Cloud Atlas Connects Everything This Week In Science Fiction

By David Wharton | 8 years ago

Cloud Atlas
in theaters Friday

There is no shortage of reasons why Cloud Atlas is the clear front-runner for GFR sci-fi pick of the week. There’s the fact that it marks the return of the Wachowskis to both the big screen and to science fiction as a genre, the first time Andy and Lana have had their names attached (along with Run Lola Run’s Tom Twyker) in more than a producerial role since 2008’s Speed Racer. That film was hardly a rousing success, so the success of Cloud Atlas could herald whether we’re in for a return of the first-Matrix glory days or if they run the risk of pulling a Shyamalan.

And they sure as hell aren’t playing it safe: based on the supposedly “unfilmable” 2004 novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas has enlisted a cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant to tell a complex, intertwining narrative that spans across the centuries from past to future and has many of the actors playing multiple roles in different segments. Its not exactly the sort of thing that screams “mainstream appeal,” but it has the potential to be something truly unique and unforgettable. Early word is mixed, but you can bet we’ll be there Friday morning to check it out for ourselves, so be sure to swing by later this week to see what we thought.

It seems like making a good Cloud Atlas movie is a massively daunting task…but man do we love those trailers. Fingers crossed that it blows us away, and then we can begin anticipating the Wachowskis Jupiter Ascending in 2014.

Alphas (Syfy, 8/7c) — “God’s Eye”
A bitter and high-stakes struggle between two men with very different visions of the future. That accurately describes both the presidential debate unfolding on the major networks and this season finale of Alphas, but there’s a good chance this one will be more entertaining and not as depressing.

Blade Runner (30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition)
If you haven’t bought any of the numerous previous “definitive” releases of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, or are in the mood to fork over some cash for yet another one, the new versions hitting today are at least pretty damned impressive. Especially if you opt for the massive four-disc box set, you’re at least going to get a solid product. And thankfully, despite the various “cuts” of the movie over the years, at least Scott hasn’t started “pulling a Lucas” on it yet. (There’s always the rumored sequel to ruin it in retrospect, of course….)

Face Off (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Scene of the Crime”
In yet another bit of NBC Universal cross-promotion, tonight’s ep challenges the designers to create makeup inspired by the supernatural TV series Grimm.

Hot Set (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Super Villain’s Lair”
Will the designers opt for the classics? Perhaps a giant interactive map of the world, the better for plotting schemes? Maybe some Tesla coils just to add some sparks? At the very least maybe a latte machine for the henchmen?

I, Robot (Blu-Ray/3D Combo)
I can’t imagine the addition of 3D effects will add anything to I, Robot that Big Willie Style and the presence of Alan Tudyk — good or ill — already did. But hey, Tudyk probably gets like a penny if you buy a copy, so be our guest.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Blu-Ray & DVD)
World-ending apocalypse is a rare subject for a romantic comedy, but it’s precisely that odd pairing that means I’m more inclined to give this flick a shot than I am most of its ilk. I’d rather watch Safety Not Guaranteed, but still.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season Four (Blu-Ray & DVD)
The return of Darth Maul, last seen split in twain and plummeting down a chasm in The Phantom Menace, is front and center on this new release. How did he stage a comeback after his unfortunate bisection? Will Maul continue to rival Boba Fett for the role of “Star Wars Character Whose Badass Reputation Is Severely Undercut By An Awkward And Embarrassing Death In The Films?”

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman: Season 3 (DVD)
While, three seasons in, I still have yet to see Mr. Voiceover actually pass through a wormhole, there’s still something comforting about hearing him narrate us through such beard-scratchers as “Will We Survive First Contact?” “Is the Universe Alive,” and “What Is Nothing?”

Ghostbusters 100-Page Spooktacular (IDW Publishing)
IDW’s ongoing Ghostbusters series has actually been quite good, so if you’re craving some new adventures from Peter, Ego, Ray, and Winston — and don’t want to keep waiting for the possibly horrible Ghostbusters 3 — this massive one-shot mixes earlier stories with a few new stories penned by folks such as Scott Lobdell and Peter David.

The Neighbors (ABC, 8:30/7:30c) — “Halloween-ween”

Nova: Sciencenow (PBS, 10/9c) — “How Smart Can We Get?”
Never mind that, I want to know how smart we can get without having to evolve those giant, butt-looking heads like the Talosians from Star Trek. I’d just like to consistently win on Jeopardy and that’ll be fine, thanks.

Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who Assimilation #6 (IDW Publishing)
The collisions of worlds continues as the Enterprise crew (Jean-Luc edition) and the Doctor attempt to foil the evil schemes of both the Borg and the Cybermen. I’ve been hearing decidedly mixed things about this series, so I’ll be waiting till the run is done and there’s more consensus before I considered dropping my hard-earned cash on this one.

Walking Dead #102 (Image Comics)
What’s that, you say? There’s a Walking Dead comic book now? Indeed, and any of you currently chomping at the bit would do well to check out the exceptional source material, which recently hit its 100th freakin’ issue. Even if you “don’t read comics,” you should still be reading this. If not, the zombies win.

Person of Interest (CBS, 9:01/8:01c) — “Triggerman”
Reese and Finch have spent two seasons saving those the Machine told them could and should be saved…but what to do when the name it serves up belongs to a mob enforcer?

Fringe (Fox, 9/8c) — “The Bullet That Saved the World”
The Fringe team continues their covert war about the Observer occupation, and finds themselves asking if they can still trust an old compatriot?

Mockingbird Lane (NBC, 8/7c)
Worth watching for the talents involved and the sheer bizarity of the concept if nothing else, this remake/re-imagining of The Munsters is the very definition of “outside the box.” I’ll absolutely be tuning in thanks to the involvement of folks like Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies), Bryan Singer, and Eddie Izzard, but I’m not terribly surprised that this would-be series has been relegated to a Halloween-themed one-shot.

Tron: Uprising (Disney XD, 7:30/6:30c) — “Scars, Part 1”
Fans hoping to find out more about the titular character — Tron himself — should be intrigued by this two-parter (previewed a few months ago at Comic-Con) set to explore his history before the occupation.

Rise of the Zombies (Syfy, 9/8c)
Do you like the idea of AMC’s The Walking Dead but you’d prefer to see it made dumber and shittier? Syfy rides to the rescue with this TV movie starring actors and paycheck-pursuers Mariel Hemingway, LeVar Burton, Danny Trejo, and French “Still Alive” Stewart.

Large Dangerous Rocket Ships (Science, 10/9c)
Large, you say? Dangeous, you say? And Rocket Ships, no less? I’m listening…

MythBusters (Discovery Channel, 8/7c) — “Fright Night”
“A sound-frequency test is conducted; Kari, Grant and Tory determine if the smell of fear exists.” They could have just checked Amazon.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9/8c) — “Walk With Me”
Not to be confused with an invitation to “Fire walk with me,” which would mean you’d stumbled into the brain of David Lynch. Which, I think we can all agree, would be a significantly more terrifying prospect than the zombie apocalypse.

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