After books, movies are my next ‘go to’ source for hours of uninterrupted entertainment. If I’m not happy with the book I’m currently reading, I will take an afternoon or evening off from reading to enjoy a good movie. New or old … it doesn’t matter. If the story is good, and the acting convincing, and the directing sublime … all else is irrelevant. Special effects may be indistinguishable from reality today, but if you don’t have a great story, you’re just a flash in a pan that fizzled, smoked and went boom.
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM) 2014
- Frozen screenplay by Jennifer Lee, directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Studios) Watched once. 3.5 to 4 stars. Good, but not great. #4 or #5
- Gravity written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.) – Watched twice. 5 Stars. My favorite; #1
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire screenplay by Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt, directed by Francis Lawrence (Color Force; Lionsgate) – Watched once. 3.5 to 4 stars. Maybe #3 or #4
- Iron Man 3 screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures) – Watched twice. 4 Stars. Good. #2
- Pacific Rim screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You) – Watched twice. 3.5 stars. Okay to Good. #3
I had already watched 3/5 of the nominees by the time the nominations were announced. That left me just two to add to my Netflix queue: Frozen and Catching Fire. I had high hopes with some trepidation when it came to watching the second Hunger Games movie. I loved the book (the only one of that trilogy that I really thought shined). The movie did not live up to the book (the exact opposite of how I felt about the first movie, where I liked the movie better than the book). Disney’s latest effort at re-imagining fairy tales in Frozen did a superb job and I liked the movie, but the competition was too fierce for it to rise above last place. Gravity shone brighter and brighter every time I watched it (first in a theater and second when I bought the movie for home viewing). The third Iron Man movie was fun and a great wrap-up for the Tony Stark story arc. I gave it second place, because Pacific Rim could have been so much better than it was.
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM) 1939
- Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. Written & directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater on the Air, CBS) – #2
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Written & directed by Orson Welles (The Campbell Playhouse, CBS) – #3
- Dracula by Bram Stoker. Written by Orson Welles and John Houseman, directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater on the Air, CBS) – did not watch
- R. U. R. by Karel Čapek. Produced by Jan Bussell (BBC) – did not watch
- The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Written by Howard Koch & Anne Froelick, directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater on the Air, CBS) – #1
Again, I’d already watched 3/5 of the nominees but in the case of these older movies, I did not go out of my way to find Dracula or R.U.R. to watch before voting ended. Someday I’ll watch them. For the purposes of voting in the Retro Hugos, I opted to vote only for the ones I’d already seen and move on. I guess I was starting to become burnt out or overwhelmed by this point in the Hugo voting process.
Note to self: Next year, get an earlier start on reading and watching nominees. Don’t wait for the voter packet, especially for the visual arts.
This was the ‘easiest’ category for me to vote on. Or at least it took the least amount of effort on my part to watch the nominees. Audio visual entertainment is insanely easy to obtain in our ‘brave new world’ of 21st century over-sharing digitization. I may regret not trying harder to be a completest with the Retro Hugo nominations, but I do plan to watch those movies, eventually.
Next Time: Other Categories and Wrap-Up