Category Archives: Science Fiction Movie Reviews

Gravity (2013)

Gravity Poster

Gravity (2013)


There are countless films and television shows that have taken place in outer space.  Often, many of these shows are very similar to each other and lots of them, not all of them, are cheap and awful.

Most science fiction shows take place in outer space at one point or another.  As a general rule, I am not a big fan of the science fiction genre.  There are certain aspects of science fiction that I love, but for the most part, I cringe when I first hear mention of a science fiction film.

What don’t I like about most science fiction movies?  There is usually one aspect of the film that is way too unrealistic.  The unrealism spreads like a cancer and attacks the credibility of the rest of the movie.  This causes me to lose interest because what I am seeing on screen is too bogus for me to attempt to believe my own eyes.  Things are hard to enjoy when they seem completely fake.

Over the years, special effects have been the root cause for me not liking science fiction movies.  At first special effects were so cheap that they would make everything look phony.  Eventually technology got better and better until finally, filmmakers could make almost anything that was super outrageous look unquestionably real.

So, what changed?  Movie makers felt that they had to outdo one another.  Special effects became so real that they made everything look like a counterfeit copy of reality.  If you know that a hundred dollar bill is a counterfeit, than it is no good.  But, if you can’t tell that the hundred dollar bill is a “fugazi”, than you might be able to pass it off as legitimate currency.

Occasionally a science fiction film will boast legitimate special effects and those are the ones that I seek out.  It’s best if I stay away from the rest of the “fugazi’s” because they only cause disappointment.

I was a little unsure of Gravity before going to see it because for a change, the trailer did not give away too much.  The trailer only showed legitimate special effects.


Gravity is about two astronauts who must fight for their own survival after an unfortunate accident causes them to be stranded in outer space a long way from their ship.

The film was written by Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron and directed by Alfonso Cuaron.  The noteworthy cast includes Sandra Bullock George Clooney, and Ed Harris.

Gravity shrapnel

The trailer tells us that Bullock and Clooney are in for a wild ride on the gravity train.  What the trailer does not tell us is that the film is an insane trip.

The trailer only showed legitimate special effects, because there is no other kind of special effects in Gravity.  The film has the best special effects that I have ever seen in a movie.  It is the most realistic that outer space has ever looked on a screen.  Both of those facts are a big deal.  On top of that, the extreme intensity and suspense will blow your mind and the phenomenal performance by Bullock makes Gravity an extraordinary journey that doesn’t stop until the credits roll.

Gravity Bullock

Gravity is a must-see.  It’s a top notch science fiction movie (because of the outer space aspect) that has Oscar written all over it.  It should be nominated for an Academy Award in almost every category and it could win most of them.  It is easily one of the best movies of 2013.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.


The Wolverine (2013)

The Wolverine Poster

The Wolverine (2013)

Recently I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) for the first time and this made me more enthusiastic about seeing The WolverineHugh Jackman’s Wolverine has won my vote for best X-Men character.

The Wolverine Hospital Bed

In The Wolverine, Wolverine (Jackman) is summoned to Japan by an aging, old friend whom he saved during the war.  The old man has become very rich and powerful and he wants to repay Wolverine for saving his life so long ago.  However, he may have ulterior motives.  When he reaches Japan, Wolverine becomes caught up in a war between his old friend’s empire and the Yakuza.  Wolverine becomes weakened and for the first time faces mortality.

The film was directed by James Mangold and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Hal Yamanouchi, Ken Yamamura, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Brian Tee, Will Yun Lee, and Famke Janssen.

The Wolverine Jackman

Some of what I especially liked about X-Men Origins: Wolverine is also what I liked about The Wolverine.  The film was concentrated mostly on the life of just one X-Men character and therefore it was more enjoyable.  You are able to feel more for Wolverine because you get to see his whole story.  There is much more character development than the first 4 X-Men films and this allows the viewer to become more attached to the characters and the problems that they face.  Also, not every single character in the movie was a mutant and that made the ones that were mutants more unique and therefore more likable.

The Wolverine face peel

In comparison to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I felt that The Wolverine was a slight step down.  It was a little bit longer than it needed to be and it lacked the star power.  The supporting cast does do a quality job, but there is not another actor in the film that can compete with Jackman.  X-Men Origins: Wolverine had Liev Schreiber and Danny Huston.  The bad guys in The Wolverine were not bad enough.  They did not have as much of a screen presence.  Jackman dealing with his own mortality was almost more intense than the enemies that he faced.  Don’t get me wrong.  The film was still very fun to watch, but bigger stars could have helped make it more powerful like X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman kept reminding me of a young Clint Eastwood at times throughout the film.  He was a fierce cold-blooded loaner ready to do whatever he felt was right and not caring who got in his way.  Jackman is 2 inches shorter than Eastwood, who is 6’4’’, but maybe it was Jackman’s haircut, facial hair, and attitude that was reminiscent of a middle-aged Eastwood.  The slight resemblance contributed in making Wolverine a helluva bad-ass to be reckoned with.

In my opinion, The Wolverine is the second best X-Men movie to date.  X-Men and action movie fans alike should approve of the quality of the film.  The special effects are sharp, the action is extreme, the characters are entertaining, and the movie as a whole is a blast.

The Wolverine Jackman Train

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Click on the link below to see a picture and read about the time when my wife and I and some friends got into a fight with Wolverine and Iron Man.

We Got Into a Fight with Wolverine and Iron Man

If you liked The Wolverine, then you should certainly enjoy X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).

Elysium (2013)

Elysium Poster 2

Elysium (2013)

The Definition of Elysium is a place or condition of ideal happiness.  The sci-fi film takes place in the year 2154.  The earth is way overpopulated and very rundown.  The poor people live on earth while the rich live on an enormous space station.  The space station is a world in itself and it is rightfully named Elysium.  Elysium is a man-made utopia.  Life on Elysium is basically perfect.  The air is better quality, and they have machines that cure most diseases and injuries.  The poor people on earth desperately want to live on Elysium and the rich want to keep everyone else out.  The Elysium government kills or captures intruders on site.

Elysium Elysium

Max (Matt Damon) has wanted to go to Elysium his whole life.  After a tragic turn of events, Max gets sick and has only a short amount of time left to live.  With nothing left to lose, he decides to do everything in his power to get to Elysium and get healed or die trying.

Elysium Damon Fighting

The movie is written and directed by Neill Blomkamp and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, William Fichtner, Wagner Moura, Josh Blacker, Jose Pablo Cantillo, and Faran Tahir.

I hoped for more from this film.  The special effects and futuristic technology in the film were outstanding, but the movie’s premise was a little shaky.  The story was very predictable and I felt that not enough of it was spent on Elysium.

Elysium Foster Fichtner

The film was more about trying to get to Elysium than actually taking place on Elysium and that was a little disappointing.

Foster was probably as chilling as she has ever been.  She played her part almost too well.

Damon was as good as he usually is.

Copley was a fun weirdo.

Elysium Robot Fire

Movies that are set way in the future normally show either amazing advancement in technology or the earth on the verge of destruction.  This film showed both.

Overall, Elysium is an exciting, action thrill-ride complete with cool ideas and some quality acting, but a flawed story riddled with predictability.  It’s a popcorn film.  Sit back, relax, and you’ll probably still have a good time.

Elysium Damon Car

I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

R.I.P.D. (2013)

R.I.P.D. Poster

R.I.P.D. (2013)

To me, this film appeared like it would have a lot of similarities to Men in Black (1997).  Instead of a police force that protects the earth from aliens, R.I.P.D. has a police force that protects the earth from the dead.  The dead people in R.I.P.D. wear human body suits and hide out among the living, sort of like the aliens in MIB.  Interestingly enough, the dead people in R.I.P.D. and the aliens in MIB are monsters that appear very much alike.  The futuristic guns in each film look like they are all part of the same family.  Each movie has old grumpy veterans of the force that are tasked with training the new recruit.  Hollywood continues to recycle the same ideas.  They twist them around a bit and feed them back to us again on the silver screen.

R.I.P.D. Bridges Reynolds

R.I.P.D. is a buddy-cop comedy with a twist.  Instead of simply just trying to protect and serve, Roy (Jeff Bridges) and Nick (Ryan Reynolds) are deceased cops who try to protect the living from the dead as part of the Rest in Peace Department.  After 15 years on the force, Boston cop Nick is tragically murdered in the line of duty.  Instead of going to heaven, he gets stopped along the way and recruited to become a member of the R.I.P.D.  He gets paired with Roy, an R.I.P.D. veteran.  Roy shows Nick the ropes, but Nick is only interested in investigating his own murder.

R.I.P.D. Disguises

The film is directed by Robert Schwentke and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak, Marisa Miller, James Hong, Devin Ratray, and Robert Knepper.

Even with the thought of basically already seeing this movie 3 times before, I expected it to be funnier than it actually was.  Reynolds humor is usually pretty sarcastically witty.  Pairing him with Bridges in a cowboy-like character, I thought that I might die laughing.  This was not the case however.  There was a touch of cleverness that caused a little bit of deserved laughter, but the comedy was mostly just not there.

R.I.P.D. Reynolds Parker Bridges

All of the actors were likable, but the film was desperately lacking originality.  The story was highly predictable and very convenient.  I felt like there was not enough of a back story to the Rest in Peace Department itself and why the dead were trying to invade the earth.  It was hardly explained why the department existed and why the dead were able to come back to earth.  There were just tons of holes in the storyline that were completely overlooked by the characters.  Apparently the viewers were also supposed to overlook these flaws and just go with it.  I did that, but it made the film less enjoyable.

R.I.P.D. Ratray

Overall, you can expect a few laughs and a bit of entertainment.  It’s also pretty funny and sad to see what Buzz (Devin Ratray) from Home Alone (1990) has become.

I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

X-Men Origins Wolverine Poster

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

With the release of The Wolverine (2013) this weekend, I thought that it was about time that I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  I have seen all of the other X-Men movies and I used to watch the cartoon as a kid, so I’m not sure why I waited so long to watch this movie.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine tells the story of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as a child and his earlier life prior to the other X-Men films.  Wolverine and his brother Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), both mutants, are forced to leave home together at a young age.  They fight through a number of wars together until they are recruited by Colonel Stryker (Danny Huston) to become part of an elite unit made up of all mutants.  Eventually Wolverine disagrees with what the unit stands for and decides to leave.  He moves away, falls in love with a woman, and leads a simple life.  Time passes and Wolverine’s life gets turned upside down when his old unit wants him back.

X-Men Origins Wolverine Huston Schreiber Jackman

The film was directed by Gavin Hood and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Durand,, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney, and Dominic Monaghan.

After watching this film, I am sort of kicking myself for not watching it sooner.  It does an excellent job of showing where Wolverine came from and why he is the way that he is in the other films.  After the movie, I gained a greater respect for Jackman and his Wolverine character.

X-Men Origins Wolverine Jackman Water

This is my favorite X-Men movie so far.  What I especially liked about the film is that it concentrated on the life of one of the X-Men instead of overflowing the movie with tons of mutant characters with too many stories to go around.  This made it possible for greater character development and helped to create a more meaningful story.  Of course, there are a number of X-Men characters in the film, but they didn’t try to tell the story of each one of them.

X-Men Origins Wolverine Gambit throwing cards

Gambit/Remy LeBeau was one of my favorite X-Men characters when I was a kid, and it was fun to finally see his character in a live action film.

X-Men Origins Wolverine Jackman Schreiber

Jackman and Schreiber both brought a level of fierce intensity to their characters that were very exciting to watch.  This, in conjunction with the solid supporting performance by Huston and the film’s awesome special effects helped to make X-Men Origins: Wolverine the sharpest X-Men movie in the box.

I rate this movie an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Click on the link below to see a picture and read about the time when my wife and I and some friends got into a fight with Wolverine and Iron Man.

We Got Into a Fight with Wolverine and Iron Man

Note: Jackman and Schreiber were both in Kate & Leopold (2001) together.

If you enjoyed X-Men Origins: Wolverine, then you will probably like The Wolverine (2013).

Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel Poster 2

Man of Steel (2013)

With the countless number of sequels, remakes, and superhero movies that are being spewed out these days, I have become very skeptical and picky when it comes to deciding which of these movies I will see and which I will avoid like the plague.

Honestly, Man of Steel was a difficult choice at first.  My initial reaction was derision.  I rolled my eyes and scoffed.  How many Superman movies does this world really need?

Man of Steel Cavill Adams

Superman and Batman are probably my favorite superheroes.  What I always enjoyed about those characters was the fact that they both had alter egos and they both were always trying to do good by helping people.

The thing is I like Batman better than Superman.  Batman is more real.  He puts on a costume and goes out, mostly at night, to right wrongs in his city.  Batman is fed up with the scum in his city and he tries to clean up the streets.  Superman on the other hand, is an alien from another planet who ends up on earth.  Superman looks human, but has a number of superpowers that make him almost godlike.  He disguises himself as a human, but puts on a costume when its time to fight the bad guys.  He is faster than a speeding bullet, can fly, has x-ray vision, and is virtually invincible except around kryptonite, etc. etc.  Superman is a godlike alien from another planet.  Batman is a human vigilante.  Which is more believable to you?

Man of Steel Crowe

Following my initial reaction about the new Superman, I learned who all was cast in the movie.  I raised one eyebrow as I contemplated the film’s potential.  The cast includes Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni, Antje Traue, and Ayelet Zurer.  Great cast right?  Except Henry Cavill is a dud and he was cast as Superman.

Man of Steel Cuffs

In my opinion, they needed a far superior actor to play the lead role.  Sort of like Christian Bale played Batman.  Instead they surrounded an almost nobody with an awesome cast.  The part will boost Henry Cavill’s career, but that doesn’t make him a better actor.  They needed someone like Mark Wahlberg, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jake Gyllenhaal, or even Matt Damon.

Still, the strong cast was enough to make me want to see Man of Steel.  It also helped that Christopher Nolan produced the film and both he and David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay and story.  Of course, Nolan and Goyer also both wrote The Dark Knight Trilogy, which Nolan also directed.  However, Nolan did not direct Man of Steel, Zach Snyder did instead.  Snyder is a capable director, but Nolan is far superior.

Man of Steel

Man of Steel is about a boy who finds out that his parents on earth are not his real parents.  It is believed that he was sent to earth from a different planet.  These details are revealed to him by his earth parents after he figures out that he has super powers.  Now he must learn what he was sent to earth to do and what type of man he will become.

Man of Steel on fire

The film was bursting at the seams with special effects.  The aspects of Superman that I do not enjoy were highly prevalent in the movie.  I don’t like the overuse of super powers and Michael Bay-esque explosions, along with multiple superhuman aliens in an endless battle of invulnerability.  Everything in their path becomes obliterated and it all seems so unrealistic.  With that being said, I expected the film to be that way.  But, I also hoped that the film would concentrate more on the humans on earth than the aliens on Superman’s home planet.  That hope was shattered.  It became more about Superman stopping an alien invasion on earth than Superman just stopping bad guys on earth.


Although there were a few things about the movie that I did not like, I will admit that those things were done tastefully.  The special effects were amazing.  They were too much at times, but they were also insanely awesome at times.  The cast was great, but Henry Cavill could have been replaced with someone better.  Everybody else’s performance made up for his.  It’s not that he was bad, but he just could have been much better.  The supporting cast should not be better than the main character.  That is not a solid foundation for a film.

Crowe, Costner, Shannon, Adams, and Lane all made the movie worth watching.  They used their acting super powers to totally make the film.

Man of Steel Shannon

Man of Steel is a worthy update to previous Superman movies.  Even a superhero skeptic like myself, enjoyed the movie.  With the obscene amount of action in the film, it will certainly be better on the big screen.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Prometheus (2012) (Guest Author)

Prometheus Poster

Prometheus (2012)

From Director Ridley Scott comes the fifth installment in the Alien series – a prequel. It stars Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, and Charlize Theron. The story follows the crew of the spaceship Prometheus, who is following a star map found by archaeologists as they were researching many different ancient cultures. They believe that the inhabitants of the planet they have landed on could help them discover where and how the human race began, but they find something horrifying instead. Instead of finding out how humanity started, they may very well have brought about the end of humanity.

Prometheus White Guy
I must admit, I went into this movie knowing I wouldn’t like it. A prequel to Alien (1979)? With Charlize Theron? How could it possibly be any good?

I was wrong. Ridley Scott never disappoints (well, with the exception of 1997’s G.I. Jane, a pile of excrement I prefer to pretend never existed), and Prometheus took my breath away. The special effects were amazing, the acting was first-notch, and the ending…well, I’ll just say Wow! and leave it at that.

Noomi Rapace plays Elizabeth Shaw, and she was outstanding. I had never seen her in anything (as I never saw the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)), but I look forward to seeing her in more movies. She is a great actress and I totally identified with the character. She was very Ellen Ripley-ish.


Michael Fassbender was the android David, and he was fabulous. I was very much reminded of Rachel in Blade Runner (1982) – he was almost wistful and obviously wished to be human.

Charlize Theron was Meredith Vickers, and she made my blood run cold. She was icy, calculating, and oddly like the android David; they looked enough alike to be brother and sister. It was odd and effective.

Prometheus Theron

Guy Pearce played Peter Weyland, Meredith’s father. I must admit, he rocked the old-man makeup; it was so good that he was in several scenes before I realized who it was. As always, he was wonderful in his role.

Prometheus Fassbender
I give the movie an 8 out of 10.

Buy, rent, or run?

Buy it on DVD and watch it over and over again, as I plan to do. So far, I’ve seen it in the theater, watched it twice on On Demand, and I am currently gloating over my newly-purchased Prometheus DVD.

Prometheus is one of the movies that Brock would like to see.

Guest Author: Eddie D. Shackleford is a writer and loves to write about entertainment, movies, and TV. You can follow Eddie @Eddie20Ford

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Star Trek into Darkness Poster

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

I have not really ever been a big fan of the Star Trek franchise.  I have seen some of the earlier movies and an assortment of episodes from a few of the television shows.  For one reason or another, I just could not get into Star TrekStar Trek Into Darkness appeared like it was going to be different than the previous movies.  This new movie looked intriguing and it made me decide to give Star Trek another chance.

Star Trek Into Darkness Chris Pine

Star Trek Into Darkness follows the crew of the Enterprise lead by Captain Kirk (Chris Pine).  He is tasked with tracking down a man responsible for attacking their organization.

Star Trek Into Darkness Ships

I saw the film in 3D and the special effects were wonderful.  It’s the best 3D movie that I have ever seen.  Technology has sure come a long way.  This was one film that I think is completely worth the extra cost to see in 3D.

Many parts of previous Star Trek movies have seemed a little too corny at times.  They all have had a lot of cool ideas mixed with some cheesy dialogue.  There has also been some great technology and some things that have seemed so far out that they come off as tacky.

Star Trek Into Darkness Volcano

In Star Trek Into Darkness, they seem to have gotten all of the tweaks out.  I felt that the filmmakers did an excellent job of updating the entire concept of Star Trek.  They successfully made it more appealing to a wider audience.  I am living proof of that because they got me to go out and see it, when I wasn’t going to let that happen before.

Star Trek Into Darkness Group

The movie is directed by J.J. Abrams and has a very solid cast that includes Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Peter Weller, Alice Eve, Anton Yelchin, and John Cho.

The film was exciting.  The computer graphics, special effects, etc., etc. were all amazing and made everything a bit more believable, considering the subject matter.  The dialogue was well-written and didn’t get cheesy this time around.  There was a bit of humor thrown in throughout the whole film to help make it more entertaining.  The characters were well-rounded and the story kept my attention.

Star Trek Into Darkness Cumberbatch

Overall, in my opinion, Star Trek Into Darkness is the best Star Trek movie that I have seen and likely better than the few that I haven’t seen.  Do yourself a favor and see it in 3D to make your movie watching experience even better.  Star Trek Into Darkness got me into Star Trek.  I might just have to go back and watch Star Trek (2009) and we’ll see where that takes me.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Star Trek Into Darkness Red world

Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion Poster

Oblivion (2013)

With Tom Cruise in the driver’s seat of this Sci-fi thriller, all that he has to do is do what he does best, act.  Forget about his crazy private life.  He may have had a lot of drama with his marriages (jumping on Oprah’s couch and whatnot, etc., etc.) and his religious beliefs (Scientology) may seem a bit weird, but lets face the facts.  The guy can act and he can act well.  He is one of the most solid actors of our time and he still draws a crowd.  Tom gets comfortable in his character, hits “Cruise Control” and all of the viewers in the audience are in for a treat.  He proves it time and time again that he is highly capable of carrying the majority of a movie on his back.  Oblivion is no exception.  In fact, the majority of Oblivion is Tom Cruise in one way or another.

Oblivion Cruise Drivers seat

After the world has been virtually destroyed by nuclear war and natural disasters, a couple (Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough) become part of “the cleanup crew” to help salvage the remaining natural resources that the world has to offer.  They are also there to protect their mission and make sure that it runs smoothly.  After a while things may not be what they seem.

I am not a huge fan of a lot of Sci-fi movies.  Many Sci-fi movies these days are filled with so much special effects that they make the movie seem totally fake.  I do not watch movies simply for the special effects.  I enjoy Sci-fi movies where the special effects are tastefully done to the point where it doesn’t take away from the movie.  The film also has to have an interesting plot, solid characters that can act, and a well written script and story to tie it all together nicely.  Oblivion fulfilled all of my requirements of a great Sci-fi movie quite nicely.

Joseph Kosinski does a superb job of writing and directing Oblivion.

The special effects are not overdone.  They are beautiful and awesome and some of the greatest that I have seen, but they are not too much.

Oblivion Cruise chilling

The film does not have too many characters in it and that is okay.  Tom Cruise is great as always, and everybody else is as good as they can be.  Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau all performed to the best of their abilities with what they had to work with.

Oblivion Freeman group

The plot had many twists and turns which made it very entertaining.  The story itself was very original.  However, a little bit of the movie was hard to follow and I left the theatre scratching my head.  I love movies that really make you think as you put each piece of the story together.  I figured out the gist of it, but I felt like it could have been explained a little better.  That was one of the only problems that I had with the movie.

Oblivion Riseborough

Given that I am not much of a Sci-fi fan, I was very pleasantly surprised by how good Oblivion was.  It is definitely worth seeing in the theatre and because of the excellent special effects, it will certainly be better on the big screen.

Oblivion Clouds

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.