Sci Fi

After Earth Welcomes Us to the Jungle

This new trailer for After Earth gives us more insight into the characters that the Smith men play in M Night Shyamalan’s latest film. I am pretty much done with M Night, but I must admit that I like me a post apocalyptic sci fi forest romp.  The line that keeps me laughing is the whole “Everything on this planet has evolved to kill humans.”  Uh, the humans left 1000 years ago.  I think they’ve evolved to kill pretty much everything, unless, of course, some humans got left behind.  So the question is, if there were humans left, did they also evolve?  I don’t know if 1000 years is enough time for significant evolutionary changes.

I like Jaden’s little pole, blade, extendy weapon thing.  And his survival suit seems well equipped to deal with the harsh environment.  Also, there’s a nice little climbing scene in the beginning which I can’t help but be fond of.  So who knows, this could be a fun movie.  I just hope it doesn’t get wrapped up in some stupid twist for twist’s sake.

Looper Returns From the Wub Wub Machine

Looper is out on DVD and Blu-ray which gives me a perfect opportunity to talk about it.  But first, here’s a mashed up trailer that’s been put through the wub wub machine.

I can’t believe I didn’t review the thing when it came out in theaters.  I actually ended up seeing it twice and loved picking out the bits that I missed in the first go around.  This review will probably have some spoilers because it’s difficult to talk about it without revealing too much.  So if you haven’t seen it yet, know that I really enjoyed it.  On with the review.

The Future is Pretty White

To longtime AZM Allies, I must sound like a broken record.  But I’m gonna say it anyway.  I was really disappointed in the lack of diversity of the supporting cast.  Certainly, this movie is basically a character study centering on Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and young Pierce Gagnon, all very white.  So I wasn’t really expecting to see many leading minority roles.  But the film is set in the near future.  All evidence points to a major demographic shift in the coming years, yet there were only a handful of minorities in supporting roles and none had any significant dialog.

It didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the film, but honestly, I’m getting a little tired of Sci Fi forgetting that the future will probably be a lot more colorful than today.  And today is pretty colorful as it is.

Napkins and Straws

Time travel movies are always kind of fun.  There are some inherent problems with traveling to the past.  Some movies don’t bother to deal with the science aspect of it at all.  Some imply that even with time travel, certain events are fixed points in time.  Some treat time as something more fluid and sort of wibbly wobbly.  The important thing is for the film to remain true to whatever time travel rules it supplies.

Looper doesn’t quite answer the paradox problem.  At least, not in the version in the theater.  Word has it that there’s a deleted scene on the DVD and Blu-ray where Bruce Willis takes the time to explain the Looper rules of time travel with napkins and straws.  Without that scene, there are some things about the Looper rules that we have to surmise on our own.

For the movie to work, every time you travel in the past, you create a divergent timeline.  That’s why we have a dead version of Old Joe and a version of Old Joe that escapes young Joe.  At some point, Old Joe escaped the loop created by his younger self killing his older self, thus creating a new timeline.

There’s a bit of a flaw in Old Joe’s logic.  Certainly, the Rainmaker closes loops faster than any previous mob boss.  But even without the Rainmaker, eventually Joe’s loop would have be to closed.  When the men in black come for him, his wife might get killed anyway.  I don’t think that the future mob really gives a shit about his spouse.  Still, Old Joe must do something.

“Listen up, FUCKER!”

"Listen up, fucker!

I love that Emily Blunt’s first words on screen include “fucker.”  She is absolutely wonderful as Sara.  Her chemistry with Piece Gagnon is totally believable.  I actually found her bit of the story much more compelling than Joe’s quest for himself.

What’s on your nose?!

Speaking of Joe, I found Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s nose action really distracting.  We actually know what a young Bruce Willis looks like since he’s been acting for such a long time and he doesn’t look anything like J Gordy Nose Thing.  J Gordon has Bruce Willis’s mannerisms down so well that I think he would have been totally believable as a young Bruce without the nose job.

Joe starts out as a useless twat.  He lives for the now giving little thought to his future.  Even when he’s running after his older self, his only concern is making things right with his boss.  It’s only when he encounters Sara and Cid that he considers life beyond himself.  More than the time traveling crime noir stuff that’s going on, it’s Joe’s character arc that is the most compelling thing about this film.  That aspect elevates the film above the usual action fare.

Extra, extra

Audrey and I were still talking about Looper and its various paradoxes or non paradoxes for days.  It’s one of those movies that wraps itself around your brain meats and kind of hangs in there like a twisty puzzle with all sorts of weird angles.  That’s why I’m really curious about “The Science of Time Travle” featurette on the Blu-ray disc.  Also included on the Blu-ray are 22 deleted scenes including the five that are on the DVD version.

It was definitely worth the ticket price in the theater and looks to be quite awesome on disc.

2013, The Year The Earth Stood Still

2013 is shaping up to be an amazing year for blockbuster science fiction movies which feature our planet in various stages of decay or attack. We’ve got three trailers to drool over which I will be presenting in order from least exciting to OMFG!!!

After Earth

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”

Will and Jaden Smith crash land on Earth that was abandoned by humanity 1000 years ago. Since then, “everything on the planet has evolved to kill humans.” It’s an M. Night Shyamalan movie which is unfortunate. His name causes my eyes to instinctively roll. But Will and son are excellent together on screen. Could the twist be that this movie is watchable?

Actually, one of the theories I’ve heard is that this is actually pre-historic Earth. It’s an interesting thought and there’s definitely evidence to support the claim. The Sabertooth Tiger and the apes look like their historic counterparts. The real twist will be if there isn’t a twist. I’m kind of looking forward to this, but I wouldn’t be sad if I saw this on video after the theater release.

Oblivion

Sixty years ago, the Earth was attacked. Though humanity won the war, the planet was devastated. Mankind evacuated the planet leaving the discarded husk of our home to the alien invaders. Um… exactly how is this winning? Anyway, Tom Cruise is sent back to Earth to repair a bunch of drones all over the planet that seek out and destroy any aliens left on the surface. Or so he’s been told.

Turns out that there are humans still living on the planet led by Morgan Freeman. Now I have a few theories on what’s going on here. If humanity really won the war, why abandon Earth? There must have been some sort of fucked up treaty with the alien race that allowed them to stay on the planet and have a few humans to hunt down and feed upon. And the drones are really there to keep humans in certain areas so that the aliens can farm them or hunt them or something. Alternatively, humanity left all the poor people on Earth to fend for themselves and claimed victory as a sort of retelling of history. We also get some glimpses of Tom in a city with people so a third possibility is that maybe he’s been frozen for a while and everything he’s been told is a complete lie and there’s some other shit going on.

Either way, there are a lot of mysteries that I think will be fun to see play out on screen. Tom is a pretty good action star and I love me some Morgan Freeman. I think I’ll definitely be buying tickets for this one in the theater.

Pacific Rim

What amazes me most about this trailer is that all of my friends are losing their shit over how amazing it is. Um… hello! This is basically an Ultraman movie without subtitles. Don’t get me wrong, this is a lot of fun and I will definitely be seeing it in the theater. In 3D. Like five times. At least. But it’s not that new to those of us who still watch Tokusatsu.

Certainly the production values are better than even the recent Ultraman movies. Warner Bros threw a lot of damn money at this thing and it really shows. What will set it apart from other toku movies is the plot. And honestly, we don’t watch these movies for the stories, so the bar is set pretty low. If the story delivers, if we’re given a compelling plot, if I actually give a shit about the human characters and don’t look at my watch waiting for the next giant kaiju/robot battle, this will be the giant monster film that will set a new standard. It’s going to be a lot of fun, no doubt. But will it be a good movie?

Pacific Rim, I will see you in the theater. And I will pay full price for your 3D. And popcorn. And drink. Also, you have Idris Elba who makes me swoon.

Will humanity survive 2013? Or will we fall to a murderous planet, alien/conspiracy/whatever, or kaiju from a portal of doom? All I know is that it’s going to be a great year for us sci fi geeks!

Star Trek, the Return of the BWAAAAAAAHHHHHH

Still no Cumberbatch ass, but this teaser trailer for Star Trek: Into Darkness has all the signs of a darker, more gritty sequel. When the first “BWAAAAAAAAAHHHHH” hits, you know some shit is about to go down. Cumberbatch’s voice over makes me really excited to hear him as Smaug in the upcoming Hobit movies. It also appears that JJ Abrams has a fever, and the only prescription is more lens flair! Very excited to see this cast back together.

Paramount Missed Golden Opportunity to Give Us Cumberbatch Ass-Service

Paramount just released this poster for Star Trek: Into Darkness and though it definitely sets a mood, I can’t believe they threw away the perfect opportunity to show off some Benedict Cumberbatch man ass! It’s clear he’s wearing tight leather pants. Why hide the goods with that formless future trench!

Fail, Paramount! You didn’t even try!

Um… still pretty excited to see this. I hear we’ll be getting a teaser by the end of the year so maybe we’ll get to see some proper Cumberbatch leather clad ass after all.

This is Only a Test of the Kaiju Emergency Alert System

The viral campaign for Guillermo del Toro’s giant monster movie, Pacific Rim, is under way. I’m not sure how many of these I’ll be able to stomach as this next fake news footage is all shaky-cam and gross.

Thankfully, the actual film will not be from shaky-cam perspective like Cloverfield. I, for one, welcome our new non-Japanese giant monster rulers. Although really, Godzilla will always be king of all kaiju in my heart.

Here’s Six Minutes of Asuka Langley Being Terrifyingly Awesome

Okay, goddamn Evangelion 3.0, you fucking win! After seeing this six minutes of footage from wherever it happens in the movie, I’ve got to go back and watch the other two in anticipation of this craziness. I didn’t think that there was anything Eva could do that could possibly win me back and then this happened and my brain exploded. If you click on the CC link the video player, you can activate English or Spanish subs. Not sure how long this will last on the YouTubes, but it’s done its job at least for me. So help me, I actually want to see this damn thing now!

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