Four new sci-fi flicks – coming soon to a theater near you
Lots of promising science-fiction films are in the works right now – “Replicas”; “Annihilation”; “Blade Runner 2”; “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Pacific Rim” and “Planet of the Apes” sequels; and film adaptations of “Ready Player One,” “Station Eleven,” “Descender,” and “Chrononauts” – but we’re going to have to wait a long time for most of those. For now, let’s look at some new films coming out in the next few months:
First up, we have “Arrival,” adapted from a short story by Ted Chiang. The story, about deciphering alien communication, is directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer and stars Amy Adams as a linguist hired to communicate with aliens, Jeremy Renner as a mathematician, and Forest Whitaker as a U.S. Army colonel. The film, which had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, has had mostly good reviews thus far.
Sasha James at The Mary Sue said the movie “proves to be much more than the standard first contact flick, and Villeneuve maintains his track record of turning all expectations of genre on their head.”
“Arrival” will be released Nov. 11.
“The Space Between Us” has an original, intriguing concept: Asa Butterfield plays a teenager born on Mars who goes to Earth for the first time, experiencing our planet with fresh eyes. (You may remember Butterfield from “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,” “Hugo,” or “Ender’s Game.”)
The movie also stars Carla Gugino, Britt Robertson, and Gary Oldman, who plays a character inspired by Elon Musk.
It could be a hit, as long as it doesn’t veer too far into schmaltzy territory. Another potential problem is timing – right now it’s up against the new Stars Wars film which has the same Dec. 16 release date.
Don’t expect to see Luke Skywalker or R2 in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” These are (mostly) new people in a sort of side project to tide you over till the next chapter of the saga.
Set sometime between episodes III and IV, “Rogue One” stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker.
Jones plays Jyn Erso, a Rebel fighter who teams up with Cassian Andor (Luna) and some other Rebels to steal the Death Star plans.
There are a couple familiar faces: Genevieve O’Reilly will reprise her role as Mon Mothma, and Jimmy Smits is back as Bail Organa. There will also be a familiar voice – James Earl Jones as Darth Vader.
“Passengers,” a sci-fi romance/thriller, stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as astronauts accidentally awakened from hibernation 90 years too early.
The original script (by Jon Spaihts) has been floating around for years and at one point had Keanu Reeves and Reese Witherspoon set to star as the stranded pair.
The film is directed by Morten Tyldum, who also directed “The Imitation Game” and “Headhunters” (a cool film starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from “Game of Thrones” – check it out if you haven’t seen it).
“Passengers” is slated for a Dec. 21 release.
Photos: “Passengers,” Columbia Pictures; “Arrival,” Paramount Pictures; “The Space Between Us,” STX Entertainment; “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Lucasfilm/Disney