Last week, Star Trek Beyond star Chris Pine was interviewed in SFX magazine promoting the latest space adventure in the sci-fi series. When asked why the most recent films in the Star Trek franchise have been more action-oriented than thought-provoking – something the series has been traditionally known for ever since its inception in 1966 – he responded: "You can't make a cerebral Star Trek in 2016”. Well, I'm here to say you can. Let's take a look at why that's still possible. Pine's intriguing quote encouraged me to write some of my own thoughts about the Star Trek franchise and how it can still be intelligent today.
"Hello, HAL. Do you read me?" This is awesome! Editor/filmmaker Luc Bergeron, also known as Zapatou, has released a mashup video featuring scenes from 25 space movies all edited together to tell one 5-minute story. It's actually quite amusing, especially once things get going. The video is titled Space Story: A Bad Day and includes footage from pretty much every great sci-fi/space movie ever made - from Star Wars to The Fifth Element to 2001: A Space Odyssey to Apollo 13 to Moon to Armageddon to Avatar to Guardians of the Galaxy and everything else. This reminds me of the Hell's Club mashup but with space movies. Enjoy!
"They're here." The teaser trailer has debuted for an indie sci-fi psychological thriller called Shortwave, directed by Ryan Gregory Phillips, and produced by the same people who made the indie horror hit The Invitation. The film is based on a theory of the origins of shortwave radio frequencies, and the more they investigate, the more weird things start to happen. The cast includes Cristobal Tapia Montt, Juanita Ringeling, and Kyle Davis, along with music by the indie band Mantaraybryn. This teaser is visually appealing and quite thrilling, with so many crazy shots that will make you wonder what the heck is going on. I can't tell if this has aliens or monsters or something else (or none of the above) but they got my attention.
"You ever do that? Visual something about the future…" Check out this trailer for a very small independent film called Counter Clockwise, an example of compelling sci-fi being made on a shoestring budget. The film is sci-fi thriller meets dark comedy about a scientist who accidentally invents time travel and is zapped six months into the future. He finds himself in a twisted time where his wife and sister are murdered and he's the main suspect. It kind of has a Brick meets Primer vibe to it, and I'm quite interested to see the entire thing. Lots of fancy panning shots. Starring Michael Kopelow, Devon Ogden, Kerry Knuppe, Joy Rinaldi, Caleb Brown and Frank Simms. Give it a look below and tell us if you're intrigued as well.
This time it's for real. Vertical Entertainment has released an official trailer for a sci-fi action film called The Call Up, from writer/director Charles Barker about a virtual reality video game that turns out to be more than just a simple, harmless video game. The story follows a group of gamers invited to participate in a brand new shoot-’em-up virtual reality experience, but they soon discover it may not be a "game" after all. This sounds like it's borrowing the Ender's Game concept and combining it with the virtual reality craze. The cast includes Max Deacon, Morfydd Clark, Ali Cook and Christopher Obi. It actually looks like it has some solid action, but I'm not sure if the rest will be any good. The suits look a bit cheesy. Take a look.
"Bring him home!" STX Entertainment has debuted the official trailer for Peter Chelsom's The Space Between Us, about a boy who was born and raised on Mars. Asa Butterfield plays the boy, now aged 16, who finally returns to Earth and discovers a whole new planet for the first time. Of course, there's a love story and he falls for a "street smart girl in Colorado named Tulsa", played by Britt Robertson, but must deal with his own physical struggles. The full cast includes Carla Gugino, Gary Oldman, BD Wong, Janet Montgomery, and Jenny Gabrielle. This gets a bit cheesy, as expected when there's a love story like this, but it has a sweet side to it that makes it hard to resist. I like the concept of a person being born on Mars and discovering Earth for the first time, I'm just not sure if this is the best version of that. Take a look.
"Don't let it out." 20th Century Fox has unveiled a teaser trailer for a mysterious new sci-fi horror thriller called Morgan, with the tagline "what is Morgan?" It's obviously not "who", but "what", making me wonder if this is some weird alien creature they've captured that is pretending to be human. A bit like Under the Skin but if that film was made by Hollywood and not Jonathan Glazer. Morgan is the first feature directed by Ridley Scott's son Luke Scott, and stars Kate Mara as a corporate troubleshooter sent to investigate this "person". The full cast also includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti. I'm certainly intrigued, this is a good tease.
"What if I told you I did conquer it? Time, that is. Would that be something you were interested in?" Now this is cool. Tempus is a new short film co-directed by Jes Bickhart and John Bashyam that is being pitched as a proof of concept for a feature. The concept involves a device that allows those connected to slow down time for 60 seconds. It's not a completely original sci-fi concept, but the short film is very impressive. There's a cinematic feel to it that really makes a difference, the VFX work is excellent, and the whole film has this nice coming-of-age vibe to it (a bit like Chronicle) that makes me want to see more. Check this out.
"It isn't uncommon, you know. It's easy to get lost in the vastness of space." Paramount has debuted the new full theatrical trailer for Justin Lin's sequel Star Trek Beyond, the latest in the new version of the Star Trek series. The full cast includes all the returning Enterprise crew members: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin. Newcomers this time are Joe Taslim, Sofia Boutella, and Idris Elba. This new trailer features tons of sci-fi action, lots of aliens, and it actually looks awesome. A big improvement over the first trailer. Now they've got my attention again.
"If there's a paranormal problem - we're the ones to answer the call." Sony has debuted the second official trailer for Paul Feig's new Ghostbusters movie, which is very vibrant and action-packed with funky ghosts, proton packs and ectoplasm galore. We've already met the new team: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, along with their new secretary, played Chris Hemsworth, who is revealed in this trailer to have a bigger role than expected. This is definitely an improvement over that first trailer, however some of the jokes are a bit cheesy, and some of the ghost effects look a bit glossy, perhaps on purpose. I'm sure opinions will be rather divisive, but it still looks like it's worth checking out. Have fun.
"Our biologically engineered hosts are created from the ground up…" If you're looking for something to make you think, stop and watch this. There's an impressive new sci-fi short film out called Trial made by The Brothers Lynch, the same guys behind Dual and Old Habits. Starring Tom Cullen, Ana Ularu and Joseph Mawle, the short takes place from the perspective of a quadriplegic soldier who gets a nifty new mind transfer procedure that helps him rehabilitate. The short is a teaser for a full feature called Residual that will be the Brothers Lynchs' directorial debut, and it's currently securing financing. Take a look below.
"All this is Andròn - the quest for the contenders." The first trailer has debuted for an interesting sci-fi film called Andròn - The Black Labyrinth, or just Andron. It's about a dark, claustrophobic maze being run by Alec Baldwin, who broadcasts the fights of the various contenders hoping to survive. This seems like some weird mash-up of Cube and The Hunger Games, with a dose of The Maze Runner because of course. The ensemble cast includes Michelle Ryan, Danny Glover, Leo Howard, Gale Harold, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Gaia Scodellaro and Margareth Madè. There are some cool moments in this (the opening looks great) but I'm not sure if it'll be any good, especially with such a low IMDb rating. Fire it up.
"I don't know if I'm on course… My ship isn't telling me." Where did this come from?! Vertical Ent. has released a trailer for a film called Approaching the Unknown, a sci-fi drama about an astronaut on a one-way solo mission to colonize Mars. Mark Strong stars as Captain William D. Stanaforth, and it's great to see Strong in a lead role. The cast includes Sanaa Lathan, Charles Baker, Anders Danielsen Lie and Harry L. Seddon, but this is really a one-man show. There are some crazy cool visuals in this trailer, his spacecraft drifting through weird anomalies in space, but it looks damn good. The line at the end - chills.
"As you know, it has taken a huge effort to get a big military base on the moon…" 20th Century Fox has released a viral video for Independence Day: Resurgence that features some of the cast and lots of new footage. The video is designed like a news segment from the "United World News" channel, and first takes a look back at the devastating events of 1996, when the aliens first arrived. Then it jumps ahead to a segment with Jeff Goldblum playing David Levinson, now running "ESD" (Earth Space Defense), who discusses the technology they've borrowed to improve their defense systems. In addition, Jessie Usher as Dylan Hiller, Angelababy as Rain Lao, and Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison are also featured. This is pretty cool.