The year-end, 5 Best Sci-fi movies of 2013

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by RAMA, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    According to me. I'm in no position to name anyone else's top 5.:bolian:

    2013 will probably go down in history for fans as one of those special sci-fi years such as 1977, 1982, 1995 and 2009. We saw some mid level space sci-fi make a comeback (Astronaut:Last Push, Europa Report, Last Days on Mars). Huge space epics: STID, Gravity, Oblivion, Elysium, After Earth, Ender's Game, and other pop genre movies like Hunger Games and WWZ, and superheroes high on the sci-fi quotient (Iron Man and Man of Steel)rule the worldwide box office. Even the "B" movie hit it big with Sharknado creating a twitter buzz for a week or two. Short films are also making headway on youtube and elsewhere, including AMP (list of best scifi short films here: http://www.shortoftheweek.com/category/genre/sci-fi/)

    So what are the best sci-fi movies of the year? It wasn't easy, I try to balance the production/scale of the movie with the story and sheer entertainment value, ultimately I had to enjoy it. So here they are:

    1. Pacific Rim: Its basically the Star Wars of 2013. A big, flashy, pop culture movie that gets it right, pushing all of our scifi fan buttons and managing to do it with style and a genuine sense of reverence for it's subject..not easy to do when most of the source material has cardboard monsters and zipper enhanced kung fu stuntmen. For making mecha cool again, and sheer entertainment value this movie takes the top spot.

    2. STID: A hard one to judge in some respects, I named ST09 the best sci-fi movie of the 2000s (not 2010s), and it has to compete with that movie for a lot of people. In terms of fun, the first movie may come out on top, but STID is probably a slightly better film, with a deepening advancement of the characters, a darker, more topical story, and a gigantic scale unfathomable in previous Trek movies. This movie is high on the rewatch factor, I could easily watch it every day if I could.

    3. Europa Report: Much better than the near-future darling of 2013: Gravity. I love this movie. It's been getting more notice and critical acclaim lately, much deserved. It's not particularly high on characterization..so what. It's a 2010(1985) style film, a sober, realistic telling of an investigation of findings on Europa, the ending...it's a sad one, but also filled with hope. A pro-science movie in a Hollywood realm filled with knee-jerk pessimism.

    4. Man of Steel: The best superhero movie ever, period. Light years better than the Avengers on every level except "fun factor" and not even comparable to the horrible Iron Man 3. Heroes and Alphas tried to make superheroes "real" on tv, but MOS makes one of the most unbelievable characters "real"! It ditches the idea Lois can't tell who Superman really is. Turns Zod from a badly dressed disco lunatic into a genetically engineered protector of his people, who takes the job way too seriously. Jor-El is no longer an ineffectual bystander, he's a doer. Every scene is bursting with some sort of history, either Kryptonian or Earthly. Nolan can do no wrong.

    5. Oblivion: A potential classic. This movie echoes sci-fi of the 70s, with a modern flair and amazing visual style. Pays lip service to ideas like the Singularity, but also tells a nice personal story. While the themes and background are large scale, it enfolds like a play, quiet and somber until we learn the details of Earth's war with the aliens.

    Honorable mention:

    Yes, there are some happily, since it was a year burgeoning at the seams with sci-fi.

    6. Gravity: Undeniably well made, a visual ride, but if you're a sci-fi fan very familiar story. The actors are good, but not particularly monumental. Less scientifically accurate than Europa Report.

    7. Ender's Game: Underrated, mostly accurate translation from the book. I'll enjoy rewatching it on bluray.

    8. Elysium: On many levels a disappointment. It's a cautionary tale that we are told is already happening now according to it's director, though I don't believe it's an accurate future for many reasons. As an action sci-fi movie, it's above average, as a relevant story, it's a failure.

    9. After Earth. Was every critic who watched this on crack?? It's not a bad survival tale, with a story right out of a cozy winter reading of a good sci-fi short story collection. Talk about a popularity backlash. I feel sorry for Will Smith.

    There may be a few films I missed. I'm tracking down Upstream Color and hoping that's good, as I named Primer one of my top 15 sci-fi movies of the 2000s.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  2. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for mentioning Europa Report, a reminder that I need to see it.

    Gravity otherwise easily outranks the remainder of your top five for me, including Pacific Rim (which don't get me wrong, I also loved for different reasons), to the point of being in basically a different league, but hey, that's me.
     
  3. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Gravity is probably the default popular answer for most people, but I think my top 5 will be more fondly remembered 10 years from now than Gravity..which I liked but was not overwhelmed by. I thought Mission to Mars had better and similar scenes to Gravity (almost to the point of eye rolling), and had a stronger emotional reaction to them and Europa Report is better at almost everything else.

    RAMA
     
  4. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I really found no memorable sci fi films this year. Visually, Gravity was beautiful but Sandra Bullock and George Clooney's acting take me right out of the film. I still want to see Pacific Rim and I liked Man of Steel much more than recent DC movies but most of the films I found utterly forgettable.
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Upstream Color is not for everyone, but it wasn't forgettable in any sense of the word.

    I still need to see Europa Report; the same goes for Elysium and Oblivion.

    Gravity was, technically, a masterwork. Dramatically it was very effective, although some of the character work was rather thin and conventional.

    I think Star Trek Into Darkness was a terrific movie and one of the best blockbusters of the year (it was certainly my favorite franchise film).
     
  6. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can't speak to Europa Report yet, but I would almost lay money down on a bet* that all three of STID, Oblivion and MoS (which have aged poorly even in various way even in the year of their release, especially Oblivion and MoS) will be largely forgotten long before Gravity. Pacific Rim not so, but it and Gravity are almost in different genres.

    [* If I had any money. ;)]

    That's odd. No comparison to the deservedly-obscure Mission to Mars ever occurred to me. Different strokes, I guess.

    (Haven't seen Upstream Color either, thank you Harvey.)
     
  7. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    That is odd, since it was almost scene for scene. Mind you, Im not saying Mission to Mars was a better movie than Gravity--it isn't--but there are a lot of familiar space disaster tropes in Gravity, and it copies Mission to Mars almost directly. I also found the character build up and loss of the astronauts to be more emotional since they built he characters longer.

    PS I had this opened in a tab and forgot I was responding while doing something else. Excuse the late posting.

    RAMA
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  8. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "Almost scene for scene"? We're talking about the same Mission to Mars featuring a long planetside act with Don Cheadle and an alien holographic library about panspermia hidden in a mysterious storm, right?

    If so, there are couple of broad similarities in the first act (though for my money Gravity's execution and acting is vastly better), but the "almost scene for scene" claim is just factually wrong.
     
  9. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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  10. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I recognized a few beats from Mission to Mars in Gravity, but hardly enough to warrant mention. For all the problems I have with the characters in the latter, it is by all measures a superior movie to Mission to Mars, a largely forgettable disappointment.
     
  11. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, that's the one. Its not a bad movie, just slow going.

    RAMA
     
  12. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    The only two sci-fi films I saw were STID which was iffy and World War Z which I enjoyed for what it was. Does The Conjuring count? That was definitely a favorite of mine.
     
  13. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    I like Mission to Mars for various reasons, but agree it's not better than Gravity. What I mean is the disaster in space trope used in movies since the 1950s and updated in Mission to Mars was used again in Gravity, but some of the disaster scenes as they occur are much like MtM, not the whole movie. The scenes with the tether, the scramble to reach a spacecraft/station for safety uncontrollably, take up more than a few minutes of the movies and since they were integral to both, I can't help but compare them.

    RAMA
     
  14. AvBaur

    AvBaur Captain Captain

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    Here's my own top 5:

    1. Gravity - Technically groundbreaking, brilliant visuals and an incredibly tense story. An instant classic in my book.
    2. Pacific Rim - So much fun, and so impressive! Impeccable world building and visual storytelling.
    3. The World's End - Very smart and funny. Fantastic characters and some pretty cool big ideas!
    4. Thor: The Dark World - Just a ton of fun. The best-looking and funniest of the MCU movies.
    5. Catching Fire - Unexpectedly moving. Even better than the first one.

    Also pretty good: About Time, John Dies at the End, Iron Man 3, The Wolverine

    Films I found disappointing: Star Trek Into Darkness(!), Man of Steel, Elysium
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  15. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Really not a great year, especially if you omit comic book movies, but from the ones I've seen the best were :

    STID
    Thor 2
    Iron Man 3
    Man Of Steel
    Wolverine

    The crap, average or overrated selections are more interesting :

    World War Z
    Pacific Rim
    Gravity
    Enders Game
     
  16. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This I don't really get. In fact, this was one of my problems with the film: it treated what should have been a gigantic, vast area of space and effectively reduced it to the size of a solar system. You get from Kronos to Earth in the blink of an eye! You can see Kronos from the Neutral Zone! And not with your long-range sensors - with your eyes! It was like the filmmakers didn't get how big space is.
     
  17. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Upstream Color is great. Europa Report was enjoyable and probably the best spin on this sort of story I've seen in a while. Star Trek Into Darkness is flashy, technically proficient movie with a hilarious mess of a story--much like Elysium, now that I think about it. Pacific Rim was loads of fun. How Del Toro got so much money to make what's basically a live-action homage to mecha anime, I'll never know, but I'm glad he did. Thor: The Dark World was fun, and definitely had some memorable visuals, but not much of a story. I haven't seen the others mentioned so I can't comment on them.
     
  18. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They were parodying pulp SF that doesn't get how big space is. So it's actually really "clever," see... :p
     
  19. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    mind = blown
     
  20. Base_Delta_Zero

    Base_Delta_Zero Commodore Commodore

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    Sci-fi I enjoyed in no particular order:

    Oblivion

    Man of Steel

    World War Z

    Star Trek - Into Darkness

    Gravity

    Riddick


    Sci-fi I laughed at (not in a good way) or during which I zoned out completely due to boredom, in no particular order:

    Elysium

    The World's End

    Europa Report

    R.I.P.D.

    I'm sure there's more I could mention, but I can't for the life of me think of anything else sci-fi I saw this year...so lump the rest into "meh, forgettable" territory.

    As for Mission to Mars...Gary Sinise's eye liner! And giant cartoon ant aliens! And, well, damn, every single thing about that movie was hideously awful.