Last night I saw the new Star Trek: Into Darkness directed by J.J. Abrams. First up: like its predecessor Star Trek (2009), this is not an intellectual film. If you're expecting existential questions like Star Trek: The Next Generation's The Measure of a Man, or even in-your-face allegories like Star Trek's A Private Little War, you're out of your Vulcan mind.
Tom Cruise plays drone repairman Jack Harper in Oblivion, a stunning visual feast from the director of Tron: Legacy, Joseph Kosinski. In this post apocalyptic science fiction epic, the world as we know it has changed radically since a devastating war with an alien race called the Scavs. Humans were victorious, but the world is no longer habitable, most of humanity now living on Titan, a moon of Saturn. With his partner Victoria Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) as backup, he patrols the skies, fixing drones that guard and maintain huge water processing plants that send water and energy back to Titan to help keep the human colony going.
After many false starts and a troubled development, the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card's classic science fiction novel Ender's Game finally has its first trailer. While my expectations were low, the trailer is a good one. The question is, can they turn the novel into a film that is as good as the book? The film and novel are set in a future Earth. The human race has only just survived two wars with an insect race called the "Buggers". To combat the continued threat, the world's most talented children are gathered together and trained using tactical games in a specially prepared Battle School that orbits the Earth. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is one the Battle School's most promising students, displaying amazing tactical ability.
As Lt. Col. James Rhodes might say (privately at least), Iron Man 3 rox. The first cab off the rank since Joss Whedon's The Avengers, Iron Man 3 is a worthy addition to the Marvel stable. There's no surprise that it fails to measure up to the ensemble magnificence of The Avengers - and really, what could other than The Avengers 2? - but even so, this third Iron Man movie is at least as good as the two that preceded it, and it sets a high benchmark in a year in which we'll see sequels to Thor and Captain America.
Disney has sent us a few character posters from The Lone Ranger for your viewing pleasure. Johnny Depp stars as Tonto and Armie Hammer is the title character. Helena Bonham Carter (a frequent Johnny Depp collaborator) is also on board as Red Harrington. The Lone Ranger is directed by Gore Verbinski and based on the American Old West character serials of the same name. Not really sure what to make of this one. This could be very silly or very funny - or both perhaps? There are two trailers for you to watch after the character posters.
In Neill Blomkamp's Elysium, his second film after the science fiction classic District 9, the year is 2159 and two classes of people exist: the very wealthy living on a luxurious, man-made (and beautifully landscaped) space station called Elysium, and the poor and downtrodden, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Crime and poverty make life on Earth a nightmare and anti-immigration laws and a well-armed elite keep the majority trapped, cut off from state of the art medical treatment and a luxurious lifestyle they can barely imagine.
After the amazing X-Men: First Class starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, my interest in returning to the X-Men universe is at all time high. Next up is a Marvel Comics solo adventure starring Hugh Jackman as Logan in The Wolverine. Logan is drawn to Japan by a mysterious figure from his past. The Wolverine trailers suggest he helped this man survive one of the nuclear blasts at the end of World War 2. The man offers Logan a gift to repay his help - the gift of mortality. The trailers hint that all is not as it should be and complicated challenges await, with plenty of sword wielding Samurai and rooftop train battles to maintain the momenteum. This story in the second Wolverine film, X-Men Origins - Wolverine was the first, and is set sometime after the events depicted in X-Men: The Last Stand.
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.