Time to Hug it Out: Tor.com’s 2012 Summer Sci-Fi Movie Roundup

We’re calling it. Now that The Bourne Legacy is out and Renner-ing the hell out of us, the summer movie season is officially over (wth Dredd running behind like a third grader who’s missed the field trip bus). This summer threw genre films at us practically every week, so what did we all think? Are we happy with what we saw? Satisfied with the new memes we get to bat around in conversation? Let’s review in the least serious way possible.


Mirror, Mirror (March 30)

Emily: You were such a pretty movie… and actually don’t look so shabby standing up next to your snowy summer movie counterpart. Alas, there was just a bit too much feminist fail here. (Still grossed out by slug exfoliants.)

Chris: Julia Roberts, you’ve come a long way from Mystic Pizza. And now you’re almost back.

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: Excuse This Rant About Mirror, Mirror


Wrath of the Titans (March 30)

Emily: I don’t know anyone who saw this. That must mean something, but maybe not something about the movie itself.

Irene: When my SO wanted to see it, I told him he was on his own. Then artist Greg Ruth said it wasn’t the worst thing ever, and, as it turns out….it isn’t the worst thing ever, but if you are looking for more than a sand movie with a great lava monster, stay away…far away.

Ryan: That lava monster looked so great in the trailers that I figured it would just be a letdown to actually see the movie.

The Tor.com review: None! Although there was this cracked-out description of one of the trailers.


Cabin in the Woods (April 13)

Emily: The precursor to Joss Whedon’s Conquering of the Summer.

Bridget: Pound for pound, the most interesting movie of the summer, in my opinion. Smarter, more fun, and more thought-provoking than anything else I’ve seen since it hit theaters.

Irene: Joss Whedon saved summer! I had such high hopes for this summer’s movies and the only ones that truly came through were Whedon’s. As Bridget says, an early favorite and remains on top. (If you haven’t read it yet, Bridget’s amazing review linked below is well worth a read.)

Ryan: I was a little disappointed this wasn’t in the same fictional universe as The Avengers.

Chris: I still don’t trust that cabin…in the woods.

The Tor.com (non-spoiler) review: To Joss Whedon’s House We Go!

The Tor.com (spoiler) review/commentary: Joss Whedon, John Hughes, and Torture Porn.


Lockout (April 13)

Emily: Come on, Luc Besson. Let’s talk this out and you can go back to making movies that feature Chris Tucker in half-drag.

Ryan: I liked that part when Gary Oldman had that crazy space gun and Chris Tucker was being really, really funny…oh wait.

Chris: I watched 70 minutes of this before I realized it wasn’t Prometheus.

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: Let’s Go to Space Jail!


The Raven (April 27)

Emily: I keep thinking that this could have been the next Sleepy Hollow if they had just cast an actor more Poe-like than John Cusack. Daniel Day Lewis?

Bridget: I vote Christopher Walken.

Ryan: I’m for authors as action heroes. Always.

Chris: Okay, Ryan, but John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe? I could accept relationship advice anecdotes from him, but not spooktacular mystery solving.

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: This Ungainly Fowl


The Avengers (May 4)

Emily: WHERE IS THE SEQUEL? Also, can I go watch this movie somewhere today? It’s still playing, right?

Ryan: Loved it. Still a little suprised that the only guy who took his shirt off was Mark Ruffalo.

Chris: I still can’t believe I’m living in a post-Avengers world.

Irene: Movie of the summer, no doubt. It even made me go back and fill in my Marvel movie gaps (Iron Man 2 wasn’t as bad as I was lead to believe. Either that or I was still basking in an Avengers afterglow). And now I want a Hawkeye movie! 

The Tor.com (non-spoiler) review: Assembled!

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: Excuse Us While We Lose Our Minds

A ton of Avengers-related posts:


Dark Shadows (May 11)

Emily: Lots of fun, but it got a little confusing as to who we were supposed to be rooting for by the end. It does make you wish that Michelle Pfeiffer was the matriarch of your family.

Bridget: I’m gonna Netflix the hell out of this thing.

Ryan: I loved this movie and laughed the entire time. The ending was a little dumb, but really, really entertaining.

The Tor.com (non-spoiler) review: A Beautiful, Big Screen Soap Opera


Battleship (May 18)

Emily: I think it’s perfectly telling that the title of the above trailer reads “Rihanna Movie.”

Ryan: There is crap, and then there is this. Sorry. Refused to see it. Though, I do really like Rihanna.

Chris: I think the most entertaining thing about this movie was the director lamenting afterwards that his lazy turkey of a movie was placed too close to Avengers, as if that was the movie’s only problem.

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: “Prepare to fire.” “Sir, which weapons?” “All of them!”


Men in Black 3 (May 25)

Emily: So glad that it erased (or at least muted) the tarnish of the first sequel. Still waiting for the epic Torchwood crossover where it’s revealed that Zed and Jack Harkness phone each other regularly to shout over various Earth-threatening mishaps, and complain that they weren’t informed by each other.

Ryan: Am I the only person who thinks of Josh Brolin as the character he played in Melinda and Melinda? Why was Woody Allen not revealed to be one of the Men in Black?

Chris: Let’s just consider any diner scene in a Men in Black movie a tribute to Woody Allen and any Woody Allen movie a tribute to the neuralyzer.

The Tor.com (spoiler free) review: “Andy Warhol’s One of US?”


Snow White and the Huntsmen (June 1)

Emily: The first time I’ve spent the entirety of a movie turning to my theater companion and hissing “really?!” and “what is this?!” over and over.

Ryan: Missed this one because some nice lady gave me a free apple and I ate it and passed out.

Irene: I was ready to see this until Emily set me straight. Still, I definitely want to catch it after its streaming/DVD release to see how much they used Sam Weber’s designs. 

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: So… Did You Understand This Movie?


Prometheus (June 8)

Emily: Michael Fassbender proves once again that he can make anyone care about anything. So can Noomi Rapace.

Bridget: I’m still intensely frustrated by Prometheus, mainly for wasting such a potentially incredible cast (minus Noomi Rapace, whose name might as well be Swedish for “unwatchable,” and the guy who played her dimwitted space consort, Extreme Science Action Bro). Let’s hope Damon Lindelof walks aways with the lesson that there’s more to a satisfying story than “Daddy Issues plus Crisis of Faith plus vague Supernatural/SFnal HooHaa=Plot?” That said: David was pretty great.

Ryan: Oh man. I was tired of giving my opinion on this movie to friends within one day of it being out. I loved it. I hated it. I thought it was crap. I thought it was beautiful. This movie was like a dysfunctional relationship. A friend of mine likened the plot to that of pornography: The situation is contrived, people are suddenly alone and then something goes in someone’s mouth.

Irene: Twenty minutes in I was wondering why everyone hated it so much. And then the rest of the movie happened. Still, while it sucked, is there any movie you talked about more this summer?

The Tor.com (mild spoilers) review: Ridley Scott Brings the Light

The Tor.com (spoilers/analysis) review: Science Fiction or Religious Fiction?

Analysis of Prometheus and a rewatch of all the Alien movies: Countdown to Prometheus


Brave (June 22)

Emily: Not Pixar’s best, but worth it for some beautiful moments. Still want to slap whoever decided that those awful songs should play during the film.

Ryan: I really wanted to like this. I’m with Emily about the songs. Ruined it for me. A very forgettable movie.

Chris: Word of mouth really killed this one for me. I kept meaning to go see it but no one (i.e. Emily and Ryan and Irene) was actually excited about it, so I never did.

Irene: Nothing was really wrong with this movie (if you look past the cliché that three Scotsmen in a room will start a bar brawl), and yet I had a hard time caring most of the way through. Although the “art of” is fantastic. 

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: Mothers, Daughters, and Mis-Titles

Rewatching all the Pixar movies leading up to Brave: The Pixar Movie Marathon


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (June 22)

Emily: Taking an axe to American history! Get it? Er… sorry.

Bridget: I’m still getting over the fact that there was a fight sequence in which someone threw a horse at somebody else. A HORSE. In the middle of a stampede. “So bad it’s good” doesn’t really apply here, but “so utterly ridiculous that your brain stops working and you can’t stop laughing at it for two hours” probably covers it…

Irene: So ridiculous and so fun. If Benjamin Walker was a fraction less charming it would have been terrible—thankfully he was that charming.

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: All Axe Fights, Somehow Not Enough


Seeking a Friend For the End of the World (June 22)

Emily: So this is the one where Keira Knightly is a pirate king, right? And Steve Carrell is a clumsy spy?

Bridget: I really wanted to see this, after reading the reviews, but didn’t make it to the theater fast enough. I assume they were in a hurry to make room for Magic Mike.

Chris: Same here. I actually wanted to see this one after word of mouth trickled out but then POOF, all gone.

The Tor.com (spoilers) review: A Road-Trip Rom-Com That Sticks to its Sci-Fi Premise


The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)

Emily: Shaky on plot, but easily delivered my favorite on-screen Peter Parker. The rest is gravy.

Ryan: I’m not sure how to feel about this movie. I liked it well enough when I watched it, but it really seemed like it lacked style. When I left the theatre I started thinking about something else right away.

Chris: I loved it! In fact, if I had to choose between this movie and current Spider-Man comics I would go with this.

Irene: Always good see President Bartlet. I thought they did a great job setting up the good guys but then forgot to make you care a lick for the bad guys and what their beef was. 

The Tor.com (mild spoilers) review: It’s So Good I Don’t Know What to Say About It

Amazing Spider-Man-related posts:


The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)

Emily: Philosphy, chaos, truth, blah, blah, I don’t care. For the final chapter of Nolan’s trilogy, I was more than pleased. Especially with the ending. And Catwoman. Yeah, Catwoman.

Bridget: Catwoman was great, and I liked the movie, though I still have so, so many questions. For example: “In a movie which was roughly 20% awkward, chunky exposition, I wish they’d found to explain exactly how you climb out of a hole in the ground in a foreign country with no money, no passport, and no access to your base in Gotham (which is currently under lockdown), and still manage to rush home, in full Batman regalia, in time to save the city. How? HOW? I know he’s the Goddamn Batman, but does he have access to a Goddamn Luckdragon?” Stuff like that.

Ryan: I really expected to hate this and ended up loving it. It’s not the best of these Batman movies by Nolan, but I think it’s my favorite.

Chris: I’m really interested in watching this a second time without the anticipation. I’m curious to see if it holds up without it, and curious to see how well it fits with the other two Nolan Batman films.

Irene: What Bridget said. With added value—now we get to have Chris talk through a paper cup and sound just like Bane. 

The Tor.com (spoiler free) review: Gotham’s Reckoning

The Tor.com (spoiler) review: Finally, a Batman Movie Actually About Batman

The Dark Knight Rises-related posts:


Neighborhood Watch (July 27)

Emily: Anyone else feel certain that they came up with the idea for this film while stoned, and just kept going?

Bridget: I’m just hoping that Richard Ayoade made enough money to go make something brilliant. Something like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace: The Movie.

Irene: I resented just having to sit through the previews for this.

The Tor.com (mild spoilers) review: Diverting But Forgettable Fun


Total Recall (August 3)

Emily: If Kate Beckinsale had been the main character, they would have sold me on this reboot so fast. You know you would have loved it.

Ryan: Here’s one I had high hopes for, even as it began. I thought it was terrible. One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

Chris: We really should have titled your review “I Don’t Care to Recall Total Recall.”

Irene: Will wait for streaming/DVD so I can freeze and stare at Stephan Martiniere’s pretty designs. 

The Tor.com (mild spoilers) review: The Farrell Identity. Total Recall Forgets to Have Plot Twists


The Bourne Legacy (August 10)

Emily: By the end of this decade, Rachel Weisz will have played opposite every Avengers leading man (she’s got Renner and Hiddleston on the bingo card so far). Also, yes. This movie. Yes.

Ryan: I like Renner. He’s cool.

The Tor.com (mild spoilers) review: “I Just Do the Science!”


Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Tor.com. Stubby likes the Stubby-themed motorcycle Renner is riding up there.


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