Best SF/fantasy film of 2012 | Bleader

Friday, December 21, 2012

Best SF/fantasy film of 2012

Posted By on 12.21.12 at 01:36 PM

Counting down to our Year in Review issue, we present our picks in a variety of genres, wrapping up on December 27 with the year's worst movies.

This time on Monday: the year's best action/suspense feature.

  • Branded
Branded I’d be slighting this profoundly unusual Russian-U.S. coproduction if I called it a guilty pleasure. Yes, much of the story is incoherent and the imaginative conceits tend to be more weird than clever (advertising campaigns that cause giant, squishy monsters to emerge out of people’s necks?!), but writer-directors Jamie Bradshaw and Aleksandr Dulerayn take so many creative risks that I couldn’t help but marvel at what they came up with. In its religious overtones and freewheeling satire, the movie gets closer to the spirit of Philip K. Dick’s novels than most films purporting to be based on his work. —Ben Sachs

  • Prometheus
Prometheus Ridley Scott’s supposed prequel to his 1979 horror actioner Alien seemed to rub a lot of people the wrong way when it hit theaters this summer. Most complaints were aimed at the film’s portentous and overly complicated story, but I’ve never been a stickler for narrative cohesion. The film’s complex spatial design and expert cinematography were more than enough to win me over, plus I love the idea that Scott’s most elaborate ploy was fooling audiences into thinking they were seeing another Alien movie—a grand MacGuffin tailor-made for a franchise-driven Hollywood. —Drew Hunt

Primer (2004)
  • Primer (2004)
Prometheus I’ll go with this goofy space opera as well, though interestingly I had no idea going in that it was supposed to be part of the Alien cycle. The farther I get from it, the more entertained I am, because I don’t have to even think about what the story was supposed to be about. Maybe I missed all the good sci-fi this year—I still haven’t caught up with Looper—but there didn’t seem to be any good mind-benders along the lines of Duncan Jones's Moon (2009) or Source Code (2011). It’s too bad more indie filmmakers don’t give sci-fi a whirl; movies like Shane Carruth’s Primer (2004) prove that you don’t need big bucks to blow someone’s mind. —J.R. Jones

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