I posted last week about the speculative fiction movies coming out in 2016 that I’m excited about. Today I’m talking about the movies eligible for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Technically, full seasons of TV shows are eligible, but traditionally individual episodes are nominated in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form instead. There seems to be a lot of support for nominating full seasons in the Long Form category among the Sad Puppies, though, which I would welcome since I think of TV shows in terms of seasons, not episodes. But for now I will stick to movies. And it was a great year for speculative fiction movies. And for once, between long transpacific flights and a new upscale theater I can actually drag my wife to, I saw many of them.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Pure adrenaline. Fury Road succeeds at every level: as an action movie, as a piece of dystopian speculation, on a character level. And all at 100 miles an hour.
It’s creepy, thought-provoking, and beautiful. Of all the movies on the list, it’s the one I keep rewatching and thinking about.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
How long we waited for another good Star Wars movie. (I rewatched Episode I for the first time since the theater and watched Episode II and III for the first time in anticipation of The Force Awakens and they were…not good.) It’s a flawed movie, but I love love loved it, and had many thoughts. Non-spoiler review here, and essay on Rey here.
We need more movies like this. Science and straight-up good movie making. Review here.
This movie was just so much damn fun. Much like The Force Awakens, it is flawed but I don’t care. Review here.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
It’s not the best Hunger Games movie (that was Catching Fire), and Mockingjay shouldn’t have been split, but it’s still a damn fine story, well told and with a great lead. The adaptation of the third book also benefits from breaking free from solely Katniss’ POV.
Beautiful and bold and boring.
Like Jupiter Ascending, I fell asleep watching Chappie on my flight, although I did restart it to watch the end. It’s terrestrial but that doesn’t stop it from being even weirder than Jupiter Ascending. But it’s also uninteresting and deeply unsatisfying.
Avengers 2: Age of Ultron
The first Avengers was overrated but still an enjoyable flick. Frankly, it has great characters but they work better in smaller doses where they can be better developed. Ultron had promise, especially from the trailers, but he was hobbled by a stream of silly one liners and an army of robots apparently made of papier-mâché.