Robert Zemeckis can be placed in the ranks of those prominent Hollywood directors who have made a mark in film history by making some of the excellent Hollywood films. The use of state-of-the-art technology, dark comedy, broad humor, and effective story telling techniques are notable characteristics of his films. His films never remain bound to particular film genre but spans across various genres. He has used special effects, CGI, and latest technology to create technological films which has won him several awards.
Early Life and Initial Days of Career
Zemeckis interest in films began at early age when he first handled an 8 mm camera in high school. Zemeckis was strongly influenced by movies of William Castle in his childhood. ‘The Blob’ was the first film Zemeckis saw and this influenced him immensely. Due to his interest in films, he went to study at USC film school. Here he met his writing partner Bob Gale and graduated in 1973. Zemeckis received the Student Academy Award in 1973 for his student film, ‘Field of Honor’. Steven Spielberg and John Milius, who are the alumni of USC Film School, appreciated this project by Zemeckis. Zemeckis made his directorial debut through ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ which he had written along with Gale. Later both Zemeckis and Gale wrote for many films and some of them went on to become highest grossing films ever made.
Robert Zemeckis made his directorial debut with ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ which was released in 1978. The story is set around 1960’s when Beatles had larger than life image and revolves around six teenagers who set out to meet the Beatles. His next two movies ‘1941’ in 1979, ‘Used Cars’ in 1980 could not do well at the box-office but won him critical acclaim. Later in 1984, ‘Romancing the Stone’ a romantic adventure film directed by him got him significant amount of success. But, Zemeckis tasted real success through his film ‘Back to the Future’ (1985) which was an immense hit. Its sequels ‘Back to the Future II’ (1989) and ‘Back to the Future III’ (1990) were also released subsequently. Zemeckis later directed films like ‘Death Becomes Her’ (1992), ‘Forrest Gump’ (1994), ‘Contact’ (1997), ‘What Lies Beneath’ (2000), and ‘Cast Away’ (2001) which all did well at the box-office. He won six academy awards including Best Picture and Best Director for ‘Forrest Gump’. Robert Zemeckis and Joe Silver also own a production company ‘Dark Castle Entertainment’ founded in 1999. ‘A Christmas Carol’ (2009) was the latest film written and directed by Zemeckis.
Use of Technology and Special Effects in Films
The use of special effects is prominent feature in most of the Zemeckis movies. ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ (1988) had animation and live action in it which was a technological triumph and won him four academy awards. The use of latest technology, CGI, and special effects can be seen extensively in many of his films like ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy, ‘The Polar Express’, ‘Beowulf’, ‘The Christmas Carol’ etc. Due to his efforts, in 2001, the ‘Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts’ was opened which is state-of-the-art digital training facility at the USC Film School which is also first of its kind in US.
What makes the Zemeckis movies interesting and entertaining is the combination of effective story telling technique, special effects, and use of computer generated imagery. He is one of the prominent directors who incorporated latest technology in films and created a mark in technological film history.