The wife and I love sci-fi. It’s a blessing that we share a taste for the genre. On our own, I can watch my dark crime sagas and she can watch her romantic comedies and Bronte-esque period films. Then we can come together to watch people imperiled in Space.
But, it’s not easy. We’re always hunting for a new sci-fi treat. We mine Netflix and Amazon in the hopes that we will discover some amazing movie we had somehow missed before. (One can only watch Alien just so many times.)
It’s tough out there. So I started looking ahead, to see what the genre holds in store for the next 32 months.
Given today’s technology, my humble hopes are for films with CGI that’s not ruinous to a good story (Cowboys and Aliens?), for characters with some depth, and stories that risk the dark side even if it may mean perhaps losing a small share of the demographic pie (Robocop), helmed by filmmakers not afraid to challenge the genre and take it new places (1979’s Alien almost didn’t get made because “nothing” happens for the first 45 minutes. Can you imagine a world without Alien? I digress.)
In general, the rest of the year holds the possibility of a couple of gems. 2014 looks especially good. I plumbed around on sites like MovieWeb and IMDb, really excited to find some of these. You’ll see lots of dudes wearing heavy, biotech-looking armor, and gorgeous women with universal powers.
Elysium (Aug 9)
I’ve been anticipating Elysium since those tantalizing photos were “leaked” from the set of the film almost two years ago. Enshrouded in mystery, the film’s promise has wafted like that scent of pie a cartoon character drifts on – in this case it’s that Neill Blomkamp, director of District 9, is at the helm. But then *sigh* I saw a picture of Matt Damon flashing his abs. I think Joseph Campbell would be shocked at just how many “hero” films we have today. If Mister Damon is going to be munching one-liners and flashing his arms throughout this thing…I just dunno.
District 9…I keep telling myself…Neill Blomkamp…
Gravity (Oct 4)
I’ve probably dreamt of falling off of planets and drifting into Space enough times to alarm any therapist. The bleakness of that prospect is potentially tempered by the film setting’s proximity to Earth – our beautiful planet is the backdrop for the scene that constitutes one of the trailers. Maybe this is a good thing for the film’s impact, maybe not. (Probably, it was considered visually unappealing to have characters tumble around in a total void for 90 minutes.) Either way, I can’t wait to find out.
Singularity (Oct 31)
The description – a story of love that can’t be constrained by the bounds of time or place – sounds like a chick flick, but one of the time periods this story is set in is 2020.
2020? That’s the future! And I’m sold.
Ender’s Game (Nov 1)
I have my doubts about Ender’s Game. But Director Gavin Hood crafted Rendition, and that was a Class A film all the way. And Harrison Ford is in it. So…you know.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Tom Cruise in another sci-fi flick? Oblivion was satisfying, so, okay. Doug Liman at the wheel? Interesting trajectory for a director who started with Swingers, Go, and then into actioners like the Jason Bourne movies, and deeper into science fiction. The premise is great, too – it’s Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day; Cruise plays a guy in a wicked cool spacesuit fighting aliens who gets caught in a time loop. Seriously.
But who cares about Cruise. Speaking of loops, Emily Blunt, who was perfect in Looper, is going to steal the show here, too.
“An exploration of physicist Kip Thorne’s theories of gravity fields, wormholes and several hypotheses that Albert Einstein was never able to prove.”
Plus: Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. (To make the Einstein go down smooth.)
“Two leading computer scientists work toward their goal of Technological Singularity, as a radical anti-technology organization fights to prevent them from creating a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain.”
Damn. Obviously, “Singularity” was already taken as a title. As a fan of Ray Kurzweil, I’ve been fascinated with the impending singularity for a while now. This sounds like a flick that’s as close to a divine augury of that fateful day as any we’re going to get.
Jupiter Ascending (2014)
I hope the Wachowskis can get it together after the Cloud Atlas debacle, because, man, those two are breathing life into some of our best collective dreams. Things that we didn’t even know we were dreaming, yo – that’s how good they are. Jupiter Ascending is about a world where humans are low on the totem pole out there in all that Space, and there is a Queen of the Universe.
Yep. I’ve had that dream.
All that Queen of the Universe stuff aside, this one is the motherlode. Did I fail to mention that there will be a Godzilla remake, a Dune reboot and a Transformers-fucking-4 in 2014 as well? That’s because who cares when Darren Aronofsky is remaking Robocop.
In short, 2015 didn’t look as robust. An overdose of sequels (Terminator 5, Avatar 3, Predator something-or-other, Prometheus 2 [ok, I’m looking forward to that one a little bit]) and a strange Aladdin 3477 don’t bode well for a banner year. Oh there’s Colossus, with our sci-fi poster boy Will Smith doing battle with a supercomputer trying to take over the world (Smith is also attached to I, Robot 2 – the title alone sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud). The saving grace for 2015 could be Wool, a post-apocalypse tale with human beings living underground. Steve Zaillian is producing, with J Blakeson directing (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) and with a script written by … the one and only Ridley Scott. It will be a shame if anything ever happens to that man. Maybe he’ll extend his life like Ray Kurzweil is trying to do.