Return of Sci-Fi

2013 is setting up to be a banner year for the Sci-Fi genre in the film industry, the likes of which has not been seen in years.  In recent years we have seen what amounts to a decline in the quality of over-all Sci-Fi films, if not an increase in quantity of films, much to the chagrin of Sci-Fi fans.

The Sci-Fi genre has given us films such as the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, the rebooted ‘Star Trek’ franchise and one-offs such as ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Minority Report’.  In recent years, we have seen films such as ‘Battle Los Angeles’ that have been subpar beyond belief.

2013 really is a launchpad kind of year, especially now that Disney has announced up to five new ‘Star Wars’ films to come our way, including ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ to be directed by J.J. Abrams, who brought life back to the ‘Star Trek’ franchise.  If 2013 can be a successful year for the Sci-Fi Genre, the new slate of ‘Star Wars’ films will just serve to further enhance future Sci-Fi films.

Oblivion April 19

oblivionThe first of the Sci-Fi slate of films to hit in 2013 is ‘Oblivion’, set to come out on Friday, April 19.  Starting Tom Cruise in his return to the Sci-Fi genre, ‘Oblivion’ will be test of Cruise’s ability to draw a crowd following his effort in ‘Jack Reacher’ at the end of 2012 that brought in subpar crowds.  The last two Sci-Fi films that Cruise headlined, 2005’s ‘War of the Worlds’ and 2002’s ‘Minority Report’, had a mixed bag of results, and if ‘Oblivion’ can find a middle ground between the two films, it will be a success.

Set an on Earth ravaged by a war with an alien race that the Human race “won”, ‘Oblivion’ takes place on a planet where Humans no linger live on Earth.  The trailers for ‘Oblivion’ also continue to hint at a massive twist at some point and time during the movie, but what that twist could end up being is still not known.

Star Trek into Darkness May 17

stid‘Star Trek into Darkness’ will not only be the biggest Sci-Fi movie of 2013 but could wind up being one of the top-grossing films of the year as well.  That is just how well the 2009 reboot of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise was received across the mainstream of movie goers.  The job that J.J. Abrams did of creating a Trek Universe that could still being in longtime fans of the franchise but also new fans was more than anyone could have hoped for, and ‘Darkness’ looks to build upon that.

The first full length trailer that was released for ‘Star Trek into Darkness’ immediately set the tone for this film and is one of the better trailers released in years, but the true test was when the first five minutes of the film was released in IMAX theatres attached to ‘The Hobbit’ last year.  A full throttle five minute ride it was, with more of the great action and comedy that helped reboot the franchise in 2009.

Back in 2009, Paramount and Abrams proved that a ‘Trek’ for the masses could work, and there should be even more of the same with ‘Star Trek into Darkness’ when it opens up in mid-May.

After Earth May 31

ae‘After Earth’ appears to possibly be the weakest of 2013’s big name Sci-Fi entrants, despite the inclusion of Will Smith, who headlined one of the biggest original Sci-Fi films of all time in ‘Independence Day’.  Starring both Will Smith and his son Jaden as a father and son team, ‘After Earth’ is set 1000 years after the Human race has abandoned Earth and setup a new planet called Nova Prime.

While I have never been a huge fan of M. Night Shyamalan, although I did really enjoy ‘Signs’, and while it is hard to go against Will Smith in this kind of movie, having him be more of a supporting role could actually hinder the film.  Of the six films on this list, this will be the one that I am least likely to see.

World War Z June 21

wwzZombies certainly seem to be all the rage in this day and age in popular media, and ‘World War Z’ will be looking to capitalize on the goodwill set forward by ‘The Walking Dead’ television show and a previous zombie film this year in ‘Warm Bodies’.

Originally, ‘World War Z’ was set to be released in December of last year, but setbacks pushed it to this coming June.  The most worrisome part of this film would have to be the fact that it was being filmed while the ending was being re-written, always an area of concern, especially for a big-budget kind of movie.

Whether or not Brad Pitt will be able to carry ‘World War Z’ and its deviation from the format of the book of the same name has yet to be determined, but as a possible franchise builder, expect the marketing to be heavy in late May.

Pacific Rim July 12

pacrim

‘Pacific Rim’ seems like a natural fit for the word “aweseme”.  A film about giant sea-based monsters fighting giant robots controlled by two Humans bridged with an interface directed by Guillermo del Toro could end up being the sheer definition of awesome.

Del Toro is a genius when it comes to creating worlds inhabited by monsters, as his work on ‘Hellboy’ and ‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’ and ‘Pan`s Labyrinth’ has long shown, and ‘Pacific Rim’ seems to right in his wheelhouse.

Elysium August 9

elysium

The last really wonderful original Sci-Fi film that came out that was well-received by critics and had a large box-office impact as well was 2009’s ‘District 9’, directed by first-time director Neill Blomkamp.  ‘District 9’ was nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards, and since then we have been waiting for Blomkamp to return to the director’s chair for his sophomore effort.

Starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, ‘Elysium’ is Blomkamp’s first foray into a big-budget Hollywood movie, but by sticking to the Sci-Fi genre with a film he also wrote, the only issue that could pop up with ‘Elysium’ is the fact that has been bumped back in the schedule a couple of times, but by landing in August when ‘District 9’ was also released, this could work in Blomkamp’s favour.

A film about two class systems, one living in the atmosphere in a pristine world, the other on an over-populated and left for ruin Earth, ‘Elysium’ will tell the story of the lengths that one man will go to to try and find a better life.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

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