The blog of a Sci-Fi Geek

Sat 12 February , 11

Stop raping my childhood you bastards!

Some (and by that I mean one or two only) are films that I think could do with being remade, but the vast majority of the films that follow I simply cannot understand why they would need remaking.

I do understand some of the motivations for Hollywood to remake films – lapsing of copyright on the originating materials being chief among them – but is it really expecting too much from the leading producer of western cinematic product to give us some originality?
If the films fail at the box office at least they would have tried, rather than having a lacklustre attempt at regaining the fever (or otherwise) that greeted the original.
Anyway, on with the list, and in no particular order …

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Sat 1 January , 11

My Films of 2010

Filed under: Film — Tags: , — SFG @ 00:02

My annual tradition of posting all the films I’ve seen in the past 12 months rolls around once again.

I initially planned to systematically work my way through the BFI’s top 100 films, but after an abortive start to that I quickly realised that there were other films I’d much rather be watching, so I concentrated on those instead.

Highlights of the year included Transsiberian, Stalker, Kick-Ass and Sunshine Cleaning.
Lowlights were The Human Centipede , Paranormal Activity and Avatar.
Special mention this year goes to TRON : Legacy for possibly bridging the longest gap between original film and sequel in Hollywood history – I also enjoyed it very much, and Jackie Chan, for making so many enjoyable films.

I’d kinda also like to thank Film4 for showing the first ten Star Trek films back-to-back over the course of two nights.
That was a fun couple of evenings spent on Twiter whilst watching the films.

I seem to say this every year, but I’d like to see more science fiction films in 2011 than I did in 2010, though once again personal circumstances conspire against me in my quest to watch more films at the cinema, but we’ll see how that goes as the year moves along.

Follow the link below to get to the film listings for 2010.
Happy New Year to everyone everywhere.

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Wed 13 January , 10

Avatar 3D [REVIEW]

Filed under: Film, Film review — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — SFG @ 00:36

Okay, let’s make this clear at the start, Avatar is not a great film.
It is not a film that will surprise you and offer you things you have never seen before. You do not get sucked in to a world of new colours, dimensions and landscapes, what you do get is the same old familiar fantasy stuff just presented a little differently. And that’s the driving force of this film, not what you see but how you see it.
James Cameron is on very familiar ground with many of the story elements  of this film, but it’s the technical advances that seems to be getting all the column inches and blog postings, probably because the story’s so familiar.

It takes great skill in creating a totally believable world in cinema, and at this Cameron excels.
In the years he was waiting for the technology to mature enough to start filming he obviously poured over every aspect of the world of Pandora, and it certainly shows on screen. It’s a lush and very detailed world with a well thought out and realised methodology and ancestry that it could’ve been lifted straight from a documentary of indigenous peoples. Pandora is fully realised and totally believable, at least in concept if not execution. This is where the film started to fall down for me; the CG realisation.

The very first time we see Sam Worthington’s character (Jake Sully) in avatar form, it looks so fake. The whole scene needs proper attention to the blending process to integrate the CG with the live action, because it just looks cheap and well below par for any big budget film these days. The whole sequence is very unnatural in it’s movement and the cartoon skin doesn’t help in the least. This scene isn’t the only one that actually takes you (or me) out of the film and draws your attention to the artifice of the medium, but as it’s the first scene that does it in a very easily recognisable sense then it deserves mention for that. Cameron should look to District 9 as a lesson in how to blend CG and live action seamlessly.
Once emerged in the world of Pandora the CG becomes much more believable but there’s something about the way things move, it’s very unnatural in it’s execution. Again, this takes the viewer out of the film and draws attention away from verisimilitude.

The script is typical Cameron fare. Don’t go expecting anything approaching complex dialogue, because that’s not what he does. What he does do is create spectacle, and in this he certainly hasn’t failed, though some aspects need a little work Avatar is by no means a bad film, but by the same token it’s not great either, and this is where I came in.

So, is 3D going to be the saviour of the film industry? Based on this film I’d have to say “nope”.
While it undeniably adds depth to the image there’s a few problems I have with it (even though it is still very much an emerging technology).
The glasses were a major problem for me. Not being a person that requires any kind of correctional eye facility I found wearing the glasses a distraction. Not only could I constantly feel the pressure of the arms against my head I found the rims of the glasses a constant distraction. The CG movement I’ve already gone in to so I won’t rehash but as a gimmick I can see 3D catching on in a small way, but I certainly don’t think I’ll be going to watch another 3D film at the pictures again any time soon.

Sat 2 January , 10

The Films of 2009

Filed under: 1051 — Tags: , , , — SFG @ 17:36

For those not familiar with the concept, I keep track of all the films I watch (I’ve been doing this since 2006) on a monthly basis over the course of the year, just so I can post the list up on my blog at the end of December. Due to personal circumstances I’m a little late with the post.

After starting to give the films ratings in 2008 I carried on this tradition in ’09 but life events got in the way and due to my mood in the second half of the year I decided to not rate those films, because I’d probably be under rating the films, and I didn’t want to unfairly judge films that I more than likely enjoyed. So the first half of the hear has ratings, the second doesn’t.

Highlights of the past year include Watchmen, In Bruges, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
Lowlights included Southland Tales and Star Trek
Special mention goes to Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus and Where the Wild Things Are.

June and July have been lumped together because I totally lost track of when one month ended and when the other started, so there’s no solid line I can draw between those two months.

I said last year that I’d like to watch more sci-fi pictures as well as see more films at the pictures. I think both those two comments can be rolled over to 2010 though I don’t think I’ll have the money to see more at the pictures, but I’d certainly like to see more science fiction films this year than I did in previous years.

Follow the link below to get to the film listings for 2008.
Happy New Year to all my readers.

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Sun 15 November , 09

Avatar

Filed under: 1051 — Tags: , , , , , , , — SFG @ 15:59

This article prompted my thoughts on this film.

It’s one of those occasions where you have to assess what you want to do beforehand.
Do you want to believe the hype and go and see it on that basis.
Do you want to go and see another James Cameron film, where the acting is okay at best, the effects and world realisation are second-to-none and the script is bilge.
Do you want to go and see a saccharine love story, the likes of which you’ve already seen hundreds of times anyway.
Do you want to go and see the most expensive film ever made just so you can, many years from now, say that you saw the film in the cinema.
Do you want to go and see a film that could quite possibly sink a major Hollywood studio.
Do you want to go and see a film that could, quite possibly just blow your mind.

I’m sure there’s also other reasons you may want to go and see it for as well.

I’ve tried to avoid all of the marketing hype surrounding this film.
I caught a very early teaser trailer for it, and I’ve seen nothing else of it. This article was the first one I’d read about the film for years, and I’ll likely not read any more until the film comes out.
I’ll probably go to the pictures and see the film, but not in it’s opening week, as the marketing buzz will be driving hordes of people to go and see it during that time.

I have no expectations of this film but I’ll post back with my views once I’ve seen it.

Sat 19 September , 09

100 Top Sci-Fi Films

Filed under: 1051 — Tags: , , , , , , — SFG @ 08:18

I’m looking for submissions to help compile my personal top 100.
I already have a long list of films to sort through, some of which won’t make the cut, but I’ve found it tough to come up with all the sci-fi films I’ve ever seen, so I’m looking for submissions to see if (a) there’s any I don’t already have in my list and (b) if there’s any good suggestions made that I haven’t yet seen so I can try and hunt them down and watch them before the list gets compiled.

I’m not just looking for Hollywood sci-fi either, U.K., European, Russian, Hong Kong … in fact any film that you think is seriously worthy of being in a top 100 I’m willing to accept as a valid submission.

The genesis for this idea came from another top 100 films that I’ve been following all this past week being published by Anthony Quinn of The Independent.

Click the link below to see a list of titles that I’ve already compiled and to see if you can think of any films that I don’t already have.
Please leave any title/s in the comments that you think worthy of inclusion that I’ve overlooked.

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Fri 23 May , 08

The 10 most Prophetic Sci-Fi Films

When Arthur C. Clarke died, science fiction – hell, science in general – lost one of its greatest, most forward-looking masters. In his honour, Popular Mechanics’s resident geek and sci-fi buff analyses the most eerily predictive, prescient films of the future. They’re not necessarily the best films – just the ones that got the science right, or will sometime soon.

I’m not going to list the films in ranking, instead I’m listing them alphabetically.
Clicking the images below will take you to their positions as well as write-ups by Popular Mechanics.

A Space Odyssey Blade Runner Destination Moon Gattaca
Mad Max 2 Minority Report The Running Man Short Circuit
Soylent Green The Truman Show

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