2011 brought with it a whole slew of films from the Hollywood movie factory (and others); some were captivating, some tugged at our hearts while others made us wish we hadn’t wasted our precious hours watching them.
Here are the top 5 sci-fi/tech themed movies that we at GreyReview feel are the ones worthy of mention (and repeated viewings).
1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
This movie succeeds because of one man: Andy Serkis. His portrayal of Caesar the super-intelligent ape (albeit through the use of a mo-cap suit) makes him the most compelling protagonist in recent films. Serkis gives an astounding physical and emotional performance worthy of an Oscar. The special effects from the wizards at WETA are phenomenal and adds to the realism of the scenes. Definitely one for the Blu-Ray library.
2. Source Code
This cerebral thriller revolves around Air Force officer Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is sent back in time to the minutes just before a terrorist bomb explodes on a commuter train heading towards downtown Chicago. On the train he meets Michelle Monaghan, but since they’re both going to die in just a few minutes, well, there’s not much point in making friends. Or is there? Is he really on the train at all? Source Code is a twisty and interesting sci-fi thriller that deserved to do better in the box office.
3. Real Steel
The trailer reminded me of Rock ‘Em and Sock’ Em Robots (remember that toy?). It was enough for me to dismiss it as yet another cheesy flick. Boy, was I wrong. Hugh Jackman plays a former boxer who now operates robot boxers by remote control. He is a bit of a dirtbag, but he redeems himself as a person, a fighter and a father when he and his son help a sparring bot rise through the professional ranks. Good effects, great story and enormous heart.
4. Super 8
Those hoping JJ Abrams would ditch the lense flare effect (which was ABUNDANT in the 2009 Star Trek remake) in this movie would be sorely disappointed. Fortunately, the storyline was compelling. It starts with teens making a zombie movie and subsequently capturing footage of something alien causing a train wreck. What followed was a Spielberg-esque tale of friendship and adventure that is both captivating and heartwarming.
5. X-Men: First Class
This film was notable to us at GreyReview because some of the jaw dropping special effects were courtesy of the Malaysian studio of Rhythm & Hues (as mentioned in our previous post). But aside from that, this fifth movie in the X-Men franchise has a fresh and interesting storyline and consistently showed us new and unexpected events. The cast does a excellent job making these characters believable and sympathetic but special mentioned has to go to Michael Fassbender as the vengeful Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. Definitely the best X-Men movie to date.