Anticipating Sci-fi in 2013: ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

I was raised on the bread and butter of Star Trek. My parents have always been huge fans of the original series, and I, myself, was a mite addicted to The Next Generation for a good portion of my middle school years. That being said, I never really got into any of the Trek movies–something about that universe just seems to be better suited to the long-format, serial narrative of television.

However, when the rebooted Star Trek film came out in 2009, I absolutely loved it. Apparently some have criticized it for being a dumbed-down version of the greatness that it came from, but I, personally, loved the shit out of it. It had all of the action and suspense you would expect of a sci-fi film, but it also was extremely clever in how it dealt with the inevitable fan criticism if it contradicted the Trek canon in any way. How did they manage to avoid the ire of the passionate and snarky Trekkie (or apparently some prefer “Trekker”) community? Take the reboot outside of the canon. It’s literally a different timeline, which, in the first place, totally works for sci-fi, and second, opens up limitless possibilities for where they can go with these beloved characters. In a sense, it seems like it could be the beginning of another series, as it could be particularly well-suited to long-format narrative.

Also, Zachary Quinto.

This article reviews some of the most anticipated sci-fi films of 2013, but personally, Star Trek Into Darkness is definitely at the top of my list. Now that J.J. Abrams has the entire Star Trek universe to play with, I can’t wait to see where he takes us. One point of contention, however: with so much at his fingertips, why is he bringing us back to Khan? Don’t get me wrong, I love Wrath of Khan (1982) and it’s probably my favorite of the Trek films before the reboot, but really, Abrams? Really? You could have done practically anything, and instead you decide to go back to a staple of the Star Trek film franchise and do what, remake it too?

So despite all the hope I have that it will be a great film, I am just really really hoping that Into Darkness isn’t a let down.

What films are you most looking forward to this year?

The Seven Most Anticipated Sci-fi Films of 2013
Jacob S. Hall @ movies.com

130112-scififilmsarticle

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column dissecting a random grab bag of upcoming science fiction films, with a few of the titles mentioned not set to open until 2014. But now that we’re at the start of a brand new year, it’s time to narrow this column’s focus to the next 365 (well, 361 days). It’s time to start getting excited about movies that actually have solid “we can’t go back now” release dates.

In other words: here are the most intriguing, exciting and potentially great science fiction films opening within the next 12 months. Spoiler alert: Oblivion and After Earth aren’t included.”

Read More >

‘Dredd’: An Under-Appreciated Adaptation

The British science fiction film Dredd, an adaptation of the comic book series Judge Dredd, with no relationship to the awful 1995 Sylvester Stallone film version, has unfortunately flown under the radar. With its DVD and Blu-ray release just two days ago, I hope that it may garner some more attention.

The setting of the film alone is incredibly intriguing–a dystopian future where most of Earth is too dangerous to inhabit because of high levels of radiation, so most of the world’s population is crammed into massive conglomerates of cities, rife with crime and violence. But beyond that, this film has some incredible action sequences, stunning and innovative visuals, and impeccable acting on the part of Karl Urban (Judge Dredd) and Lena Heady (Ma-Ma, a ruthless drug lord and gang leader).

So why is it that almost no one went to see this film? I, myself, didn’t even hear about it until I saw it on the local theater’s movie showtimes. I think this is a testament to the fact that promotion was far too limited here in the States for this great British film, but the article below discusses some of the added reasons why this under-appreciated film may simply not have what it takes to appeal to mainstream audiences.

Have you seen Dredd? Tell me what you thought of it!

Slow It Down and Violence Is Made Beautiful in ‘Dredd’
Liz Medendorp @ PopMatters

130110-dreddarticle

Dredd is a visually stunning, action-packed, and subtly funny British science fiction comic adaptation, yet it flew under the radar—only partly due to minimal promotion in the States. Beyond that, although Dredd admirably stays faithful to the spirit of the original comics, this approach in some ways limits the film’s appeal. With no epic narrative, no major growth in the protagonist, and a focus on the entrancing visuals rather than on plot or character development, Dredd is a great film that simply doesn’t fit the mainstream formula.”

Read More >

Oscar Nomination Predictions

Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow, and I’m coming to realize that I haven’t seen all that many of the films that will likely be in the running for best picture. This is a very strange state of affairs, especially given how much of my budget gets chewed up by movie tickets every month. According to this educated and well-reasoned article which proposes possible nominees for best picture, I’ve only seen two out of the ten films with the best shot.

Am I that out of tune with the film industry right now, or is it actually that I’m just out of tune with the Academy? I think it’s the latter, as most of the films that have a shot at the nomination aren’t the big blockbuster films, but instead the more “respectable”, supposedly insightful, or even artistic films.

While I’m glad to see Django Unchained and Les Miz on the list, I’m curious why some of my favorite films of the year aren’t even on the Academy’s radar. The other eight films on my Top Ten of Twenty Twelve list are nowhere to be seen, including The Avengers and Looper, two of the best sci-fi films to come out in a while, in my opinion.

Come to think of it, there aren’t any sci-fi films on this list of potential Best Picture nominees. Why is it that science fiction gets such a bad rap, when in reality this genre generates some of the most thought-provoking and compelling films?

Who do you hope to see nominated?

Best Picture Power Rankings: Final Pre-Nomination Predictions
Ben Travers @ PopMatters

130109-oscarnominationsarticle

The time has come to put forth my final predictions for Best Picture, and never has a task been more daunting. With so many films making late surges (Skyfall on the Producers Guild List? Salmon Fishing in the Yemenwith three Golden Globe nods?) and the Academy rules allowing for up to 10 nominees, there are more movies with a legitimate shot at a nomination than ever before.

Read More >