One of the benefits of film is that it is a visual media, and that means that it can do in a frame what it might take a book several pages to pull off. Where we see this the most is in its ability to build worlds in front of our eyes.
These worlds could be great space operas that explore galaxies, or a small period piece that looks back in time, or anything. But when every part of the film is being used to tell a story, you know it is good.
So without further ado, these are films that showed excellence in Worldbuilding 2019. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question, also you can click on the banners to go to the full reviews.
Alita: Battle Angel
A post-apocalyptic hellscape, come racing film, come battle film, blending computer graphics and real sets for full effect.
Directed by – Robert Rodriguez
Written by – James Cameron & Laeta Kalogridis
Production Design – Caylah Eddleblute & Steve Joyner
Art Direction – Jeff B. Adams Jr.,A. Todd Holland, Leslie McDonald & William Ladd Skinner
Set Design – David Hack
Costume Design – Nina Proctor
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Giant monsters crashing into each other only works as well as it does because the world they build is realised so well.
Directed by – Michael Dougherty
Written by – Max Borenstein, Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields
Production Design – Scott Chambliss
Art Direction – John Dexter, Natasha Gerasimova,Harry E. Otto, David Scott & Thomas Valentine
Set Design – Amanda Moss Serino
Costume Design – Louise Mingenbach
I Am Mother
This is worldbuilding through minimalism, using every small moment for maximum impact.
Directed by – Grant Sputore
Written by – Grant Sputore & Michael Lloyd Green
Production Design – David Crank
Art Direction – Jeremy Woodward
Set Design – Lisa Brennan
Costume Design – Mariot Kerr
This is a film where a lot of the texture that makes it work so well can be found in the moments of style that permeate everywhere.
Directed by – Rian Johnson
Written by – Rian Johnson
Production Design – Paul D. Austerberry
Art Direction – Nigel Churcher
Set Design – David Schlesinger
Costume Design – Jenny Eagan
The Wandering Earth (Liúlàng Dìqiú, 流浪地球)
One of the most unique concepts I have ever seen and it delights in these moments of design.
Directed by – Frant Gwo
Written by – Gong Ge’er, Yan Dongxu, Frant Gwo, Ye Junce, Yang Zhixue, Wu Yi & Ye Ruchang
Production Design – Nicolas Vallet
Art Direction – Ang Gao
Costume Design – Cody Gillies
And the Winner is!!!!!
Now Godzilla did have a long history to draw from, but what made it work as well as it did was that it knew just when to pull those moments. It was visually spectacular and every moment was dripping with interesting gems to find. Also, it might have won this award for the sheer audacity that was its worldbuilding via end credits.