Tag: Science Fiction

2016, 2018, TV

Westworld (2016)

Westworld was a pretty great concept when it was conceived and it’s a great concept now. It’s been forever since I’ve seen the movie – the inability of 1970s special effects to capture the concept well forever immortalized by The Simpsons – but the idea was so ahead of its time that it feels entirely …

2018, Movies

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018, David Slade)

When I was in Grade 7 or 8, the math/history teacher at my alternative school brought in a man with a bizarre piece of technology. My math/history teacher and the man insisted this technology would change entertainment forever. There was a regular TV, a regular VCR, and what seemed to me like an absolutely gigantic …

2017, Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017, Rian Johnson)

When this movie came out, I read in various places that it was perhaps the best Star Wars movie ever made. That would be a tall order, I guess, if I actually enjoyed Star Wars as an adult. The thing is, I don’t. I keep watching these movies and whatever it was that compelled me to really …

2017, Movies

Alien: Covenant (2017, Ridley Scott)

It’s been so long since I saw the latter Alien sequels that I do not remember if they cared much about mythology, but I feel like they must have, at least a little bit. But Prometheus, which was only sort of a prequel – depending upon who you spoke to – really introduced mythology to the series, …

2011, Movies

Cowboys and Indians (2011, Jon Favreau)

Many years ago, in my teens, I had a habit of writing down every movie idea I had, as I dreamed I would one day be a filmmaker. One such idea was a western film in which aliens showed up part way through. However, a key part of the idea – perhaps the key part …

2013, Movies

Coherence (2013, James Ward Byrkit)

This is one of those super talky, high concept science fiction films which feels like it was written for the stage. (Many of these have been written for the stage, but this one apparently was not.) There are a lot of these films by this point and it’s sort of become its own sub genre. …

2016, Movies

Passengers (2016, Morten Tyldum)

I feel like every single time I watch one of these legendary blockbuster bombs I find myself asking the same question: did I watch the same movie as everyone else? Make no mistake: this is not a good film. But once you’ve been told something is The Worst over and over again, your expectations get …

2006, Movies

Meltdown: Days of Destruction (2006, JP Howell)

This is one of those terrible TV movies which are competently made at some level – the sound is fine, the lighting is okay, I never saw a boom mic in a shot – but are so unbelievably preposterous and poorly plotted that you wonder how they get made. (The answer is likely that many …

1975, Movies

A Boy and His Dog (1975, LQ Jones)

This is an interesting idea – I’m sure the novel is good – that is severely harmed by a lower than ideal budget and a poor choice of locations results in a pretty mixed bag of a film – one of those ’70s science fiction films where the idea is so much better than the …

2014, Movies

Edge of Tomorrow (2014, Doug Liman)

Let’s get this out of the way: the premise – a science-fiction/action version of Ground Hog Day – is dumb. This is basically the film version of playing a video game, albeit condensed into 2 hours. But if you can get over that (and over the presence of Tom Cruise)… SPOILERS!

2015, Movies

The Scorch Trials (2015, Wes Ball)

I did not like the first film at all. But that movie had a “high concept” that I could at least respect on some level – though it struck me as something I would have dreamed up as a teenager – even if the execution was pretty awful. But this movie is worse. Yes, that’s …

2015, Movies

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015, JJ Abrams)

I must say that, when I learned that the new trilogy would not follow the Grand Admiral Thrawn arc, a little part of my teenage self died. The only Star Wars books, I ever read, I enjoyed them at the time. But, upon, reflection, it’s probably for the best, as this guy was one of those …

2013, Movies

The Purge (2013, James DeMonaco)

The opening text this movie displays, explaining what ‘the purge’ is, is basically the pitch meeting for this movie. The filmmaker likely walked into an office, said those exact words, mentioned some actors for the key roles, and got this green-lit. This film is a perfect symbol of what is wrong with “high concept” films …

2009, Movies

Pandorum (2009, Chrstian Alvart)

Pandorum has a neat concept to start, but unfortunately it is undercut by overly explanatory title cards – better the movie open with Bower coming out of his chamber, I think. But, that being said, otherwise the movie seems quite strong at first. The reveal is way too early, but otherwise it’s good. There are …

2013, Movies

Snowpiercer (2013, Joon-ho Bong)

It’s great when genre flicks get celebrated and take on a life of their own. And I’m glad that a reasonably smart one such as this has become such a big thing (at least online). But while Snowpiercer is highly entertaining, like so many “high concept” action films, it’s flawed and it’s also kind of long …

1995, Books, Fiction

The Essential Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1995) edited by Leonard Wolf

This is an immense edition of what is otherwise a pretty short novella. It is nice that a story like this would get this kind of treatment, but it’s kind of over the top. For example, the novella itself is rather over-annotated. How is that possible, you ask? Well, even one of the footnotes has …

2011, Movies

Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011, John Pogue)

I thought I had seen the original but I was just getting it confused with some other “Stuck in a building, being chased by rabid humans” movies and, well, I’ve seen [Rec], so I basically have seen the original. (The implication is that the original Quarantine is just a [Rec] rip-off.)

2011, Movies

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011, Rupert Wyatt)

This is the second attempt at “rebooting” the Planet of the Apes series and, I must assume, the more successful attempt, since the Burton remake hasn’t let to other films. It is apparently intended as a prequel to the original film, and not as a straight-up remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, …

2013, Movies

Europa Report (2013, Sebastian Cordero)

This is a well-intentioned “hard” science fiction film that is hampered severely by the found footage technique – which, in 2013, is really, really tired – mixed with a Timecode-esque use of split screens, about zero budget, and some giant leaps in logic that such a “hard” science fiction film isn’t supposed to have. I …

2013, Movies

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013, J.J. Abrams)

I was somewhat of a Star Trek fan in my youth: I watched The Next Generation pretty much all the time it was on – both new episodes and reruns – I watched DS9 and Voyager and I watched enough reruns of the original series, to the point where I probably saw a small majority …

2003, TV

Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009)

Battlestar Galcctica, the reboot, is probably the greatest science fiction TV show of all time. (That obviously depends on what we mean by “science fiction”, as if I included the original Prisoner in that genre, maybe I would be forced to rethink my position. And no, no version of Star Trek has ever particularly impressed …