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Adapted from David Mitchell's novel of the same name, Cloud Atlas is a powerful film that weaves together six disparate narrative strands with an outstanding ensemble cast that journey across 500 years of human history - from the eighteenth century to our distant future. The film's often repeated mantra sums up the central theme better than I ever could:
While Prometheus wasn't exactly a flawless science fiction classic, it was an entertaining ride with some impressive visuals and a smattering of intriguing ideas. If you were hanging out for a follow up, you are in luck. Star of the first film, Noomi Rapace, has revealed that she has been in contact with director Ridley Scott to talk about Prometheus 2. Apparently they are working on a script with a new writer.
Acting heavyweight Gary Oldman has joined the cast of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a sequel to the outstanding Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Oldman will play the leader of a human colony. He joins Jason Clarke, Kodi Smit-McPhee and of course Andy Serkis, in his special effects suit as the head chimpanzee, Ceasar.
With a plot that bears some striking similarities to M. Night Shyamalan's After Earth,Oblivion stars Tom Cruise as one of the last drone repairmen stationed on a future Earth that has been devastated after a war with an alien race. The two weeks mentioned in the trailers refers to the time Tom Cruise's character has left to serve as a patrolman before he can rejoin the rest of the human race - an unspecified location beyond Earth.
New trailers from writer/director Andrew Niccol's new film, The Host, look promising. I've always had a soft spot for Niccol. His first film was the science fiction, genetic twisting Gattaca, and even though last year's In Time was decidedly average, there's always a possibility he'll deliver this time round.
Kibble. A word coined by the late great Philip K. Dick to describe those useless objects which proliferate in our lives and threaten to overwhelm us over time. Kibble proliferates, it replicates, it accumulates, contributing little of value to our existence. I can think of no better word to describe the vast majority of novels that proliferate in the Fantasy genre, a genre that is endlessly replenished with derivative, unoriginal, uninspiring escapist kibble.
The trailer for Tom Cruise's upcoming science fiction epic entitled Oblivion has arrived, along with a spartan official film site. Oblivion stars Tom Cruise as one of the last drone repairmen stationed on a future earth that has evolved beyond recognition.
The seventh Star Wars film (Episode VII), following on directly from Return of the Jedi, will be directed by J. J. Abrams. Abrams has some impressive film and television science fiction credentials, including the television shows Fringe, Alias, Lost and feature films Super8 and Star Trek - just to name a few.
Apart from some silly time travel elements and ridiculous coincidence levels, J.J. Abrams' first Star Trek film was masterful and compelling. The new actors were perfectly cast and the humour and adventure skillfully directed. The trailer and title of his second Star Trek film, called Star Trek Into Darkness, suggests that his second outing will be a more sombre and serious piece.
After Earth is the new feature film from director M. Night Shyamalan, best known for the science fiction/fantasy works Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense. While these hits are fondly remembered and re-watched by many, myself included, every film he has directed since appears to mark a point on a steadily declining curve, both in quality and watchability: The Lady in the Water was poor, The Happening bad, The Last Airbender appalling. Will After Earth be an improvement? The first trailer offers some hope.
When Guillermo del Toro walked away from the helm of The Hobbit movies back in 2010, there was some consolation (for those of us who had been anticipating his distinctive handling of Tolkien’s story) in the knowledge that the director would be able to pursue the host of other projects he was then attached to. At the time these included (but were not limited to) Frankenstein, Dan Simmons’ Drood, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Slaughterhouse-Five, Death: The High Cost of Living, Hellboy 3 and, of course, his decades long ambition to adapt HP Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.
Brian J. Robb’s Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions is described by its publisher, Voyager Press, as “the definitive book on the writers, film-makers, artisans and aesthetes who created the extraordinary genre”. It’s a bold claim to make of a work about a literary sub-genre and cultural movement that continues to evolve and which refuses to be pinned down with any single definition, but Brian Robb’s book more than lives up to the hype.
In the run up to the premiere of Season Three of Game of Thrones on 31 March 2013, HBO has begun the publicity campaign with a two minute in-production video. The featurette provides a glimpse behind the scenes of the forthcoming season and includes enthusiastic sound-bites from writers David Benioff and Dan Weiss (“This is the season that Dan and I have been anticipating from the very beginning”), interviews with established cast members, glimpses of new cast members, and a look at old and new locations.
Now that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas, grabbing the rights to the Star Wars films in the process, production is slowly gearing up for the next films in the Star Wars universe. Can Disney resurrect Star Wars after it was savagely mauled by Jar Jar Binks and a young Anakin Skywalker?
I had almost forgotten about J.J. Abrams' next Star Trek film, titled Star Trek Into Darkness, but the release of an official plot synopsis courtesy of Paramount has revived my interest. The sequel to Abrams' excellent Star Trek revamp, that cleverly launched the entire Star Trek universe onto a totally different narrative timeline, looks to be a more sinister, dramatic and complicated affair than his first film:
In theory, the video-game-to-movie transition should be smooth, seamless and awesome. Video games that become movies are usually plot-driven games, filled with kick-ass action sequences, mind-blowing kill moves and hot babes. Unfortunately, in practice, things don't go so well.
Max Brooks' vivid post-apocalyptic horror novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, has been adapted for the big screen with Brad Pitt as the lead. A new trailer for World War Z looks amazing. After reading the novel, I was surprised they would attempt to adapt it all. The novel is a collection of first person accounts of a zombie war with mankind, compiled by an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission. Published a decade after the war officially ended, the numerous individual accounts describe how the world's population reacted to a zombie pandemic, allowing the author to explore diverse social issues, political beliefs, religious ideals and more against the backdrop of a world gone completely and totally zombie. There were a lot of great, short stories, but no one narrative stood out, which I imagined would make adapting it for Hollywood difficult.
Iron Man 3 is on its way and if a recent trailer is any indication, it will be an excellent third chapter in Marvel's Iron Man series, assuming you don't consider Robert Downey Jr's role in the recent Avengers movie to be Part 3 already? Downey Jr. appeared to dominate The Avengers even though he was surrounded by numerous other great actors and characters.
We told you some time ago that Warner Bros. was developing a new Twilight Zone film produced by and probably starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Vulture has just reported some more details for those fans (like myself) keen to know exactly what is on the cards. For those of you who don't know, Rod Serling's science fiction TV series The Twilight Zone (1959 to 1964) was a scriptwriting masterclass. Sterling's science fiction and fantasy tales, along with high production standards and excellent performances, have rarely been matched in today's television wasteland (you can tell I like the original show can't you?).