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Potentially Great Sci-fi Films Still Due In 2011 342

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gremlins-on-the-wings dept.
brumgrunt writes "With Source Code already attracting strong reviews, the signs are good that 2011 will be a solid year for sci-fi. Den Of Geek has tracked down 10 upcoming sci-fi movies worth keeping an eye on" The nice thing about this write up is that it's not about the summer blockbuster brand of sci-fi, but mostly about the (somewhat) more traditional stuff. Here's hoping there's a few gems worth getting a babysitter for.
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Potentially Great Sci-fi Films Still Due In 2011

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  • Ringworld... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grog6 (85859) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:00AM (#35516824)

    When the hell is someone worth a fuck going to make a Ringworld movie?

    There's so much great SF that no one will touch; Heinlein got raped with Starship Troopers, but The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is a much better story.

    Or maybe Lazarus Long...

    James P. Hogan's Giant's series would make a great set of movies; it seems like all hollywood wants to do is regurgitate crap.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:01AM (#35516840) Journal
    What most sci-fi directors fail to take into account is that good sci-fi isn't about the robots, the aliens, or the gagdets. It's about the people. At the heart of the best classic science fiction is solid character development and rich human interaction. Its really a psychological drama. That's why "I, Robot" failed so hard - the original book wasn't about the robots at all, but the humans who worked with them. Yeah, there is oohing and ahhing over the nifty toys, and nitpicking over the accuracy of the science, but ultimately what we remember are the characters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:07AM (#35516926)

    Why? District 9 was one of the most original and freshest scifi movies of the last 10 years....

  • Re:Ringworld... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by natehoy (1608657) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:10AM (#35516956) Journal

    "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is a great story, but I'm struggling with how well it would translate into anything resembling an interesting movie that people would actually pay to watch, and still be the slightest bit true to a story about a computer becoming self-aware while outcasts are trying to split from their oppressive overlords. There are scenes that would translate well (bombing the Earth with rocks), but Hollywood would latch on to those scenes and you'd end up with something akin to "The Two Towers" becoming "The Battle for Helms Deep: A Love Story".

    Ringworld, on the other hand, is a special-effects masterpiece waiting to happen. The storyline is simple, the beauty of the story is visualizing the engineering involved, and that would translate with really good (but horribly expensive) visual effects. I don't know if you'd ever get enough viewership to justify effects at that scope, though.

  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:22AM (#35517116)

    APOLLO 18: Based on a real-world 70s NASA mission that was abandoned due to budget cuts, Apollo 18 reads like a mixture of Duncan Jones' Moon and Paranormal Activity -- BZZZZT!! NO!

    ATTACK THE BLOCK: It's Independence Day meets -- BZZZZT!! NO!

    COWBOYS & ALIENS: We're really stretching science fiction, now, with this. Good director, though, so . . . .

    SUPER 8: Okay, the trailer for this actually looks good. I don't know that it has anything more to do with Science Fiction than Cloverfield does, though (which was just a movie about a bunch of hipsters running away from a shaky camera all night).

    REAL STEEL: Wow, that really has NOTHING to do with the Twilight Zone episode it's supposed based on. Also, shouldn't this be a heart warming riot starring Will Smith? This is also really stretching the name "science fiction" in much the same way Warehouse 13 stretches the term "science fiction".

    CONTAGION: Let me guess -- it'll have something to do with bird flu or biological warfare and will be as scientifically inaccurate as "Right At Your Door", which was a shitty two hour "science fiction" movie I recently saw where nobody seemed to comprehend the difference between bacteria, a virus, radiation, and nuclear weapons. Seriously, a fucking DIRTY BOMB (a nuclear weapon) went off downtown, so the government instructs everyone in the city to go home and seal up their houses with plastic and duct tape. Then the guy's wife comes home, but it's too late and they leave her outside until they "see what the effects are". She gets worse and people are dying and medical professionals are scouting the neighborhoods putting people out of their misery and/or checking their medical status as they try to develop a cure for the virus (THERE WAS NO VIRUS, IT WAS A NUKE!). Eventually, the man who locks everyone out and stays inside dies, because it turns out that just enough of the stuff from the nuke seeped into his home and his efforts to seal his house shut provided the perfect climate for the bacteria to mutate and become too deadly to overcome (AGAIN, THERE WAS NO VIRUS/BACTERIA -- IT WAS A NUKE). This will be another one of those movies Good Morning America and other shitty television shows use to ask the question "COULD IT HAPPEN HERE?!". *yawn*

    THE THING: Won't this be the third time? No thanks. NO. It would have to be the most fucking amazing film ever to justify itself. Also, we already know about "THE THING". The surprise is already gone. Also, The Thing is a horror movie; not science fiction.

    RISE OF THE APES: Couldn't care less about more Planet of the Apes. And certainly not from a cast I've never heard of (except for Serkis, which sadly isn't enough to entice me). Seriously. That was 40 years ago. New stuff, please?

    THE DIVIDE: The Divide sees New York obliterated by an unspecified apocalyptic event. Huddled in a dank basement, eight survivors battle both a group of armed men in decontamination suits and their own disintegrating psyches in a thriller described as a combination of Assault On Precinct 13 and Lord Of The Flies. -- I'm sure I'll see it, because I'm a sucker for this sort of film, even though it sounds completely unrelated to the science fiction genre. Unfortunately, we've also seen this movie 800 times. Do something new?

  • Re:Lets face it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thedonger (1317951) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:26AM (#35517192)
    The best directors and actors do not guarantee anything, and massive marketing is why (how?) utter crap becomes popular.
  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:28AM (#35517232)

    What most sci-fi directors fail to take into account is that good sci-fi isn't about the robots, the aliens, or the gagdets. It's about the people. At the heart of the best classic science fiction is solid character development and rich human interaction. Its really a psychological drama. That's why "I, Robot" failed so hard - the original book wasn't about the robots at all, but the humans who worked with them. Yeah, there is oohing and ahhing over the nifty toys, and nitpicking over the accuracy of the science, but ultimately what we remember are the characters.

    When we scientists want to understand a complex system over which we have control, we change an input variable and observe the effects. Good science fiction makes a change to the fundamental rules of society that are usually beyond our control, often but not always through a game-changing technology (advanced space flight, terraforming, genetic engineering, AI, etc.), and explores the effects of this change on characters and sometimes their societies.

    I agree with you. Most movie sci-fi is focused on the flashiness of the technology and the generic, tacked on, unrelated stories of the stock characters who interact with it. The genre should instead follow sci-fi literature and use the sci-fi elements to examine the human experience.

  • Re:Lets face it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:28AM (#35517234) Homepage Journal

    What is the problem with people. Transformers was a movie based on a kids cartoon about giant robots that can turn into cars and planes.
    Just what did you expect?
    I actually thought it was going to be much worse than it was. I found it as enjoyable for what it was. When are are talking about movies in general most books just do not make great movies. How can you possibly fit a huge book into a movie. As far as the science fiction fan boys go. Get over it. Just like any other book made into a movie you will hate them. Even Bladerunner was only sort of based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I suggest you just wait and see and try to enjoy them for what they are which is movies.
    I will admit that the movie I, Robot does make me want to commit murder. I have never seen it but the trailers where enough to make me say "WHAT!"
    As a reader of Science fiction I long ago came to the conclusion that I will never see a move based on.
    The Uplift books, Known Space, Asmiov's Robots or Federation universe that do not make want cringe.

    And of course just to tick everybody off I must ask one question. Why do people get all worked up over Firefly? I enjoyed it and wish it had keep running but it wasn't really hard science fiction. Frankly it was "The Outlaw Jose Wales" in space. That isn't a bad thing but people get so worked up over it.

  • by NitroWolf (72977) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:54AM (#35517612)

    District 9 was an interesting idea (hey, aliens! Wait, the dregs of alien society?), but I found the execution was, well, "earthly." In the end is wasn't much more than a tale of mistreated refugees. I can watch that on CNN.

    That was kind of the point of the movie...

  • by owlnation (858981) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:06PM (#35517790)
    What most of you seem not to understand about sci-fi movies in particular, and most movies in general, is that in order for them to be successful, they need to target the movie to the cinema-going audience.

    And folks, that's 12-25 year olds. Specifically for most action movies they are targeting 14 year old boys. (Romcoms are 14 year old girls). And that's the average 14 year old, not just the smartest ones.

    Most modern sci-fi movies don't fail as far as Hollywood is concerned -- they make an enormous amount of money and kids love them. Sure, adults, critics and sci-fi fans really hate them, but there's not enough of us going to the cinema to make the slightest bit of difference to Hollywood profits.

    Henceforth, you will not see an adult story with realistic dialogue, great acting, great photography and an original plotline. What you will see is 2d good vs bad characters, loads of VFX, melodramatic heroism, and dialogue that no person (nor alien) would ever say in their lives. Because their lowest common denominator teenage audience requires big, flashy, shallow stuff, and nothing else.

    The days of adult movies are finished -- in every genre of movies, not just sci-fi. Adults do not go to the cinema. Not enough of them to count anyway. (yes, adult indie arthouse movies will still get made, but they are niche market with niche profits, if any profits. Few of those are ever sci-fi.)

    Just wait to see how much you are going to hate "Foundation". There is absolutely no way they can make that movie to satisfy the same target demo as the books. It's going to be a VFX-fest. 14 year old jocks will love it -- none of us will.

    The golden age of sci-fi movies is OVER. It is unlikely ever to return with current distribution and marketing methods.
  • Re:Lets face it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:07PM (#35517836)

    Then it is a retarded list, Moon is the best hard sci fi movie in the last decade, arguably one of the only hard sci fi movies in the last decade.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @02:49PM (#35520286)
    It was an 'adult" film requiring more attention than your average high school boy has. It turned out to be 2010 2nd largest grossing film and got some respectable film awards. I didnt particularly like it. but shows you can make an adult scfi film.

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