Monsters: Dark Continent is the sequel to first time director Gareth Edwards' brilliant alien invasion story, Monsters, released in 2010. You can read our Monsters review here. This time round Edwards has handed over writing and directing duties to first time director Tom Green and writer Jay Basu as he is busy working on a big budget Godzilla remake (I would have preferred to see him direct Monsters 2 instead - how many Godzillas do we need?).
Is there anything to say about the Mad Max Trilogy that hasn't already been said in the thirty four years since audiences first thrilled to the deep rumble and furious roar of the last of the V8 Interceptors? Now there was a sound to strike fear into the hearts of the feral punks reaving their way along the outback highways of a society in full-throttle decline to an apocalyptic abyss! The movies have been reviewed and critiqued extensively and their influence and legacy have been acknowledged far and wide, so, to answer my own question, there’s probably not much more to say.
The end of the world appears to be a popular topic for comedians on both sides of the Atlantic, with not one, but two apocalyptic comedy films heading into theatres this year. The first from the UK is The World's End, the final part of Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright (Director) and Nick Frost's Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (also referred to as the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy). Pegg, Wright and Frost's zombie film Shaun of the Dead and the police satire Hot Fuzz were parts 1 and 2 of the trilogy.
Finally some news about Ridley Scott's Blade Runner sequel we first mentioned back in August 2011. The 1982 science fiction classic has grown in stature over the years and when Ridley Scott first announced he was working on a sequel, science fiction enthusiasts everywhere held their collective breathes. Now there's a new writer on board and a very real possibility that Harrison Ford will make an appearance in the sequel, reprising his role as replicant bounty hunter Rick Deckard according to The Wrap. It looks like Ridley Scott is finally moving forward with the project. If he would return my calls, I'd tell him to forget the Prometheus sequel and tackle Blade Runner 2 instead.
While the science fiction epic The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) did not perform as well as expected in the box office (even though it was superior to the original), star Vin Diesel and writer/ director David Twohy are back for a third Riddick chapter. Riddick 3 follows Pitch Black (2000) and the Chronicles of Riddick (2004). Left for dead on a desert planet, Riddick fights for survival against alien predators far more vicious than any human.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?