Looking ahead now, I notice that next year has a bevy of exciting-looking genre films, most of them franchise-based but, whatever, so let’s take a look at what could just turn out to be the next 2009. Though I gotta say, this year, with Pacific Rim and Riddick alone, it was a good time to be a nerd.
Right off the bat we get something I would’ve never seen coming. After the abysmal failures of Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas, who’s still trusting the Wachowskis with money? Granted, they get bigger and bigger stars for each movie but — that doesn’t make any sense. This looks to get closer to the ultra-vibrant visual aesthetic of their post-Matrix movies, with the original story of their earlier things, Bound and the Matrix sequels. By this point, the Wachowski name is kind of trash in the sphere of nerdom, because of the Matrix trilogy (which was 100% the whole way through), and because of Speed Racer, cited by some as the best anime adaptation of all time, but by others to be too crazy or dumb. It was more importantly, an anime adaptation, and that’s a land too dangerous to traverse, because fans are vicious, and nobody else cares.
This one looks interesting, if John Carter-y, sans Dominic West. I’ll see it day one just to support these two, because although I haven’t seen Speed Racer, Bound is their worst movie, and it’s still a very solid, very stylish thriller. They know what they’re doing, and they’re always doing something interesting. I’m just glad they get to keep doing it.
The main reason I want Godzilla to make $600 million worldwide is for the purely speculative Godzilla X Pacific Rim movie Guillermo said would be a cool idea. As it stands, I doubt it’s gonna do much business, just because it’s too niche, and not ironic enough, like Transformers was. Yeah, somehow a global cultural icon like Godzilla is too niche — sounds dumb, but I’m sure of it. I’d love to be wrong, but after Pacific Rim, it seems nobody cares about giant monsters. Hearing the rationales for why people wouldn’t see P. Rim was just heartbreaking. The genre clearly hasn’t got much credence in America, even though Cloverfield was a relative hit (maybe that is the reason).
The trailer looks good, but I’m still not sure about Gareth Edwards, who I constantly confuse with the guy who did The Raid: Redemption. Monsters was an alright movie, and seems like the good sort of thing to select a director for Godzilla off of, but it falls in with this whole Jurassic World situation — Edwards might be cashing in early.
Of course, Legendary Pictures has the greatest gift in Godzilla 1998, a film so universally reviled (by all but myself and my old roommate, apparently), they can’t help but use it as a blueprint for what not to do. Solid foundation.
The other big reboot, this new Robocop looks like it might actually fall for the curse of its title — back in 1987 the only thing getting people to see something with as idiotic a title as Robocop is good word-of-mouth — it’s a damn fine movie. But this new one will not be well-received, if the remakes of The Thing and Total Recall are any indication. Both great movies, but the Internet wouldn’t have it. Robocop is in an even tougher position, being more beloved by the nerds than either prior mentioned property. It could fall hard, but hopefully it does well. I’m not so against this recent trend of remaking all my favorite movies from the 80s, so long as get original SF beside it.
Disney has been making very interesting choices lately, with the notorious acquisitions of Marvel and Star Wars that don’t seem to dilute the brand. Tomorrowland sounds like they’re trying to repeat the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, and not the success of The Haunted Mansion. It’s certainly an interesting part of the Disney… experience, to adapt, and maybe then we’ll get a Space Mountain movie, a giant mountain floating through space…
Edge of Tomorrow
This one pisses me off. It’s based on a book called All You Need is… Kill, which is one of the best titles for something ever. I guess it isn’t commercial enough, and based on the premise, this new title is a lot more appropriate, but who knows. Maybe at the end Tom Cruise shouts “Now I get it… All you need is… KILL!” That would be no less absurd than screaming “Mission… ACCOMPLISHED!”
Of course, this movie does look absurd. Powered armor is a tradition in science-fiction, but not in film, as was decided once the Starship Troopers movie decided to have the ‘tight black T-shirt’ for its soldiers, rather than Heinlein’s prescient armor. Avatar had some, The Matrix Revolutions did, Elysium, yeah. But these don’t look near as cool as any of those, though Emily Blunt makes it work. As I’ve discovered, I don’t actually dislike Tom Cruise, so I’ll definitely see this one. The trailer is great, despite the hokey-looking armor and the odd music choice. Oh, and that dialogue. Jesus.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Another Marvel one, but without any recognizable name. I’ve never, ever, heard of this, but it does have James Gunn behind the trigger (lol), so I’ll probably see it. I loved both Slither and Super, as did everyone that saw it, so I ought to support this, even though I don’t know which superhero to dress up as when I go.
This is the directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister, and if Doom is any indication of cameramen to director moves, it should be pretty good, no irony. Doom was awesome. Although I can’t think of any two movies with more opposite titles.
The cast for this movie is insane. Expect this one to blow up late next year — Christopher Nolan is one of the biggest names in modern genre film, achieving such great prestige with the Batman movies, and then proving he can do thoughtful sci-fi with Inception. Interstellar is gonna be like Inception 2, but with the added benefit of being genuine, because Nolan has yet to do sequels for his original films. Strange to say for a science-fiction film, but this one’s gonna make a billion dollars. Of course, it could also be a turning point. We’ll have to see…
Oh boy. So, I never saw Safety Not Guaranteed, mostly because it had Aubrey Plaza. And I like the actress, but everything she’s involved in I’m supposed to hate. I just magically loved Scott Pilgrim by accident, and thought two-ish middle seasons of Parks and Recreation were funny. Gotta love Adam Scott.
It didn’t seem like the kind of movie where I, executive of Hollywood, would think, “Now that’s our Jurassic Park 4 guy.” Because the guy next to me would say, “Jurassic Park 4? Are you kidding?”
It’s the movie that was prophesied at the inception of Jurassic Park III, because once you introduce a numbering convention for sequels, you imply that the number can… change. According to the rules of math. Add a franchise with as little self-respect as Jurassic Park, and you’ve got Jurassic Park IV, better known as Jurassic… World. Is that a bad title? Sure, but it gives us a good indication of precisely what this is.
They want the old franchise’s fanbase (who?), but the license to reboot it for a new generation (who?). Now, I’ll level with you. Jurassic Park is my absolute favorite movie of all time — Terminator 2 rounds in at a solid #2, but it isn’t close. Watching Jurassic Park 3D earlier this year in IMAX was like some kind of religious, ritual journey into manhood, the rounding of my entire life in terms of entertainment. It began with Jurassic Park, and it ended with Jurassic Park. That’s also why I’m dead.
So to introduce this new one is like… no, it’s already over! But I’ve liked both sequels, even though they’re both horrendous, so I’ll be there day one for this one as well.
So as exciting as a lot of this is, because these are franchise movies and remakes and reboots and weirdnesses like a new Wachowski Sibling attack on the senses, I’ll be there, but not without the grimace of chagrin.
Sounds like another year in genre film.