Originally posted on 12/15/14
Won 0 Oscars / Nominated for 0 more
Although this is not my favorite Mel Brooks movie, it still brings a lot of humor and nostalgia to the table for me. This was a favorite DVD of mine to play at sleepovers when I was a kid. All of the Star Wars and Star Trek references are gold as are the one-liners. The movie is paced really well and there are jokes around every corner. This will always be a fun parody movie on all things sci-fi. My favorite line: "We ain't found shit!"
Won 1 Oscar (Best Visual Effects) / Nominated for 3 more (Best Director, Best Writing [Original], Best Art Direction)
Considered one of the most defining sci-fi movies of all time, 2001 shows how far the medium of film can reach. Kubrick pulls out all of the stops as this is still considered a masterpiece over 45 years later. Like another movie on this list, there are vast stretches without dialogue. The viewer is able to take in everything on the screen without distraction. Kubrick is able to progress the story and pose insight and questions about human evolution throughout the course of the picture. Eery music and spectacular visuals round out this, the peak of cinematic creativity.
Won 0 Oscars / Nominated for 1 more (Best Visual Effects)
Not many people consider this one of the greats in the sci-fi genre. Most would think it is blasphemy to include this Alien (1979) prequel over the first two movies in the series. But this movie just clicked with all of my science fiction desires. It has a great pace, excellent action, and subtle references Alien fans will appreciate. What's more, the acting is phenomenal, which is never a given in science fiction. Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron turn out very underrated performances here. Another complete package, Prometheus is an essential movie for any science fiction fan.
Won 7 Oscars (Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects) / Nominated for 3 more (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Production Design)
A legitimate threat to win Best Picture at last year's Academy Awards, Gravity supplies heavy doses of excellent sound and breath taking visuals. The premise of being trapped in the orbit of Earth is positively eery and the movie keeps the viewer on the edge of the seat throughout most of the run time. This is not a movie I want to see over and over again, but the impact it has on the first viewing makes it unforgettable. Sandra Bullock does a serviceable job as does George Clooney, but make no mistake - the technical achievements allow this movie to stand out, hence most of the technical Oscar wins.
Won 0 Oscars / Nominated for 2 more (Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects)
This will be one of the most successful movie this year at the box office and for good reason. The perfect amount of comedy, action, sci-fi, adventure, and romance, Guardians hits all bases. Marvel Studios is able to flesh out relatively unknown characters, and propel them to vast amounts of popularity. Although I've never heard of Star Lord, Rocket Racoon, and Groot, I am now huge fans of these characters. There is also something to be said about the awesome soundtrack, aptly titled "Awesome Mix Vol. 1." It resembles a kick ass mix tape full of hit songs in the 1960s and 1970s. When I think of this movie, I immediately get "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede stuck in my head. This movie is a great combination of music, visuals, acting, and a fast pace story. I cannot wait for the sequel.
Won 6 Oscars (Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score) / Nominated for 4 more (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing [Original], Best Supporting Actor)
What more can be said about Star Wars? This is the movie that all other space adventure films can be judged against. The first movie is the start of a phenomenon much bigger than the film industry itself. All of the characters are introduced as we see Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Darth Vader for the first time. The acting is above average, the plot pulls you in, and the score by John Williams is among the best of all time. Everything about this movie is memorable, right down to the quirky transitions from scene to scene. I will save some commentary on the series as a whole in later entries.
Won 1 Oscar (Best Visual Effects) / Nominated for 4 more (Best Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing, Best Production Design)
Like I stated previously, this is the movie that made me want to create this list. Although I haven't seen all of the 2014 movies I will end up watching, I can safely say this is my favorite of the year. The acting is top notch, as is the score and story. Matthew McConaughey starts out shaky, but then lives up to his Oscar-winning ways from last year. Jessica Chastain also shows why she has become a top actress, even when her role isn't as big as I hoped it would be. The music by Hans Zimmer almost brought tears to my eyes in select scenes. It is incorporated beautifully, which is nothing new to a Nolan film. The story, which is scientific but not too difficult to understand, involves general relativity. I recently learned about this in my final year of college and I loved how it was executed. A movie that made me think long after the end credits, Interstellar is my favorite Nolan film and also my favorite space movie that incorporates some semblance of actual science.
Won 1 Oscar (Best Sound) / Nominated for 2 more (Best Art Direction, Best Original Score)
Considered the best of the Star Wars films, Empire achieves everything the first film does, but better. The story becomes more personal, the action is heavier, the plot quickens, and the adventure seems grander. We see the introduction of Yoda, developed relationships between all major characters, and more innovation from the filmmakers. I used to love watching extras on the Star Wars DVDs to see how the effects were executed. With such limited technology in the late 1970s, the behind-the-scenes personnel achieved so much in all three of these movies. It's a big reason why so many fans today lambast George Lucas for trying to "update" these movies. A product of their time, the original Star Wars trilogy has a very unique charm. From the puppet Yoda to the miniature Millennium Falcons, these movies are just a wonder to watch today as is the scientifically accurate black holes of Interstellar.
Won 0 Oscars / Nominated for 4 more (Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score)
Although I do concede that Empire is the best Star Wars movie from a subjective point of view, my favorite is Jedi. As a kid, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that there were three separate battles happening simultaneously in the film's conclusion. The editing in this segment of the movie, along with the wrap up at the end of the trilogy, stands out to me the most. There is excellent closure on all of the characters and I just feel complete when watching all three films together. As is the case with the other two movies, the music is top notch, the acting is above par, and the visuals are superb. Each location creates a wonderful sense of adventure as well. George Lucas captured the minds of the film-goers in the late '70s and it all wrapped up nicely when it was all said and done. Now about those pesky prequels...
Won 1 Oscar (Best Animated Feature Film) / Nominated for 5 more (Best Writing [Original], Best Original Score, Best Original Song ["Down to Earth"], Best Sound, Best Sound Editing)
My all time favorite Pixar movie of all time is none other than this gem of piece by Andrew Stanton. Like I stated in my review of 2001, I love sequences with no dialogue. This movie features just that - and it is flawless. The first act of the film is among my favorite of all time. The animation is perfect as the titular robot shows every depth of sentiment through only his "eyes." It is astounding how much raw emotion is portrayed by Wall-E and his companion, EVE. Social commentary aside, the love story between these two non-human creatures is among the best in movie history. The musical score, with a great mix of original music and songs from throughout the 20th century, and sound effects compliment every second of the story as well. This is a true sci-fi romp, and a very loud message regarding our planet's resources is made too. The message is done in a clever way and only adds to the narrative in an entertaining way. I never feel like it is too preachy or too over the top. A perfect animated movie, WALL·E is my favorite movie that takes place in space.