As we come to an end of our “half-time” report on all things film in 2017, we take a look back at some of the sci-fi spectaculars we have seen so far, whether it’s in a galaxy far, far away, here on earth or in the distant future we have seen it all – and there’s still so much to see.
Here’s our top 5 of the year so far…
Easily one of the biggest surprises of the year so far, director Nacho Vigalondo’s brilliantly original tale may look like one thing (a rom-com with Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, and a giant Kaju) but it’s so, so much more. Under the surface lies a brave and thoughtful film that deals with many more issues and themes than you would imagine. Indeed, it’s something of a miracle that Vigalondo managed to merge all of them together for a cohesive story – but he did, superbly so.
Ghost in the Shell
It was always facing a losing battle even before it made it to the big screen – many accusations of white washing, changing aspects of the original Manga that so many love and poor reviews left many uninspired to seek out the Hollywood version of Ghost in the Shell. But despite all of that, taken as a piece of action sci-fi the film is actually rather enjoyable – the visuals are great, the story moves at a brisk pace and Johansson is good in the title role. It won’t ever escape the shadows cast over it but this one isn’t all bad.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
We were hooked on a feeling once again as those pesky Guardians of the Galaxy and writer/director James Gunn returned with a sequel that was every bit as good as the first – maybe even more so. This time out, the gang have to deal with more intergalactic shenanigans as well as Peter Quill/Star Lord’s long lost father Ego, played by the ever-brilliant Kurt Russell. The star here though (aside from Baby Groot) is the superb Michael Toilet who steals the show as Yondu with a truly heartfelt performance.
If Sony, who released this one, had followed many fan theories then we may have had one of the greatest surprises in recent history. This tale of an alien parasite running amock about a spacecraft and hunting its inhabitants (namely Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson) could have been a prequel to a Venom/Spider-Man film as part of the MCU. It’s pretty bloody fantastic as it is (scary, thoughtful, funny) but imagine that alternate ending!!
A late entry into contention caused quite the stir at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. One of two films from Netflix to be entered into the competition, many were perturbed by its inclusion, given its straight-to-streaming plan but don’t let such politics ruin this one for you – a story as old time, it’s a CGI-infused film about the love between Mija ( ) and her pet, the titular giant pig-like creature and her battle to save her from the clutches of corporate America, namely food manufacturing tycoon Tilda Swinton. A 21st century E.T. that’s just as remarkable.
And the 5 we cannot wait to see…
Blade Runner 2049
Is there a more anticipated sequel coming out this year than this one? (Star Wars doesn’t count as it’s part of a trilogy!) Met with much derision on its announcement, fans mellowed somewhat by the appointment of Arrival and Sicario director Denis Villeneuve as the film’s helmer, with Ridley Scott on as producer. And if the first three trailers are anything to go by, this could be one helluva ride – as well as scoring Roger Deakins that elusive first Oscar.
The Dark Tower
The long gestating film version of Stephen King’s hugely successful fantasy series is almost here after years of preparation. After many filmmakers dropped out of the project (namely Ron Howard and J.J. Abrams), it was A Royal Affair helmer Nikolaj Arcel who took the reigns and despite a rumoured turbulent production, the film is finally arriving this August with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in the lead roles. Will it be worth the wait?
After the critical backlash of last year’s horrible big-screen adaptation of video-game franchise Warcraft, director Duncan Jones returns to something much more grounded with this anticipated sci-fi thriller that is being made for Netflix. And here’s the possible twist: the film is something of a sequel to Jones’s 2011 masterpiece Moon. We couldn’t be more excited.
The Shape of Water
There’s very few that aren’t always excited to see what acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is up to next and his latest is no different. The films first trailer arrived a week or so ago and it looks just as staggering as many of his other films – this one about a mute (Sally Hawkins) who forms an unlikely bond with a strange unclassified creature. Such a shame he’s not doing Hellboy 3 though.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
How could we have a sci-fi list without mentioned Episode VIII and the question everyone wants to know – just WHO is the titular finale Jedi? Much has still been kept secret (which is a massive rarity in today’s modern spoiler landscape) and we know very little about the film as a whole besides Rey learning the Force from Like Skywalker, Kylo Ren and the First Order continuing their quest to conquer the universe and the return of BB-8. Expect more mega box-office over Christmas.