Tag: Soft Science Fiction

2016, Movies

Star Trek: Beyond (2016, Justin Lin)

For some reason, I have yet to see the first movie of this Star Trek reboot. I’ve seen Into Darkness and I didn’t love it. And I must say the things I didn’t love about Into Darkness and present to a degree in Beyond. But I seem to have come to terms with them better. Because this time, it …

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 …

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 by this point and it’s sort of become its own sub genre. I’m …

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 – one of those 70s science fiction films where the idea is so much better than the execution (and there …

2013, Movies

Ender’s Game (2013, Gavin Hood)

Note: I have not read the book. This is a rather middling science fiction film about a messiah-like boy who is trained to save the world by starting a war. That story is problematic when you think about it, so I guess don’t think about it too much. SPOILER ALERT

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 right. It’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 …

2011, Movies

Another Earth (2011, Mike Cahill)

This is a movie that, by its very title, advertises itself as science fiction. But it’s not, not really. I mean, it’s barely science fiction. Not in the way you expect. MILD SPOILER ALERT Rather, it’s a film about redemption and, regrettably, it follows that ridiculous movie cliche where the person who seeks redemption inserts …

2013, Movies

Oblivion (2013, Joseph Kosinski)

Point form review: It’s never a good thing when your film opens with 5 minutes of expository narration. Everything looks like the ‘70s version of futuristic. The Scavengers remind me of Jawas. There’s not much of an explanation as to why sometimes boats are higher than opera houses… Plot feels pretty telegraphed. Flight recorder is …

2011, Movies

The Adjustment Bureau (2011, George Nolfi)

I guess there are some SPOILERS! Imagine you’re marketing a movie in the early 2010s. It’s a science fiction cum romance disguised political drama or thriller. But it has the advantage of starring Matt Damon, one of the world’s biggest movie stars of the era. It also stars Emily Blunt, an up and coming female …

2011, Movies

Love (2011, William Eubank)

This is like a low-budget, more human-centric 21st century 2001. It’s more concerned with ideas than plot and with visual experiences rather than clarity. I agree with others that it probably warrants multiple viewings. However, after one viewing, SPOILERS! I get it, at least I think I do. But there are too many echoes of …

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 …

2012, Movies

Cloud Atlas (2012, directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski)

Some novels are just plain unfilmable, and sometimes you wonder why people try. But watching this, and not knowing the novel, I’m not sure this one is such an unfilmable novel. (Maybe I’m wrong.)

2012, Movies

Total Recall (2012, Len Wiseman)

Let’s get the good of this totally unnecessary remake out of the way: The production design is fantastic, worthy of Blade Runner – which is (very) heavily inspired by – the Fifth Element, Minority Report and the equal of respected modern sci fi epics like Pacific Rim. It’s better than the original, I would say. …

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 …

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 …

1996, Books, Fiction

Civilwarland in Bad Decline (1996) by George Saunders

I had no idea what this was. This book was bought for me as a gift because of the American Civil War painting on the cover and the gifter and I didn’t bother to read anything on the back. Anyway…

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 …