Annal: 1996 Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film

Results of the Saturn Award in the year 1996.

Film:12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys

Terry Gilliam

Inspired by Chris Marker’s acclaimed short film La Jetée (which is included on the DVD Short Cinema Journal, Volume 2), 12 Monkeys combines intricate, intelligent storytelling with the uniquely imaginative vision of director Terry Gilliam. The story opens in the wintry wasteland of the year 2035, where a virulent plague has forced humans to live in a squalid, oppressively regimented underground. Bruce Willis plays a societal outcast who is given the opportunity to erase his criminal record by “volunteering” to time-travel into the past to…

Film:Congo (1995)

Congo

Frank Marshall

Heads up for all you stoners out there: some Saturn Award screenings are obviously preceeded by one helluva mind-bending party. This is a terrible movie.

Film:Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd

Danny Cannon

Judge Dredd is one of those movies that doesn’t have a brain of its own, so it can only rip off a lot of ingredients from other, better movies. It’s a mishmash of Blade Runner, Total Recall, and The Road Warrior, with a dash of Star Wars tossed in for good measure. As if that weren’t enough, it’s got Sylvester Stallone, who seems to be the only one in the movie who’s in on the game and knows it’s all a sci-fi scam. Like The Fifth Element a few years later, Judge Dredd depicts a futuristic megalopolis packed with…

Film:Outbreak

Outbreak

Wolfgang Petersen

When Warner Brothers was unable to secure the rights to Richard Preston’s terrifying nonfiction book The Hot Zone (purchased by a rival studio), they took the basic idea of a fatal virus on the loose in the U.S., added Dustin Hoffman and director Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot), and produced an unusual thriller—a surprise hit—called Outbreak. The other picture, slated to star Robert Redford and Jodie Foster, fell through. The premise of Outbreak, which owes something to Elia Kazan’s 1950 plague-scare movie, Panic in the Streets, is…

Film:Species

Species

Roger Donaldson

There’s a kind of perverse marketing genius at work in this cheesy sci-fi hit from 1995 in which scientists create a half-human, half-alien woman named Sil (Natasha Henstridge) who’s capable of morphing from a slimy, tentacled creature into a blonde babe with the body of a Playboy centerfold. This makes it easy for Sil to lure gullible guys who are only too willing to indulge her voracious mating urge, realizing too late that sex with Sil is anything but safe. As the body count rises, a handpicked team of specialists tracks the alien’s killing spree, but…

Film:Strange Days

Strange Days

Kathryn Bigelow

James Cameron wrote the script for this not-so-futuristic science fiction tale about a former vice cop (Ralph Fiennes) who now sells addicting, virtual reality clips that allow a user to experience the recorded sensations of others. He becomes embroiled in a murder conspiracy, tries to save a former girlfriend (Juliette Lewis), and has a romance with his chauffeur and bodyguard (Angela Bassett). Cameron’s ex-wife, director Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break), brought the whole, busy, violent enterprise to the screen, and while the film’s socially relevant heart…

Film:Waterworld

Waterworld

Kevin Reynolds, Kevin Costner

Let’s be honest: this 1995 epic isn’t nearly as bad as its negative publicity led us to expect. At the time it was the most expensive Hollywood production in history (it had a Titanic-sized $200 million budget), and the film arrived in theaters with so much controversy and negative gossip that it was an easy target for ridicule. The movie itself, a flawed but enjoyable post-apocalypse thriller, deserves better. Waterworld stars Kevin Costner as the Mariner, a lone maverick with gills and webbed feet who navigates the endless seas of Earth after the…

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