I love sci-fi films and the summer of 2013 promised great things. Pacific Rim, Oblivion, After Earth and Elysium and a few more promised for Autumn/Christmas period. January 2013 Frank was alive with excitement at the news of these films, January Frank was a naive young enthusiast with a starry twinkle in his eye…little did he know his summer dreams were about to be crushed by a wave of big budget mediocrity. Normally I’m not the most critical of film goers and am willing to forgive a film’s shortcomings if it entertains me, however…
The summer of 2013 was, if I’m honest, a let down. The sci-fi films of course, besides that I had a great summer, with a hedonistic little budget holiday to Corfu.
I’ll start with what I thought was the worst, After Earth for those who saw it, I’ll see you in therapy, for those who didn’t I’d strongly advise you only go if your dosed up on something Valium based. It had potential as an idea for a film but somewhere along the line, actors and producers’ vanity and budgets got in the way. the script was poor, and I found myself frequently cheering on the hostile alien/earth based creatures to finish Will Smith and his son just so I could go home.
Pacific Rim didn’t totally disappoint, but from a director whose storytelling, cinematography and fantastic imagination we attribute so much to, it was a let down. It felt as though Del Toro had finally been given a budget with which he could do whatever he wanted, to comb the depths of his exhilarating creativity, unfortunately he spent it on indulging his juvenile teenage fantasies without adding any depth to the film. It entertained at times and felt meandering and clueless at others. It’s definitely watchable as the spectacle of giant robots versus giant monsters is well realised thanks to a hefty budget and some creative choreography, just don’t expect anything more than that.
Oblivion was the best of a bad bunch as far as I’m concerned, it’s twists and turns were predictable but effective, its set pieces were visually stunning but ultimately unoriginal. It trod a fine line between being a great film and a poor film, let down by a cliche’d plot and script. Some solid performances from the main cast, particularly Tom Cruise alleviated the boring moments, but in the end it did not do what it seemed to set out to do.
I didn’t watch Star Trek, anything post Shatner is sacrilege and should be burnt. I’m now less keenly anticipating Ender’s Game, Autumn Frank is cynical and world weary after the failures of the summer, it was a book I loved and there’s nothing worse than a film damaging the reputation of good literature, case point The Golden Compass. I really enjoyed The hunger games, so hopefully there will be light at the end of this dark, dystopian tunnel, in the form of the sequel, fingers crossed!