The last film throw down post was partially the result of a search for decent scifi in recent years. In general, not a great showing. There was only one I could honestly recommend from the last batch.

For the last year, 2010, I only think of one "good" scifi movie. And it was a mass market success: Inception. Really, 2010, anything else? Really, I want to know.

2009 had a few. Surrogates was a mass release, panned but I thought well done. District 9 was the small film everyone got to see. Moon, the best of the lot, you probably missed. You might be thinking Avatar! While I enjoyed the epic eye candy, don't think too hard extravaganza, I don't actually put it in the scifi category. I guess I should explain.

Science fiction, or speculative fiction ( it sounds silly, but does seem closer to the idea ), requires more than just space garbage. There should be something that doesn't yet exist, but could theoretically exist. New technology or a new application of technology that hasn't been seen. More importantly, that thing is required for the tale told. If it's magic, you better have a good explanation; blaming some unseen "force" is just a cop out.

My rules mean that avowed "fantasy" is NOT science fiction. Lots of things that pretend to be science fiction are really just action movies in a period setting.

Back to Avatar. For scifi categorization, it really is Dances with Wolves. None of the tech is required for the recycled modern man prodigy taken by savages story. Star Wars is classic space opera. It's a western with magic that found its way into a galaxy far far away.

Moon. It's brilliance is the reason you may not have heard of it. A very simple premise is explored, but telling you that premise will ruin the early part of the film as you're trying to figure out what's going on. So I can't tell you a lot about it. It's slow, thoughtful, and not particularly violent. While not perfect, it's close. The viewer isn't assumed to be an idiot and no scientist ex machina shows up to explain things. Rather, the story is adeptly told and the viewer gets to figure out all the elements. Often before the main character. If you haven't seen this, find it.


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