A Quick Look at the Remaining 2009 Science Fiction Movies
by Alex Billington
April 21, 2009
I'm a big fan of anything and everything science fiction, and I'll gladly admit that the movies I'm most excited for are usually from that genre. We've already seen a few great sci-fi flicks so far this year, like Monsters vs Aliens and Knowing, but there are a plenty more great ones yet to come. In fact, there are at least 14 more sci-fi movies still due out this year, including one that may just revolutionize cinema as we know it. The summer movie season finally kicks off in a few more weeks, and debuting the second weekend into May is one of the biggest sci-fi movies of the year, Star Trek. But that's only just the beginning…
Read on for our fairly comprehensive look at the 14 remaining science fiction movies of 2009, starting with Star Trek, and ending with James Cameron's Avatar. Are you ready to dive in? Then let's get right to it!
Directed by J.J. Abrams
In Theaters May 8th
At this point, I don't think I need to say much about this. Its been 7 years since we last saw Star Trek on the big screen, and 18 years since we last saw Captain Kirk and the original crew in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Now, the USS Enterprise is back, but with all new faces. J.J. Abrams has rounded up a vibrant young cast to show us the origins of the 7 crew members on the bridge of the Enterprise, from Kirk to Spock to Bones to Sulu to Uhura to Chekov to Scotty. It was a risk rebooting this franchise, but it's look good so far, and Paramount might have successfully turned Star Trek from geek to cool in no time.
Directed by McG
In Theaters May 21st
Another sci-fi franchise rebooted, like Star Trek, but this time they're continuing right where they left off at the end of Terminator 3 in 2003. And just like Abrams, McG has rounded up a vibrant young cast to lead the resistance against the machines. Ever since James Cameron introduced us to his vision of the post-apocalyptic future that was waiting us after Judgment Day, we've all been hoping to see what it would look like and how John Connor would lead the resistance. Now we get our chance. And thanks to Christian Bale, Terminator Salvation looks like the futuristic Terminator sequel we've all been wanting to see!
Directed by Jaco van Dormael
Release Date Currently Unknown
From Belgian filmmaker Jaco van Dormael comes an incredible sci-fi drama about life, love, and family. Nemo Nobody, played by Jared Leto, leads an ordinary existence with his wife and 3 children until the day when reality skids and he wakes up as an old man in the year 2092. At 120, Mr. Nobody is both the oldest man in the world and the last mortal of a new mankind where nobody dies. The only questions that preoccupy him in the present are whether he lived the right life, loved the woman whom he was supposed to love, and had the children whom he was meant to have… now his purpose is to find the right answer.
Directed by Sandy Collora
Release Date Currently Unknown
Yet another independent sci-fi film, this time from former concept artist and creature designer Sandy Collora, who also brought us the fan film Batman: Dead End. We don't know too much about this yet, and only got our first glimpse at a teaser trailer a few weeks ago… But what we do know is that Collora shot it on a shoestring budget down in Mexico and designed some really sleek futuristic armor for the team of special forces commandos to wear. Collora has said that Hunter Prey has a "very 70's, old school sci-fi, organic, feel" to it. That small description, combined with that awesome armor, is enough to make me interested.
Directed by Duncan Jones
In Theaters June 12th
From out of nearly nowhere comes Moon, the Sundance sensation from first-time director Duncan Jones, who is David Bowie's son. While I won't dare spoil any of the big plot points of the story, Moon is about astronaut Sam Bell, played by Sam Rockwell, who is finishing his three years of contracted work on the surface of the Moon, mining precious Helium 3, a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems. However, things start to go crazy when Sam has an all too personal encounter. I can already say, having seen this once in January, that it's one of the best low-budget sci-fi films of the last decade.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Directed by Michael Bay
In Theaters June 24th
Again, this is a movie that needs no introduction, especially as a sequel to one of the biggest hits of 2007. I think the more important question is why have I included it in the sci-fi genre. Well, we can't forget that Optimus Prime, Megatron, and all their Autobot and Decepticon friends, are actually aliens from another planet called Cybertron. Sure, they may be futuristic robots as well, but they're also aliens, and that instantly makes this a sci-fi, even though I'd probably call it an action/adventure movie more than anything. That said, I'm excited to see what Michael Bay has whipped up in this sequel, with even bigger giant robots.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
In Theaters August 14th
Taking its cue from Cloverfield, Neill Blomkamp's District 9 has remained a very secret project until quite recently. Even though we still haven't seen a trailer, we do know that it's about "non-humans" (aka aliens) who landed on Earth years ago and have become refugees in Johannesburg, South Africa. The film is a full-length version of Blomkamp's short film titled Alive in Joburg. However, we don't really know how the story will play out, or what the aliens are even doing on Earth, which makes this all the more intriguing. It's produced by Peter Jackson, who is Blomkamp's mentor, and is gearing up to hit hard this summer.
From Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the crazy minds behind Crank and Crank: High Voltage, comes an adrenaline-fueled action movie set in the distant future. Video games have advanced so much, that players control actual human beings, prisoners implanted with chips in their brains, in intense battles in post-apocalyptic wastelands. Gerard Butler stars as the most popular player in a game called Slayers, on the verge of gaining his freedom, and Logan Lerman stars as his player Simon. It's definitely way more action than it is sci-fi, but it's got enough of those futuristic elements that sci-fi fans might enjoy it as well.
Directed by Christian Alvart
In Theaters September 4th
There are always a few sci-fi movies that seep into the horror genre, and this year, Pandorum is the big one. Directed by German filmmaker Christian Alvart, the movie stars Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid as two crew members aboard a spaceship who wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities. They eventually discover more people on the ship as well as some nasty tribal warriors intent on killing everyone. It sounds somewhat inspired by Joss Whedon's "Firefly" (think of the Reavers), but who knows, as we have yet to hear more details about it. The first trailer that hit a few months ago did look quite promising.
Directed by Jonathan Mostow
In Theaters September 25th
Seemingly inspired by Isaac Asimov's I, Robot comes this energetic action movie about a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots. It's actually based on a Top Shelf graphic novel and was directed by Jonathan Mostow, who previously directed U-571 and Terminator 3. Bruce Willis stars as a cop who is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others' surrogates robots, a mysteriously unlikely occurrence. Given we haven't seen Bruce Willis in a sci-fi movie since Armageddon in 1998, it's great to finally have him back in the genre again.
Directed by David Bowers
In Theaters October 23rd
The one and only animated movie that rightfully deserves to be on this list. Astro Boy, based on Osamu Tezuka's beloved Japanese manga, is about a robotic boy created with incredible powers. It's set in the futuristic Metro City and is kind of a kid's movie, but still packed full of great sci-fi. It deserves to be on this list because of how culturally important Astro Boy is to Japan. Animated by Imagi Studios, the company behind TMNT in 2007, Astro Boy features the voices of Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, and Kristen Bell. So far all the trailers we've seen have been promising and I'm excited to see more.
Directed by Richard Kelly
In Theaters October 30th
Now this is one movie you may really be wondering why I've included on this list. The Box is directed by Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly, and at first glance, is nothing more than a morality tale about a couple in the 70's who receive a mysterious box with an ominous button. But of course, we can't forget that this is Richard Kelly, and he did write the script. Looking back at an article from early 2008, Kelly mentions that The Box includes "'70s kitsch, teleporting and the 1976 Viking mission to Mars." That certainly sounds sci-fi to me. Anyone want to guess that their might be some time travel ideas in this as well?
Directed by Roland Emmerich
In Theaters November 13th
This is another movie that borders on being fantasy more than science fiction, although conspiracy theorists might argue that there's a lot more science than fantasy surrounding the predicted apocalypse of 2012. From the special effects-loving German director Roland Emmerich comes yet another big budget disaster movie (the 4th one he's made). John Cusack stars as an academic researcher who attempts to lead a group of people in a fight to counteract the apocalyptic events that occur in the year 2012. Emmerich is keeping the plot details on this one a mystery, for obvious reasons, but I'm still excited to see how it plays out.
Directed by James Cameron
In Theaters December 18th
What a way to end the year - with the granddaddy of them all. From Terminator to Aliens to The Abyss, he's brought us some of the greatest sci-fi movies of all-time, and he's ready to do it all over again. James Cameron directs the very highly anticipated Avatar, which has been in production for many years. All we know is that it's the story of a wounded ex-marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet called Pandora rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival. Even though it's the last on this list, Avatar is the movie I'm most excited to see.
It certainly looks like an exciting year for sci-fi. Being a huge fan of the genre, I really hope all of these movies are as great as they seem, because I want to end this year having seen some great sci-fi classics.
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