Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My pick for the movie Hugo

Hi all,

I watched Moon two nights ago, the last of the five movies nominated for this year's Hugo. The other nominees are: Up, Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek.

Up is an animated fantasy film with some science fiction elements. It is about an old grump who is about to be forced out of his home by developers. He attaches a whole lot of helium filled balloons to his house and it floats to South America. A not very bright or skilled scout hitches a ride with him. They befriend a supposedly extinct big bird and try and rescue it from a demented explorer and his huge pack of talking dogs. I laughed out loud on a few occasions, with the humour aimed at both adults and kids.

District 9 Set in South Africa a decade or so after a huge spaceship arrived carrying a million alien refugees. The refugees now live in a ghetto in Johannesburg and are no longer welcome. The movie starts, in documentary style, with attempts to evict and move them 200 miles away. It follows the ignorantly racist manager of the move. He is sprayed by alien oil and begins to turns into one of them. His multinational employer wants to use him for alien weapons research and decides to dissect him. He escapes and finds refuge among the aliens. This movie had magnificent special effects, with believable renditions of aliens appearing in almost every scene. It also gets you thinking about boat people etc.

Everyone has scene Avatar, the most overhyped science-fiction film in history.

Most people would also be aware of the Star Trek franchise. The new Star Trek movie rebooted the series by going back in time and annihilating most of the Vulcans, so the Universe in which all the other Star Trek movies and series were set has been forever changed. A real fun action movie that injected much needed life into a tired franchise.

Moon didn't play at my local cinema so I had to watch it on DVD. I think if more people knew what it was actually about, they would go and see it. But to tell you what it is about would give away the intrigue of the first third of the movie. It is set on the moon at a mining facility manned by one person. I initially had doubts about whether they would leave one person at a moon base by himself, but then the story explained why. This film really got me thinking. It is more of an ideas film, a bit like Inception, than a special effects feast like Star Trek.

I will rate the five nominees on the following: Originality, scientific believability, special effects, whether they got me thinking, and enjoyability.

Originality.

1. Moon
2. Up
3. District 9
4. Avatar
5. Star Trek.

Scientific believability.

1. Moon
2. District 9
3. Avatar
4. Up
5. Star Trek

Special Effects

1. District 9
2. Star Trek
3. Avatar
4. Moon
5. Up

Thinking

1. District 9
2. Moon
3. Up
4. Avatar
5. Star Trek

Enjoyability

1. Star Trek
2. Moon
3. District 9
4. Up
5. Avatar.

So Moon will get my vote. I suspect Avatar will win by default as more people have seen it than the others, especially Moon. Although I enjoy big budget special effects science fiction, I remember more films with an original and thought-provoking plot.

Graham.

3 comments:

Anthony J Langford said...

That's an interesting way to rate films Graham. There is different sides and it's hard to place one film over the other. They all have their enjoyable elements.

I really liked Moon, especially the beginning, but I did'nt like how it ended. It reminded me a little of Silent Running and Solaris.

For me District 9 was the most interesting. Having spent time in South Africa in 1990/91 I could see all the metaphors for apartheid, some more subtle than others, and though it did remind me a little of Dr.Who's Ark in Space, it was also a thrilling ride. For my money it had everything. A smart film.

Agreed Avatar is overrated..its Dances with Wolves crossed with Aliens... Aliens was much better..

And Star Trek was good no doubt, but come on, how many remakes and sequels can we deal with? They going to remake the other 9 films too? stupid.

Graham Clements said...

District 9 was going to get my vote right up until I saw Moon a couple of nights ago. I watched District 9 for the second time the next night, just to be sure. They are the two stand out films.

As for my rating system, I was just trying to think of what is most important to me in a science fiction film. The plot which is included in orginality and the did it make me think categories is the most important feature.

I just submitted my vote which is done on a preferential type system and it went like this:

1.Moon
2.District 9
3.Star Trek
4.Avatar
5.Up

I have only Silent Running once, many years ago, and thought it wonderfully original with a great environmental message and deranged performance from Bruce Dern.

As for Star Trek, I would prefer original movies made from the thousands of science fiction novels - like Inception.

Satima Flavell said...

You've put a lot of thought into your choices, Graham, with that scoring system!I'm not voting because I haven't seen/read enough of the entries.

Avatar is the only film I've seen, and I adored it, but I'm afraid I'm a pleb in all my tastes:-)