Upside Down Flips Romance On Its Head: This Week In Science Fiction
In theaters Friday
Upside Down hinges upon the sort of insane, fairy tale premise that should make for some amazing visuals on screen. It’s the story of a world much like our own, but with a twin planet that is impossibly close, nearly close enough to touch if you happen to have a mountain handy. The twin worlds are mirror opposites in many ways: Up is wealthy and prosperous. Down is poor, and it is strictly forbidden for a citizen of Down to travel to Up. The two worlds also interact with each other in strange ways:
- All matter is pulled by the gravity of the world that it comes from, and not the other.
- An object’s weight can be offset by matter from the opposite world (inverse matter).
- After some time in contact, matter in contact with inverse matter burns.
The film unfolds as a love story between two people literally from different worlds. Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) meet as children, after Adam climbs a mountain to get closer to Up. The two fall in love, but are separated, and Eve presumed killed, when their forbidden relationship is discovered. Years later, Adam discovers that Eden is still alive, and sets out to find his lady-love again.
I’m not going to throw out any predictions on whether they get a happy ending, but their sex life could be explosive, what with that whole “inverse matter burns” thing.
Continuum (Syfy, 8/7c) — “Family Time”
“Kiera and Carlos visit Roland’s farm after they’re alerted to a bulk purchase of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer used to make explosives.” No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There’s always a boom tomorrow.
Ring of Fire, Part 1 (Reelz, 8/7c)
This two-part miniseries sounds only slightly less ridiculous than your average Syfy Saturday night original. “An oil rig triggers a volcanic eruption in a small town, but it may just be the beginning of a worldwide catastrophe if it sets off a chain reaction of explosions that could destroy the Earth.” Quick, somebody call up Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank’s characters from The Core!
Science Special: Insect Autopsy (Science, 10/9c)
If you’ve got phobia issues with bugs, this special probably isn’t for you.
In INSECT AUTOPSY, Science Channel strips back the exoskeleton to uncover the blueprint of insect global domination. Outnumbering us 200 million to one, insects thrive where humans wouldn’t last minutes. Without bugs, ecosystems would collapse, crops would disappear, and waste would pile high.
Alien Encounters (Science, 10/9c) — “The Offspring”
The show speculates about an encounter with an alien mothership. I hope they can remember that musical riff from Close Encounters.
Doctor Who: The Ark in Space — Special Edition (DVD)
A classic Tom Baker serial gets the special edition treatment. In addition to the episodes themselves, the disc includes audio commentary, a making-of featurette, interviews, and more.
The TARDIS lands on a space station orbiting the earth in the distant future. It’s seemingly deserted, but the Doctor, Sarah and Harry soon discover that they are not alone. Thousands of humans – the only survivors of the human race – are in cryogenic sleep, and while they’ve slept their Ark has been invaded. A parasitic insect race – the Wirrn – have taken control and threaten the very future of mankind.
Doctor Who: The Aztecs — Special Edition (DVD)
If you’re a recent Doctor Who convert looking to explore the show’s long history, this serial has the First Doctor (William Hartnell) landing inside an Aztec tomb. His companion, Barbara, is mistaken for the reincarnation of an ancient priestess, and hijinks ensue. As with the Ark in Space disc, this one includes lots of goodies, including audio commentary, behind-the-scenes segments, and more.
Face Off (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Mummy Mayhem”
The competition once again dives into the world of cross-promotion, with the final five contestants tasked with making mummies inspired by the upcoming Evil Dead remake. (A film which, to the best of my knowledge, does not involve mummies in any way. Don’t ask me.)
Ring of Fire, Part 2 (Reelz, 8/7c)
Reelz’s two-part miniseries wraps up tonight. Unless a barrage of supervolcanoes has killed us all by that point.
Robot Combat League (Syfy, 10/9c) — “A Hero’s Journey”
One of the show’s robojocks is George Lucas’ daughter, Amanda, and Lucas puts in an appearance in tonight’s episode. I wonder if they’ll let him control one the ‘bots…
Storage 24 (Blu-Ray & DVD)
This sci-fi horror flick stars and was co-written by Noel Clarke, better known as Mickey from Doctor Who. The plot involves a group of strangers getting trapped inside a storage facility with a bloodthirsty alien. I caught it a few months back on demand, and while it’s not a great film, it has some fun moments. I’d say don’t pay full ticket price; catch it at a matinee or wait for DVD if you’re interested.
Saucer Country #13 (Vertigo Comics)
This brilliant series by writer Paul Cornell has been cancelled by those bastards at DC, who are now off my Christmas list. Hopefully the series got enough notice to provide loyal readers with at least some closure.
On election night, Arcadia’s chances of reaching the highest office in the land are too close to call…just like Prof Kidd’s chances of holding on to his sanity. In Part Two of “President’s Day,” our heroes are forced to ask: Whose side are the flying saucers on?
Person of Interest (CBS, 9:01/8:01c) — “All In”
Reese heads to Las Vegas to protect “the unluckiest gambler in the world.”
Cult (The CW, 9/8c) — “Get With the Program”
I’m actually glad this show has been kind of a mess, because when it is inevitably cancelled, at least I won’t be invested. “Jeff and Skye meet a man who finds and deprograms cult members. Later, Kelly locates Professor Patrick at Billy’s compound.”
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9/8c) — “Prey”
“With the Governor busy pursuing a runaway dissenter, a traitor looks to sabotage his impending plans.” I wonder who the dissenter is. Andrea? Tyreese? For that matter, who’s the traitor?