ByMatt Swift, writer at Creators.co

For as long as there has been cinema, scholars have investigated the ways in which this powerful form of human expression plays a role in the representation and development of society. These investigations have taken us from an understanding of the formalist features of cinema, through Freud’s and Lacan’s psychoanalytic theories, and into the study of specific populations of society through their presentation on the big screen. Recent studies have thoroughly examined “images of” racial and gender groupings, as well as issues of social class. This list is part of a larger project tracking a sociological group that to date has been over-represented in film but under-studied in film criticism - orphans. In my research, I am limiting myself to a discussion of top box office films from the last decade in order to argue for the reclamation of the term “orphan film” so that it may be applied to films exhibiting common orphan-related conventions based on plot constructions, stereotyped characters, and cinematic devices that evoke orphanhood, codify tropes of familial loss, and enact viewing position based on sympathy. Asserting that orphan films constitute generic categories provides a specific avenue for investigating topics of sympathetic engagement and identification, understanding themes of loss and familial relationships and declaring that a population of society, which has until recently been erased from intellectual debates, affects our cultural history more than we have previously recognized. (excerpted abstract)

2001

Vanilla Sky

Spy Kids

Tomb Raider

Fast and Furious

Hannibal

Planet of the Apes

Pearl Harbor

Mummy Returns

Rush Hour 2

Fellowship of the Rings

HP1/Sorcerer’s Stone Mr. Deeds

2002

Lilo and Stitch

Die Another Day

Ice Age

Goldmember

HP Chamber of Secrets

SW -Attack of Clones

LR Two Towers

Spiderman

2003

Last Samurai

Seabiscuit,

Terminator 3

Elf

X-men 2

Matrix Reloaded

Pirates of Caribbean

Return of the King

2004

Lemony Snicket’ A Series of Unfortunate Events

Troy

I, Robot

Bourne Supremacy

HP Prisoner of Azkaban

Spiderman 2

2005

Fantastic Four

Mr&Mrs Smith

Batman Begins

Charlie and the Choco

Wedding Crashers

HP Goblet of Fire

Narnia 1

SW-Revenge of the Sith

2006

Scary Movie 4

The Departed

Mission Impossible 3

Over the Hedge

Casino Royal

Happy Feet

Superman Returns

DaVinci Code

Xmen Last Stand

PC Dead Man’s Chest

2007

Enchanted

Fantastic Four silver surfer Rush Hour 3

Ratatouille

Chipmunks

National treasure 2

HP 5 – Order of Phoenix

PC 3 – At Worlds End

Spiderman 3

2008

Benjamin Button

Slumdog Millionaire

Narnia 2

Quantum of Solace

Madagascar 2

Iron Man

Dark Knight

2009

GI Joe

Fast and Furious

The Proposal

Wolverine

Chipmunks 2

Blind Side

Star Trek

HP 6 Half Blood Prince

2010

Last Airbender

Megamind

Clash of Titans

Tron Legacy

Tangled

Despicable me

HP7A – Deathly Hollows

Iron Man 2

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