TOP SCI FI MOVIES 2016
These extensive film reviews will at times give away some of the plot, unlike my book reviews, and focus on—for me—what the screenwriter and actors have done well or poorly to increase/ decrease my enjoyment of the film; so, for those of you who have yet to see the films, be warned! My intention is to give an honest, unbiased writer’s account and perspective. Whether the reader decides to watch the movies is entirely their decision, but, since time is one of our most precious commodities, I have spent some of it to save you some.
Based on these reviews it is my hope that they will guide you in deciding which of the movies fit your ‘to watch’ category of sci fi films for 2016. So, read on and enjoy!
List of sci fi movies that will be reviewed for 2016 include:
- Star Trek: Beyond
- Captain America: Civil War
- X-Men: Apocalypse
- Batman v Superman
- Independence Day: Resurgence
- The 5th Wave
- Midnight Special
- Space Between Us
- Suicide Squad
STAR TREK: BEYOND
Press on the image below to see the Youtube official trailer:
Star Trek Beyond is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Justin Lin based on the Star Trek series created by Gene Roddenberry. For those of you who don’t know, Justin Lin is the Taiwanese American film director of the Fast and Furious movies 3–6. Remember those?
Justin Lin’s films have grossed $2 billion so far—not bad, huh?
So, how is Justin’s approach different from the previous thirteen Star Trek movies and, more specifically, from American director J. J. Abram’s installment of the reboot series, Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)? Firstly, to put things into perspective, we need to recall that Abrams directed Mission Impossible III (2006), Super 8 (2011), and also directed and co-wrote Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the first in the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the 3rd highest grossing film of all time! This is a daunting act for Justin to follow.
Now, to understand how Justin has uniquely excelled by being different we need to first see what Justin has done similarly. Well, basically that’s restricted to some of the cast: we have, once more, the talented Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprising their roles as James T. Kirk and Captain Spock.
Pine (Kirk), born in Los Angeles, comes from a long line of actors: his father, mother, and great grandmother, and has a mixed ancestry: Russian Jewish, English, Welsh, French and German. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in English during which time he was an exchange student for a year at the University of Leeds, England. After graduating, he studied at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He has played in quite a few films lately, including the entire reboot Star Trek movies and co-starred with Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor, 2011). Press on the movie’s picture to watch the trailer:
Zach (Spock), born in Pittsburgh, grew up in Green Tee, Pennsylvania. A Catholic of Italian (his father) and Irish (his mother) descent, Quinto graduated from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, Pittsburgh, in 1999 and starred in several television science fiction and horror story series including Heroes, best known for his role as Sylar, and American Horror Story: Asylum, Dr Oliver Thredson for which he got nominated for the Emmy. On the silver screen he has co-starred, like Pine, in all the Star Trek reboot movies, as well as in I am Michael (2015) and Hitman: Agent 47 (2015). Press on the movie’s picture to watch the trailer:
The rest of the main cast of Star Trek Beyond, include reprised roles for Simon Pegg (Scotty), Karl Urban (Dr McCoy), the captivating and magnetic Zoe Saldana (Uhura), John Cho (Sulu), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov).
Idris Elba (Kirk’s nemesis, Krall) and the talented and extremely flexible dancer, Sofia Boutella (the alien, Jaylah), also join the cast for this one.
Simon Pegg (Scotty), an English actor from Brockworth, Gloucestershire, has played the role of Benji Dunn who assists Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in the Mission Impossible movies, and did the voice for Buck the one-eyed weasel in Ice Age: Collision Course (2016).
Karl Urban (McCoy), a New Zealand actor, is known for his roles including Julius Caesar in Xena: Warrior Princess, Cupid in Hercules, Eomer in Lord of the Rings (2002, 2003), Lord Vaako in Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Dredd in Judge Dredd (2012). Take your pick:
Now, how about Zoe Saldana (Uhura)? Does anyone remember Neytiri in Avatar? Of course we do. James Cameron’s Avatar in 2009 was the highest grossing film of all time in the USA and Canada; Saldana received an Academy award for best actress for her role in this film. Zoe went on to star as an assassin in Colombiana (2011), Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), and back in 2003 she played Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Cho (Sulu) was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the United States in 1978. He was raised in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California, Berkley in 1996 with a BA degree in English. He is best known as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films; as John, MILF Guy No2, in the American Pie.
Yelchin (Chekov) was born to a Russian Jewish family in Leningrad and relocated to the United States as an infant. He has appeared in Terminator Salvation (2009), Charlie Bartlett (2007) alongside Robert Downey Jr., co-starred with Colin Farrell in Fright Night (2011).
Elba (Krall) is an English actor—father from Sierra Leon, mother from Ghana—musician and DJ who is known for his roles as drug baron Russell Stringer Bell on the HBO series, The Wire, detective John Luther on the BBC One series, Luther, and has starred as Mandela in the biographical film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013). He has been nominated four times and won once the Golden Globe Award, and was nominated five times for the Emmy.
Elba, on the silver screen has appeared in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster (2007), Takers (2010), Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (2012), Pacific Rim (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Beasts of No Nation (2015) for which he received the BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor. In 2016 he voiced Chief Bogo in Zootopia, Shere Khan (the Tiger) in The Jungle Book, and Fluke in Finding Dory.
And last, but very impressive indeed, we have Sofia (Jaylah), born in Algiers to a jazz musician father, she started her dancing education at the age of 5, moved with her family to France where she continued in rhythmic gymnastics. Sofia is an actress, dancer and musician whose breakthrough arrived in 2007 when she was picked for the Jamie King choreography for Nike as a role model of femininity and hop. This boosted her career and led to more work alongside Madonna in her Confessions Tour, and dancing alongside Rihanna. Buotella is known for starring as Eva in Street Dance 2 (2012), Ara in Monsters: Dark Continent (2014), Gazelle in Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015), and will be playing the title role in Universal’s reboot of The Mummy (2017).
So, now back to Justin, the director of Star Trek Beyond. We’ve seen how he has kept the cast similar to Abram. Where has he chosen to differ? Well, for starters, he has not invited Kirk’s heart throb to this one. Remember London born Alice Eve who played Carol Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness?
Well, the gorgeous blond was left out of Beyond. And Justin is innovating by not following up on the Khan threadline, but takes us off in a completely new direction and has Kirk pondering over the use of travelling endlessly in a vast galaxy where no man has gone before, searching for and discovering himself when he realises he is the exact opposite of his opponent in this movie, Krall who wants to live eternally by feeding off other people’s lives, whereas Kirk wants to live his entire life saving lives.
This was a great movie in the series in that it delved deeper into the characters of Spock, McCoy and Kirk and reminded us of the way things were back when we trekkies were eagerly awaiting our weekly TV instalment from the old actors: William Shatner as Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, and DeForest Kelley as Bones (Dr McCoy).
The morbid side of the movie is of course the real life deaths of both Yelchin and Nimoy, which is the reason why the film was dedicated to both. Leonard Nimoy was laid to rest on 27th February 2015 aged 83 in a traditional Jewish ceremony near his home in Los Angeles in an intimate service reserved for close friends and family. 27 Year old Yelchin was found pinned against the gate of his home in Studio City after his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards down his driveway and crushed him on June 19, 2016. May they both rest in peace.
Next week, I’ll release my review list of top fantasy fiction movies for 2016. So stay tuned to this site.
Author Alex George on movies watched