Last summer, Luc Besson’s Lucy was something of a surprise hit. The Scarlett Johansson-starring actioner is crazy and over the top and lets just say there are some jumps in logic, but it’s also a damn ton of fun. You probably already guessed this was coming, and now Cinema Sins has unveiled one of their ubiquitous “Everything Wrong With…” videos for Lucy.
Sci-fi may not fare well at the Oscars, outside of a few technical awards now and again, but at this point, do any of us really put much stock in what the Academy thinks? Almost none of my favorite films from 2014 were nominated for much of anything in any of the usual glut of self-congratulatory awards shows, but one that is always more in line with our general aesthetic are the Saturn Awards, and now the nominees for this year have been released.
As the Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy, and Horror Films chooses the nominees and winners, you can imagine they’re a wee bit different than the more mainstream celebrations, and the list for the 41st Annual Saturn Awards is no different. You’ve got big blockbuster comic book movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier right up there along with independent horror, like The Babadook and The Guest. We’re talking about awards that honor movies like Lucy and Snowpiercer and Paddington, you know it’s a different sort of animal.
Ticket sales at the box office may have been at a 20-year low in 2014, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything worth seeing. I’m a firm believer that, no matter the state of the industry, there will always be people making exciting, interesting films, you just might have to look for them. Regardless of what this means for studios and their bottom lines, sci-fi fans had a lot to dig into over the past year. There were huge, spectacle style blockbusters right along side quiet, introspective independent features more concerned with ideas than eye candy, as well as everything in between. There are a few gaps in my genre viewing for the year—I still have yet to watch titles like Young Ones, The Zero Theorem, and Under the Skin for some reason—but in this spirit, here are my top sci-fi movies of 2014.
How come adults don’t get meals that come with prizes? Some of my favorite rituals from childhood involved being elbow-deep in a box of cereal, feeling around for the prize, or dumping all the food out of my Happy Meal just so I could get to the toy. So how come we don’t get a grown-up equivalent? After-dinner mints and fortune cookies don’t count, damn it. I want to be able to finish my snazzy, five-star meal, and then have the waiter bring me out a Rocket Raccoon action figure on a silver platter. Sadly, I will probably never live in such a world, but at least pretending is a little bit easier thanks to these faux Happy Meals that were ripped right out of my Happy Place.
These awesome fake Happy Meals are the work of Los Angeles digital artist Newt Clements. (He mostly comes out at night. Mostly.) His Pinterest is full of a wide variety of crazy projects, but his Happy Meals collection is one of the most extensive. He’s got over 100 of the things by my count, and they’re all incredibly well done. Designing Happy Meal boxes to tie into Doctor Who, Aliens, or Escape from New York would have been worthy of a story in and of itself, but Clements goes the extra mile by imagining what toys might be included with each meal as well. And I don’t care what bounty McDonald’s has on offer, there’s no way it’s cooler than an action figure of Firefly’s River standing atop a pile of Reaver corpses.
If the major studios had their druthers, they’d just crank out movie after profitable movie from the same franchise. That would be super easy. Hell, looking back at the summer blockbuster season, there was already quite a bit of that going on. And when an original movie is successful, you can be damn sure that the money people behind it are looking for any possible avenue the can open up to crank out at least one sequel, if not many more. Luc Besson’s wingnut sci-fi actioner Lucy was a surprise minor hit at the box office last month, but if you’re holding your breath to see more of Scarlett Johansson expanding her mind, you should start breathing now, because Lucy 2 does not appear likely to happen any time soon.
Speaking to media last week in Taiwan, the French action auteur downplayed any talk of a follow up, saying it’s probably not going to happen. In an interview with the local press, he said, “I don’t see how we can do one. It’s not made for that. If I find something good enough, maybe I will, but for now I don’t even think about it.”
Luc Besson’s gonzo sci-fi actioner Lucy largely got lost in the shuffle this weekend. While we were swamped with nerdy breaking news out of San Diego Comic-Con, this Scarlett Johansson-fronted bit of mayhem topped the box office race, earning more than $40 million, and slapping Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Hercules across the face. The film also divided critics and audiences down a sharp line. Some absolutely adored the level of utter insanity, while other dismiss it as nonsensical trash. And to be honest, it somehow manages to fall into both categories, which is part of the magic. If nothing else, there is a great deal in Lucy worth talking about.
Two of us got together to discuss our takes on the wave of chaos Besson and company unleashed on the unsuspecting world, and to figure out what drugs we would most like to be on when we sit down and watch this again. Be warned, there are some SPOILERS if you haven’t seen Lucy, which you should, it’s nuts.