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Catching Up on SciFi Movies

I resisted Netflix for years. My argument was that I just didn’t rent movies enough to warrant the extra monthly cost. Oh, how wrong I was.

Earlier this year, I signed up for their free trial and that was all she wrote. I finally had an excuse to watch all the movies I’ve been neglecting. Here’s my take on the genre-related titles I’ve watched in the last few weeks (undoubtedly at a cost of time otherwise devoted to reading):

  • The Man from Earth – It feels like you’re reading a story instead of watching a film.
  • Eagle Eye – a movie that turns SciFi halfway through, but sadly uses an unbelievable leftover premise from the 60s.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) – If I wasn’t watching with my kid, I would have stopped watching it.
  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004) – Suspect science, mediocre acting, contrived drama, obvious CG effects, heavy-handed propaganda…these are not the things I look for in a SciFi film. I’m surprised I watched the whole thing.
  • Martian Child (2007) – A decent, heartwarming start…but after a while I just felt like it wasn’t working. The book was much better.
  • The Island (2005) – Some great sociological sf concepts, that devolves into big chase movie (a good one, to be sure) about halfway through.
  • Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) – Awesome visuals and artistic style don’t make up for the weak story and weaker characterizations.

OK, some might argue that I was better off missing some of these titles…and they’d be right…but the other perks of a Netflix account make up for the occasional bad film. Most notably, I’ve been taking advantage of features like video streaming to my Tivo. Sure, there’s a limited selection, but there are plenty of films I haven’t seen that I wouldn’t mind watching. Also, I love the convenience. I’ve got lots of stuff queued up, like Dead Like Me seasons 1 & 2, Jekyll, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Outer Limits (new series, season 1), Pan’s Labyrinth, Superman Doomsday, Ghostbusters (my daughter hasn’t seen it yet), Gattaca, and a host of non-genre stuff as well. More to come!

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

4 Comments on Catching Up on SciFi Movies

  1. Weyland Yutani // March 14, 2009 at 4:29 am //

    Did I read that right?   You haven’t seen Gattaca, Eternal Sunshine, or Pan’s Labyrinth?  I’m guessing the next batch will probably drop this last batch down a star each.   I wish we could get at least one Gattaca every year.

    Also, I just want to say that Roland Emmerich films are everything that is wrong with Hollywood sci-fi.  I try to imagine the creative muse that spawns something like a random wolf attack and it makes me smile.  What would Ed Wood have done with a 100 Million dollars?

  2. As Weyland said, the line up of Gattaca, Eternal Sunshine and Pan’s Labyrinth is a strong one and I think you will highly enjoy all three.  They are all very different movies and I would be hard pressed to point out which one of the three you should enjoy first.



  3. For reasons of my own, I’m only starting to seriously consider joining Netflix myself, but I’m with those that say you must see Gattaca. It’s one of those movies that stays with you.

  4. Clarification: I should restate that I did see some of the movies I’ve queued up for streaming.  So, yes, I did see Gattaca (one of my favorite sf films) and also Ghostbusters and a couple of episodes of Dead Like Me and The Outer Limits (hence the streaming of the entire seasons).  I just meant to mention the streaming for the convenience factor.

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