We all know how science fiction works in Hollywood, right? We get maybe one or two really original ideas a year, followed by a handful of clever riffs on worn-out ideas, followed by trope-heavy and badly acted C-movies, which make up the majority of the releases. (Occasionally there will be a few great ideas in terrible movies.) Since fans know we can almost always expect a couple of alien invasion movies in a year’s time, we can only hope that the director getting the job is the best possible one anyone could have hoped for. Mandeville and Good Universe are doing just that with the upcoming invasion film Extinction, which has pulled Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston in with its tractor beam. If nothing else, we know this film is going to look really damned cool.
Johnston is directing from a script written by Spenser Cohen, who has a couple of as-yet-unproduced action films sold to different studios. The story is being kept secret for now, but it involves a man trying to save his family as an alien invasion unfolds. We’re assuming he’s saving them from the alien invasion, sort of like Steven Spielberg’s take on War of the Worlds, but perhaps it’ll have more of an action-oriented angle, rather than just a bunch of running-away scenes.
Johnston is at a point in a filmmaker’s career where I’m going to watch anything he comes out with. He started his career with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, followed by The Rocketeer. These are two films every person’s childhood must include for maximum humanity to sprout forth. He went on to make the adventure-filled Jumanji and Jurassic Park III, with the high-stakes western Hidalgo and the disappointing but striking remake of The Wolfman after that. Next up he’s got the office-building thriller Not Safe for Work. I spew forth his entire resume because he’s a talented guy who has no problem switching from genre to genre, but working only with big ideas.
Early descriptions said the film was in the same vein as The Sixth Sense and Cloverfield, two films that have damned near nothing in common. But Johnston is the kind of director who might be able to make that combination happen. As long as the aliens aren’t just weird-looking CGI versions of Chris Evans, I’m down with this movie all the way. Now they just need a solid leading man for the role.
Might I put down a suggestion? This guy:
No, not Billy Campbell. The Rocketeer. I want, dare I say need, to watch the Rocketeer save his family by fighting aliens.