This weekend’s release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has predictably set the box office ablaze. Based on author Suzanne Collin’s phenomenally successful young adult trilogy, the sequel sees Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence return as badass heroine Katniss Everdeen and director Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend) taking over behind the camera for Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville).
While the first film earned nearly $700 million worldwide, it was not without its critics, leading some to believe that The Hunger Games film franchise would fail to keep the momentum going and deliver on the promise of Collins’ novels. However, it appears that Catching Fire has managed to avoid the unfortunate fate that befalls many science fiction franchises and has successfully built upon the foundation of its predecessor. Over the years, many sci-fi franchises have struggled to sustain their freshness and creativity over the course of several films. To that end, here are five sci-fi film franchises that couldn’t help but disappoint. Continue reading
The back-to-back billion-dollar box office takes of Marvel’s The Avengers and Iron Man 3 meant that Thor: The Dark World had even more pressure to live up to than the Tony Stark three-quel that preceded it. After all, Phase Two of what has been dubbed the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in full swing leading up to the 2015 release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and since Iron Man 3 served as more of an epilogue to The Avengers than a driving force propelling the story into the future, it has fallen to the God of Thunder to save the (Marvel) universe.
Thor: The Dark World essentially picks up right where The Avengers left off. Having just led an alien invasion in New York City, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) returns to the kingdom of Asgard to pay for his crimes and is promptly locked away while Thor – his adopted brother (and heir to the throne) – is off defending the Nine Realms from assorted creatures, including the rock monster featured so prominently in the film’s trailer. However, a far greater threat soon arises as Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his Dark Elves launch a plan to recapture an all-powerful mystical object called the Aether, which has just so happened to fall into the hands of Thor’s unrequited love Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) on Midgard (aka Earth). Continue reading
Ender’s Game may be based on the influential 1985 science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card, but the film adaptation – finally coming to fruition nearly 30 years after its publication – sadly lacks the same kind of impact as the source material. But then again, let’s take this from the top.
The film – written and directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) – takes place in a future world where Earth’s military forces rely on exceptionally gifted children to protect them from the looming threat of the Formics, an insect-like alien race that once invaded the planet. Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and his team take particular interest in one young boy – conveniently named Ender (Asa Butterfield) – whom they believe can end (get it?) this ongoing conflict once and for all, becoming humanity’s greatest hero in the process. That basic premise begins with Ender’s recruitment by Graff and follows his ascent to command, all while Ender himself doubts his own ability to lead as well as the true intentions of his various authority figures. Continue reading