Last year I decided it would be in my, and by extension your, best interest to do a year-end review in the Flickchartiest way possible. The four people who read it were very vocal about how it was an adequate way of spending their break at work therefore I decided to repeat the feat this year. Luckily for you I watched an absurd amount of movies this year – too many – and to make me feel like I didn’t waste much of my time and money I will be doing a series of battles throughout the next few weeks. To get us warmed up for the ensuing blood bath, the first movie will be about a bunch of teenagers killing each other…
Women Be Shootin’
The Hunger Games was the first big release box office wise of the year. While it seemed to satisfy most of the diehard fans of the franchise many people who hadn’t smashed through the books in 5 total days had reservations. The biggest complaint was that it took too many ideas from Battle Royale, but it also garnered a heavy amount of questions beyond potential idea borrowing. Why did the elite have such bizarre hair styles? Why did the citizens of District 12 give their children such dumb names? What the hell was going on in those shaky-cam action scenes? Am I not supposed to be disconcerted with the idea of children killing each other? Some of these complaints will be satiated by Gary Ross being replaced by a new director for the sequels. A director who hopefully doesn’t keep his camera at the end of a rope that he is swinging around in a circle above his head.
Not to be outdone in the “first” department, Brave was the first big disappointment of the year for most people. Pixar has been spoiling us for so long that when they released a movie that was simply “good” we as a society rejected it and marked it as a major let down. While it had its problems I still think it was a good movie and a nice change of pace from the normal princesses that young girls get to see in movies. It’s important that they see strong females on the screen whose sole purposes in life are not finding the perfect man.
In recent years, there’s been a number of once-dormant franchises – particularly franchises that began in the 1980s – being resurrected with a third sequel. Not every franchise warrants a fourth movie, but we’ve recently seen Rambo, Live Free or Die Hard, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull…to varying degrees of success. (Surely, it will not be too much longer before some genius decides to make Back to the Future Part IV.)
There are two science fiction franchises, however, that share a very similar pattern of quality in their four movies. The first two films in both series are widely considered classics (and, in fact, all four films rank in the Top 100 of Flickchart’s list of the Best Films of All Time). Both had their reputations tarnished by a lackluster third film (yet even those movies have their defenders). And both had pretty definitive trilogy conclusions blown open by the arrival of a fourth film.
These “fourquels” might be considered unwarranted, even unwanted. One promises “resurrection”, the other “salvation”, but the results may be somewhat less than heavenly. Yet, some people may find them better than the disappointing third movies. And when you are presented with them on Flickchart – and you admit that you’ve seen them – the question is, “Which is better?” Care to find out? Step in to the Reel Rumbles ring as we pit Terminator Salvation vs. Alien Resurrection. Read the rest of this entry »
2009 was a banner year for science fiction, one of the best for the genre in recent memory. It brought us franchise resurrections (J.J. Abrams‘ Star Trek, McG‘s Terminator Salvation), critically-heralded indie gems (Duncan Jones‘ Moon), and, indeed, Oscar cred with, not one, but two Best Picture nominations. Which brings us to, arguably, two of the best sci-fi movies of the past decade, and this edition of Reel Rumbles: James Cameron‘s Avatar vs. Neill Blomkamp‘s District 9.
It’s a true David vs. Goliath story: Avatar is both the most expensive movie in film history, and the highest-grossing. District 9 is the little indie that could, proportionately achieving financial success somewhat comparable to Avatar‘s with a much more meager budget. One was directed by one of the most successful directors in cinematic history (who already had the previous highest-grossing film of all time, Titanic , under his belt), and one was helmed by a first-time feature film director whom producer Peter “The Lord of the Rings” Jackson had taken under his belt. And yet, for two films on such opposite ends of the financial and professional spectrum, they actually share a surprising number of similarities.
But which film is superior? Does box office domination translate to better filmmaking? Step into the ring and find out…