Weird Movies on Netflix: Bigbug

In general, science fiction movies tend to err on the weirder side of media, and that’s just a fact of their nature. But, there are some weird movies on Netflix that fit too nicely in the sci-fi genre, and Bigbug is at the forefront of those films. 

Bigbug was released fairly recently, in February 2022, and it’s garnered meek media attention. This French movie imagines a Jetsons-like future with a sinister twist: AI bent on human humiliation and destruction. 

Keep reading to get the full scoop on Bigbug, one of the weirdest movies on Netflix this year. 

Some Background

Bigbug was written, directed, and produced by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jeunet and released on Netflix in February 2022. 

Jean-Pierre Jeunet has developed a reputation as a science fiction writer and director. Over the course of his career, he’s imagined many futuristic worlds, some bleak, some optimistic. His first feature film, Delicatessen (1991) takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where famine has ravaged much of the population. His characters live above a delicatessen, and are picked off by the butcher who runs the shop, eventually turned into meaty treats. 

Jean-Pierre Jeunet was even the director or Alien Resurrection, and his film Amélie was nominated for a few Academy Awards. 

Suffice to say that he’s a pretty established guy, and Bigbug is his first feature film to come out in the past 10 years. 

Bigbug stars Isabelle Nanty, Elsa Zylberstein, Claude Perron, Stéphane De Groodt, and Youssef Hajdi, among others. The film received lackluster reviews, including a 5.7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an even lower score on Metacritic. 

Despite this, I found the film to be profoundly interesting, both visually and narratively, as well as quite odd. Here’s a brief summary of the plot:

Bigbug Summary

Alice, a suburban mother and artist, lives in a smart home that’s equipped with multiple different robots, some of which are designed for cleaning, others act as maids. When the film starts, we see Alice flirting with Max, a man who pretends to take interest in her artistic endeavors and her bookish nature.

As the story continues, many other characters come into the house, including the neighbor, Alice’s ex-husband and his girlfriend, and Alice’s daughter, Nina. Once all the characters are inside the house, the systems AI, Nestor, locks the doors, citing code C4 because the outside danger level surpassed acceptable limits. 

On the news, the characters see a terrible traffic jam, due to automated car malfunctions. And frequently, the television will play the show Homo Ridiculous, which features humans in humiliating situations for the Yonyx clones. The Yonyx are a group of intelligent, violent, AI clones that despise humans. 

Most of the movie revolves around the characters trying to get out of the house, while the robots working to please their human counterparts by searching for what it means to be human. 

Eventually, things come to a head when the Yonyx show up, but I won’t ruin the ending for you!

What’s So Weird About Bigbug?

Bigbug has a bit of a weird feeling to it for a few reasons. First, it was originally in French, but I watched the English dub on Netflix. The voices and the lips of the characters didn’t match up, which made the whole thing rather trippy, especially since there is supposed to be a big contrast between the robots and AI and the humans. But with the dub, it makes everyone feel a bit like a glitching robot. 

Another element of the film that was confusing–and somewhat uncomfortable at times–was the sexual overtones. Pretty much all the of the characters, aside from one or two, were driven by sexual urges, and often ended up being sexually frustrated. Alice and Max spend most of the movie skirting around other characters trying to have sex, while Nina and Max’s son, Leo, have a similar relationship. 

Even the robots get oddly sexual. Monique, the maid-AI, follows around Max trying to be seductive like Alice, and the whole thing just comes off as cringy. 

I think that the sexual nature of the film helps to portray the humans as driven by instinct, which gives them an animalistic feeling. When contrasted with the Yonyx, who are hard, smart, and cold, the humans just feel kind of lame and useless without their technology. 

And that hunts at one of the larger themes of the film, which is whether or not humans are important in a world where robots and AI are ten times smarter, faster, and more efficient than humans. 

It’s a common theme in science fiction, dating all the way back to the 1920s and even something that we are seeing unfold before our very eyes, with things like Google’s AI and Blake Lemoine’s leaked interview. 

The key takeaway from Bigbug is veiled behind flashy suburbanite futurisms and sexual desire. Its message is simply that humans are lucky. Despite their flaws and their antics, their technologies eventually get too smart for their own good. Some might even say that our saving grace is that we’re simple creatures! And being simple isn’t always a bad thing. 

So despite being just a weird movie on Netflix, Bigbug shows us that the more complex we become, the more problems we encounter. What’s wrong with reading books, practicing calligraphy, and drinking vodka shots? Seems like a good way to pass the time to me. 

If you liked this movie review, check out some of our other reviews:

5 Upcoming Sci Fi Movies That Piqued Our Interest

The near future is filled with the typical Marvel movies and old sci-fi remakes, but are there any new, inventive sci fi movies on the horizon?

There are, in fact, a few upcoming sci fi movies that might be worth watching. Here are 5 that we thought were neat:

Don’t Worry Darling – September 23rd

It’s the 1950s, and a group of scientists are working on a secret “Victory Project” deep in the desert. No one really knows what the Victory Project is, and as the wives of the community start to unravel the mystery, it becomes clear there’s far more going on at the Victory headquarters.

This film was directed by Olivia Wilde, and stars Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, and Chris Pine.

From the trailer, we see a lot of intense moments, all set an idyllic 1950s town with classic cars, muted lighting, and sensible fashion. It looks to be a visually stunning film as well as a psychological thriller.

Cryo – June 24th

This one seems like some sci-fi films we’ve seen in the past, and I’m always wary of stories—books or movies—that start with characters waking up from sleep, be it a coma, cryosleep, or just a nap.

But Cryo looks interesting because it’s more horror than science fiction. Five scientists wake up out of their cryopods and explore a creepy bunker. None of them know how they got there, but they start to realize that the key to what happened is hidden in their memories. It’s a slow-burner, it seems like, with the plot driven on by a murderer who’s preying on the newly-awakened scientists.

This film was written by Barrett Burgin and Mason D. Davis, and stars Michael Flynn, Jyllian Petrie, Emily Marie Palmer, Morgan Gunter, and Curt Doussett.

Prey – August 5th

On first glance, this film seems like an original idea. The year is 1719, and a young Comanche Native American girl discovers a mysterious predator in the woods, and brings her tribe together to fend it off.

But, come to realize this is a movie in the Predator franchise, and that mysterious hunter is—yup, you guessed it—Predator.

I’m on edge about this one, especially since all the characters who are Native Americans are speaking English. At this time period? They’d be speaking their native language.

But, who knows, it looks like it is suspenseful and interesting, at least. This film is coming to Hulu instead of to theaters.

Nope – July 22nd

This movie from the genius Jordan Peele, and it looks awesome. From the trailers we’ve seen so far, it looks like a weird, western, horror film with touches of unexplainable alien activity.

The film follows two black horse ranchers who specialize in training horses for Hollywood films. But one night, all the power goes out and strange lights appear on the horizon, spooking all the horses. Madness ensues. It begs the question “What’s a bad miracle?”

This film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Steven Yuan.

Distant – September 16th

There’s no trailer for Distant yet, but we do know the rough premise. The movie follows an asteroid miner that gets trapped on a distant planet and has to find his fellow miner before her runs out of oxygen and supplies.

The film is part sci fi, part horror, with the main characters squaring off against terrifying creatures and a ticking clock.

The film stars Anthony Ramos and was written by Josh Gordon and Will Speck.

IF you liked this post, consider checking out some of our other content. Here’s a list of all the upcoming sci fi books you’re going to want to read this summer:

The History of Time Travel: A Sci Fi Movie on Amazon Prime

Every once in a while, you come across that one movie that really stick out, whether it’s a super unique concept or just an off-the-wall sort of film.

I recently found a sci fi movie on Amazon Prime that presents itself as a documentary, when it’s actually a sci fi concept film. The History of Time Travel is filmed like a classic documentary but it’s anything but that, and it’s certainly not a Doctor Who film, either.

Here’s a complete review of The History of Time Travel.

Some History

The History of Time Travel was an Austin Film Festival movie in 2014, but it had been in various stages of production since 2010.

The writer and director, Rick Kennedy, has worked on a few other films, most of which you’ve probably never heard of. A Year from Now is a Christmas Carol meets Groundhog Day film, and his first film, The Line, is about a prisoner escaping from Nazi Germany.

Of his work, The History of Time Travel stands out as a unique entity, mainly because the idea of filming an obviously fictional story as a documentary is particularly boggling.

In an interview with the Austin Film Festival, Kennedy says that some people “might enjoy the sci-fi elements more, or find the alternate histories interesting, or appreciate the humor and the absurdity of the whole thing,” and I certainly think he’s hit the nail on the head there.

The Premise

So, as you’ve probably guessed, The History of Time Travel is a fake documentary. It employs the classic documentary narrator to make ominous comments, and all of the “experts” and first-hand accounts seem to be on the same page about the story.

And the story revolves around Edward Page and his family. Page was an MIT graduate in the late 1930s and later became a researcher for the Indiana Project, a clandestine project funded by the Pentagon to create time travel.

The Indiana Project and the Manhattan Project ran parallel for many years, but after WWII ended with the atomic bomb, the Pentagon began to cut funding to time travel research.

At some point, someone designs a portable time machine. And I say someone because as the film goes on, it becomes unclear who invented the machine. Originally, it was Edward’s son, Richard, but as Richard goes back in time to fix his family, the timelines start to get jumbled.

Just know that there is a time machine, and it does work, and you’ll know. The history gradually starts to change as the film goes on. Even though Richard only intended to change one or two aspects of the world when he went back in time, he ended up changing the whole trajectory of American history.

Nixon is assassinated in Dallas instead of JFK, Russians land on the moon first—the list goes on.

Eventually, we reach a point where the rabid flurry of timelines convene, and the world returns to normal. Not to the normal of the first half of the film, but to our normal. The History of Time Travel becomes The Theory of Time Travel, and it’s on the Science Fiction Channel instead of the History Channel.

The Verdict

At first, the scripted nature of the movie made it feel very stiff and unrealistic. Sure, they had the conventions of a documentary, but everything seemed to line up too easily, and that’s how you knew it was scripted.

The experts—which included a sci fi author, a philosopher, and a few time-travel physicists and historians—all had a similar way of storytelling, which made it evident they were reading a script. Instead of acting as individual characters, they were simply voice actors reading lines.

history of time travel expert

They spent a lot of time in the first minutes of the movie discussing the family life of Edward Page, in pretty vivid detail. I didn’t quite understand why until the movie started to branch off into different timelines, and we literally saw our history change before our eyes.

I think that the film is bold and interesting. It takes the medium of the documentary and turns it into a sci-fi concept film, and that’s something I would have never paired together. It gives me the vibe of the Ancient Aliens TV show and other similar conspiracy-theory documentaries, but with a more creative flair.

The History of Time Travel had a fairly small budget, but the production value was pretty good. There were a few points where I giggled at the poorly Photoshopped “evidence”, but I think that only contributed to the humor.

Overall, I’d give the film a 7/10. It had an original concept, and even though it stumbled through the first twenty minutes, it ended with a potent question about time travel: “Would we even notice if it happened?”

Is it the best sci fi movie on Amazon Prime right now? Not by a long shot, but it’s certainly worth watching if you’re tired of all the lasers, spaceships, and aliens that populate mainstream sci fi film.

Chaos Walking: A Sci Fi Movie on Hulu

I had high hopes for Chaos Walking, a new sci fi movie on Hulu staring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley.

The concept was great: a new planet where your thoughts permeate outside of your head, and a strange girl lands in a world where there seemingly aren’t any women. It paired a few clichés together, but it looked like it would be a good 2 hours of my time.

Space Western was one of the prominent themes of the movie, with everyone in cowboy hats and riding horses. But, in terms of substance, the film offered very little. Chaos Walking severely overpromised what it had to offer, and in the end, I was left disappointed and unsatisfied.

Some Background

I didn’t know this when I watched the movie, but Chaos Walking is based on a book by Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go, published in 2008. Now, the book has received rave reviews, and even won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, the Guardian Award, and the Booktrust Teenage Prize.

In 2011, a team of writers, including Ness, started writing a screenplay for the book, and in 2017, the film began production. This project was 10 years in the making, finally being released in 2021.

The film stars Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland, Mads Mikkelson, Nick Jonas, Cynthia Erivo, David Oyelowo, and Demián Bichir.

Despite a decade of preparation, the film flopped upon release. The film just barely made a quarter of the money spent to make it, and critics ripped it to shreds. The film has a 4.5/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, and multiple critics have bashed on the movie’s “generic characters” and lackluster plot.

Worldbuilding and Stuff

Before we slap a verdict on Chaos Walking, I want to talk about the worldbuilding.

Now, I’ve never read The Knife of Never Letting Go, so the movie could have obliterated the science of the world (hopefully not, considering it took Ness and 5 other people 6 years to write the screenplay), but I felt there was really something interesting about the setting. In New World, which is some non-Earth planet, I-don’t-really-know-they-never-explained-it, your thoughts become external, like a little blue halo-ish thing and a voice that says what you’re thinking.

This happens to all the men on the planet, and occurs naturally for the indigenous race, the Spackle. The women aren’t impacted by the Noise, as it’s called. People who have learned to control their Noise are able to manipulate their thoughts to create illusions. We see Todd, (Tom Holland) the main character, create a snake in the beginning of the film, and other characters cast illusions of real people later on.

Coincidentally, the whole mind-illusions premise reminds me of the mechanics of Brandon Bellecourt’s Absynthe, where soldiers were injected with a serum to allow them to communicate telepathically and craft illusions using their mind.

Despite the interesting concept, Chaos Walking does not make any effort to explain how the world works. There’s clearly something about the aura of the planet because we see as soon as Viola’s (Daisy Ridley) crew enters atmosphere, the men start to experience the Noise.

No explanation of the Noise, no real explanation of the Spackle, and not an inkling of how, who, when, or why humans settled New World to begin with.

From my perspective, world building certainly isn’t one of Chaos Walking’s strong suites. But, does it have any redeeming qualities?

The Acting Is Okay…?

For a sci fi movie on Hulu, I was surprised to see so many popular actors and actresses in Chaos Walking. Tom Holland has pretty much become the new Orland Bloom of his time, and Daisy Ridley, the new Kiera Knightley. It’s kind of weird to think that they both come from massive blockbuster franchises, Marvel and Star Wars, and ended up in a half-baked sci fi concept movie.

I’d say that the actors were limited by the one-dimensional aspect of the characters. I hate to lean into the criticism around the film, but I have to agree that the motivations of the characters are bland and generic.

sci fi movie on hulu chaos walking tom holland

And as an actor, there’s only so much you can do to break out of that mold. Mads Mikkelson plays great villains, but even his character lacks depth or purpose.

Is Chaos Walking The Worst Sci Fi Movie on Hulu?

It kind of blows my mind to think that Chaos Walking was in various stages of production for a decade, and yet didn’t even manage to bring in half the money the company spent to make it. For me, at least, if I’m working on a project, the longer I have to work on it, the better the final product will be.

Chaos Walking is the antithesis of that sentiment. If you watch it as a B-rated sci fi movie, it’s fine. You have to take a lot of things at face value, and be prepared to get confused at the ins-and-outs of the world.

But it really shouldn’t have ended up like that. Had the team focused more on developing motivations for characters, especially the villains, then I think the film would have done better.

At the end of the day, the villains—and to some degree, the protagonists—were driven by a single-minded goal that lacked complexity in a world that should have been very intricate. The Noise presented a great opportunity for developing character relationships, and yet, the writers fell back on the proliferation of random thoughts giving away secrets or upsetting people.

Overall, there was a good idea here for a movie, but the execution was severely lacking, so much so that even the collective acting expertise of the cast couldn’t fix it. I give Chaos Walking a 4/10, and the mantle of the worst sci fi movie on Hulu.

The Mandela Effect: Best Sci-Fi on Amazon Prime

In my free time, I enjoy scouring streaming services in an attempt to find great sci fi movies. I found Prospect on Netflix earlier this year, which was a good space westernish sci fi film.

But after that, I went on the hunt again, this time turning to Amazon Prime Video. Prime Video is home to a lot of interesting speculative fiction movies and shows, including the upcoming Wheel of Time series.

In my search for the best sci fi on Amazon Prime, I found The Mandela Effect, a 2019 film that saw limited release in theaters.

The Details

The Mandela Effect was first showed at the Other Worlds Film Festival in the later half of 2019, and then it moved onto various streaming services, including Amazon Prime.

The film was written and directed by David Guy Levy, whose other work includes the horror film Would You Rather and the 2011 film, A Love Affair Of Sorts.

The Mandela Effect stars Charlie Hofheimer, Aleksa Palladino, and Robin Lord Taylor. Despite high hopes for the film, it received harsh reviews from critics, scoring a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Premise

The story follows a game developer, Brendan, as he and his wife grieve the loss of their young daughter, Sam. After Sam’s unfortunate passing, Brendan starts to notice irregularities in his day to day.

He clearly remembers a children’s book series as The Berenstein Bears, but later finds out it’s actually called The Berenstain Bears. A series of other events lead him to begin researching the Mandela Effect, a theory about clear memories of things that never happened. The effect is so named because people vividly remember South African president Nelson Mandela’s death in the 1980s, but in reality, he died in 2013.

Brendan continues to explore the world of alternate realities and parallel universe in hopes of bringing back his daughter, but when he begins to tamper with reality, the world starts to change around him.

Even though this film received scathing reviews, I think it’s underappreciated, and arguably one of the top sci fi movies on Amazon Prime, and here’s why:

Signals Sci Fi Movie Review

The Mandela Effect takes a well-known theory and runs with it. The examples provided in the film of the effect are real-life examples, and it really got me thinking about our reality.

But the film does more than just raise questions. It sparks emotion.

Watching Brendan obsess over the idea of alternate realities and life as a simulation, all the while grieving for his daughter, instilled in me a keen sense of sympathy for him.

The pain he felt after Sam’s death was palpable, and the tension throughout the rest of the film as he teeters on the brink of sanity made it hard to step away from.

What started as a seemingly normal film gradually built into a deeply unsettling sci fi horror flick that had me thinking long after the credits rolled.

That’s what good films do for me, especially the best sci fi movies. They make you wildly uncertain of your spot in the universe, and they spark new ideas to help you think outside the box. In this instance, outside the simulation.

The Verdict

I do think the film stumbled over itself a bit when it came to the scientific aspects. I’m neither a game designer nor a quantum physicist, but I could tell some of the technical stuff was watered down for the audience.

The movie does play into the trope of the hacker man, where he’s holed up in his basement surrounded by screens that run with code. These types of scenes always irk me a little, and compared to the fleshed out technical jargon of, say, Mr. Robot, The Mandela Effect’s computer science falls short.

However, visually the film was well-refined. Scenes contrast from dark to light to dark again, which reaches a neat, critical point near the end. The musical choices varied, but overall, nothing felt out of place, and it added to the horror aspects.

Overall, the film was a good watch, and certainly a high point for David Guy Levy’s career.

While The Mandela Effect isn’t the best sci fi movie on Amazon Prime, it is certainly one of the best.

I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Prospect: A Solid Sci-Fi Movie on Netflix

I didn’t know anything about Prospect, merely stumbling across it via the suggested for you feature on Netflix.

I took a chance and fired it up. Originally, I was a bit skeptical, because I’d never heard of the film companies that worked on the film, and thought it might be a low-budget, B-rate sci fi movie.

But then, 20 minutes in, I spotted Pedro Pascal, and my fears were assuaged. I’m not saying Prospect is the best sci fi movie on Netflix, but it was pretty darn good.

The Details

Prospect is a 2018 film written and directed by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell. Earl and Caldwell previously made commercials and short films with their company, Shep Films, and Prospect was their first movie.

The film stars Sophie Thatcher, Jay Duplass, and Pedro Pascal (who many people know from the wildly popular Star Wars show, The Mandalorian).

Prospect received mixed reviews, with some critics praising the world-building, while others noted that Earl and Caldwell’s character development was lacking.

The Premise

The story follows Cee, a teenage girl who travels to a foreign moon with her father to mine for precious gems.

Along the way, Cee’s father is killed by Ezra, a rogue miner/mercenary stranded on the moon. Despite that, Cee and Ezra have to work together to find a way off the moon before their short window for escape passes them by.

sci fi movie on netflix prospect pedro pascal
Poster for Prospect,
Photo from Wikipedia

Signals Sci-Fi Movie Review

Above all else, Prospect is a simple film. Unlike some other popular sci-fi films, its scope isn’t massive. Nothing about saving the universe or the fate of humanity. Instead, the film places its focus on the interactions of a couple of people, and the conflict is all about Cee and Ezra putting aside their differences to survive.

Personally, stories that operate in a microcosm—or at least, not on a universal scale—always seem more satisfying to me. For example, I’d prefer to watch the Luke Cage Netflix show than the Avengers movies. Luke Cage feels more realistic, which I guess isn’t what people watch superhero literature for, but c’est la vie.

Anyways, I like the small scope of Prospect, because it makes it easier to focus on the characters.

Cee’s father, Damon, has about 25 minutes of screentime, but from the first scene, it’s easy to dislike him. Once he dies, it creates an interesting dynamic between Cee and Ezra. She hates him for killing her father, but also recognizes how different he is from Damon, better in some ways.

Some critics have said that Ezra’s character is pretty stale, and the only reason it’s interesting is because Cee acts as a foil—or a reverse foil?—and in some ways, I agree.

We don’t get very much information about Ezra’s past, only that he is stranded on the forest moon because his crew committed a mutiny and took his ship. Other than that, the audience is left guessing his past.

But I don’t think the story is supposed to be about Ezra. His presence is a catalyst for Cee’s character growth, her ‘coming of age’ if you will.

We know much more about Cee. Even the little details give us a glimpse into her past. Her conversations about her mother, her escapism through music and reading, her calm demeanor in sticky situations, all those things make her a vibrant, deep character.

The Verdict

Prospect’s pacing was on point, and visually, it was a simple film. The whole story takes place on the forest moon, but there isn’t very much variation in the scenery. A lot of green! I’d have like to see a bit of deviation of color.

While the film was entertaining, it leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

  • What happened to Earth?
  • What year is it?
  • What’s Ezra’s past?
  • What will happen next?

Some of these things are arbitrary, nonessential to the story. However, I would have liked to have a firmer understanding in the world Prospect is framed in. Maybe I’m just being a stickler or a massive sci-fi nerd, but I feel like knowing the year is a must.

Overall, Prospect was a good first film from Shep Films. Its simplistic story model let you focus on the character interactions, but sometimes those interactions fell flat. The film is missing a few key details to really root in a place and time, and sometimes the film expects viewers to grasp the sci-fi concepts without having previously explained them.

I’d give Prospect a 7/10. Sophie Thatcher and Pedro Pascal made a great duo, and I’d like to see more of their adventures, but I definitely felt like there was room for improvement.

So, not the best sci-fi movie on Netflix, but worth a watch if you don’t have something more interesting to watch.

The Cloak & the Fox: The Green Knight Movie Review

I’m a big fan of Arthurian fantasy books and movies. I’ve been fascinated with the genre ever since I was a kid. But now that I’m older, my interest has shifted from the big sword-fights and knights on horseback to the intricacies of storytelling, and how current writers are bending the genre.

Arthurian legend is such a rich bank of subject matter, because a lot of the stories already vary in how they’re told. Some people take Le Mort d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory as gospel, and others are fans of T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.

I even took a stab at bending the genre with my story “Esclados the Red,” which follows a little-mentioned knight on his journey of self-discovery and acceptance with his sexuality. It was a fun story to write, and I was exhilarated to be writing in such a large—and loved—genre.

The Green Knight movie doesn’t go quite as far to bend the genre, but it certainly provides a fresh take on the centuries-old story of Sir Gawain.  

The Green Knight Movie

The Green Knight film was released in theaters on July 30th, 2021. The film was written and directed by David Lowery, whose other work includes movies like Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon, and The Old Man & the Gun.

The Green Knight stars Dev Patel as Gawain, and is based on the 14th-century chivalric romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is by far one of the most popular stories in the Arthurian universe, and Lowery’s film was quite faithful to the source material in terms of plot.

But the movie really shines when it comes to the visual elements.

The Big Orange Cloak

Visually, the movie is stunning. I’ll give it that.

It alternates between very dark scenes inside foggy forests and dim castle halls, to bright yellow and green forests. The contrast is astounding, and the coloring was certainly something Lowery emphasized.

Speaking of color and contrast, the best example of this is Gawain’s big orange-ish cloak. Even when Gawain is trekking across dark landscapes, his orange cloak still sticks out, providing a pop of color to on otherwise drab scene.

Dev Patel as Gawain
Photo from The Los Angeles Times

There’s one scene in particular that really struck me as the pinnacle of cinematography.

Gawain jumps into a pool of water by moonlight, and at first the greenish water slowly fades to darkness. Then, out of nowhere, a flash of crimson light illuminates the pool, with Gawain floating in the water. It’s marvelously executed.

The Fox

Arthurian fantasy books and movies have the potential to get quite grim, but The Green Knight is able to maintain a balance between moments of despair and fun adventure.

For the first part of Gawain’s journey to the Green Chapel, he treks alone through the medieval landscape. He crosses bloody fields and haunted forests, giving the film a dark, brooding vibe.

But, at a certain point, a red fox becomes Gawain’s traveling companion. Together, they continue to traverse the grim landscape, but now, the feeling is less of doom and more of adventure.

The cute fox adds an element of mystery to Gawain’s journey, but it also lightens the mood. I’m all for protagonists with animal companions, and this fits the bill.

The Green Knight Movie Review Score

Overall, I really enjoyed The Green Knight. It was fairly faithful to the source material while taking enough liberty to put a new spin on an old story.

Visually, the film was a work of art. The detail that went into color choice and lighting is clearly noticeable.

And the way the film is segmented into titled sections was a really neat idea, and it felt like a visual novel with distinct chapters, moreso than a single film.

I only had two gripes with The Green Knight.

First off, the pacing was a bit slow. The build up for the first hour was almost laborious, but the filmography was able to keep my interest until the story progressed into the really meaty sections.

Second, I was mildly confused at points. Flashforwards melded too-seamlessly with the present timeline, leaving me scratching my head for a few minutes before everything snapped back to reality. This really only matters at the end of the film, and it’s not even that big of a deal, just something that confused me a little.

All said and done, I give The Green Knight an 8/10. A solid rendition of the classic story, and hopefully the first in a new wave of Arthurian fantasy books and movies.

If you liked this review, check out some of our other reviews!

Oxygen Is One of the Best Sci Fi Movies on Netflix

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch Oxygen, a new sci-fi movie on Netflix.

The description was fairly simple; a woman wakes up in a stasis pod and is rapidly losing oxygen (hence the title) and must remember her past to find a way to fix the problem before she perishes.

It seemed like a premise I’d seen done before, but I couldn’t pinpoint from where.

Regardless, I grabbed my bowl of ice cream and settled in. Little did I know I was about to watch one of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix. It was:

  • Riveting
  • Artistic
  • And a tad frightening

Oxygen Isn’t About Escape, It’s About Control

The whole film revolves around Elizabeth Hansen, who wakes up in a claustrophobic cryo-stasis pod. Her oxygen is being depleted, and she has the length of the movie to figure out why (which is about 100 minutes).

As a writer, I was always told to never start a story with a character waking up. It’s too simple, it’s an opt-out of any kind of backstory building, etc. etc.

But Oxygen starts in just that fashion, with Elizabeth coming to in her stasis pod, and I think it works. After all, if the premise revolves around a stasis pod keeping people alive indefinitely, then the largest conflict would be waking up before the scheduled time, right?

If only it were that simple.

For 3/4ths of the film, Elizabeth’s prime objective is to either escape the pod on her own before the lack of oxygen kills her, or find someone on the outside to get her out. She’s assisted—and held back—by M.I.L.O., the artificial intelligence Medical Interface Liaison Officer responsible for her wellbeing.

With M.I.L.O.’s help, she’s able to make contact with the outside world, but with each call she places to the people on the outside, the plot becomes more convoluted.

Just as we as viewers think we know what’s going on, the movie takes another wild turn, subverting our expectations.

Personally, it’s a genius move. If I had to watch a film that takes place entirely in a stasis pod for an hour and a half—when the only conflict is getting out—I’d become bored very quickly.

But Oxygen becomes more than just a fight for survival; it’s a fight for control over one’s body, mind, and autonomy. And that’s why it’s so good.

The Making of a Top Sci-Fi Movie

In some scenes of the film, Elizabeth is reading social media posts and academic journals, which appear in French. I figured it was a stylistic choice, but only after I read more about the film’s production did I realize why there was such a heavy emphasis on the French language.

Oxygen, or Oxygene, as it is called in France, was a collaboration between American and French filmmakers. Planning started back in 2017, and filming took place in July of 2020. (Which was a bit haunting, seeing as how it was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and staple part of the film is a worldwide disease that claims Elizabeth’s loved ones.)

The film was directed by horror expert Alexandre Aja, whose previous films include The Hills Have Eyes and High Tension.

Aja said when talking to Variety that Oxygen is a “real emotional escape game” and he certainly takes that idea to the next level. Filming entirely in one location, the stasis pod, doesn’t leave a lot of room for deviation, so he had to get creative.

The lighting and camera angles help portray Elizabeth’s emotions, since dialogue isn’t really a big part of the film. The red lighting of the low oxygen environment elevates the feeling of containment, while the soft white lighting provides a brief respite from the tension.

All of these things were on Aja’s mind as he directed this film, and it certainly shows.

Alexandre Aja and Maurie Laurent on set of Oxygen
Photo from The Film Stage

In Conclusion

Oxygen is a one of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix I’ve seen in a long time. The attention to detail, dynamic story, and moments of horror makes it quite a ride.

If you find yourself with an hour and a half to spare and a penchant for some mind-boggling sci-fi horror, I highly suggest checking Oxygen out on Netflix. I give it a 9/10.

Are you a fan of new, exciting science fiction? Be sure to check out the latest issue of Galaxy’s Edge! It has original short stories, book reviews, and interviews with popular authors!

Passengers (2016) Review & Poll: Are we becoming too judgmental, or should we just go along for the ride?

Passengers MovieAccording to Wikipedia, “Passengers is a 2016 American science fiction adventure film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne and Andy García. The film tells about two people who wake up 90 years too soon from an induced hibernation on board a spaceship bound for a new planet.”

That description is generally correct—if you were to discard the biggest spoiler this movie hinges around. The spoiler that has many viewers crying “Sexism!”, with a percentage saying they will boycott the film because of it.

Well, let’s get to the crux of the matter and put it to a vote.

Yes, that’s right: ******SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT******

The Wikipedia description isn’t necessarily a lie, but, rather, it is what the female lead character, Eve (portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence), first believes to be the situation when she emerges from her pod. The reality—and here is where the spoilers start, folks—is that Frank (portrayed by Chris Pratt) woke up first, alone. He was housed in the only stasis pod to malfunction when the colony ship was ominously damaged. While Frank is unable to repair his pod (he is an engineer by trade), and is dealing with the frustration of discovering how limited his security clearance is, he eventually works out how to make the most of his isolation through the astute observations offered up by the ship’s bartender—an android played by the ever-brilliant Michael Sheen.

However, accessing as many perks on the ship as possible can’t distract Frank from the realization that he has woken up 90 years too soon, and will die on the ship after spending many years alone. Frank becomes suicidal and in his moment of greatest weakness, spots Eve’s stasis pod and is mesmerized by her visage. He looks her profile up on the computer and reads and watches everything he can access about her. His interest is that of a man starving for company, but it could easily be seen as an obsession, depending on how you frame it in your mind.

And here comes the crux of the movie—the part that divides its viewers. Frank wrestles with his consciousness, appearing to realize that dooming someone else to live their entire life aboard a spaceship is cruel, but he still decides to wake Eve up anyway, effectively stealing her future. The thought of being alone for an entire lifetime is driving him crazy; maybe too crazy to reason.

But is Frank’s decision merely the act of a selfish man being driven crazy by incessant loneliness, or the act of a man who subconsciously believes he has the right to dictate the life of the woman he wants to date, perpetuating the sexism that is still prevalent today in a future setting? If he had’ve just wanted a mere friendship, or someone with more expertise to help find another solution to his predicament, he could have combed through all the passenger profiles—regardless of gender or sexual orientation—to find someone in a specialized field who could help him on a practical level. Except it soon becomes clear he chose Eve with the ultimate goal of having a relationship with her, to ease his loneliness on a purely personal level.

A lot of viewers, men and women (although admittedly more of the later), objected to that being the main basis for his decision, in a futuristic science fiction movie where other potential plotlines could have been more…enlightened. And many viewers were not happy about the fact that Eve chose to be with him at all, saying she was overly sexualized in the film (in comparison to the male lead) and it’s unbelievable that Frank and Eve would ‘hook up’ so quickly, simply because they are the only two awake. Add to the fact that she decides to resume their relationship, and trust him again, after she finds out he had sabotaged her pod and taken away her right to choose, the plot appears to endorse or validate the impression that Frank is of the superior gender in their union.

But, what if we switch one simple factor in the movie, and consider the same plot from a different perspective? What if it had’ve been Eve who had woken up first? Eve who had been driven so crazy by loneliness that she woke Frank up to keep her company and give her comfort, to try and ease the harsh void of a lifetime trapped on a colony ship. If it was the woman who had lied to the man about what she did, because she didn’t want him to hate her, and the woman who had taken away the man’s choice, instead of the other way around, are those very actions no longer sexist if enacted by Eve instead of Frank? Does it mean that women would be seen as more empowered in the future? (Or perhaps less empowered, since it might imply that a woman can only be strong with a man by her side.)

Perspective can be a funny thing. As a female viewer, I cringed at specific scenes and lines in the movie, because they did appear sexist in isolation, and it bothered me that Frank would not leave Eva alone when she needed space following the reveal of his deception. However, I could also see why there are people who believe (and I include myself in this camp, also) that the movie does emphasize how wrong his actions have been—before he made them, and after—and that people can learn from their mistakes.

At the end of the movie, Frank gave Eve the choice to go back into induced hibernation when he discovered how to do it, bringing their story full circle, and putting the entire future of their relationship into her capable hands. Sure, their history complicates matters, and I feel it is in some way unfair of him to put her in a situation where she would naturally feel guilty if she decided to leave him behind. But he didn’t have to tell her he had discovered a way for her to return to suspended animation, which showed he truly did see her as an equal, even if it meant he could lose her.

As an intelligent and (now) fully informed woman Eve made her choice to live out her life on the ship, with Frank. Given the focus of this article, it would be hypocritical if we did not accept her decision.

[polldaddy poll=9635114]