The Last Sci-Fi Blog: Examining the Trailers For 'Criminal,' 'Equals,' and 'Paradox'

Feb 15, 2016 Comments (0)

In one corner of the internet, you can read all about how Star Wars: Episode VIII has begun filming, but you probably know that already. And there's not much of a story there. So in today's edition of The Last Sci-Fi Blog, let's turn our attention to another corner, where the trailers for three smaller science fiction films are hanging out and waiting for your attention.


Looks Like: Primer and Timecrimes

Hopes: Time travel is a complicated tool at the disposal of any storyteller working in science fiction, but it has the benefit of being cheap. You don't need many complicated or expensive visual effects to create the illusion of time travel and as long as you keep the time-hopping to a few days and a few locations, budget isn't much of an issue either.

While the trailer for Paradox isn't the most impressive thing in the world, it is conceptually strong and it already shares the same "low budget time travel thriller" DNA with genuinely great movies like Primer and Timecrimes. The latter may be a more apt comparison, as Paradox manages to feature time time travel shenanigans and a horror movie slasher with unknown motives.



Looks Like: Equilibrium and THX 1138

Hopes: The trailer for Equals is light on plot but heavy on mood, selling a movie that looks absolutely stunning. The world of the film should prove familiar to anyone with a basic knowledge of dystopian science fiction. This is the kind of future where everything is perfect and everyone wears white suits and no one is allowed to love because emotions have been eradicated.

Naturally, this kind of "perfect" world will not do. In Equilibrium, the emotional revolution came with a bunch of bullets and in THX 1138 it led to a desperate escape from society. Here, we get Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult exchanging smoldering looks. Genuinely good blends of romance and science fiction aren't too common, so I have my fingers crossed the the love story here is as strong as the visuals seen in the trailer.



Looks Like: Source Code and Self/less

Hopes: The science fiction in Criminal appears to have been applied with the lightest touch possible. Ryan Reynolds plays a government agent who is killed in the line of duty and Kevin Costner is the convicted criminal who gets forced into an experimental procedure that finds the dead man's memories pumped into his brain.

Naturally, this nasty guy gains a head-full of government secrets but also a conscience. Action ensues! The obvious point of comparison here is Self/less, another minor sci-fi film that dealt with memories being transferred in and out of Ryan Reynolds, but the idea of a wacky experiment forcing an unwitting man into a high-stakes mystery also recalls Source Code, one of the best mid-tier genre films of recent years. Criminal looks like Taken first and Source Code second, but it also looks like it could be a pretty solid and enjoyable time at the movies.


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