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Science Fiction and Fantasy Films: The Rest of 2011


Hey! Want to know what you, the discerning science fiction and fantasy fan, can look forward to at the movies for the rest of 2011? Of course you do. And I want to tell you. It’s nice when it works like that.

Contagion (September 9)
Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh is on record that this is his version of the old Irwin Allen disaster films, in which a bunch of big stars wandered around while a building burned, or a ship sank, or a bunch of bees attacked Michael Caine or whatever. This time the disaster is a rapidly mutating virus, and the big stars include Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, and Jude Law. A cheerful way to start the fall.

Real Steel (October 7)
Hugh Jackman
trains a robot to box. Wait, what? Oh, and there’s a kid thrown into
the mix so Jackman can have a bonding experience. Wait, what? Also, the
film is directed by Shawn Levy, whose most recent film is Date Night. Wait, what? He also did the Night at the Museum
movies. Ah, whatever. I think it’s pretty clear that a) I’m not
expecting much out of this one, b) Hugh Jackman might need to have talk
with his agent about the non-Wolverine roles he’s getting.  

The Thing (October 14)
This film is titled like a remake of John Carpenter’s 1982 film
but is apparently meant to be a prequel — it takes place just before
the events of that film. I suspect this will be a distinction without a
difference once the alien starts mutating. I want to see whether three
decades of special effects advances will be able to top Rob Bottin’s
makeup and effects work in the ’82 version. It’s got its work cut out
for it.

Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis (October 14)
Here’s
a film with two levels of scifi nostalgia: First for the groundbreaking
1927 science fiction film, and then for the 1984 soundtrack that
composer Moroder grafted onto it, featuring Freddie Mercury, Pat Benatar
and Adam Ant, among others. The film is getting a 20-city run prior to a
Blu-ray release. It’s not for purists (not just because of the
soundtrack; it was trimmed to less than 90 minutes), but for those of us
who saw this version first, oh, the memories.

The Three Musketeers (October 21)
Since when is The Three Musketeers science fiction and/or fantasy? Since Paul W.S. Anderson
got hold of it and decided to steampunk it all up, with floating
battleships and Milla Jovovich dropped in as a terminatrix (or whatever
it is she’s doing in the flick). And it’s in 3D! I don’t hold Anderson
in particularly high regard as a director — he’s about what you’d get
if you fed Ridley Scott a diet of lead-based paint chips since childhood
— so I expect this to be loud and stupid, with just enough visual
panache to squeak by.  

In Time (October 28)
The trailers make this film look like what would happen if Logan’s Run and Bonnie and Clyde loved
each other very much and had a baby. If you caught the film references
there, you may be too old to enjoy the cast of this film, which includes
Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Cillian Murphy, and
Alex Pettyfer. This was written and directed by Andrew Niccol, who has
one science fiction classic to his name (Gattaca), so hey, could be fun.

Immortals (November 11)
The previews for this tale of Greek gods and titans make it look like 300 on
steroids, which considering how amped-up that movie was, is fairly
ridiculous. Two things recommend it to me: an overachieving cast (which
includes John Hurt, Freida Pinto, future Superman Henry Cavill, and
Mickey Rourke as the bad guy), and director Tarsem Singh, who has a
spectacular visual sense and may also just be crazy (see: The Cell and The Fall, his previous films). This will either be very cool or spectacularly bad.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One) (November 18)
Oh,
you know. Vampire weddings and stuff. At this point, you already know
if you want to see this, and if you do, then go. Enjoy yourself. I want
you to be happy with your sparkly vampires.

The Muppets (November 23)
Neither
science fiction nor fantasy (as long as you’re willing to buy into the
concept of autonomous creatures made of felt), but there’s not a nerd
out there who isn’t filled with squee about the idea of a new Muppet
movie. That said: Hey, Jason Segel (who wrote the script and stars in
the film), you mess this up and the Feds will have to put you into the
Witness Relocation program. I’m just saying.

The Darkest Hour
(December 25)
Invisible
alien invaders try to take over Moscow! As they would. And it’s up to a
bunch of twentysomethings on vacation to save the world! As they would.
This is directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who graced the world with Wanted, which I enjoy more than I really want to admit. This looks more than a little silly, but yeah. Still looking forward to it.

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