Friday, December 31, 2010


The following is a list of all the fantasy, science fiction and horror films that came out in 2010. This is my list, which means that I have left off most foreign films and all animated films. By the time most foreign films are released on DVD, they usually arrive too late to review in the year that they are released. Also, for the most part, I don’t enjoy the vast majority of non-English speaking films. There are always exceptions to this general rule of mine (Dead Snow and Let the Right One In come to mind), but for the purpose of keeping this list to a reasonable length, I’ve chosen to eliminate them. I will continue to maintain that animated films cannot be compared to live action films; regardless of the genre. Animated films by their very nature create a completely unrealistic visual representation of the world, which I feel is the polar opposite of the vast majority of live action films. Therefore, I have excluded animated films from this list as well.

There are 40 films total on my list of genre movies for 2010. Of these 40 films, I have seen 21 of them to date. I have broken the 40 films into three subject categories: science fiction, fantasy and horror. There are a few films that could fall into two of the three categories and I have added them to both lists where I feel they are applicable. There were 15 fantasy films, 11 science fiction films and 14 horror films released to theaters or direct-to-video on my list. I have broken down my BEST and WORST lists by each of the three genre categories of the films that I have seen. I’ve listed them from top (my favorites) to the bottom (my lesser favorites) in the BEST lists and similarly in the WORST lists. I have also added some brief comments beside the films by way of explaining my choices.


Robin Hood – I really liked Ridley Scott’s take on the early life of Robin Hood. This is the most realistic portrayal of the era since Richard Lester’s Robin and Marian (1976).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1 – I have not read any of the books, but I have watched every film and this is by far the darkest film to date. The actors have grown into their roles well.

Centurion – Neil Marshall has become one of my favorite directors. Marshall takes basic stories and fleshes them out with realistic characters and bloody fantastic action! This story of the legend of the lost 9th Roman Legion on the frontier of early 1st Century Britain packs more action, drama, comedy and romance into its 97 minute running time than any other film twice its length.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – This film adaptation of a video game that I’ve never played surprised me. This lush looking film gave me the same feel as the first Mummy movie and is almost as entertaining. This is a CGI film that has the look of the early Harryhausen Sinbad movies.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Not without flaws, this film has Cage and Molina chewing up the scenery like the old pros they are and the young leads aren’t half bad either. Great effects and an upbeat storyline make this good old-fashioned fun.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – A bit of a challenge, but this adaptation of the comic, which injects video game physics into its super-powered romantic comedy plot, rewarded me with a fantastic world filled with unique characters that only the best films are able to produce.


Kick-Ass – I really wanted to like this film adaptation of the even more violent graphic novel, but despite some nice acting by the leads – Chole Moretz as Hit Girl practically steals the movie – the extreme violence was off putting enough to keep me from enjoying it entirely.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – I haven’t read this book either, but as a film it works well enough. Still, despite some interesting concepts and lavish special effects, it felt somewhat generic.

Jonah Hex – I have read many of the various comic book incarnations by DC over the years of this character and this film adaptation borrows from most of them. This could have been a good film, but there is just too much going on in it for it to work as a Western. It works better as a fantasy or horror film, but it never truly commits to either of these genres either.

Clash of the Titans – This remake of a very dated fantasy film was a mistake. The original was lightweight entertainment at best. This version tries to make it a dark dramatic epic and only succeeds in bogging down the fairly entertaining action sequences with tedious melodrama.

Legion – This mess fails on every level imaginable!


Inception – This is the best film of 2010 of any genre! I have not enjoyed any of Christopher Nolan’s previous films (yes – I disliked his overrated The Dark Knight), but he finally tempered his pessimistic view of humanity with some optimism in this one. Inception works on every level: it has a fascinating concept that is well told, complemented with solid acting, brisk editing and stupendous visuals.

Resident Evil: Afterlife – I find all these films thoroughly entertaining as both science fiction and action adventure. Afterlife maintains a brisk pace throughout and is different enough from its three predecessors to make it feel fresh.

Iron Man 2 – Like most super-hero movie sequels, they piled too much into this one, but it is still superior to most films in this genre.

Predators – Despite its logistic flaws, this is still an entertaining action sci-fi drama.

Splice – This works best as a science-fiction moral drama. It forces you to think, which is more than most films of its ilk can say.

Monsters - A very modest yet original take on the "alien invasion" genre.


Repo Men - I liked aspects of this film, but ultimately it failed on too many levels; worst of all its unlikely premise.

Daybreakers - I wanted to like this weird horror sci-fi action horror hybrid. Unfortunately, it ends up feeling too disjointed and directionless.

The Book of Eli – This is fine post-apocalyptic action-drama, which is spoiled by a ludicrous ending.

Skyline – A good sfnal concept that is ruined by a mistake in POV and uneven plotting.


Resident Evil: Afterlife – This also works as a wonderfully action-packed horror film, with some genuinely scary moments. There are more visceral thrills in this film than in most straight horror movies.

The Wolfman – This is the best modern dramatic adaptation of the classic monsters to date.

Daybreakers – This works far better as an action-horror hybrid, than as a sci-fi drama.

My Soul To Take – Wes Craven adds life to the tired "dead teenager" film.

Survival of the Dead - Not one of Romero's best, but still good.


Let Me In - I liked the original Swedish film "Let the Right One In", but this almost exact duplicate of the of it added nothing other than some additional graphic violence.
30 Days of Night: Dark Days – I really liked the original, but this DTV sequel is just too small in scale by comparison. It’s a good effort that is marred by its obvious low budget.
The Crazies – I didn’t like Romero's original much and this remake adds little to it. It doesn't work as sociological sf or horror, but only as an average action drama.

The films that I have not seen I have put in the same categories as the ones I have seen, based on what I know of them and my own film preferences and prejudices. I will attempt to explain why I have put the films in the categories that I have.


The Lovely Bones – I like Peter Jackson, but this story of a murdered child’s ghost is not to my taste.

Alice in Wonderland – I dislike Tim Burton and have hated all his films since Mars Attacks!

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn – I found the first film dull, so I expect more of the same here. I also find children fighting in real killing battles to be both unrealistic and unsettling.

Gulliver’s Travels – Why turn this classic satire into a Jack Black modern farcical comedy?

The Last Airbender – M. Night Shyamalan and TV anime. Enough said!


Chain Letter – This one of those “I’ll watch it on cable when there is nothing else on” movies.

I Spit on Your Grave – Torture, rape and revenge mutilations and killings. Not my type of horror film.
Nightmare on Elm Street – The original was okay and the sequels were progressively worse. I didn’t see the point of a remake and I may just give it a pass entirely.

Paranormal Activity 2 – I was thoroughly bored by the first film, so why torture myself with another?

Piranha 3D – I would like this to be so bad that its good, but I don’t think it will be.

Saw 3D – I saw 3 Saws and that was three too many! Pass!

The Twilight Saga: New Moon – I didn’t see Twilight and will not see any of the sequels either.


Tron: Legacy – I’m not a geek of the original, but this looks like it could be fun.

Overall, I thought 2010 was a good year for genre films, but not one of the best. I would like to see more original films or movies adapted from properties that have not already been made into films. There are also too many sequels being made. I like a good film franchise as much as the next fan, but most series are milked far too long. Hopefully, we’ll see the trend of adapting good comic books series continue and not just more high-profile super hero films. I do think video game film adaptations can be good, but only if they are interesting concepts to being with. I’d also like to see some serious science fiction films made from classic genre literature. There are many excellent sf, horror and fantasy books that have yet to be made into films. Hopefully, we’ll get to see them made in the near future. I am looking forward to 2011 and beyond for genre films! It looks like we’ll have plenty of films to watch for years to come.

At the bottom of the blog page you'll find a "which 2011 genre movies are you looking forward to most?" poll. Please take a few minutes to pick you're most anticipated genre films for 2011. It will help me to decide which films to see at the theater this year to write reviews for all you cool ghouls, spastic spacemen and trippy trolls!


  1. Good morning Doc on the morning of the great eve of new year!

    Let me first begin by saying it is a pleasure to visit your site. I always enjoy your thoughts on all things genre and it has been a pleasure to get to know you over this past year. I wish you all the best into the new year my friend.

    Just a few random thoughts of my own to add. I must tell you, it's somewhat funny too, but I kind of disagree with you on the animation front, but I understand and get your meaning. I've been watching some anime lately and have it on my plate to enjoy some science fiction anime into the new year over at my site and I think the scenery etc. is entirely stunning. Beautiful. Real. I wish more live action treasured the simple moments that some of this anime does. Of course, not all anime or animation does this, but the ones I enjoy a great deal do and I'll be covering it so I hope you're open to it with me brother.

    The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Gosh, I just saw this the other night by chance when the Boy Wonder's friend brought it over and they watched it together. It was "good old-fashioned fun" exactly as you put it.

    Your Worst of Fantasy list was fascinating and one that I couldn't help make notes on every selection. Kick Ass. Your take on this seems like the anti-thesis of all those positives I've heard about out there, but I value your opinion and this is why I have been ever so cautious to see it.

    Legion just looks like crap.

    Clash Of The Titans was okay, but generally pointless and far less innocent and charming like the original. Dreck in general.

    Jona Hex interested me, but it has been one horrendous review after another so I don't expect I'll be seeing it in this lifetime.

    The Boy Wonder read all of the Percy Jackson books and loved it, but the film looks rushed together, half-ass [not kick ass] effects and just generally poor in execution. Can't say I had any interest in seeing it. The next Harry Potter it's not though it looked like it tried to be.

    As far as the best sci-fi, I enjoyed Predators as well. Still need to see Inception but I think I will enjoy it. Iron Man 2 was just as leaden as that suit. It felt like bloatware. Ugh, but it was still decent. RE: Afterlife. Next to Inception, the best of the year. : )

    The Worst Sci Fi. I guess Daybreakers is another one, like Hex, that just isn't going to be seen. What a shame. I was surprised to see Skyline make your Worst list.

    Anyway, loved your breakdown and I did enjoy The Crazies. Have you seen that horrible looking Human Centipede? Why would someone make a film like that? It looks disturbingly gross.

    I think you hit it when you said it was not the best year for the genre. I would agree. I also concur that delving into sci fi literature for some adaptations would be a great idea.

    Anyway, once again, outstanding look back. May the guardianship continue. Live long and proper.

  2. A Happy New Year right back at ya, Sci-Fi Fanatic! If you saw the poll at the bottom of the blog page, you’ll see that 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for us Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror film fanatics!

    I didn’t mean to make it sound like I’m anti-animation (or anime for that matter). Quite the contrary! I’ve been a fan of all kinds of animation since I was a wee Freakenstein, watching the classic Hanna-Barbara cartoons on TV, right up through the CGI feature films by Pixar and the like. I was a big fan of Anime back in the late-80’s and early 90’s, but as I grew older I found it increasingly difficult to overlook the juvenile storylines of the vast amount of it that appears on TV here in the states, so I watch it much more infrequently than I did then. I only tried to convey in my introductory to my post that I have never liked to compare animated films to live action films, because to me animation feels like a completely different genre in itself. Most people, yourself and my pal Phileas included, don’t seem to agree, but that’s cool with me.

    Glad you enjoyed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I’m not surprised “the Boy Wonder” – and I’m assuming his friend – enjoyed it, as it was a perfect blend of action and comedy that would have appealed to me at that age. Heck… it appealed to me at the ripe old age of 52 as well.

    Do not – I repeat – do not watch Kick-Ass with the Boy Wonder! It has an R rating for a very good reason. The language and the violence are meant for mature teen agers and adults only! I’m not squeamish when it comes to violence – and even comedic violence in films. One of my favorite films, Zombieland is chock full of violence! What bothered me about Kick-Ass is how brutally realistic the violence was and how it was quite often played for laughs; although to be fair, it was also used for dramatic purposes as well. Kick-Ass just hit me wrong is all.

  3. Legion actually looks very good visually. Unfortunately, everything else about is turd-worthy.

    Jonah Hex isn’t a complete waste of time. Watched in the right frame of mind, it is somewhat entertaining. I just felt that it could have been so much better.
    My wife has read the Percy Jackson books (she likes to read the best of the YA fiction) and she said that they did cut a lot of the book from the movie. Still, she thought it was fairly entertaining. As a newcomer to the story, it just didn’t engross me in the world like good Fantasy should.

    I know you love you some Mila, but I’m not prepared to put RE: Afterlife up there as the second best overall film of the year. It is definitely one of my top 5 genre films of the year though. I really can’t recommend Inception enough. Like Avatar before it, it is one film that lives up to the hype. As a Sci-Fi fan, you should really appreciate the complexities of the story and the characters’ reaction the technology that allows them to inhabit the dreams of others. I look forward to one of your lengthy and thoughtful reviews over at Musings of a Sci-Fi Fanatic. Unlike the first film, Iron Man 2 is more of a popcorn movie: you know it’s kind of empty and not good for you, but you gobble it up anyway because it tastes so good!

    I still haven’t forced myself to watch The Crazies yet, but I most likely will sometime soon, as I’ve read too many positive reviews by bloggers such as you. I will not be forcing myself to watch The Human Centipede, despite the fact that most reviewers claim it is not as graph as “torture porn” fans may have liked, out of dislike for the concept and the whole genre in general.

    There are so many excellent classic science fiction novels that would make terrific films that I have to wonder if Hollywood executives are truly illiterate as I’ve heard some insiders claim. Supposedly, Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama has been in development for years, among several other novels. Hollywood’s track record with sf novel adaptations isn’t good – I. Robot, Dune and Starship Troopers anyone? – but I still hope that a good writer-director like Peter Jackson, who did such a wonderful job with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, will come along and make a great sf novel-based film.

    It is always a pleasure to converse with you through our blob posts and comments, Sci-Fi Fanatic! I plan on Guarding the Genres – along with some help from Phileas - for the foreseeable future(s)! May the force be with you, Sci-Fi Fanatic!

  4. Enjoyed reading your follow-up commentaries my friend. Thanks for the word of caution on Kick-Ass! I've got that before. Like your wife, my son was disappointed in the Percy film and finally, I knew I liked Phileas too! : )

    Your commentary on anime is completely fair. You are so positively right about it. There is far too much garbage out there. Leave it to me, I'm weeding through all of that to bring you the 10% that is exceptional into the new year. At least that's my hope.

    Once again, looking forward to your input into the new year. I'll be sure to check out Inception soon I hope.

    I did not see your poll, but thanks for pointing it out. I have placed my votes. Cheers my friend. Have a great start to the new year!

  5. Freak, my long time fiend – oops friend! I just popped in from time and space to drop a comment on your post. Luckily 9-K isn’t in an impish mood and brought me to the right place.

    We have been watching film together for so long that we often think alike. When I read your comments, I pretty much agree completely with them. Not that we don’t have differences. If we don’t watch a horror film together, odds are I won’t see it. Yes there are exceptions, but in general I’m not a horror maven. I, also, tend to like foreign films more than you. That was a long way of saying it can be difficult to comment on film we both like.

    First, I have to counterpoint your view on animation films. You are correct in your point that you cannot compare animation to live action. To use a well worn quote – it’s like comparing apples and oranges. However, I do feel that animation has a relevant place in the genre. IMHO SF/Fantasy/Horror doesn’t have to be about a completely realistic visual representation of the word. I think one of the strengths of this genre is its ability to express concepts and moral plays in a framework that isn’t necessarily “real world”. I think animation fulfils those concepts admirably and belongs on a list of the Best and Worst Genre Movies. I did look again before I stated this Rant to make sure you title wasn’t “The Best and Worst Live Action Genre Movies”.

    I won’t go into foreign films other than to give a nod to Let the Right One In.

    If I counted correctly, I have seen 17 of the movies on the list. The Book of Eli, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn, Daybreakers, Inception, Iron Man 2, Kick-Ass, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Predators, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Robin Hood, Skyline, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Splice, Survival of the Dead,The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and The Wolfman. For the reasons in my first paragraph, I won’t comment on the ones you, sir Freak, commented on. Here are the two you didn’t see and possibly shouldn’t.

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn: A friend asked me to see this one with him. It is a reasonable action fantasy that has it fun moments. Unfortunately for me it also has a lot of religious overtones. This would not be in my best or worst list. Is there a mediocre list?

    The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and The Wolfman: Sometimes I just don’t learn my lesson! I saw the first Twilight and still watched this. Vampires that sparkle at twilight – you have got to be kidding. I have always been fascinated by Native American lore and the werewolf tie in to the lore intrigued me. It didn’t help! This is definitely on my worst list.

    Ok, off to vote before I go to find out if the really is a Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

    @ The Sci-Fi Fanatic: I will be looking forward to you Animation posts.

  6. Thanks for “popping” in to comment on my list, Phileas. We have indeed been watching films together for a long time. But rather than keeping us from having stimulating discussions because of the similarities in our tastes, I think it allows us to get directly to what makes a film work and what the filmmaker was attempting to say with the film.

    I’m not sure what you’re arguing with me in regard to Animation, since you state right at the begging that you agree with me that comparing Animated films to live-action films is like comparing – insert cliché here. Okay, so you think Animated films belong on a ”Best and Worst Genre Movies” list. Surprise…. I do too! Just as a separate category. If I had the time, or desire to do that, I would have. I’ve seen many of the animated feature films from 2010 and liked the ones I’ve seen. I just didn’t want to add a fourth category to my list of Sf, Fantasy and Horror. If you feel so strongly about our blog representing Animation, how about you make your own post of the “Best and Worst Animated Genre Movies of 2010”? Just to prove that I am an animation fan: I just watched Toy Story 3 and IMHO it is one of the best films of any genre from 2010! It didn’t make my list because I didn’t want to compare it to the other non-animated fantasy films on my list.

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: I too have watched the first two films in the Narnia series, because a “friend” wanted to watch them. Fortunately, my friend didn’t like to first two enough to make me sit through Voyage of the Dawn Treader at the theater. I don’t understand how they keep making films of this series, because even though the books are considered to be YA classics, the film adaptations have been anything but. Yes, some of the action fantasy scenes had their “fun moments”, but I still have a problem with children in armor killing adults in battle. The “religious overtones” as you put it are directly from the books – according to my previously mentioned friend who read all the books. I honestly think the films toned down this element so much that I don’t know if I would have even noticed them if not for my friend. If I had made a “Mediocre” category on my list – and I did indeed consider it – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader would have still made my worst list; at least based on what I thought of the first two films.

    No, I didn’t watch any of the Twilight films and have no intention of watching them. Let’s face it: The Twilight Saga books (and the films that are based on them) are not written for us (i.e.: males) because they are essentially romance novels with vampires and werewolves. They’ve even created a separate genre in the literary romance field for them: Paranormal Romance. I can only assume the Twilight books haven’t been relegated to the PR book section because they are Best Sellers.

    Thanks again for stopping in Time long enough to comment on my live-action biased THE BEST AND WORST GENRE MOVIES OF 2010 list, Phileas. I look forward to reading your The Best and Worst Animated Genre Movies Of 2010. Sorry… I couldn’t resist.

  7. Love the exchanges and thank you Phileas! Glad you are on board for the SFF treatment of animation! You guys rock the space-time continuum.

  8. Thanks for the compliments, Sci-Fi Fanatic! It’s wicked cool that our bantering is entertaining someone! Just to clarify though: Professor Phileas Photon and his A. I. 9-K are the ones who “rock the space-time continuum”. I’m the one who just rocks the messy laboratory and the zombie-infested graveyard.

    And I do like animation too, ya know! Honest!