The Last Sci-fi Blog: The 2015 Science Fiction Movie Preview

The Last Sci-fi Blog: The 2015 Science Fiction Movie Preview

Dec 31, 2014

2014 was a landmark year for science fiction films... and it's over. Gone forever. Destined to live on only in our hearts, minds and DVD shelves. But this is sci-fi -- you've got to always keep one eye on the future. After all, 2015 certainly doesn't look like its lacking in the "potentially pretty-great science fiction film" department. So let's journey into the 2015 and take a look at 15 movies that should be on your radar.

 

Predestination

Release Date: January 9

Reason to Get Excited: The Spierig brothers' adaptation of Robert Heinlein's All You Zombies is a bizarre, unsettling and wholly unique film that somehow transforms its dense and seemingly unadaptable source material into a thrilling cinematic experience. Ethan Hawke is good, but relative newcomer Sarah Snook is astonishing.

Reason to Be Cautious: You should go into this one knowing as little as possible. No trailers. No posters. No synopses. Good luck.

 

Project Almanac

Release Date: January 30

Reason to Get Excited: It's a movie that trots out one the greatest science fiction templates of all time -- idiots find a time machine, idiots abuse the privilege of time travel, idiots screw up the entire world. The fact that it's shot in the found-footage format is, somehow, more intriguing than annoying.

Reason to Be Cautious: This thing has been delayed multiple times and reasons unknown... and it stars a bunch of irritating teenagers. Well, adults acting like irritating teenagers.

 

Jupiter Ascending

Release Date: February 6

Reason to Get Excited: Even when their movies don't quite work, the Wachowskis are among the most inventive filmmakers working today. Their imagination appears to have been stretched to the breaking point with this sci-fi take on Snow White, which features Channing Tatum as a cat person with jet shoes and action that looks unlike anything we've seen before.

Reason to Be Cautious: This movie was originally scheduled to open in June of 2014. The studio claims the delay was to help finish the visual effects, but we don't buy it. Our pet theory: this movie is just as weird as it looks and the suits are scared of it. Hey! That's actually a good thing.

 

Selfless

Release Date: February 27

Reason to Get Excited: Ryan Reynolds, Matthew Goode and Ben Kinglsey star in the latest film from Tarsem Singh, the man behind gorgeously made films like The Fall and Mirror Mirror. The plot: an old man transfers his mind to a new, young body. Things go wrong. So it's pretty much Seconds for a new generation, but that's okay.

Reason to Be Cautious: As technically accomplished as Singh is, he also made The Cell and Immortals. He'll deliver striking visuals for sure, but story is not always his forte.

 

Ex Machina

Release Date: April 10

Reason to Get Excited: Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac star in an intimate tale of a love triangle between two men and the world's first thinking, learning robot. The trailer looks odd and unnerving, like an odd '70s science fiction paperback that you found buried in a used bookstore. Plus, it's the directorial debut of Alex Garland, the screenwriter of great genre efforts like Dredd, Sunshine and 28 Days Later.

Reason to Be Cautious: It's a small film, which means it's going to make up for its scale with some really smart ideas... or it's going to pull an Automata and fall flat on its face.

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

Release Date: May 15

Reason to Get Excited: Did you see the latest trailer? That's all you need. George Miller is back and he's brought his deranged, iconic vision of the postapocalypse with him. This looks like The Road Warrior had a fever dream and emerged from its sickness as something more insane and dangerous than ever. This could be the major release of 2015.

Reason to Be Cautious: That trailer is so good that there's no way the finished film can live up to it. If it does, we all may die in theater.

 

Tomorrowland

Release Date: May 22

Reason to Get Excited: The last time Brad Bird made a science fiction film we got The Iron Giant, one of the best animated movies ever made. His jump into live action got off to a great start with Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, but Tomorrowland looks like a huge step forward for one of the most talented guys working in the business. Described as a scientific version of Harry Potter, this mysterious project has promise written all over it.

Reason to Be Cautious: Damon Lindelof is undeniably a talented writer with a ton of imagination and an instinct for things that are just plain cool. Still, it's hard to shake the ending of Lost and in this context, it's harder to shake the screenplay for Prometheus.

 

Jurassic World

Release Date: June 12

Reason to Get Excited: It's a new Jurassic Park movie! That's all you need! But it also just sounds fascinating, centering on a working version of theme park that failed so spectacularly back in 1993. Naturally, science once again goes one step too far and its up to Chris Pratt to save the day and prevent a bunch of hungry dinosaurs from munching on a smorgasbord of tourists. Somehow, it's even more Westworld than the original Jurassic Park was.

Reason to Be Cautious: This is only the second film for director Colin Trevorrow, who previously helmed the cute, quirky rom-com Safety Not Guaranteed. He's certainly a capable filmmaker, but the jury is still out on whether or not a movie this huge is in his wheelhouse.

 

Terminator: Genisys

Release Date: July 1

Reason to Get Excited: Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to his signature franchise with a film that actually thought up a wacky reason for his seemingly ageless cyborg to resemble a senior citizen. If the first trailer is any indication, this is going to be a crazy experience that leaps all over the timeline of the previous films, rewriting history and charting a clever new course for the series moving forward.

Reason to Be Cautious: However, that trailer was as full of head-scratching moments as effective ones. The Terminator movies desperately need a swift kick in the rear end, but this could very well be a kick that misses the mark altogether, Charlie Brown style.

 

Pixels

Release Date: July 24

Reason to Get Excited: Aliens invade Earth, taking on the form of classic arcade characters like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. The only people standing in their way are a trio old-school gamers, whose skills are finally put to the ultimate test. It's a cute idea, blending video game nostalgia with Armageddon.

Reason to Be Cautious: Adam Sandler is the star. Ugh. Just... ugh.

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2

Release Date: November 20

Reason to Get Excited: Over the course of three films, the Hunger Games series has grown into one of the smartest science fiction film series of the past decade. By this point, director Francis Lawrence and star Jennifer Lawrence are making this whole politically charged action dystopia thing look easy.

Reason to Be Cautious: It's tough for any series to nail the landing and this is the film that will cover the most controversial elements of the original novel. If so many hard-core fans of the book turned on the ending, how will audiences respond?

 

The Martian

Release Date: November 25

Reason to Get Excited: Andy Weir's original novel was one of the surprise successes of the year, finding huge success as a self-published e-book before landing a publisher. Now, this story of a lone astronaut stranded on the red planet is heading to the big screen with the delightful Matt Damon in the lead role. Think of it as a planet-bound Gravity directed by the man who made Alien and Blade Runner.

Reason to Be Cautious: But that man has also made duds like Prometheus and Exodus: Gods and Kings. Ridley Scott's track record has been inconsistent. Hopefully, this will be the hit that makes up for his recent failures.

 

Midnight Special

Release Date: November 25

Reason to Get Excited: Jeff Nichols, the acclaimed but low-profile director of little movies like Take Shelter and Mud, is taking a great big leap into genre filmmaking... and he's bringing Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepherd and Kirsten Dunst with him. If Nichols can bring the same nuance and attention to detail to a story about a father protecting his superpowered son that he brings to his small dramas, this could be something really astonishing.

Reason to Be Cautious: Not applicable. We were on board the moment we saw Nichols' name and that cast.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Release Date: December 18

Reason to Get Excited: C'mon. C'mon. It's Star Wars. New Star Wars! And it looks and sounds nothing like the prequels.

Reason to Be Cautious: How can this thing possibly live up the unbelievable amount of hype that's already built up around it a year before release? It will have to amazing. And that's scary.

 

High-Rise

Release Date: To be determined

Reason to Get Excited: Ben Wheatley, the mad man behind Kill List and Sightseers, is adapting J.G. Ballard's novel about the residents of a high-tech apartment building engaging in a brutal class war. Yes, this is Snowpiercer in a building starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Sienna Miller. This has got to be one of the most intriguing projects set for release in 2015.

Reason to Be Cautious: It's opening in the U.K. next year. Who knows when this thing will open everywhere else?

 

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