The first Avatar trailer is now online over at the Apple trailers section. It looks good, but not the kind of paradigm changing upgrade to movie-making he has been claiming. But then again, even the HD version of the trailer is not IMAX 3D, so if you want to see if he can really pull that off, be at one of the Avatar Day free showings for 15 minutes of the film at IMAX theaters all over the world. Since that is tomorrow, the 21st, you had best sign up for your tickets tonight if there are any left at your local IMAX.
I just heard that they are remaking another SF film, this time around the classic Outland, which starred Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, and Frances Sternhagen, and got a killer review in the 1981 NY Times the day it hit the big screen. The original film had just enough sex and violence to catch the attention of the high school date crowd and make them care about the characters and real human drama that had the adult members of the audience already riveted on the screen. The remake could go either way; throw out the drama for straight mindless shoot-em-up, and grab those adrenalin and testosterone driven date-night dollars on one hand. On the other, they might develop the Space Frontier concept the original held to, with all the life-or-death concerns, struggles, and decisions people are prone to when in large groups in dangerous environments like space. But I have to wonder, was Hollywood paying attention this past weekend, when District 9 beat out everyone else at the box office? An original movie with unknown actors and director, telling a story that was brand new and deeply compelling! Or if that wasn’t spacey enough for you, how about Duncan Jones Moon from earlier this year and off this planet, built on an even tinier budget? District 9 and Moon are both the Outland equivalents for this year; telling a tale never known before, that makes you uncomfortable, makes you aware, and finally makes you care to the point where you choose sides. There aren’t many movies that can do that, and almost none of them are remakes. More Originals, Please!
It looks like Warner and DC are gearing up to do a Flash live action movie. So far, only the writers and producers have been identified; see the Hollywood Reporter story for details on this and other comics-film news. The special effects modeling in Moon looked excellent, with reason: it was done by the effects guru who did Alien, as well as some Doctor Who and Red Dwarf.
J Michael Straczynski did the best SF TV series ever *, Babylon5. He has now taken on another epic story; he is bringing Lensman to the Big Screen. The brainchild of E.E. “Doc” Smith, Lensman is a huge and complex story, and it couldn’t be in better hands. Besides the many books, part of it has been done as an anime, and of course there are audio book versions available. If you didn’t already know, Lensman is the original Space Opera, inventing the sub-genre. Some claim it was also the very first science fiction series ever written, but with a first story publish date of January 1934, I think Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars** series beat it to print with the February 1912 story Under the Moons of Mars. Which everyone remembers is also being made into a movie now, right?
*: Possibly now eclipsed by the new Battlestar Galactica, but maybe not: I’m going to re-watch both before I decide. You should do the same.
**: Notice how I avoided the whole science-fiction-vs-fantasy category argument for both book series by pretending it didn’t exist. Which it doesn’t when comparing these two works, since both of them would end up on the same side of the argument as voiced by any given debater; which side they ended up on would depend on who was doing the debating.
The Duncan Jones movie Moon hit theaters in limited release yesterday, and I for one am eagerly awaiting its footprint expanding to a screen close enough to visit. The most interesting review or reaction to it I have seen comes from this Scientific American article, which goes into the the scientific validity of Helium 3 as a power source. Cinematical has posted an interview with Duncan Jones that is quite good, and SciFi Squad got him to reveal his Five favorite Sci-Fi Movies. The official trailer has been released for The Time Travelers Wife, another movie to look forward to.
John Scalzi put together an analysis of the history of SNL SciFi, from which he drew one major conclusion: don’t do it! Moon opens tomorrow for a limited engagement. Very limited, in fact: two towns, New York and Los Angeles. According to the official site it is going to gradually ramp up, adding a few more towns each week, until by July 10th it will be accessible from most major cities. Cinematical just launched two new blogs; one each for Sci-Fi Movies and Horror films. They appear to be off to a good start.