2007 Kaedrin Movie Awards: Most Visually Stunning & Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film

The nominations for the 2007 Kaedrin Movie Awards were announced last week. This week, I’ll be announcing two winners every day, culminating in a post with my top 10 movies of the year and possibly some other wrap-up posts. Here are the awards for Most Visually Stunning film and Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film:

Most Visually Stunning: Sunshine

This was a really difficult category this year, as there weren’t any huge standouts for me. I ended up on Sunshine, mostly because it’s a good film that gets no props and it’s gorgeous too. Some of the other films on the list (like No Country or There Will be Blood) probably have more technically sound cinematography and photography (and they’re pretty), but they’re also relatively straightforward in their craft. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not as visually arresting as epic space-themed sequences that take place near the sun… I should probably also mentione Ratatouille, as it really is quite impressive, but animation is almost like cheating in this category! Still, it’s worth recognizing.

Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film: The Orphanage

Yep, a last minute entry into the category ends up winning the whole thing. I just saw this movie this past weekend, and I absolutely loved it. By far the best horror movie of the year. It focuses more on a psychological horror, though there are some stingers (aka Boo! moments). Really, though, it’s not filled with those moments, which is why it works so well. It’s the anticipation that really kills you. The ending is quite odd, but I think it works really well. The other nominees are all pretty good, but my second place would have to go to Sunshine. It’s got all the standard space exploration cliches (unfortunately, that means it’s got both good and bad ones), but I actually liked it, even the ending (which turned a lot of people off).

It’s a shame that there really weren’t many other SF films this year (or last year, or the year before…) Unfortunately, it seems like this trend will continue. Even longstanding series like Star Trek seem stagnant (a key indicator of stagnation is moving the story backwards to fill in the past of the universe, as Trek has done with their last series, Enterprise, and with the new JJ Abrams movie). For that matter, why isn’t there anything new going on in the genre? All the most popular SF going on right now (Trek, Aliens, Predator, Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, etc…) is based on the nostalgic love of movies/series that were made 20-40 years ago. And a lot of that is crap. AVPR was mildly entertaining, the new Terminator series is horrible. Only Battlestar Galactica seems to be doing anything fun, and that’s based on a crappy 25+ year old TV series. What was the biggest SF event of this past year? You could argue that it’s the 5 disc DVD set of Blade Runner, a 25 year old movie based on a 40 year old story. What we really need is a genre-smashing film or TV series made by a talented filmmaker. I thought perhaps the “untitled Darren Aronofsky sci-fi project” might do something, but that turned out to be The Fountain, which barely qualifies as SF, if at all. We need a new Kubrick-like talent to shake up the genre the way 2001 did… Ok, so I’ve babbled on about SF enough for now.

Coming tomorrow: Best Sequel and Biggest Disappointment