Sci-Fi & Fantasy
As the second Star Trek film under the helm of director J.J. Abrams, Into Darkness follows Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of The USS Enterprise as they voyage to the Klingon home world in search of renegade Starfleet member John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). It’s just as spectacular visually as the preceding film, though not as original, with Cumberbatch’s rousing performance anchoring the entire cast. Iconic characters such as Scotty and Spock return as well, offering a warm welcome to Trekkies and newcomers alike.
Snowpiercer is based directly on the French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige. It’s follows the aftermath of an experiment to counteract the threat of global warming, one that leaves the remaining citizens of Earth confined to a single, class-divided train circling the globe. It’s an ambitious spectacle, anchored by director Bong Joon-ho’s claustrophobic action scenes, Hong Kyung-pyo’s progressive cinematography, and reveling in a refreshing vision of post-apocalyptic society. No one is as fed up with traveling coach than protagonist Chris Evans.
World War Z failed to capture the seriousness and allure of the apocalyptic world Max Brooks created in his 2006 novel of the same name. However, it’s enticing piece of eye candy, filled with non-stop action documenting a U.N. employee (Brad Pitt) who races against the clock and around the world in an effort to prevent the spread of a horrific zombie pandemic. The special effects are top-notch, but the film does substantially diverge from the novel.
Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece, Metropolis, may be the only silent film on our list, but it helped pioneer the sci-fi genre as a whole. The dystopian film revolves around a man of wealth (Gustav Fröhlich) who abandons his privileged life to join a band of oppressed workers in a revolt. The film was initially praised for its technical merits, though not as much for its plot or commentary on society as a whole, but has nonetheless become one of the defining films of the entire 20th century. It won’t blow you away visually, but its historical value belies its technical limitations.
Often considered a post-feminist interpretation of the fabled fairy tale Cinderella, Ever After encapsulates the love affair between mistreated orphan (Drew Barrymore) and Prince Henry (Dougray Scott), the latter of which is fleeing an arranged marriage. The film represents a novel interpretation of a beloved classic set in Renaissance-era France, sweet and timeless, sans the pumpkin carriage and other supernatural facets with which we tend to associate the story.
Set in the 23rd century, The Fifth Element follows crabby New York cab driver (Bruce Willis) as he tries to save an alien woman who is believed to be a cosmic weapon. The effects are a bit outdated given the film was made in 1997, but the ever-twisting plot and Chris Tucker’s bleached, beehive hairdo manage to keep it enticing despite the film’s polarizing reviews. Regardless, it’s a must-see classic within the genre, even if the possibility of a sequel was axed long ago.
In a world where creativity and artistic expression are outlawed and citizens take drugs to suppress their emotions, Christian Bale — an enforcement officer for the oppressive regime — forgets to take his daily dose and begins to question the powers that be. The film is noted for being an incoherent mashup of sci-fi staples, borrowing heavily from 1984 and Brave New World, but its still possesses enough originality to render it unique. And Gun Kata isn’t half bad, either.
James Cameron’s Terminator was good, but the sequel was even better. It focuses on a reprogrammed Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who arrives from the future to protect John Carter, the future leader of the human resistance, against a shape-shifting cyborg. It’s filled with high-caliber special effects that only hone Cameron’s vision of grandeur, while establishing Schwarzenegger’s status as a movie star alongside his most iconic line: “I’ll be back.”
Stardust probably isn’t the Oscar-worthy, fantasy film you hope it will. Nonetheless, it’s surprisingly more entertaining than most matinees your kids would drag you to. It’s the whimsical tale of love-struck Tristan Thorn, one following as he travels to a forbidden realm in an effort to capture a fallen star that has taken human form. It’s rather lighthearted and fun, though campy, but it’s always somewhat refreshing to see the renowned Robert De Niro out of his usual element.
Sharknado is one of those films that’s so bad it’s good. The movie quickly became a cult film following its TV debut on the SyFy channel in 2013, revolving around a group of residents who attempt to fend of a slew shark-filled tornadoes that descend upon Los Angeles. It’s littered with B-level acting for the most part, with the film’s only “claim to fame” being Tara Reid. Fortunately, the horrendous acting, brainless action, and terrible CGI are what makes it. Oh, and that chainsaw scene.
Due to the fact that some movies are only available on Netflix Instant for a limited amount of time, there’s a chance that some of these movies are no longer available by now. If that’s the case, let us know in the comments and we’ll swap out the movie in question for a flick that’s currently available!