Science Fiction Films
Top Ten Chart - 2022
Concatenation's annual calculation looking at the 52 British Isles (and Malta) weekly film (movie) charts across 2022 that accounts for only fantastic films (SF and fantasy).
Remember, this is the UK public's cinema theatre box office we are talking about, and not fantastic film buffs' views. Consequently below this top ten we have included at the end a few other worthies well worth checking out as well as (in some years) some warnings-to-avoid. Also note that this chart compilation calculation did not include DVD sales or spin-off product earnings, and our chart is also subject to weekly vagaries. (In some weeks most of the entries do not gross much but at other times (for example public holidays) overall box office takings are higher.) This means that the chart reflects on-going cinema attendance throughout the year and it is not a strict annual list of the year's high box office earners. Notwithstanding such small-print caveats, standby with the pop corn, here we go...
Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.
Director Taika Waititi (also did Thor: Ragnarok, 2017, which was short-listed for a Hugo Award 'Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form')
Animation. When the Justice League are captured by Lex Luthor, Superman's dog, Krypto, forms a team of shelter-pets who were given super-powers: A hound named Ace, who becomes super-strong, a pig named PB, who can grow to giant-size, a turtle named Merton, who becomes super-fast, and a squirrel named Chip, who gains electric-powers Trailer here.
Peter Parker's secret identity is revealed to the entire world. Desperate for help, Peter turns to Doctor Strange to make the world forget that he is Spider-Man. The spell goes horribly wrong and shatters the multiverse, bringing in monstrous villains that could destroy the world. This actually came out in December last year (2021) and if you add points for the extra two weeks from 2021 it was in the British Isles box office top ten then this would have been the top box office hit of this year! What's more its IMDB viewer rating is much better than Thor: Love and Thunder's. Director Jon Watts. Stars Tom Holland, Zendaya and Benedict Cumberbatch. Trailer here.
Following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange unwittingly casts a forbidden spell that accidentally opens up the multiverse. With help from Wong and Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange confronts various versions of himself as well as teaming up with the young America Chavez while travelling through various realities and working to restore reality as he knows it. Along the way, Strange and his allies realise they must take on a powerful new adversary who seeks to take over the multiverse Director Sam (Spiderman, 2002) Raimi. Trailer here.
Batman ventures into Gotham City's underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator's plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the Gotham city. This is a different, darker, more gritty take on the Batman mythos than previous films. This might not be your most favourite iteration of the character but it is an interesting one and IMDB viewers gave it a healthy score. Director Matt Reeves. Stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Trailer here.
The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T'Challa. Director Ryan Coogler. Trailer here.
An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, in which she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led. With her laundromat teetering on the brink of failure and her marriage to wimpy husband Waymond on the rocks, overworked Evelyn Wang struggles to cope with everything, including a tattered relationship with her judgmental father Gong Gong and Joy, her daughter. And, as if facing a gloomy midlife crisis weren't enough, Evelyn must brace herself for an unpleasant meeting with an impersonal bureaucrat: Deirdre, the shabbily dressed IRS auditor. However, as the stern agent loses patience, an inexplicable multiverse rift becomes an eye-opening exploration of parallel realities. Will Evelyn jump down the rabbit hole? How many stars are there in the universe? Can weary Evelyn fathom the irrepressible force of possibilities, tap into newfound powers, and prevent an evil entity from destroying the thin, countless layers of the unseen world? This is an intelligent offering and refreshingly the first non-comics super-hero film in this top ten that comes with a great IMDB viewer score of over 8.0! Directors and writers Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Trailer here.
Professor Albus Dumbledore knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald's growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines? This is a sp[in-off from J. K. Rowlings 'Harry Potter'. Trailer here.
After random objects falling from the sky result in the death of their father, ranch-owning siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood attempt to capture video evidence of an unidentified flying object with the help of tech salesman Angel Torres and documentarian Antlers Holst
The first horror film to be filmed with IMAX cameras. This is a marmite film: you'll either love it or it will leave you unmoved. Director Jordan Peele has arguably done better with Us and the Hugo short-listedGet Out. Despite great photography, one of the film's problems is that there a so many Easter eggs for which you will need a knowledge of Hollywood and US television history to get. Knowing these Easter Eggs arguably elevates the film. If this film is not for you, then try The Vast of Night, 2020 (trailer here) which also has a UFO secretly flying above a US rural town, in which folk go missing and which also has a racism comment. Anyway Nope's trailer is here. Fun fact: Nope is the first horror film to have been shot in IMAX.
Animation The legendary Clades are a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest and most crucial mission. Trailer here.
And the possible worthies that slipped through the net...
The Adam Project (12)
Adam Reed, age 12 and still grieving his father's sudden death the year before, walks into his garage one night to find a wounded pilot hiding there. This mysterious pilot turns out to be the older version of himself from the future, where time travel is in its infancy. He has risked everything to come back in time on a secret mission. Together they must embark on an adventure into the past to find their father, set things right, and save the world. As the three work together, both young and grown Adam come to terms with the loss of their father and have a chance to heal the wounds that have shaped them. Adding to the challenge of the mission, the two Adams discover that they really don't like each other much, and if they are to save the world, first they need to figure out how to get along. Trailer here.
After Yang (PG)
When his young daughter's beloved companion, an android named Yang , malfunctions, Jake searches for a way to repair him. In the process, Jake discovers the life that has been passing in front of him, reconnecting with his wife (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter across a distance he didn't know was there. Trailer here.
Alienoid [Oegye+in 1bu] (PG)
A Korean offering that has done well over there. The door of time opens between the swordsman who wants to seize the legendary divine sword at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty and those who chase after an alien prisoner imprisoned in a human body in 2022. Director Dong-hoon Choi. Trailer here.
Annular Eclipse [Ji yi qiu long] (15)
Chinese film. In 2030, memory transplant technology is maturing and the immortality seems to become possible for humans. A man, however, destroys this brand new technology in the process of looking for his lost memories. Trailer here.
Avatar: The Way of Water (PG-13)
Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na'vi race to protect their planet. At over three hours, it is a long film. Little new plot-wise to the first Avatar film but the eye-candy remains good. Apparently(?) this film had the biggest budget of any film. Two more sequels to follow. If you are inclined to watch this then best do it at the cinema. 3D IMAX version available. Director: James Cameron. Trailer here.
Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princess (PG)
Japanese animation. Suzu is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters "U", a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious "beast" and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone. Trailer here.
Crimes of the Future (18)
A David Cronenberg SFnal squirm. In the not-so-distant future in which humankind is learning to adapt to its synthetic surroundings. This evolution moves humans beyond their natural state and into a metamorphosis, which alters their biological makeup. While some embrace the limitless potential of trans-humanism, others attempt to police it. Either way, Accelerated Evolution Syndrome, is spreading fast. Saul Tenser is a beloved performance artist who has embraced this new state, sprouting new and unexpected organs in his body. Along with his partner Caprice, Tenser has turned the removal of these organs into a spectacle for his loyal followers to marvel at in real time theatre. But with both the government and a strange subculture taking note, Tenser is forced to consider what would be his most shocking performance of all. Trailer here.
The Deal (12)
An unprecedented pandemic has ravaged the planet, leaving resources insufficient to maintain the human population. To combat the crisis, a totalitarian governing body known as The Bureau established "The Deal." Accept The Deal, and you'll receive a job, housing, and medical care that will keep you safe and healthy for twenty more years, at which point you must take your own life. Once you take The Deal, there's no turning back. The Bureau makes sure of this. Tala Bayani took the deal when she was twenty, pregnant, and alone. She spent the next nineteen years raising her daughter Analyn and saving everything she had so her daughter wouldn't have to take 'The Deal''. Just five days before Tala's due to die, Analyn gets an unexpected medical diagnosis. Now the adventure begins, as Tala fights to get her daughter beyond the reach of The Bureau before her time is up. Trailer here.
This is based on the Stephen King novel which has already had a cinematic adaptation in 1984. After being experimented on by a secret government entity called The Shop, Andy McGee develops psychic, pyrokinetic powers and meets the love of his life. Together they have a daughter with a power of her own and The Shop will stop at nothing to get them back. Trailer here.
Jurassic World: Dominion (12A)
This is the last (some might say mercifully) in the second of the 'Jurassic Park' trilogy of films. After surviving the destruction of Isla Nubla four years ago, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing took in young Maisie Lockwood. They've been living under the radar to protect Maisie, but she feels like a prisoner. When Maisie goes missing, Owen and Claire set out to find her, and eventually confront Lewis Dodgson, owner of Biosyn. Palaeontologist Ellie Sattler, Paleontologist Alan Grant, and Chaotician (sigh...) Ian Malcolm set out to expose Dodgson's schemes. Jeff Goldblum reprises his original role and incidentally is the same age in this film that Richard Attenborough was in the original Jurassic Park (1993). Trailer here.
King Car (12)
This is a Brazilian offering. A taxi company owner's son has an extraordinary connection with cars: he can talk to them. He makes friends with the car that saved him from a traffic accident as a child, but he also hears the old wrecks complain about the law banning cars over 15 years old from the roads. Together with his uncle, he converts the write-offs into futuristic vehicles that are conscious and speak. They then take on the status quo under King Car's banner. However, capitalism's zombies prove more evil than expected. Trailer here.
Last Survivors (12)
Last Survivors takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where Troy raises his now grown son, Jake, in a perfect wooded utopia thousands of miles away from the decayed cities. When Troy is severely wounded, Jake is forced to travel to the outside world to find life-saving medicine. Ordered to kill anyone he encounters, Jake defies his father by engaging in a forbidden relationship with a mysterious woman, Henrietta. As Jake continues this dangerous affair, Troy will stop at nothing to get rid of Henrietta and protect the perfect utopia he created. Trailer here.
Light Year (PG)
In the Toy Story films, Buzz Lightyear was a toy. This film is about the 'real life' astronaut on which that toy was based. Legendary space ranger Buzz Lightyear embarks on an intergalactic adventure alongside ambitious recruits Izzy, Mo, Darby, and his robot companion, Sox. As this motley crew tackles their toughest mission yet, they must learn to work together as a team to escape the evil Zurg and his dutiful robot army that are never far behind. Trailer here.
The Menu (15)
This is sort of genre adjacent. It went down well with many critics. A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises... Director Mark Mylod. Stars Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult.
Neptune Frost (15)
This African film actually came out in a limited way in 2021 doing the Fantastic Film Fest circuit where it was reasonably well received. It has had a general release in some countries in 2022. In the hilltops of Burundi a group of escaped coltan miners form an anti-colonialist computer hacker collective. From their camp in an otherworldly e-waste dump, they attempt a takeover of the authoritarian regime exploiting the region's natural resources - and its people. When an inter-seΧ runaway and an escaped coltan miner find each other through cosmic forces, their connection sparks glitches within the greater divine circuitry. Trailer here.
The Pink Cloud [A Nuvem Rosa] (R)
An offering from Brazil. A mysterious and deadly pink cloud appears in the skies, spreading dramatically across the world, forcing everyone to stay at home. Giovana is confined in an apartment with Yago, a man she met at a party the night before. While waiting for the cloud to pass, the two have to invent themselves as a couple. Over the years, while Yago is living his own utopia, Giovana feels trapped deep inside... This film came out in 2021 on the Fantastic Film Fest circuit and has had a general release in a some countries this year. Its plot concept is essentially a variation of Don't Hold Your Breath. Trailer here.
This is a refreshingly surprising fifth film in the Predator franchise that comes with an IMDB score of 7.2 and a Rotten Tomatoes 93%! The action takes place about 300 years in the past and is briefly about how the warrior Naru wants to protect her tribe, the Comanche people, from the alien predators at all costs. Trailer here.
West Point cadet Edgar Allan Poe (yes, him) and four other cadets on a training exercise in upstate New York are drawn by a gruesome discovery into a forgotten community. Director Christopher Hatton.
Significant Other (15)
Follows a young couple who take a remote backpacking trip through the Pacific Northwest and face sinister events leading them to realize that everything about the place is not as it seems. Something of a slow burn film.
This is an alien invasion comedy thriller and the debut offering from the Iqaluit-raised director Nyla Innuksuk. In a remote Arctic community, a group of Inuit girls fight off an alien invasion, all while trying to make it to the coolest party in town. Employing strategies from their favourite horror movies, weapons from their kitchens, and power from their friends, the girls must battle a mysterious alien force to save their home. Scores 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Trailer here.
Something in the Dirt (15)
Comedy horror. When neighbours John and Levi witness supernatural events in their Los Angeles apartment building, they realise documenting the paranormal could inject some fame and fortune into their wasted lives. An ever-deeper, darker rabbit hole, their friendship frays as they uncover the dangers of the phenomena, the city and each other. Scores 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Trailer here.
Three Thousand Years of Longing (15)
Dr Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is an academic - content with life and a creature of reason. While in Istanbul attending a conference, she happens to encounter a Djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. This presents two problems. First, she doubts that he is real and second, because she is a scholar of story and mythology, she knows all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong. The Djinn pleads his case by telling her fantastical stories of his past. Eventually she is beguiled and makes a wish that surprises them both. Trailer here.
And one possibly to avoid...
The latest spectacle from director Roland Emmerich. This has great visual set pieces, such as a shuttle launch through a tidal wave, but is a load of nonsense. A mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurtling on a collision course with life as we know it. With mere weeks before impact and the world on the brink of annihilation, NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler is convinced she has the key to saving us all - but only one astronaut from her past, Brian Harper and a conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman, believe her. These unlikely heroes will mount an impossible last-ditch mission into space, leaving behind everyone they love, only to find that they just might have prepared for the wrong mission. Beware, the plot is totally silly and feels thrown together, so you are going to see this film for the spectacle. Therefore see it on the big screen. Trailer here.
See also our selection of best films of 2022 (January - December) as opposed to the year UK box office chart above. This personal selection is in our Spring 2023 news.
For forthcoming SF film premieres then see the Concat' Science Fiction diary.
For forthcoming SF film news then see our seasonal Science Fiction news page and its film section.
If you really are into Science Fiction then check out this site's What's new page for our full list of recent postings of news, reviews, diary articles and loads of other stuff.
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