Welcome to The Last Sci-fi Blog, our biweekly look at all things science fiction on the big screen.
February hasn't been a huge month for exciting science fiction and fantasy movie news, but it has dropped its fair share of big announcements. Two huge franchises added cast members. One of the most anticipated trailers of the year premiered. Talk of a sequel to a cult hit surfaced. Let's go down the checklist and answer some burning questions.
Can Guardians of the Galaxy Be What Green Lantern Wasn't?
When the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer arrived and the Internet exploded into enthusiasm and discussion, I had a little flashback to 2011, when I was holding a part-time job in a major retail store to help pay the rent. At least once a day, if I was in the vicinity of the toy department, a kid would approach me and ask when the Green Lantern toys were arriving. I never had a good answer (and I'm not sure if they ever arrived and I was very bad at that job), but it became obvious that young kids, the kids who were born into a world with Star Wars, were looking for something new. Something to call their own. They wanted a space opera filled with adventure and aliens that didn't already belong to their parents. Well, at least that's how I'm choosing to interpret this because it sounds dramatic and they probably wanted this even if they didn't realize it. Of course, we all know how the Green Lantern movie turned out: small and shallow and boring and entirely lacking in imagination.
Anyway, the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, with its goofy humor, wild characters and general sense of weirdness looks like the kind of thing that could capture the minds of an entire generation of young kids. I wonder if they're already asking about the toys...
Is Adam Driver a Good Choice for Star Wars?
Whoever was ultimately cast in J.J. Abrams's Star Wars: Episode VII was going to be ruthlessly scrutinized by fans, but you know Adam Driver can absorb whatever abuse the Internet throws at him. As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and one of the leads on HBO's Girls, he's certainly seen worse than rampaging fanboys. But to answer the question at hand (and join in the noisy conversation that Driver is undoubtedly ignoring right now), yes, he's perfect for a new Star Wars movie, not because he automatically feels like a piece of this universe but because he's a damn good actor who's going to elevate the movie. This is a franchise that has never leaned on good acting, so casting a terrific actor like Driver as the big bad guy already puts it a few steps ahead of any of the prequels.
Is Noah a Genre Movie?
Let's take a step back from the religious origins of Darren Aronofsky's Noah and just examine it as a story and its source material as just a book. Can we do that without fighting? Let's try. This is the tale of a good man living in an apocalyptic fantasy landscape filled with monsters and magic who is told by a higher power that the world is ending. So he sets about building a massive boat to house two of every animal, who are mystically drawn to it. Then the world ends in a massive flood and only those on board the ark survive. If viewed from a 100% agnostic point of view, Noah is very much a fantasy story (and therefore, slightly eligible to be covered under the banner of a science fiction column). The trailers and posters keep on selling a movie that looks like a more traditional biblical epic, but the buzz around the Internet campfire is that the finished film is far weirder and nuttier than any of the marketing lets on. In other worlds, this could be a "religious" movie that will appeal to genre movie fans just as much, if not more so, than to the Sunday-morning crowd.
Could Dredd 2 Actually Happen?
While appearing at a Star Trek convention, Karl Urban told a crowd that conversations are happening regarding a sequel to Dredd, the well-liked box office bomb from 2012. The movie didn't even put up a fight in theaters, but it found a passionate audience on DVD and Blu-ray, who responded to the film's brutal action and pitch-black sci-fi world. Let's be honest, though: the chances of a Dredd 2 actually happening are impossibly slim. The original is a cult favorite at best and while the supporters of cult hits tend to be louder and prouder than your average film fan, they are far fewer in number. Dredd is a lot of fun and it would be great to see Urban put on that helmet and liquefy more anonymous baddies with bullets, but let's not get our hopes too high for this one. If it does happen, it'll probably be direct to disc and star someone other than Urban, which would remove any reason we have to watch it.
Is Jai Courtney in Terminator: Genesis a Good Thing?
It's not Jai Courtney's fault that A Good Day to Die Hard was one of the worst films released in 2013, but his mere adjacency to that stinker makes it easy to forget that he turned in a capable performance in the underrated Jack Reacher. So the initial "Oh, no! Ew!" reaction to him being cast as Kyle Reese in Terminator: Genesis is unfair. Would you turn down the chance to costar with Bruce Willis in a Die Hard movie if you were a young potential action star? Of course not. He picked the short straw. So listen up, Mr. Courtney. We will not prejudge you anymore. Go make the new Terminator movie. Act to the best of your abilities. But be warned: this is your final judgment. We cannot afford another awful sequel to an '80s franchise we still adore.
Does Anyone Care About a Masters of the Universe Movie?
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