Well, hello there! Looks like my last post got this blog a few more followers. If you’re still here, welcome to Picking Up the Pen. Kick off your shoes and relax a while.
As I’m making my way through the Hugos nominees, one thing I really want to do is make separate posts for each of the categories (well, at least the ones I’m planning on voting in). Since I’ve already seen all of the nominees for Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form, this seemed like as good a place to start as any! Here are the nominees:
-Frozen, screenplay by Jennifer Lee, directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Studios)
-Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)
-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, screenplay by Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt, directed by Francis Lawrence (Color Force; Lionsgate)
-Iron Man 3, screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures)
-Pacific Rim, screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You)
For the most part, I’m pretty happy with this list. It’s great to see that all of these nominees feature complex/interesting female characters, either in main or supporting roles. The fact that this trend was also reflected in in mainstream audiences (movies like Frozen, Iron Man 3, and Catching Fire being some of the biggest money makers of the year), is also really encouraging. For years, we’ve been telling Hollywood that we want more ladies in film. Hopefully, the financial and critical success of these films will make them start listening.
As for my vote? Well, that’s a little tricky. There’s so much I enjoyed about Pacific Rim. It’s a rare Hollywood film that features an international focus, promotes the idea of working together instead of the concept of the lone hero, and shows how violence impacts the regular guys. Still, I had some issues with the acting, and felt the prologue went on for too long, so it doesn’t get my top vote. On the other hand, Frozen is an great film that embraces everything we love about Disney princess films, while subverting the aspects that start to trouble us as we get older and wiser. Oh, and that soundtrack? Fabulous. Still, I felt some of the characters came off a little thin, and that we just needed one more big song to close out the film. As a result, it’s not going to get my top vote either. I wouldn’t be surprised if it won though. Frozen has such great momentum right now.
This brings me to my two favorite releases of 2013, Catching Fire and Gravity. Gravity is a perfect ten on both a technical and performance level. It’s also a great example of the power of small stories. Gravity features a minuscule cast, relatively short running time, and goals that are much smaller than the “saving the world” plot found in most Hollywood blockbusters. But, for all of it’s small scope, it still has the power to impact the audience in a big way. On the other hand, Catching Fire is another rarity in Hollywood, a pitch perfect adaptation of a novel. Not only does it hit all of the rights beats from the book, but every role is perfectly cast, and the pacing couldn’t be any better. Catching Fire has the power to appeal to both fans of the book and movie equally, which doesn’t happen very often. Also, due to the divisive nature of the book Mockingjay, I have a feeling that if The Hunger Games is going to win a Hugo for best movie, it’s going to be this one.
Throughout all this, you might be noticing that I’m leaving out one movie: Iron Man 3. I wasn’t surprised to see it make the ballot. It was a huge financial success, the likes of which Marvel Studios is unlikely to see in a non-Avengers movie anytime soon. But as much as I enjoyed RDJ’s charisma, and the awesome action sequences, the story just fell flat to me. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. If one Marvel movie was going to be nominated for 2013, I would have rather seen Thor 2: The Dark World, which was at least a fun popcorn flick.
So, after much thought, here is how I will be listing the nominees, from favorite to least favorite.
1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
4. Pacific Rim
5. Iron Man 3
Anyone else have any thoughts? Any noticeable snubs, or do you think this list makes sense considering the divisive nature of some of this years bigger tentpole flicks (like Thor 2, Man of Steel, or Star Trek Into Darkness)?