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Previewing 2012’s Science Fiction Film Slate


If you’re reading this, you’ve made it into 2012 alive. Well done, you! So did I. To celebrate our continued existence on this dizzy planet, let’s take an early look at some of the science fiction films scheduled for the year, and my initial gut reaction (i.e., not based on anything but trailers, descriptions, and cast lists) to each.


Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 3D (Feb. 10)
Oh, you know. Insert Rant About George Lucas #615 here. That said,
the pod race in 3D? Could be awesome. Jar Jar? Will still suck.

John Carter (March 9)
On the one hand, I think it’s awesome that Pixar directors are
getting a shot at live action films: Brad Bird showed he’s got chops
with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E)
certainly has the potential to rock. On the other hand, I’m not sure
how much pent-up audience demand there was for Edgar Rice Burroughs’
second-most-popular series of books. So I’ll be very interested to see
how this one plays out.

The Hunger Games (March 23)
My 13-year-old daughter asked for a bow and arrow set for Christmas
so she could be like Katniss, so yeah, I don’t see this one not doing
well. Movie nerd that I am, the thing that stands out about it for me is
director Gary Ross, who on paper doesn’t seem the obvious choice for
the material, directing as he did Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, neither precisely action-packed. But you know, both those films were pretty damn good. I want to see what he does here.

Lockout (April 20)
The president’s daughter is trapped on a space prison and only one
mug can get her out! This is another one of those films Luc Besson wrote
and produced and then tossed to some schmoe to direct; I’m sure it will
be perfectly cromulent. And it amuses me to see Guy Pearce, who always
struck me as mildly prissy, play a straight-up action dude.

The Avengers (May 4)
All the Marvel superheroes in one place at one time! It’s like the
US Festival of comic book movies! Don’t worry, if you’re under the age
of 40, I don’t expect you to get that joke. Joss Whedon directs as well
as writes, so at least there will be witty banter. I’m sure all the
fanboys will squee. I’m holding out for The Dark Knight Rises, personally.

Battleship (May 18)
As one of the producers of this movie is also the producer attached to the upcoming movie based on one of my books,
I’m going to refrain from substantive comment. Except to say that I
have no doubt this will be the most awesome nautical science fiction
film based on a grid-based family game EVER.

Men in Black 3 (May 25)
It’s been long enough for people to remember how much they liked the
first film and forget how disappointed they were in the second one, so,
sure, this one has a pretty good shot.

Prometheus (June 8)
Ridley Scott directing his first science fiction film in decades? Which is sort of but not really a prequel to Alien — i.e., is not so tied into the Alien
mythology that Scott and his screenwriters have to contort themselves
silly to shoehorn it in? Plus the trailer makes it look scary as hell?
ZOMG YOU GUYS I AM SO THERE. So. Very. There.

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
I could have waited another year or five for this particular reboot. I’m just saying.

Total Recall (August 3)
Aw, why, man?

Looper (September 28)
I’ve been wondering when I could see Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce
Willis in the same science fiction film. And now I know! From the
description of the film, involving hired killers and time travel, this
looks like one in the Source Code/Adjustment Bureau tranche of obliquely science fictional flicks. Could be fun.

Frankenweenie (October 5)
Stop motion Tim Burton film about a kid scientist (named Victor
Frankenstein!) resurrecting his dog, based on the very first animated
short Burton ever did. There is no way I’m not seeing this.

Gravity (November 21)
Everyone who’s been waiting since Demolition Man
for Sandra Bullock to make another science fiction film, now you know
what you’ll be doing right before Thanksgiving. She’ll be playing an
astronaut trying to get back home after an accident in space. George
Clooney is also in it. It’s directed by Alfonso Cuarón. I have no idea
what to think of this.

World War Z (December 21)
I’m rotting for the zombies! Sorry, that was supposed to be
“rooting.” Yes, I did make that as an actual typo and thought it was
awesome enough to leave in and comment on. This is a very meta comment.
And yes, I think this could be awesome.

Your first thoughts on the year’s science fiction slate?

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