Welcome to The Last Sci-fi Blog, our biweekly column about all things science fiction in movies.
It's been a slow month for science fiction movies (we're all pretending Transcendence never happened, right?). That's going to change soon now that summer is upon us and the likes of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Jupiter Ascending are right around the corner, but this is the calm before the storm. So before the big blockbusters arrive, let's take a look at what's going on in the wide world of sci-fi movie news.
The Coherence Trailer Has This Column's Name All Over It
Coherence is a movie that hugely benefits from not knowing too much going in, and the trailer does a decent job of keeping the biggest surprises under wraps. However, if the thought of a low-budget sci-fi drama that creates a horrifying mystery using only a handful of pennies and some really compelling ideas sounds good to you, then you should just skip the marketing altogether and seek this out the moment it becomes available. (Bonus: Stick around for our quote in the trailer, which came from my write-up on the movie when it premiered back at Fantastic Fest.)
Guardians of the Galaxy Unleashes New Chris Pratt Hotness
Much of the converstion surrounding Marvel's upcoming oddball space opera Guardians of the Galaxy has centered on the characters of Rocket Raccoon and Groot, mainly because it's not every day that two of the five main characters in a movie are a gun-toting, genetically modified raccoon and his sentient tree best friend. And that's cool. That's great. I can't wait to see those guys, either. I just don't want to see Chris Pratt overshadowed by his CGI costars. After all, the brilliant Parks and Recreation star transformed himself from goofy TV sidekick into chisled leading man for this part and it would be a shame to see all of that hard work go to waste. Now that he has the abs and jawline, there's nothing stopping this effortlessly charming actor from pulling a Robert Downey Jr. and taking over the planet.
I bring all of this up because they've gone and released a few new images of him as Star-Lord (see one above and below), his petty crook turned superhero. That is one cool helmet, guys.
Let's Prejudge Interstellar Based Solely on Its Poster
A few weeks ago, Movies.com editor Peter Hall and I chatted about Robert Zemeckis' wonderful, underrated Contact and we discussed whether or not a modern movie could match its sense of optimism and faith in the human race. Peter thought Christopher Nolan's upcoming Interstellar could be that film and after analyzing the film's new poster waaay too much, I think he's right.
Take the title itself, which is presented vertically instead of horizontally, implying a spaceship's liftoff and/or humanity reaching (and growing) to become something so much greater than what it is now. Note the human shapes at the base of the title, tiny against the expanse of the entire universe, but positioned to be the focus of the entire image; the people who will actually take off into space and discover wonderful (or terrible things). And take the tagline: "Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here." Those are dark words, but there's a lining of determination and optimism in there that gives me chills -- humankind isn't doing so hot right now, but it's our destiny to overcome the end of the world, to explore and learn until we save ourselves.
Look, that paragraph above this sentence is entirely me writing a bunch of nonsense based on a movie poster that may not reflect the finished film in any way whatsoever, but until more is revealed, I'm going to roll with the idea that this is very much the spiritual successor to Contact and is therefore my most anticipated movie of 2014. Hopefully, we'll learn more when the new trailer arrives with Godzilla.
Bonus: Here's the first image from the film, from EW.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Casts Some New Ladies
As much as I enjoyed the film versions of The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I never got around to reading the third and final book in the original trilogy, Mockingjay. I promise that it was not out of laziness -- I dropped the books like a hot stone because the second book was less about a strong heroine in a twisted dystopia and more about which boy that heroine preferred.
So when I talk about Michelle Forbes and Eugenie Bondurant joining the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay as Lt. Jackson and Tigris, I cannot comment on the characters themselves. All I can do is take a step back and comment on how cool it is that the much-improved film versions of this book series have so many terrific female characters in a genre that tends to be male dominated.
Oh, and I can say that Michelle Forbes was awesome on Battlestar Galactica and it's great to see her to see her return to sci-fi in any capacity. Anyway, here are the weird head shots that Lionsgate sent out with the official casting announcements.
Star Wars: Episode VII Has a (Probably Fake) Working Title
Chances are strong that the title of Star Wars: Episode VII is not Star Wars: Episode VII: The Ancient Fear. After the rumor first reared its ugly head, other outlets immediately shot down the potential title as pure nonsense. But how sad is it that we hear a title as cheesy as "The Ancient Fear" and immediately think, "Yep, that definitely sounds like a Star Wars title." After a major motion picture actually made it into theaters with Attack of the Clones on the poster, we wouldn't put anything past this series. The title probably isn't The Ancient Fear, but we imagine it won't be much better.
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