Like many geeks, I really like science fiction movies. The year 2014 is now long over so I figured I’d review the science fiction films released in 2014. It wasn’t a good year. Here are 10 significant (not necessarily good; meaning only that I saw them) sci-fi movies from 2014, with my ratings, from best to worst. I didn’t include super hero movies like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” because they belong in a separate category in my mind.
1. Lucy. Grade = B. Scarlett Johansson is Lucy. Bad drug dealers (are there good drug dealers?) sew bags of some weird new drug inside her. The bag breaks and Lucy gets super powers. Not good news for the drug dealers. Directed by Luc Besson, one of my all-time favorites, even if he is French. (Just joking, I’m part-French).
2. Edge of Tomorrow. Grade = C+. Tom Cruise (yes, I know he’s kind of a nut case, but he’s a good actor) and Emily Blunt are soldiers fighting an alien invasion. After getting covered in alien goo, Cruise gets the ability to travel backwards in time if he gets killed. Movie would have been much better if edited down a bit — it was just too long; we must have seen Cruise get killed a dozen times.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy. Grade = C+. Most of my friends liked this movie much more than I did. It made a huge amount of money. We have space pirates, orphans-turned-assassin, talking trees and raccoons, and a story that made little sense. Lots of action, little plot.
4. The Signal. Grade = C. A low-budget film I didn’t see until it came to cable. Some college students are on a road trip (uh oh) and so they naturally decide to track a hacker who is taunting them to a deserted house in the middle of the dessert. What could possibly go wrong? (Other than abduction by aliens?)
5. Godzilla. Grade = C. Sci-fi remakes are almost always a disaster so I had low expectations but this film was not as bad as I feared it would be. Not good by any stretch of the imagination but not terrible. Godzilla is a good guy and defeats two huge bad monsters that want to breed in San Francisco.
6. Under the Skin. Grade = C-. A low-budget film with Scarlett Johansson as an alien who seduces men then kills them. Might be worth it. The film had a very arty feel to it. One of those movies where the cinematography is more important than the story.
7. Interstellar. Grade = C-. This movie was a huge disappointment for me because it was directed by Christopher Nolan who did Inception (2010), a brilliant film. Interstellar is three boring hours of Matthew McConaughey’s character talking like he’s drugged and barely awake, and Anne Hathaway’s character just being whiny, stupid, and annoying (not really much of a stretch for her). What a dud movie.
8. The Maze Runner. Grade = D. I hate movies that are doing nothing more than trying to set up a sequel. Teenage boys live in the Glade by themselves. It’s surrounded by the Maze to keep them in. Grievers are creatures that roam around. This movie was a complete waste of time.
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Grade = D. I REALLY hate movies that are doing nothing more than trying to set up a sequel. I didn’t like the first Hunger Games movie, but was pleasantly surprised by the second movie. Not so for this third one. Katniss shoots her arrows at things. This Hunger movie was a just a way for the producers to squeeze money out of a concept that has been beaten to death.
10. Divergent. Grade = F. If a director and writer could somehow take all the things I don’t like in a sci-fi movie and combine them into one horrible experience, you’d have something like Divergent. Beatrice is Divergent. She becomes Tris. Tobias is Four. Everyone looks like a model. Everyone is as dumb as a model. Really bad movie.