Top Five Geek Films of 2015January 22, 2016
With 2015 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look back at the year that was and count down the top five geek films that we truly loved from the past year. It was a year that left an indelible mark on theatres as there were several major blockbusters and the return of some major franchises. We saw the return of a galaxy far, far away, dinosaurs running wild, the Avengers in action, to Mad Max and The Fast and Furious taking vehicular stunts to another level. Not only that, we were also treated to another James Bond film, and Matthew Vaughn’s take on the spy genre with Kingsman. While only two of these films saw Oscar nominations (hey, maybe it finally is Leo’s year to shine), they all deserve your attention.
It was a huge year at the theatre and a ton of hype centred around these franchises; surprisingly most did not fail to disappoint. Let’s have a look back at the past year and count down the top five geek films of 2015.
Honourable Mention: Ex Machina
If there is a complete dark horse of a film that was given little press and even less at the box office, it was the unheralded Ex Machina from Dredd writer Alex Garland. The film took us on another view of artificial intelligence and how it can backfire but instead of centring the film on an apocalyptic view of artificial intelligence gone wrong, it focuses on Oscar Isaac and Domhall Gleeson in a battle of wits. Gleeson’s character is tasked with a Turing Test of Isaacs latest version of his A.I that takes the shape of a robot named Ava played by Alicia Vikander. It is a very cerebral trip of a film and begs to be seen. Not only that, both Gleeson and Isaac appear later on in the year in the box office smash Star Wars: The Force Awakens. These two display some serious thespian skills in this sci-fi thriller.
5. Kingsman: The Secret Service
The year started on a strong note in February with Matthew Vaughn’s kinetic take on the spy genre with this film. Based on the comic book from the perpetual hit maker Mark Millar, Kingsman saw Colin Firth step into the role of Harry Hart and really show off his ability to play the perfect gentleman spy. Taron Egerton burst onto the scene with this film showing off his acting chops with the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and the always fantastic Michael Caine. Matthew Vaughn has proven a solid track record of turning comic book properties into Hollywood success with the likes of X-Men: First Class and Kick Ass to his credit. Kingsman took us by surprise and should be easily considered one of the best films comic films and one of the biggest surprises of 2015.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
This is one film that toiled forever in development hell and could have easily driven off the road and become a complete disaster, however George Miller returned to the post apocalyptic hell that he created and proved that no one does it better. Max Rockatansky burst back onto the screen bigger, badder, and louder than ever. Over the years, the role of Max passed from the ever controversial Mel Gibson to Tom Hardy, who has been inching his way closer and closer to Hollywood super stardom. However, the real star of the show is Charlize Theron in the role of Imperator Furiousa who easily matches Max for badassery. The film was big, brash, and had some of the most visually stunning scenes of any film on this list. It is not often you can see a film with a fleet of cars chasing down a fuel truck into a sandstorm hell, and boasting a car that sports a guy playing a flamethrower guitar, it is just these ‘holy sh*t’ moments that make this film standout on the year. To give the film a little bit more credit, most of the film effects were practical, and most of those vehicles were built by teams of special effects people to bring the gritty world to life even more.
3. Jurassic World
This film was one that I personally put a lot of hype on. Jurassic Park has always been one of my favourite all time films, and one of my favourite books. The film really took science gone wrong to another level; Ian Malcolm so succinctly put it that ‘nature would find a way’, and disaster ensued. Over the years with all the rumours of another film surfacing and what it would entail it really left me wondering how they could possibly come close to the original, as the third entry proved that maybe it was a franchise that should just stay on the shelf. Well, enter 2015 and Jurassic World starring Chris Pratt and helmed by Colin Trevorrow I was proven entirely wrong. The film was bigger, badder and bolder in nearly every way in comparison to the rest of the franchise. We find that John Hammond’s dream was in the end realized and became a huge success. However, as with all things, the scientists behind the park are constantly looking for the next big thing. Jurassic World showed that much like Mad Max, old franchises still have the potential for greatness. Any fan of Jurassic Park will be thoroughly pleased with this disaster romp. Pratt proves once again that he is a bona fide star and Trevorrow is a hit maker in the offing.
2. Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino exploded back into theatres during the holiday season in 2015, around the same time that Django Unchained touched down several years before but this time he goes full John Ford spaghetti western with Hateful Eight. Samuel L. Jackson turns in another iconic Tarantino fuelled role. This really pulls off like a Tarantino version of the Wild Bunch and even more so, it really puts an emphasis on the need to actually see a film in theatres rather than stream it from home, or watching it later on the small screen. Hateful Eight is cinematic beauty at its best with a fantastic score, and looks amazing in ‘glorious’ 70 mm. Tarantino constantly shows us that his traditional filmmaking style is always some of the best to behold, and he always seemingly gets the best from the actors in his films. Tarantino relies more on a stellar script, and even better acting talent to complete his vision rather than CGI. Hateful Eight is easily one of his best films to date, and is surely one of the best westerns since Tombstone.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Surely there is no other film that was more hyped than the return of a beloved franchise. The Force Awakens had fanboys fangirls in a tizzy from the return of the original cast, to the plot that was mostly shrouded in mystery, and of course to the lack of Luke Skywalker making any appearances in the trailers, even though we were assured repeatedly by the cast and director that he was in the film but of course would not elaborate on his role within the plot. As a lifelong Star Wars fan I can honestly say there is no movie that I have ever been more excited for.
As a previously scorned Star Wars fan with the cinematic green screen disaster that was The Phantom Menace, I had a lot of pause going into the theatre to see The Force Awakens. After having viewed J.J Abrams vision of a galaxy far, far away, not only did Abrams manage to exceed my expectations, he managed to surprise and shock with his vision. Of all the films of the year, this one it not only met the hype, but was also one of the best movies of the year, and has left fans anticipating the next films in the Star Wars franchise and beyond. With the film being up for a couple sound and visual Oscars, people are betting on the fact that John Williams will take home another win.
2015 proved to be a great year at the theatre, however with 2016 in motion, this year also proves to be no slouch. It is truly a great time to be a geek and film fan. Do you agree with our choices for the top geek films of the year? Which films would you have omitted or added? Let us know in the comments.