Talking Squid has no hesitation in telling others how they should vote. In this spirit of generosity, we offer the following guide to the Hugo nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.
Avatar: Technical brilliance, dramatic but absurd action, cartoon characters, sub-cartoon plotting, and all the originality of a Hong Kong Rolex. Dances with Wolves was a more honest attempt to grapple with the disenfranchisement of natives, Princess Mononoke was a more coherent plea for environmentalism, The Herculoids had more imaginative aliens, and How to Train Your Dragon had better action sequences.
District 9: Extraordinary visuals for its budget and reversal of stereotypes (except for the stereotypical villainous industrialist who is cleverly revealed to be a stereotypical villainous industrialist). District 9 falls apart when its last reel descends into blood-and-’splosions action.
Moon: An outstanding performance by Sam Rockwell and superb production design are wasted on this empty pastiche of 2001, Blade Runner, and The Island. Particularly irking is the number of reviewers who called this “smart.” It is not smart. A lot of effort has been expended to make it look smart, but an idiot in a sharp suit is still an idiot. Moon is the Dan Quayle of recent science fiction films.
Star Trek: Reboots the Star Trek franchise and attempts to change tone from worthy but wooden humanism to cocky action heroics. It succeeds in the task but in its desperation not to think too hard, Star Trek forgets to think much at all.
Up: Superb but very odd movie with a killer of an opening vignette that packs more tragic weight than one expects in a kid’s film. Up is undeniably a fantasy film, but its best qualities have little to do with its fantasy elements. Conundrum: should the Hugo go to the best film with fantasy elements or best use of fantasy in film?
Voting advisory service: Up, then District 9, with the remainder to be ranked according to the quality of the choc top devoured at the cinema.