The SFX Top 25 Films Of The Year

The best sci-fi and fantasy films of 2011 according to the SFX writing team and bloggers

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2011 proved to be full of surprises when it came to sci-fi and fantasy on the big screen. That a couple of potential blockbusters failed to perform (hands up, Green Lantern ) isn’t so surprising – that always tends to happen. That another couple of blockbusters did perform at the box office, but were loathed by the critics and internet pundits ( Transformers: Dark Of The Moon , Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ) is pretty much par for the course too.

No, what was really surprising was how many films that seemed overly exciting this time last year, actually turned out to be unexpected gems: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes , The Green Hornet , Troll Hunter , Real Steel . None of them flawless, but all so, so much better than we could have hoped for.

Then there were the surprising directors, ones who we normally wouldn’t expect to dabble in our genre but who gave us some fantasy cinema gold in 2011: Branagh, Scorsese, Sodebergh, Von Trier, Allen.

And, of course, there were the real surprises, low-budget films that seemingly came from nowhere and made us fall in love with them: The Awakening , Perfect Sense , Another Earth .

In some ways, 2011 can be seen as a treading water year when it comes to cinematic sci-fi, with Thor and Captain America almost acting like trailers for 2012’s The Avengers . While there were some huge box office hits ( Pirates , Potter , Transformers ) they didn’t feel like the great zeitgeist-bothering hits of yore partly because they were parts of franchises, partly because the slick publicity machines behind them meant that they couldn’t fail but be huge hits. 2011 lacked its sci-fi, mass audience breakthrough phenomenon.

But in other ways it was a classic year, because sci-fi and fantasy films that relied on good, old-fashioned storytelling rather than FX suddenly seemed to be coming out every other week. Let’s hope it’s a trend that continues.

Enough babble: over the following pages we give you SFX ’s sci-fi and fantasy films of the year. They were voted for (using an arcane and mysterious system to jeep things as fair as possible) by the SFX team members, the SFX bloggers, and a number of key freelance contributors.

In the results pages, each of the Top 25 films has been championed by someone who genuinely loved that film, so expect some gushing (and the odd spoiler), and we make no apology for that. This is a celebration of what we loved this year.

Start reading the SFX Top 25 films of the year…


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