From the time I first learned to read, all the way through to my eventually moving out for college, my imagination was sparked and shaped by my dad’s shelves of old science fiction books. I burned through paperbacks with names like Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton and Isaac Asimov on their covers. But some of the most distinct memories I have are of poring over a book called Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD, marveling at the gorgeous spaceship art and dreaming that someday I might see their like spreading out through the solar system. (I may be more cynical these days, but I still cling to those dreams.) So when I ran across a pair of CGI short films based on the book, I was instantly transported back to being eight years old again.
Neither the fact that J.J. Abrams is keeping secrets, nor the fact that Disney is playing Star Wars: Episode VII close to the vest, should be surprising. That’s standard operating procedure on both fronts. What is surprising, if these latest reports are in fact true, is how well, in today’s hyperaware landscape, they were able to pull it off. Apparently production has already started on the return to that far away galaxy, and they are filming right now. The cast may not be finalized, but that isn’t going to stop them from putting images on film.
We expected production to start soon—the Internet scuttlebutt has been saying May for the last few months—but in a recent interview with THR, Disney Studio Chairman Alan Horn let the news slip. While discussing the casting process, and how much, though not all, of the main pieces are in place, Horn said, in an offhand aside, “We’re actually shooting some of it now.” He didn’t say anything more than that, but that’s enough to get us all chattering.
It had to happen eventually, our week full of Godzilla fun had to finally draw to a close. Over the course of the last few days, we had no less than six new TV spots for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ reboot of Toho’s classic creature feature dropped in our lap, and they saved the biggest for last. Or at least what we think is last, there might be more on the horizon. The studios just unveiled a new extended look at director Gareth Edwards’ upcoming adventure that clocks in at two-and-a-half minutes, and full of new footage and information.
When we heard “extended look,” we anticipated more of a behind the scenes peek at the film. This video, however, is essentially a new trailer, one that focuses more on the human element of the story, rather than the giant monster portion. Right out of the gate we see a nuclear power plant sitting in the backyard of a seemingly quiet little domestic village. At least we know that radiation is going to have something to do with the story, though the control room looks super dated, like it was leftover from a 1970s disaster flick. That’s kind of awesome; very classic.
I don’t know all that many scientists in real life, they tend to have better things to do than hang out people who spend most of their time talking trash about movies online. As a result, most of my conception of who they are and what they do comes from various media portrayals. Damn it if nearly every scientist in movies on and on TV isn’t intent on exceeding the bounds and boundaries of our biological selves, with playing God, and as you probably know, at least on screen, that rarely ends well for anyone. From what we’ve seen, Wally Pfister’s Transcendence is going to follow this genre logic, a point that this first TV spot drives home big time.
The latest video from Warner Bros. lays out the basic thematic concerns and some of the plot points. Those pesky bodies and that whole mortality thing are always getting in our way, but if Johnny Depp’s Dr. Will Caster has anything to say about it, that’s not going to be an issue much longer. He envisions a future where machines will have a full range of emotions, much like their human counterparts. In general, he thinks he’ll be able to “overcome the limits” of our biology and create an artificial intelligence that will become greater than the collective intellect of everyone on Earth.
There’s some cool stuff happening in space. That’s true in a general sense, but scientists have recently discovered our best look yet at the process of stars being born at the edge of our galaxy, which is exciting. A gas stream from another, nearby galaxy has collided with our own, and the result is brand spanking new stars to brighten up the night sky, unless you live in a city, then you’re just lucky to see a star at all, what with all the light pollution.
Astronomers have now identified the enormous gas flow as coming from the Magellanic Clouds, which are the nearest two galaxies that orbit around the Milky Way. When the gas collided with the gas in our own solar system, they formed the new stars. Since they’re so young and near, scientists can observe them more readily, and the results have yielded some stirring news.
This weekend, comic book movie talk is obviously going to center on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and we’ve still go The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy yet to come this summer. But there are always more comic properties to talk about, from AMC’s The Walking Dead to DC’s Batman Vs. Superman, and now we have a new one, as Benderspink and Illuminati are joining forces to bring Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar to the big screen.
A favorite cult title from the 1980s, Dreadstar follows the story of Vanth Dreadstar, because that is an awesome name if I’ve ever heard one, and why wouldn’t you want to know what kind of adventures he’s having? He is the last remaining survivor of the Milky Way, which has been torn asunder by the clash between two evil sides, the Monarch and the Church of The Instrumentality. But don’t worry, Vanth is not alone. As you would expect he has a crew of odds and ends and misfits at his side. His team includes a mystic, Syzygy Darklock, another find moniker; Willow, a telepath; and a sort of cat-man named Oedi. That last one sounds a little like Garfield mixed with Red Dwarf.