My Rankings of 2013 Movies Seen

Very surprisingly, I have only seen 10 new releases from 2013, 9 in theater and only one outside the theater (usually, I would have rented all the summer movies I missed by now!). This isn’t due to a lack of interest so much as a lack of time, and then  forgetting to hit up Redbox for rentals (because I’m lame and don’t have Netflix yet. One day I’ll cave). Because of this, I have yet to see several movies I was anticipating this year or later became interested in, including, most notably, The Book Thief and the second installment of The Hobbit. So all this being said, this is based solely on what I have actually seen so far, and I certainly intend to see more.

Out of the nine 2013 movies I watched, I gave 1 at 4.5 star rating,  6 of them 4 star ratings, and two 3 star ratings. The one I did not review I would say is a 3 star movie, which I do elaborate on later. Also, I have included what number the movie ranked on my most anticipated movies of 2013 list I created last March. Titles link to my reviews. On with the rankings!

1. Catching Fire

catching-fire-comic-con-trailerI was so excited for this movie so much that I made a  list of my Top 10 Anticipations for the movie. And I looooooved this movie! It was a definite improvement over the first installment of The Hunger Games movie franchise, and I cannot wait to see it again!

Ranked #2 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

2. Star Trek: Into Darkness

startrekThere are a few things in this movie that bother me more in hindsight than they did while I was watching it, but… I still love the movie overall. So many feels. Many tears shed. And there were truly a lot of great moments. Not to mention what JJ has done to bring in new fans into the franchise. Have I mentioned you should seriously watch some older Star Trek? Because you really ought to.

Ranked #3 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

3. Iron Man 3

IRON MAN 3I know a lot of people did not love the third Iron Man movie, but something about it resonated with me. Tony was more real to me, the twist of the villain truly surprised me, and oh yeah, he goes to Tennessee (where I live! Except the TN parts were actually filmed in North Carolina. Boo hiss. But anyway…)! Look, it’s an Avengers movie, not Oscar material. Enjoy it for what it is.

Ranked #4 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

4. Monsters University

mike-monstersUI was anxious about a prequel to my favorite Pixar movie, afraid that it would get the dreaded Disney sequel treatment, but I found that this story was great in its own right, as well as providing us additional insight to the characters we already knew! Again, it’s fairly light, but has a message that I think is actually very relevant for kids and adults alike, that you can’t necessarily do anything you want, but if you work hard, you’ll find your place!

Ranked #7 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

5. Thor: The Dark World

thor-2Thor’s second movie proved to be another fun and interesting exploration into the Marvel universe as well as Thor’s. And though I’ve never considered myself a Loki fan, he completely stole the show in this movie.

Ranked #6 among my most anticipated movies of 2013

6. Ender’s Game

enders_game_movie-wideI really enjoyed this adaptation quite a bit, but it was just too short and everything felt too fast. It left me wanting more, but thankfully, everything it did show looked really good and felt true to the book.

Ranked as an honorable mention among my most anticipated movies of 2013

7. Man of Steel

manofsteelThis was a movie that I really enjoyed when I watched it, but I have forgotten about a lot since my viewing of it. I loved all the flashback stuff about Clark Kent growing up. I hated the all the freaking property damage that was caused by Superman and Zod’s battle over who is more indestructible. This movie was considerably better than the 2006 Superman Returns, but Superman still doesn’t have the same impact on me as Batman does.

Ranked #8 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

8. The Wolverine

the-wolverineIf I was ranking these movies more objectively and less subjectively, this would be lower on the list. But I had fairly low expectations for this movie and they slightly exceeded them, mostly in the stinger scene but oh well. It was pretty fun. Some of it lacked logic and it bothered me that the evil villain lady looked like a Poison Ivy wanna-be but… whatever. It wasn’t as good as X-Men: First Class, but probably better than the other X-Men movies.

Ranked as an honorable mention among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

9. Oblivion

oblivion-shipThis movie was undoubtedly my biggest disappointment for movies in 2013. The trailer led me to believe that this was the most awesome, epic sci-fi dystopia story EVER and it just fell way short of what I expected. Overall though, it was still a pretty decent movie, which is why I rated it 3 stars, but I had so many problems with it. Why weren’t you EPIC, Oblivion?!

Ranked #1 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

10. World War Z

world_war_zI never would have seen this movie if it had been left entirely up to me, but I was with a group and decided to keep an open mind. Despite the fact that it’s on the bottom of my list, I didn’t hate this movie at all. In fact, since I had low expectations for it, I almost enjoyed it. I say almost because 1.) This isn’t exactly a fun movie and the subject matter is pretty dark and 2.) I don’t have a desire to re-watch it. The funny thing is though, I am almost interested in reading the book, because from my understanding it delves more into the parts of the movie that were lightly skimmed over that I think would be fascinating to explore (i.e. more about the nature of world politics that happens rather and less of Greasy Haired Brad Pitt running away from zombies). Needless to say, putting this movie at the bottom of the list is not at all meant as a diss for a movie I had zero interest in seeing, and though I never reviewed it, I would give this movie a rating of 3 stars. I liked it alright.

Not ranked among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

What were your favorite movies of 2013?

SciFi Review Double Feature: Across the Universe and Oblivion

Though the book Across the Universe by Beth Revis and the new blockbuster and Tom Cruise flick Oblivion have several differences, they also have several similarities. They are both science fiction. I greatly anticipated reading Across the Universe just as I greatly anticipated seeing Oblivion. They both involve characters who have been lied to about their way of life. They were both somewhat disappointing in some ways, but overall not bad.

acrosstheuniverse (1)The book ATU is told from dual POVs, alternating between Amy and Elder. Amy is a normal girl who is cryogenically frozen on a ship with her parents to travel 300 years through space to a new planet (for reasons that are never fully explained by the way… I hope to find out why in later books). Elder, hundreds of years later, is learning under the ship’s leader Eldest as to how he will take on the role one day. Their worlds collide Amy’s pod is unplugged and she is unfrozen before schedule, and she must adjust to life on the ship that feels like a foreign country to her.

The good: The overall premise. The intrigue of the secrets that are hidden and the lies that are told. Minor character Harley. Revis does a good job of painting the contrasts between Amy’s world and the world of the ship. Of course some of it is obvious because Amy undoubtedly does not live very far off in the future from us, but the way she even describes the different dialect in which the ship people speak is a nice detail I appreciated.

The OK: Amy and Elder. Sometimes I liked them, sometimes they bugged me a little. Elder had the potential to be great, but he could be weak at times and was a little too obsessed with Amy. I understand that he has been lied to his whole life, so of course his viewpoint is going to be hard to change, but it seems like he’s been questioning things for… a little while? It’s unclear how long Elder has been obsessed with wanting to know what real stars look like and has been tired of Eldest not teaching him things. I did think Amy’s emotional journey was well displayed, and I think most of the time she displayed a strength that I appreciated, but she had some moments were I was not in love with her either.

The bad: An actual science fiction feel to the story is lacking, which some people might like. I don’t even have a super duper great love for the genre (yes, I am a Trekkie, but I like the stories and characters more than the actual science fiction), but I felt like it had the potential to tell the type of story that only science fiction can tell. The technology was good, and the ship was fine, but this could have been an epic story about humanity. Well, I guess this was somewhat a story about humanity, but it fell a little flat and did not feel epic. Also, I will never understand why Amy agreed to be frozen when her Dad gave her the chance to walk away. (Mild spoiler) Was it because of what she learned about Jason and she didn’t want to face him again? (Mild spoiler over) Or is it that she really loved her Dad more than her life (or she loved him more than she has common sense)?  Maybe I have seen too many Star Trek episodes, but when you get frozen for a journey through space, things never go well. I would have running like heck in the other direction.

The ugly: THE SEASON. OMG. GROSS.GROSS.GROSS. I know that was kind of the point but YIKES, I don’t think we needed it to be so emphasized.

And then there is the end. A little bit of a spoiler here: They decide it’s OK to majorly impact/kill people because they’ve been mean to them. I don’t know, I just feel like the last few chapters should have gone through a major revision. The plot builds up to this big reveal of uncovered secrets and who has been unplugging people, and then it’s resolved in a way that is going to majorly impact things  and they sort of just shrug it off. Yes, those people were bad and needed to be dealt with but again… I don’t know. I just would have liked for it to have wrapped up a bit differently.

I plan to get around to the sequels eventually, but I’m willing to go through other books in my TBR pile first.

oblivion_tom_cruise_poster

Jack Harper’s job is to remain on post-nuke-war-with-aliens Earth for a time to maintain droids. The job of the droids to seek out the alien Scavs and eliminate them. Prior to this job, however, Jack says he was required to go through a memory wipe. Yet he has dreams that feel like memories, and finds himself wondering about and reveling in old, pre-war Earth. His partner (both romantically and professionally), Victoria, is not as interested. She is ready to finish their work and to head to Titan (Saturn’s largest moon, in case you need the reminder) where most of Earth’s inhabitants have gone.

Or so they’ve been told.

Like Elder in Across the Universe, Jack has been told things about his life, but he slowly discovers that things may not be as they seem. As things unravel, they get interesting, especially when we meet Julia, who Jack has seen in his dreams, and a man named Beech who wants to show Jack the truth. However, I felt confused and at the end of the movie I had more questions than answers. Thankfully, a conversation with my husband resolved most of them, but there were still many things left unclear, particular motives. And there are some plot holes that will just always leave some things feeling unfinished. I also did not appreciate how the villain in this movie is basically nameless, faceless, and the motive is completely unknown. It just makes the whole story not seem worthwhile. But the struggle and the backdrop are interesting, and I wanted to explore it all more. I feel it’s hard to say much more about the movie without giving too much away, and I think it’s a good movie to see “blind,” so I’ll leave it at that.

Both stories had a lot of potential and some interesting twists, but overall felt a little flat. But since the rides were mostly enjoyable, I give both the book ATU and the movie Oblivion 3 out of 5 stars.

By the way, there are reveals in both of these stories that are the same as well, but it would be a huge spoiler for both to reveal it, so I’ll just leave it at that.

So if you’ve read ATU or seen Oblivion, let me know what you thought!