2015 is going to be an epic year at the cinema. Star Wars, The Avengers, Jurassic World, Fantastic Four, Terminator: Genisys, Spectre... I could go on and on, but that's not to say that 2014 was a slouch in the geek themed movie department! There's been some remarkable movies over the last 12 months, and whilst my choices below are in no way all inclusive they represent what I believe to be the best (and worst) geeky movies of 2014.
Starting with my four favourite films of 2014...
Guardians Of The Galaxy
A movie that totally delivered on every one of its promises. At the time I said:
Guardians of the Galaxy is packed full of twists, turns, one liners, set pieces and in your face action that you'll find the two hours just flies past. From my first viewing I have no real negative comments at all, and that never happens, I like a good moan! Guardians of the Galaxy is a 5 star film.And I stand by that after many repeated viewings. It's a really great way to spend an evening, loads of fun and excitement. Plus a dancing Groot.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
The best X-Men movie yet? For me it is, and what a blast seeing all the original trilogy actors back. We said:
Days Of Future Past appears to be an action packed blockbuster, but at its heart it's a character based sci-fi drama. The 'future' scenes can be quite dark in tone, but in typical Bryan Singer style he adds a fair bit of humour, although not so much as to distract you from the drama. I can not recommend this movie enough. If you've not already been to see it then here's what I'd suggest. Watch your DVD's of X-Men, X-Men 2 and First Class (not The Last Stand because, well, Ratner!) before viewing Days Of Future Past. It will only add to the experience.That's very true, and the four movies (minus Ratner's) are essential DVD purchases which work wonders when binge watching the big screen series.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Marvel released two films this year, and both of them were amongst the very best the studio has ever given us. We said:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Marvel's first complete standalone film to have a great plot which isn’t heavily influenced by an origin story, or setting up an Avengers movie, or being forced to stay so true to the source material so that it has no originality. It may not be the big budget over hyped spectacle that The Avengers was, but it’s a better overall movie, and possibly the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight.I couldn't agree more. Marvel really were on fire in 2014, and have me super excited for what is to come.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
If I had to pick just one movie for 2014 it might just be this one. At the time of release we said:
The 130 minutes just flew by, 'Dawn' is perfectly weighted throughout and never once drags. In many ways it does feel like the middle chapter of a trilogy – I mean that in no bad way at all, think of this as The Empire Strikes Back of 'Apes' films. Nothing in the movie feels unnecessary, it is perfectly edited and you doesn't leave you longing for a Director's Cut to further explore any areas.If you've yet to watch Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes then please, I implore you, rectify that today. You won't be disappointed.
All round, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is as close to perfection as any science fiction movie of it's kind could be. A 10 out of 10 experience as far as I'm concerned.Quite simply the best film of 2014 so far.
Moving on to four movies which, whilst not the best of the year, I wholeheartedly recommend anyone viewing. Back in May the new big screen version of Godzilla arrived. Did it live up to the hype? Not quite, but it's still a brilliantly entertaining take on the iconic monster, and wipes out any memory of that Matthew Broderick disaster.
Interstellar is a very different sci-fi movie, and a joy to behold. Christopher Nolan surrounded the release with secrecy and gave very little away in advance. It's possibly still playing at your local multiplex and that's really going to be the best way to enjoy the scope of this film. If you've not watched it yet then it's worth an evening out before it disappears from general release.
For me Catching Fire has been the highpoint of The Hunger Games movies so far, but that's not to say that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is a disappointment. It isn't. I'm still not sure if splitting the film was the right idea or not, and it may be ultimately more rewarding to watch the two parts together next year, but I'd still recommend seeing this as it's the perfect template for how to present a YA series of novels on film.
Lastly, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, the third and final Hobbit movie. I said:
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies is the strongest film in the trilogy. It will increase your enjoyment if you re-watch the previous two before venturing out to see this one, and when you do prepare yourself for an incredible spectacle. Peter Jackson has wrapped things up with an action packed, emotional clash of friends and foes, and delivers a very satisfactory end to the saga.And it's very true. I've seen this twice now at the cinema, once in 3D and once in 2D. Make the most of The Hobbit on the big screen as it'll likely be decades before another journey to Middle Earth delivers as well as Peter Jackson's vision has.
There were more animated movies released in 2014 than ever before, not all of them great (*cough* Postman Pat *cough*) but three of them are well worth an investment of your time. First up would be How To Train Your Dragon 2. It was the hit that Dreamworks really needed as their previous releases had underperformed, which was a shame as last year's Turbo is much better than many believe, and their earlier 2014 release, February's Mr Peabody & Sherman, was a whole load of fun. It's a real geek lovers delight of a movie, featuring time travel and the repercussions of meddling with history. It's just a pity that it was released the same time as The LEGO Movie as it really didn't stand a chance up against it.
That being said, The LEGO Movie would be my pick for animated film of the year. We said:
This is the ideal depiction of what a LEGO movie should be. It's a fast moving, colourful, in-your-face, crazy insane looking world - pretty much the visual realistaion of what goes on in an average kids head whilst their playing make believe with their LEGOs. It's also one of the rare animated movies which transcend that of just being a 'kids film'. You'll get a kick out of this film, and be singing Everything Is Awesome for many many months to come.And I still am!
Finally, three examples of very disappointing movies. Ones I really wanted to enjoy but just couldn't...
The 2014 rehash of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 classic left much to be desired. We said:
It's all a bit drab and dire, yet everything about this film should have made the jaw drop. A stellar cast, imaginative lead character and a depressing backdrop of depravity on a grand scale, but the RoboCop remake falls massively short and just goes to prove how good the original was, despite some horrendously dated CGI. Long winded, tiresome and tedious are all words that would accompany this new version, and I'm afraid to say that RoboCop is more Roboflop this time around.And I still think that's spot on. I've re-watched it on DVD and my opinion hasn't improved at all. Shame.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
I loved the first The Amazing Spider-Man movie. I went into it with trepidation, unsure if a reboot was sensible so soon after the previous trilogy, but it won me over with a fantastic story and a great portrayal of the web-slinger by Andrew Garfield. I was so excited for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, all the publicity leading up to it had me booking a ticket for the midnight showing. I wish I'd had an early night! We said:
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is as big of a disappointment as there has been in recent years. It feels unoriginal and forced. While I loved Dane Dehaan as Harry Osbourne, he is the only aspect of the film that makes this worth watching. The sequel misses a lot of key connections to the original, it never shows how the Gwen/Peter relationship resumed, why the change in costume, and doesn’t contain enough aerial acrobatics. Where the first movie was fresh and original, this one just feels redundant.I've not even bothered with watching it again on DVD. Meh.
Transformers: Age Of Extinction
By far and away the worst new movie I paid to see in 2014. I said:
The movie struggles to find the right balance throughout, with the first 90 minutes being overly talky and plodding, and the last hour being so packed with action that you can't take it all in and eventually you stop even trying. Things hit things, other things just explode and go bang, and I'm not sure why half the time. You cant root for anyone because you can't keep up with what's going on, it's just a mess. There's also way too much of the trademark Michael Bay humour, and he seems to be the only person who finds it funny.There's no way I'm going back for a second viewing on DVD, so I'll stand by that review.
Let's talk about Mark Wahlberg. Marky Mark's Cade Yeager (what kind of bloody stupid name is that?) gave me neither "good vibrations" or "sweet sensations". If you're watching a film and think to yourself that Shia LaBeouf could've done as good of a job then you know there's a problem!
I spent half the time waiting for it to start going and then the other half praying for it to stop!
What geeky movies have been your favourite of 2014? And what were you most disappointed by? Let us know in the comments below.
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