanting out of his situation, Beck is given the opportunity to exit his situation and start his own restaurant. But first, he must travel to the Amazon for one last retrieval mission and kidnap Walker’s deadbeat son, Travis (Seann William Scott) – who just so happens to be searching for a valuable idol worth millions. Beck must then figure out a way to snatch Travis out from under the watchful eyes of a powerful overlord of a mining operation, Hatcher (Christopher Walken), and his legion of armed mercenaries before either he or Travis (or both) are killed.

‘The Rundown’ (sometimes also under the title ‘Welcome to the Jungle’) is seriously one of my favorite films of all time, which is why I definitely had to include it on this list. At its heart, ‘The Rundown’ is a buddy action film, but it has just enough scope to be a very stylized adventure as well. Dwayne Johnson excels in his role believably as Beck, the likable goon who wants to turn it all around – while Seann William Scott does his schtick of bantering and insulting both Dwayne Johnson’s and Rosario Dawson’s characters (yeah, she’s in it too) in all the right ways. Add Christopher Walken to the mix, and you have yourselves a winning formula with tons of action and humor that will keep your tush in the seat for the duration. Do yourself a favor and make sure you see this one. Walken’s “tooth fairy” speech is worth the admission.

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‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ (Wes Anderson, 2004)

If we don’t handle this right, we’re gonna all get murdered… including her unborn British child…

International explorer and deep-sea diver, Steve Zissou (Bill Murray), and his eccentric team are searching for the fabled Jaguar Shark, believed to be responsible for killing Zissou’s friend and diving partner during the filming of their latest documentary.

As others join the crew, including an airline pilot (Owen Wilson), a gorgeous journalist (Cate Blanchett), and Zissou’s alienated wife (Anjelica Huston), they must overcome the threat of pirates, bankruptcy, and the fact that the pilot, Ned Plimpton, might just be Zissou’s son.

This film often straddles the line from social commentary to absurdity – but it does it so well and so subtly, unfortunately, that this film wasn’t as well-received as some of Wes Anderson’s other movies like ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’.

When I originally saw the trailer for this before its release, I was excited and I was not disappointed, and you won’t be either. Even a decade later, the film and its sometimes-silly effects hold up. The humor does, too, which is a blend of the zany and the whimsical. If any of Anderson’s films need to be brought more into the spotlight, it’s definitely ‘The Life Aquatic’. Team Zissou, all the way!

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‘Serenity’ (Joss Whedon, 2005)

Every minute you keep River Tam from me, more people will die…

Continued from the cult-favorite television series ‘Firefly’, ‘Serenity’ picks up sometime after the show left off – with an eccentric crew under the command of Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) traversing space, looking for money and odd jobs. When an assassin only known as The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) comes looking for telepathic crew member, River Tam (Summer Glau), the crew of the freighter ship, Serenity, find themselves pursued once more by The Alliance and stumble upon a secret the Alliance forces have been harboring that could end their reign once and for all.

Because ‘Firefly’ was such an underrated television show and not too many people knew about it, ‘Serenity’ has often been overlooked as a competent, stand-alone sci-fi adventure film. Many people I know haven’t heard of it, or if they have – they don’t care because they assume it’s just a television movie. But it’s not. ‘Serenity’ is a very enjoyable film in its own right, directed and written by Joss Whedon – who later pulled off ‘The Avengers’ with flying colors. Yes, ‘Serenity’ is a love song to the show ‘Firefly’ – but it’s got some great action, some great team dynamics, and is simply fun to watch. If you liked the show, you need to see it…and if you like the film and haven’t seen the show (it’s currently on Netflix), make sure to check out the show as well because that’s also really a great watch. You really can’t go wrong with anything set in the Firefly universe. Good ol’ Cap’n Mal will never let you down.

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Discover the Flavor Your Brain Craves

There’s a world of adventure out there, and especially in the form of adventure movies. Whether it’s a space adventure, a buddy adventure, or an adventure dealing with time travel or the horrors of war – it’s all good. You just need to discover the flavor your brain craves and give in to it, explore what the adventure genre has to offer.

The years 2000-05 were definitely packed to the brim with excellent adventure film choices and movies in general – but I think I’ve presented to you some of the forgotten gems, the ones that need a bit more appreciation. So do yourself a favor and check them out. If you like these film choices (or even if you don’t) – make sure to comment below. I won’t bite, I promise.

Until next time: onward to the next adventure!

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