Report on Science Fiction Movies 2H 2018

aliens, grays, TV, moviesWe have gone well into the new year but last week’s software glitch kept me from publishing new posts for almost the whole time. While it may be late, I have put together my regular report on science fiction movies in the second half of 2018.

You can see the original release dates and other information on the report I published in July, before they came out. That post also lists the rules by which I determine what qualifies as a science fiction movie.

Watched Just One

Even though there were only nine in the six-month period at the end of the year, I was still surprised that I had seen only one of them. Two of the films slipped their release dates until this year—but, still.

The report uses my standard format from previous posts. It provides information on how these movies did both critically and financially, plus whether I saw them or passed—and what I thought of the ones I saw. The links go to the movie’s IMDB page. So here, in original chronological order, are the nine science fiction movies 2H 2019.

Report on 12 Science Fiction Movies

  1. How It Ends
  • Release Date: July 13, 2018
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 20% Rotten / 17% Liked
  • Box Office to Date: NA
  • Production Budget: $20,000,000
  • Viewed: No

My Take: With rotten RT scores like this, who wants to put down money at the box office? Which is probably why I can’t find any box office results in any of the usual places.

  1. Extinction
  • Extinction movie, one sheet, science fiction movies 2H 2018Release Date: July 26, 2018
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 40% Rotten / 48% Liked
  • Box Office to Date: NA
  • Production Budget: NA
  • Viewed: No

My Take: What tanked this one? Bad script? Bad acting? Bad editing? It’s almost never special effects. One Rotten Tomatoes reviewer said, “A B movie with a blockbuster attitude, and not in a good way.” I think that says it all.

  1. The Darkest Minds
  • Release Date: August 3, 2018
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 17% Rotten / 74% Liked
  • Box Office to Date: $12,695,691
  • Production Budget: $34,000,000
  • Viewed: No

My Take: Wow! With science fiction you often find that audiences liked the movie more than the critics did. No surprise with most of the critics being mundanes who have trouble with science fiction tropes and suspension of disbelief. But I rarely see scores this disparate on Rotten Tomatoes. We passed on this movie because it was in the theaters for maybe five minutes but I will try to catch up with it if it shows up on Netflix.

  1. Replicas
  • Release Date: Originally September 13, 2018, now January 11, 2019
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 12% Rotten / 42% Liked
  • Box Office to Date: NA
  • Production Budget: $30,000,000
  • Viewed: TBD

My Take: The trailer looked promising but now that the movie is out, the RT scores give it a big splat.

  1. The Predator
  • Release Date: September 14, 2018
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 32% Rotten / 38% Liked
  • Box Office to Date: $51, 024,708
  • Production Budget: $88,000,000
  • Viewed: No

My Take: This franchise has gone downhill since the very first (and best). The latest addition did not buck the trend. I think it is time to retire the Predator. Just watch the original again. (Best line: “Your’e bleeding.” “I ain’t got time to bleed.”

  1. First Man
  • Release Date: October 12, 2018
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 88% Fresh / 66% Liked
  • Box Office to Date: $44,936,545
  • Production Budget: $60,000,000
  • Viewed: No

My Take: Given that this is a standard biopic, albeit about an astronaut, it’s no wonder that the critics liked it more than viewers did. Science fiction fans want to be Out There, not tied up with domestic conflicts but critics like to have their feet on good old terra firma. I’ll catch this one when it’s streaming.

  1. Mortal Engines
  • Mortal Engines, movie, Peter Jackson, Phlip ReeveRelease Date: December 14, 2018
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 27% Rotten / 59% Liked
  • Box Office to Date: $15,823,940
  • Production Budget: $100,000,000
  • Viewed: No

My Take: A lot of science fiction movies don’t earn enough to pay off their production costs but this disparity is epic. For my personal opinion, read my blog post on Grand Disappointments.

  1. Alita: Battle Angel
  • Release Date: Originally December 21,2018, now February 14,2019
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Critics NA / 95% of viewers want to see it
  • Box Office to Date: NA
  • Production Budget: $200,000,000
  • Viewed: TBD

My Take: The trailer looks interesting but this could also turn into a standard fight-heavy movie, with improbable action and blood flying everywhere. Time will tell.

  1. Bumblebee
  • Release Date: December 21, 2018
  • Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 93% Fresh / 79% Liked
  • Box Office to Date: $100, 132,430
  • Production Budget: $135,000,000
  • Viewed: Yes

My Take: The critics loved Bumblebee and called it a Transformers film “with heart.” Well, okay. It certainly improves on any of Michael Bay’s mechanical slugfests but I still can’t say I loved it. I spent time wondering if it would be okay for my granddaughters and decided not. Too loud, too much violence, too many mean people. If you like Transformers movies (I don’t) you will probably love this one. Otherwise, not.

Not Much to Applaud

A journey to the moon, moon with rocket in eyesSo, there you have it: the review with the least to applaud since I started doing these bi-annual posts. Every year I hope that Hollywood will do a better job with its science fiction offerings but they disappoint me way too often.

Meanwhile, the best science fiction I’ve seen on screen in the last few months nver opened in theaters. We saw Bird Box on Netflix over the holidays. While it doesn’t hold together as well as A Quiet Place, it is a very satisfying story that is very well done.

I will move on to science fiction movies in the first half of 2019. They will start, of course, with the two that were supposed to come out last year. As Emily Dickinson said:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all .”

I have hope for 2019. It’s the future, after all.

 

 

 

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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