As summer is once again bound to extinguish our hopes and barbecues with its inevitable downpours, what better way to evade the soggy sausage of disillusionment than a trip to the cinema? The big screen is primed to welcome us back from the cold this year with a selection of sci-fi films befittingly as fictional as British sunshine. Expect apocalypses, aliens, robots, Morgan Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch and copious CGI trickery…
Oblivion (April 19, 2013)
“Sixty years ago, Earth was attacked. We won the war, but they destroyed half the planet”. As Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) informs us, Oblivion will begin where many sci-fi films end: post- alien invasion. With the move of its release date forward from July to April 2013, the flick will kick-start sci-fi summer early this year, as we follow the escapades of a drone repairman returning to a run-down planet Earth. These will include the rescue of a young woman and his capture by the rebel leader Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman), who brings to light the despotism of the government that Jack is working for. While drawing influence from movies of the 1970s, it is this intriguing political angle which could set Oblivion apart this sci-fi season.
Star Trek: Into Darkness (May 16, 2013)
This May will see J.J. Abrams back at the helm of Star Trek in the sequel to 2009’s prosperous movie. The international trailer showcases Benedict Cumberbatch squaring up with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), convincingly threatening in his role as a villain from inside of the Enterprise. The amplified urgency of this snippet could, in this case literally, add Into Darkness to the list of film sequels that are darker than their predecessors. Since Abrams appears to have a monopoly over directing stellar franchises, STD may also offer insight into his approach to his upcoming Star Wars trilogy.
After Earth (June 7, 2013)
On a similarly dystopian note to Oblivion, After Earth is a simple concept: humanity leaves Earth, Earth is taken over by an alien species, two humans then crash land on Earth and find that Earth now hates humans. But simplicity is by no means a bad thing, and by M. Night Shyamalan’s directing record we can reasonably expect at least one wild plot twist. With Will Smith and his über-spawn Jaden Smith repping humanity, the family bond should gel with the director’s knack for creating eerie atmospheres. If the cutesy father-son dynamic of The Pursuit of Happyness meets the tension of The Sixth Sense in the course of their struggles, we are likely to see dead happy people in cinemas this summer.
Pacific Rim (July 12, 2013)
Without producing yet another full-blown Godzilla reboot (one of which will be emerging from the waters in 2014), Guillermo Del Toro promises a gothic touch to what will hopefully be a more original take on Japanese daikaiju films (movies about big monsters). Following this noble cinematic tradition, Del Toro will have humans piloting big robots to beat big aliens from the Pacific Ocean. Hopefully with a strong script to help sidestep Transformers-shaped pitfalls, the story of underdogs Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) steering an old titan to save the planet could be a monstrous hit.