15 of the best movies of the 2000s, according to audiences

Business Insider Lifestyle 2 months ago

The 2000s produced a lot of stand-out, impressive films that audiences still can't get enough of.

Using audience reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, Insider rounded up some of the most beloved films from the early aughts. Keep in mind that scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change.

Here are just 15 of the best films from the 2000s, according to audiences.

"Up" (2009) proved to be a heartwarming, colorful adventure.

"Up" is a Pixar film.

Audience Score: 90%

In "Up," Carl Fredricksen has fallen into a rut after his beloved wife passes away, but he surprises his neighbors when he ties thousands of balloons to the roof of his house and plans to float away to South America.

Things grow complicated when Carl realizes he has a stowaway in the form of a young wilderness explorer aboard his flying house.

In reviews, audience members emphasized the movie's beautiful animation and uplifting story, calling it generally enjoyable and powerful to watch.

"Star Trek" (2009) welcomed newcomers to the sci-fi series and impressed lifelong fans.

"Star Trek" was applauded by loyal fans of the franchise and first-time watchers.

Audience Score: 91%

In JJ Abrams' 2009 addition to the "Star Trek" universe, James Kirk (Chris Pine) leads a crew of space explorers in a journey across the galaxy.

As the Starfleet crew comes head-to-head with a villain of immense power, Kirk learns to set his ego aside and lead his ship to safety.

Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, and Zoe Saldana also starred in the science-fiction flick.

Both general movie fans and more devout followers of the "Star Trek" franchise applauded the new entry for paying homage to the older films while paving way for a new, exciting series.

"Iron Man" (2008) was heralded as a breath of fresh air for the superhero genre.

"Iron Man" essentially kicked off an entire franchise.

Audience Score: 91%

For many comic book fans, Robert Downey Jr. himself has become synonymous with the billionaire genius he plays in "Iron Man" and the subsequent superhero movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In "Iron Man," Downey Jr. began his decade-long career as Tony Stark, a philanthropist inventor who survives a traumatic hostage situation and emerges as a self-made hero.

Moviegoers and superhero fans remarked that the film came as a pleasant surprise after a string of less-than-successful comic-book adaptations in the 2000s, calling special attention to Downey Jr's "charismatic performance" and the flick's fast-paced action sequences.

Viewers were charmed by the musical performances in "Once" (2007).

Viewers were charmed by the musical performances in
"Once" is filled with songs.

Audience Score: 91%

In "Once," Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová star as a busker and a Czech immigrant who feel a kinship for one another.

As their lives begin to pull them in different directions, the two fall in love and express their feelings through original music on the streets of Dublin.

Reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes called the film sweet and charming. Many audience members especially applauded the film's powerful messages and musical numbers.

Filmgoers called "Mary and Max" (2009) a "heart-wrenching" story.

Filmgoers called
"Mary and Max" is an Australian flick.

Audience Score: 92%

"Mary and Max" is an Australian, clay-based animated picture voiced by Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The film spans a 20-year relationship between Mary, a young girl living in Melbourne, and Max, an older New Yorker. Their unlikely friendship evolves through the years as the film portrays the protagonists' dual lives.

Viewers called the film beautiful as well as emotionally moving, applauding its animation and direction.

Viewers praised "Persepolis" (2007) as being both poignant and moving.

Viewers praised
"Persepolis" is based on a graphic novel.

Audience Score: 92%

Written and directed by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, "Persepolis" is an animated recount of a young girl's coming-of-age during the Islamic Revolution.

The autobiographical story follows Marjane across various countries and tracks her growth as she reconciles with her Iranian identity.

Many audience members praised the film for its intelligence and cultural relevance, applauding it for mixing stunning visual art and powerful messages.

"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" (2007) earned rave reviews from moviegoers.

"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" is a documentary about the famed arcade game.

Audience Score: 93%

"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" is a documentary that recounts the legacy of Billy Mitchell, a man who earned the highest score on the "King Kong" arcade game in 1999, and Steve Wiebe, the challenger who rose to oppose him.

The documentary tracks their heated rivalry over trying to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Critics and moviegoers complimented the film on its compelling direction and entertaining material, with some calling it the "one of the best documentaries" they've ever seen.

Horror fans loved the zombie comedy "Shaun of the Dead" (2004).

Horror fans loved the zombie comedy
"Shaun of the Dead" mixes gore and comedy.

Audience Score: 93%

In Edgar Wright's "Shaun of the Dead," a hapless British man named Shaun (Simon Pegg) finds himself in the midst of a zombie epidemic.

As society breaks down around him, Shaun, his friend Ed (Nick Frost), and his ex-girlfriend (Kate Ashfield) attempt to take refuge in a bar and survive the invasion.

Viewers praised the gore-filled comedy for its wit and cinematography, taking particular note of Wright's deft direction and the flick's social commentary.

Viewers found "The Cove" (2009) to be revelatory and important.

Viewers found
"The Cove" was called "eye-opening" by some audience members.

Audience Score: 94%

In "The Cove," Richard O'Barry, an aquatic-animal trainer turned animal-rights activist, travels to Japan to document the abuse suffered by the local dolphins and the destruction of their habitat.

Many who reviewed the film on Rotten Tomatoes called it difficult to watch, but also described it as " eye-opening" and informative.

Fans felt that "The Dark Knight" (2008) was a dark, captivating thriller.

Fans felt that
"The Dark Knight" has been praised by critics as well.

Audience Score: 94%

The second movie in Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy, "The Dark Knight" chronicles the dark underbelly of Gotham city and follows Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) on his crusade to fight crime.

Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman also starred in the film, with Heath Ledger playing opposite Bale as the menacing Joker.

Casual moviegoers and comic-book fans alike still hold the film in high regard due to its stylish direction, exhilarating plot, and impressive leading performances from Bale and Ledger.

Viewers have called "No End In Sight" (2007) compelling and expansive.

Viewers have called
"No End In Sight" is a political documentary.

Audience Score: 94%

In the "No End in Sight" documentary, Charles Ferguson explores how US policy and government involvement led to the civil war in Iraq and the events that followed.

Pulling from over 200 hours of footage, Ferguson constructs a comprehensive look at politics and war in relation to the turmoil in the Middle East.

Filmgoers described the film as riveting and expansive in its breakdown of the Iraq War and some reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes even called it "essential viewing."

"Riding Giants" (2004) was called a must-see sports documentary.

"Riding Giants" is a documentary is about surfing.

Audience Score: 94%

"Riding Giants" is a sports documentary about surfing and the culture that surrounds it. The film portrays surfing from its beginnings to its present-day impact around the world.

Per Rotten Tomatoes, even some viewers who weren't previously familiar with the world of surfing found the documentary to be enlightening and fast-paced.

Fans enjoyed the high-concept premise of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004).

Fans enjoyed the high-concept premise of
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" has been praised for its lovable characters.

Audience Score: 94%

A unique romantic drama with science-fiction overtones, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" centers around Joel (Jim Carrey) as he finds out that his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had their relationship scrubbed from her memory.

Determined to move on, Joel has the same experimental procedure done to his own mind, only to find himself falling for her all over again as he relives their memories together.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the audience reviews for the film are littered with praise, with many highlighting Carrey's and Winslet's performances.

Many audience members described the leading characters in the film as "entirely lovable" and individuals you want to feel empathy for.

Viewers loved the intricate world-building in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2002).

Viewers loved the intricate world-building in
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" kicked off an entire series.

Audience Score: 95%

Overflowing with countless characters and boundless lore, "The Fellowship of the Ring" is most simply described as an adventure film in which a young hobbit (Elijah Wood) and his companions trek across a vast landscape to destroy a ring bound to an evil force.

Based on the much-beloved book series of J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" was director Peter Jackson's first entry in the ambitious fantasy trilogy.

Audiences have left plenty of positive reviews for the film, often praising its detailed sets, impressive direction, and fascinating plot.

Filmgoers have described "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father" (2008) as essential viewing.

Filmgoers have described
"Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father" is an emotional documentary that many were blown away by.

Audience Score: 96%

Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne's documentary "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father" depicts the tragic story of his best friend's murder and the harrowing events that would follow.

Both a testimonial to a dear friend and a true-crime documentary, Kuenne impressed viewers with his masterful direction. Many have also called this film compelling and emotional to watch.


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