As the final day of 2013 is finally upon us, many people take the time to publish their various lists discussing the things that they loved or hated throughout the year. We here at ScienceFiction.com are no different, which is why I’ve compiled my list of Top Five ScienceFiction.com Films of 2013.
Just to be clear on what that means, my list is only limited to the films in the genres that this website covers. That’s why you might be seeing sci-fi flicks alongside horror, and fantasy since that’s the sort of thing that you might find here on any given day.
Finally, before I get to my list, I think that 2013 may have steered me away from being more pessimistic since I only did a bottom five list last year. This year, I’ve chosen to focus on only the good stuff. After all, I don’t think that I need to dedicate any more time to how bad I thought ‘Jobs’, ‘World War Z’, and ‘Ender’s Game’ was.
Honorable Mention: ‘Coherence’
While I rated James Ward Byrkit’s ‘Coherence’ with a 4.5 out of 5 stars and consider it as one of my favorite films of the year, I realized that it might not qualify for this list since a wide audience hasn’t had a chance to see it yet. After only playing at festivals in Austin and Philadelphia, the ‘Twilight Zone’-esque mind-bending thriller following a group of friends that come together for a dinner party on a night that a mysterious comet is passing close to Earth is still without a distributor. Regardless, the story was incredibly original and engaging in a way that kept me guessing throughout. Plus, the way that the film was created is an interesting tale all on it’s own. For more on this film, check out my interview with the director. With any luck, maybe it will get a decent release and more of you can see it in 2014.
Honorable Mention: ‘Frozen’
We here at ScienceFiction.com do cover a good bit of fantasy, but for some reason we skipped over Walt Disney Pictures’ most recent crowd-pleaser, ‘Frozen’. Despite that, it is still technically eligible for this list. But to avoid confusion based on our lack of coverage, I left it off and labeled it as an honorable mention. The film based on Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Snow Queen’ starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad was simply one of the best Disney movies in recent history. Not only did it have a killer voice cast and an array of amazing songs, the story managed to turn the traditional Disney Princess formula on it’s head by providing the children of today with a very positive message that we have yet to see from one of the Mouse House’s films. It put a whole new twist on the fairytale idea of an act of true love that this generation desperately needs to see. To put it simply, ‘Frozen’ is a heartwarming experience with a positive message for the whole family on par with some of the all-time Disney greats.
5. ‘Iron Man 3’
If you’ve been following my work for a while, I don’t think that it’s surprising to see this here. At the beginning of 2013, I put this on my Most Anticipated list and when it finally hit theaters, it did not disappoint. Sure, it caused plenty of controversy among fans that were not in favor of the plot twist, but personally I enjoyed the changes to the Iron Man mythology and I found that twist to be ingenious. ‘Iron Man 3’ wasn’t just a great comic book movie. It was a great action movie with some bits of a comedy and a spy thriller thrown in as well. This amalgamation of genres created by Shane Black, Drew Pearce, and the entire crew at Marvel has culminated in one of the best movies of the year.
4. ‘This Is The End’
One of two comedic takes on the end of the world that were released this year, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial debut came out on top as one of the funniest films of the year. Not to take anything away from Edgar Wright’s ‘The World’s End’, but I hadn’t laughed at a movie like I did during ‘This Is The End’ in a really long time. But under all the laughter, there was a sweet message of friendship and doing good in your life that made the experience all the more rich. Also, Michael Cera’s brief cameo definitely factored into this film being included as one of the year’s best for me.
3. ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’
Whenever anyone asked me what I thought of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’, I would respond by saying that it is the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ of young adult novel adaptations. I’m a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan, so it definitely means something for me to say that. Aside from the obvious parallels like being the second film in the trilogy, the overall quality of the film deserves the comparison to arguably the best ‘Star Wars’ film to date. This chapter of Katniss Everdeen’s plight against the Capitol and President Snow contained some great performances from the entire cast and engaging storytelling that really made the audience care about the outcome. I definitely look forward to the next film and hope that it maintains the same quality as this one.
2. ‘Pacific Rim’
As a kid who grew up on ‘Transformers’, ‘Voltron’, ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’, and various other giant robot fighting giant monster shows and movies, Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’ was everything I could have wanted. Not only did it provide me with some incredibly badass action sequences, but the story managed to play with some typical action movie tropes, such as the idea that main guy ends up with the main girl romantically. For me, it was refreshing to see a story like this remain uninhibited by the last minute addition of an unnecessary love story and overall enjoyable to see a giant robot flick just done so well.
Though the premise may seem extremely weird, at it’s core Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ is a touching love story that deeply explores the inner workings of a relationship with deeply emotional performances from it’s stars Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. It goes far beyond some guy falling in love with Siri. Instead of a corny, B-list sci-fi flick, we’re presented with a deeply emotional film that explores some interesting parts of the human condition that many of us probably never thought to ever explore. Yet, with the world evolving technologically every day, ‘Her’ gives us a bizarre love story that we can take more away from than we initially think. Hopefully when award season rolls around, it takes away some of the recognition that it deserves.
Wow, that was super hard. There were so many great movies that just narrowly missed my top five like ‘Gravity’, ‘Evil Dead’, and ‘Kick-Ass 2’, but I think that I’m pretty satisfied with my top picks of 2013. What were some of your favorite sci-fi, horror, and fantasy films from this past year? Do some of your picks match up with mine? Let us know in the comments below.