The Weekly Geek: 2009 in Geeky Movies

As most of you probably know, a lot of the writing I do here at is on movies — a subject quite near and dear to my heart. So, I believe it’s quite appropriate that, as the year — and the decade — winds down, we take an extra-special look at a subject even nearer and dearer: geeky movies.

It was a pretty great year for fans of sci-fi, superheroes and out-there adventure. Ever since X-Men made comic book movies cool back in 2000, and the money started piling on around 2002 or so (with the release of mega-blockbuster Spiderman), superhero flicks have been all the rage — and this year’s crop had plenty of spice. There were a few fantastic sci-fi options in 2009 as well (up from close to zero in 2008). Fans of high fantasy, 2009 may not have been for you, but cheer up! Harry Potter was pretty awesome, right?

The Good:

Star Trek: Some trekkies/trekkers may not have liked the way it messed with the timeline, but this movie had absolutely everything that makes Trek so fun: tons of action, memorable characters, space battles and sexy alien girls. This reboot also featured Zoe Saldana as an even-more-badass Uhura, so it’s getting my vote as top “genre” flick of the year.

Avatar: For all the reasons stated in last week’s column (amazing visuals, James Cameron’s action instincts, awesome female characters), Avatar absolutely rocked.

Watchmen: This wasn’t nearly the slam dunk everyone wanted it to be, and no, it doesn’t hold up as well through repeated viewings, but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable, relatively deep action film with a fantastic visual style.

District 9: Combining awesome CGI aliens with faux-documentary techniques and a story about oppression in its ugliest form, this was a remarkably fresh, unique piece of filmmaking.

Honorable Mentions: Animated Features. Since it’s debatable whether animated films truly fit into the realm of the “nerdy,” I’ll honor Coraline, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up and 9 with a quick tip of the hat.

The Bad:

Terminator: Salvation: Not a train wreck, by any means, but certainly not as emotionally resonant or fun as the previous Terminator movies. Plus, it was totally overshadowed by a sad/hilarious rant by its lead actor.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen: Not even the presence of Megan Fox and her (quoting “Choire” from The Awl) “phantasmagorical rack” could save this from being terrible. And yes, I’m considering films based on 1980s toys to be “geeky.”

G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra: This “films based on 1980s Toys” genre really needs to go away. Unless they start making Spy Tech movies, in which case, I’m all about it.

And the Hairy:

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: I adored the first two X-Men movies (like a proper nerd should), but this rather half-baked entry didn’t quite have the pizzazz or power of the Bryan Singer directed flicks. What it did have, in copious quantities, was chest hair and shots of Hugh Jackman without clothing. Flaunt it if you’ve got it, I guess.

Any favorites of yours from 2009, or some you look forward this year?