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A Geek’s Month in Review: January 2012

by on 2012/01/31

This January roughly mirrors that one of a year ago, when I spent the first month surveying the “firsts” of various science fiction series.

Now I’ve finally turned my attention to the “standalone” sci-fi films. While we’ve done such pieces before, this is my first dedicated focus on the subgroup and, I must admit, it’s been a grim little outing. Some selections boasted a dark sort of humour, but only They Live made me laugh.

It’s been said that science fiction is an ideal genre for making social commentary, and I’ve found it to be the case. It just never occurred to me the comments would all be so very grim. Maybe there’s truth to the conventional wisdom that creativity is fuelled by misfortune.

To close out this look back, then, you may want to grab your happiest vice. I’d hate to think I made anyone grumpy reviewing these five final picks: my favourite, surprise, disappointment, and least-liked, as well as the title I should give a (second) chance, based on the say-so of fellow first-month sufferer, Gru.


Favourite
Moon (2009) on 2012/01/03

* * * *

Moon is worth seeking out for thoughtful sci-fi fans. This movie has both wonder and surprise in abundance. It’s not necessarily a thrilling experience, but it’s sympathetic and satisfying.”

Honourable Mention
They Live (1988) on 2012/01/21


Surprise
District 9 (2009) on 2012/01/09

* * * *

District 9 is a multitude of fine details, adding up to an even greater whole. A decent story, a terrific performance, and a truly compelling framework unify to create a successful science fiction. Its political subtext only deepens its appeal.”


Disappointment
Children of Men (2006) on 2012/01/07

* * *

“Despite my admiration for its construction, Children of Men just didn’t connect with me. I can accept it not being a light and cheery experience, but even its ideas were less compelling than academic. Somewhere between intent and execution, something went awry.”


Least-Liked
Twelve Monkeys (1995) on 2012/01/15

* * *

Twelve Monkeys had its moments for me, but probably not exactly as the filmmakers intended. Occasionally interesting, though not a lot of fun overall, it’s a moderate puzzler, and just about worth the effort, even if the characters are difficult to relate to.”


Show Me
Sherlock Holmes (2009) on 2012/01/15

* * *

“Here’s the rub, dear friends. ‘Tis no Sherlock Holmes.

“Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) has created something so butch, so testosterone-laden that there isn’t any Sherlock Holmes to be found under all of that sweating, soot-covered manliness.”


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