I enjoy watching science fiction movies. Now that 2015 is well past, here are my opinions of ten significant (meaning only that I saw them) science fiction movies from 2015. It wasn’t a great year.
1. The Martian – When a sandstorm hits an expedition on Mars, the team barely escapes the planet, leaving behind Matt Damon who they believe is dead. Nice balance of science and action. A bit too long in my opinion but the best sci-fi film of the year and I give it a solid B grade.
2. Ex Machina – Basically a modern day version of Frankenstein. Ava, played by actress Alicia Vikander, is an android created by an eccentric billionaire. Slow-moving in parts but thought-provoking. I felt the Kyoko android was the most interesting role. Solid B grade.
3. Jurassic World – The fourth movie in the dinosaur series was a pleasant surprise. The plot was pretty much what you’d expect but the story was nicely executed. I liked the huge Indominus and the aquatic Mosasaurus. Best action-based sci-fi film of the year. Solid B.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road – Almost everyone I know thought this was an excellent movie but I grade it out only a weak B grade. Essentially one big chase through a post apocalyptic desert with very little plot. But it was a very good chase.
5. Tomorrowland – A big budget disappointment from Disney. I’m a big George Clooney fan but even he couldn’t save this time travel to save the earth film from mediocrity. Good acting, good plot idea, good cinematography but sometimes films are less than the sum of their parts. This is one. Grade: C+.
6. Selfless – Old billionaire Ben Kingsley has cancer but gets transferred to a new artificial body (Ryan Reynolds). Boring. Grade C.
7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – A huge disappointment. I can just see the writers: “OK, let’s have a female character like one in the popular Hunger Games, and let’s have the obligatory black character so we can appeal to that community (we can skip the Asian stereotype – they’ll come watch anyway), and let’s . . .” Boring, insulting, derivative, and pandering. Grade: D+.
8. Terminator Genisys – Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in the fifth of the series. I like Arnold but the plot felt slapped together from bits and pieces of other movies. Nothing really new or interesting. Grade: D+.
9. Vice – Businessman Bruce Willis creates an artificial resort world where anything goes. What could possibly go wrong? Self-aware robots maybe? Somewhat similar story idea to Westworld (1973) with Yul Brynner, which was quite a bit better. Grade: D.
10. Jupiter Ascending – The monster dud of the year. Produced and directed by the Wachowskis who did The Matrix. What were they thinking? Mila Kunis plays the title role. She saves the Earth but bores the audience while doing so. Grade: D-.
Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd would definitely made my top five of 2015 but I put super hero movies in a separate category in my mind.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was predictable and boring.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 was better than I thought it’d be but the film was primarily an excuse to separate cash from teenage girls.
Chappie where a robot is the star, was liked by some of my colleagues but not by me.