We have selected 14. 14 films that we believe represent the film production of the year 2016 when it comes to science fiction or fantasy with a futuristic tendency. Between the aliens, the mutants, the oddities and the great mysteries, what do we retain from this year?
Neither global warming, misinformation, nor even the threat of terrorism has prevented science fiction fans from rushing into the darkrooms to treat themselves to a break between magic and mystery. The figures show it: 2016 has seen theatres fill up as rarely and the French have plebiscited a return to the cinema despite the announced crises. We have contributed modestly to this dynamism, and this year we escaped aboard the USS Enterprise, learned extraterrestrial languages and stole the plans of the Black Star. It wasn’t nothing.
So of course we have our preferences, but we can still point out that it was a pretty good year. Neither exceptional nor mediocre, sci-fi cinema in 2016 was looking for a kind of canon, of renewed efficiency. Of course he explored new perspectives, but the influence of retro-futuristic nostalgia weighed heavily on many productions. And in a way, the future is now lived in the present, or even in the past.
Here are the editorial choices.
This is for the editors the best science fiction film of this year. And yet, when Julien left the theatre for his review, he warned: you can’t expect Nichols to put on the Abrams-style dream-maker suit. Here everything is just suggestions, emotions, tinkering and often lightning. AfterMud, the American director finally pushes the doors of genre film, but it is to sketch only a few features, like a 70’s SF perfume floating in the elusive atmosphere of Midnight Special. A father, a son, a filiation far from Star Wars, more raw, more cinematographic, carrying an unexplainable film where the plot plays the game of emotional detonator. Exciting and beautiful.
J.J. Abrams wanted Damien Chazelle for10 Cloverfield Lane, but the latter received long-awaited financing for his filmWhiplash. The little genius then turns to his own production and leaves it up to Bad Robot to find another director for this behind closed doors. Abrams finally chose Dan Trachtenberg, a protege who was literally hanging out on the boards ofForce.
Finally,10 Cloverfield Lanewill be released the same year asMidnight Special and both share the idea that genre film is a powerful writing motif. Here, a woman is held in a spectral and violent huis-clos, by a man who promises her that outside there is nothing but apocalypse and death waiting for her. IfMidnight Specialis a dark and graceful spaceship,10 Cloverfield Lanewould rather be an accursed rocket, escaping from gravity with a refreshing brutality. Two UFOs in all.
Are we completely objective when we go to seeRogue One, a film we’ve been waiting for for decades? No. Is it a blockbuster that has nothing to offer likeMidnight Special? Yes. Is it one of the best films of the year? Yes, in spite of everything. ForRogue Oneis a new, brilliant, thoughtful and eminently political Star Wars . Far from the space opera where only the chosen ones of the galaxy bring down empires, here, every vote counts, every death counts, every act changes the game.
We feel the influence of historical cinema on Gareth Edwards’ film, a genre that must respect the terrible rules of the tragedy of the meaning of History. And in developingRogue One, the director forgets his role as a fantasy creator and takesStar Warsinto something bigger, more tangible, more modern and ultimately more realistic.
Civil Warhas it all. A sustained rhythm, some rather brilliant new characters – we’re obviously talking about Spider-Man and Black Panther – a not very inventive but devilishly efficient plot and above all measured ambitions. In short, everything that superhero movies released this year in other studios don’t have – follow our look (and scroll down to the next sections).
The photo is impeccable, the heroes are well used and the right questions are asked. So yes, we’ve already forgotten half of the film when it comes out, and we don’t torment ourselves for hours on end to understand the subtleties of the dialogue. But he’s a Marvel with all the strengths of the studio and few weaknesses. A flawless one who appreciates himself.
J.J. Abrams – still the same man – takes over the adaptation ofStar Trek. A monstrous project especially since the franchise’s films are less profitable than theStar Warswithout being less expected by fewer but equally passionate fans. And here, the stick handed by Abrams to Justin Lin is taken back with honor and seriousness. Lin adds to the franchise what it takes of his touch to make a good blockbuster, from inventiveness to image, a good direction and a space travel that is not very original but that hits the bull’s eye. We like it and it’s nice.
In the blockbuster series, the latest Marvel equals the prowess ofStar Trek. Incredibly successful from an aesthetic point of view, thisDoctor Strangeis amazing, gifted and seductive. However, it is not flawless and it has some limitations that aCivil Wardoes not have, an uneven pace and sometimes confusing choices. But never mind, there is still a Marvel that is explosive, visually singular and exotic.
Stop crying tears of blood,Ghostbustersis not the massacre foretold. It’s not a good movie, but it’s an honest risk taking, kitschy and much more fun than we could have hoped for. Of course, we don’t find the ingenuity of the first films, but you have to be sincere, it was difficult to makeSOS Ghostsin 2016. A certain bad taste is therefore easily forgiven, which is compensated by an endearing atmosphere and an inevitable smile on the lips when the film is released. What is certain is that this reboot did not deserve the profoundly sexist and racist reception it received, particularly from the leaders of opinion sites close to the American extreme right.
Deadpoolis the movie we were waiting for more, it’s the blockbuster from the Fox Marvel franchises that finally wets his shirt. The Fox teams have obviously looked to the Marvel studios’ successes to write us an ambiguous, funny and ultimately cute portrait of a superhero like no other. The film suffers from its villains and sloppy script, but has a good breath and an obvious audacity. Of courseDeadpoolplays too muchbadassto be honest, but that’s what the public wanted in the end: here, demand makes the offer.
UnlikeDeadpool,Apocalypseis typically the movie you don’t want to see coming out of Fox studios. Far from being a massacre, thisX-Mennevertheless smells warm, is not very nice and lacks good ideas. The characters aren’t as endearing as we’d like to think and we’re looking for a soul in a smooth montage that reminds us of the 2000s – and not for the better. Can do better.
At the time of writing, it seems difficult to find support forFirst Contact. And yet the hype hasn’t left us unmoved, and here and there we read here and there the greatest good about Denis Villeneuve’s film. But we have hardly succumbed to this honeyed and falsely intellectual drama. Dripping with good feelings to the detriment of the – exciting – subject of extraterrestrial linguistics,First Contactleaves a taste of unfinished business. And while the film sometimes borders on the very good, it self-sabots miserably.
Suicide Squad has a special place in our hearts, so bad that we don’t even dare to shoot the ambulance anymore. We remain, looking at our shoes, forbidden in the face of such a failure. All the more so as we are no strangers to the difficulties, alterations and bad decisions that have marked the life of this project, often independently of its director. But the result is shocking,Suicide Squadmakes no sense, no direction, it’s ugly and we believe in a huge joke. Tough.
They are young, they are beautiful, they are rich and are thebankableof the moment: Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Just such a casting should scare us, but we give Morten Tyldum a chance (mainly because ofImitation Game). What a mistake! If the director is gifted, he has concocted an indescribable film in the shape of a Russian doll. Once the drama is over, we are faced with a romantic comedy coupled with a bad action movie. Each one worse than the other, these three films don’t make a good one.
Ah Snyder! Poor Snyder who, like David against Goliath, has suffered the ravages of the bad studios. And he promises us, hand on heart, the long version will be so much better. It’s a lie, just like this movie was made from an overdose of Scarlet Water. It’s frankly ugly: this over-contrasting sepia photo must disappear from the cinema. It’s a nonsense and the end is certainly the most grotesque moment that such a first-degree film can serve. That’s a resounding no.