Annal: 2003 Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film

Results of the Saturn Award in the year 2003.

Film:Minority Report

Minority Report

Steven Spielberg

Set in the chillingly possible future of 2054, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report is arguably the most intelligently provocative sci-fi thriller since Blade Runner. Like Ridley Scott’s “future noir” classic, Spielberg’s gritty vision was freely adapted from a story by Philip K. Dick, with its central premise of “Precrime” law enforcement, totally reliant on three isolated human “precogs” capable (due to drug-related mutation) of envisioning murders before they’re committed. As Precrime’s confident captain, Tom Cruise preempts these killings like a…

Film:Men in Black II

Men in Black II

Barry Sonnenfeld

More remake than sequel, Men in Black II safely repeats everything that made Men in Black the blockbuster hit of 1997. That’s fine if you loved the original’s fresh humor, weird aliens, and loopy ingenuity, but as sequels go, it’s pure déjà vu. Makeup wizard Rick Baker is the only MIB alumnus who’s trying anything new, while director Barry Sonnenfeld and costars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (as alien-fighting agents Jay and Kay, respectively) are on autopilot with an uninspired screenplay. The quest of a multitentacled alien—on Earth in the…

Film:Signs

Signs

M. Night Shyamalan

This B movie with noble aspirations is the work of a gifted filmmaker whose storytelling falls short of his considerable stylistic flair. While addressing crises of faith in the framework of an alien-invasion thriller, M. Night Shyamalan (in his follow-up to The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) favors atmospheric tension over explanatory plotting. He injects subtle humor into expertly spooky scenes, but the story suffers from too many lapses in logic. The film’s faults are greatly compensated by the performance of Mel Gibson as a widower whose own…

Film:Solaris

Solaris

Steven Soderbergh

A curious mix of science fiction and metaphysical love story, Solaris centers around Chris Kelvin (George Clooney), a psychologist sent to investigate why a space station orbiting an alien planet has stopped communications. The planet has the power to delve into human psyches and re-create lost loved ones—in Kelvin’s case, his dead wife (Natascha McElhone), whom he then wants to bring back to Earth. Director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich) fills almost every shot with faces and bodies, as if to emphasize the human soul rather…

Film:Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek: Nemesis: 4th in Next Generation series

Stuart Baird

The sacrifice of a beloved character is just one of many highlights in Nemesis, the 10th feature in the lucrative Star Trek franchise. Enigmatically billed as the beginning of “A Generation’s Final Journey,” this richly plotted Next Generation adventure maintains the “even number rule” regarding Trek’s feature quality, and it’s one of the best in the series. It hits its brisk stride when Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his Enterprise-E crew encounter Shinzon (Tom Hardy), a younger clone of Picard, rejected by the Romulans as the…

Film:Star Wars: Episode 2. Attack of the Clones

Star Wars: Episode 2. Attack of the Clones

George Lucas

If The Phantom Menace was the setup, then Attack of the Clones is the plot-progressing payoff, and devoted Star Wars fans are sure to be enthralled. Ten years after Episode I, Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), now a senator, resists the creation of a Republic Army to combat an evil separatist movement. The brooding Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is resentful of his stern Jedi mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), tormented by personal loss, and showing his emerging “dark side” while protecting his new love, Amidala, from…

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