Will 2014 be a good year for big-screen science fiction?
This article is more than 2 years old
Interstellar (November 7)
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, and they’re not just in the air, but also in some wormholes and in the future or maybe the past or something. That’s part of the fun in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming mindbender Interstellar: we still don’t quite know what the hell is going on. And unlike something coming out of J.J. Abrams’ mystery box, there’s a good chance this one is going to continue to keep viewers excited even as the credits begin to roll. Assuming it doesn’t end on a spinning top floating around in zero gravity or anything.
Interstellar, which was partly shot with IMAX cameras, will follow its all-star cast into space (and beyond) as they search for a planet with an ecosystem capable of plant growth, in a future where most of Earth’s resources have been used up. A newly discovered wormhole gives them access to rapid travel humanity has never seen before, and the pioneer crew goes farther than the imagination could conceive. I hope they pass out peyote to go along with the popcorn.
Based on theories devised by physicist Kip Thorne, the film was written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, and also stars Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, Wes Bently, Mackenzie Foy, Bill Irwin, and a cameo from Matt Damon. The film hits theaters on November 7, 2014, when it will probably earn enough money to fund a trip across the solar system. – Nick
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (November 21)
Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games novels are ridiculously popular in their own right, but that’s nothing compared to how huge the movies based on the trilogy have been so far. They’re practically printing money for the studio as the first two installments have raked in more than a billion dollars. That’s insane. The most recent film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, did something that no movie fronted by a woman has done in four decades: become the highest grossing (domestic) film of the year. Given how much money they stand to make, Lionsgate is doing that super-annoying thing every studio does now when they adapt the last book in a series, they’re breaking it into two movies.
Sure, this move is obnoxious, and an obvious cash grab, but that doesn’t mean we’re not excited for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. That sure is a mouthful, isn’t it? At least in this case a split is more warranted than in other instances. Mockingjay covers a lot of ground. Picking up after the events of Catching Fire, the action finds heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) dealing with a nasty bout of PTSD, the pressure of being a symbol of freedom and rebellion, and two governments that may want her dead. Not to mention she has to choose between two boys. That’s hard.
Mockingjay is different than the two previous books. Though the action still centers on Katniss, there’s a great deal of big-picture stuff going on, and her life is more a part of the larger world. The first film is fine. I don’t love it like many people — especially if you hold it up against the book — but it isn’t bad. The sequel is an improvement in every way over the first chapter, fixing most of the problems I had, and if the franchise continues to grow and improve, we could be in for something special when Mockingjay drops this fall. – Brent
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