24 January

What’s the science fiction genre got up its sleeve for 2017 ?

 

This year some of the greatest SF classics are back on the big screen in major adaptations, prequels or sequels. From Alien to Blade Runner, these cult sagas plunge us into the depths of dark and harrowing dystopias.

By Chloë Fage

Blade Runner 2049 

 

After Arrival, a poetic fable on the comprehension of an extra-terrestrial language, director Denis Villeneuve goes for the jugular with science fiction masterpiece Blade Runner. He’s imagined a sequel to Ridley Scott’s cult film released in 1982 about the androids with a human conscience known as ‘replicants’ who escape their enslavement on an off-world. The second instalment of this urban dystopia, Blade Runner 2049 once again is based around iconic character Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, the cop responsible for tracking down rebel replicants, accompanied this time by a rookie agent in the shape of Ryan Gosling. Between dehumanisation and identity crisis against a backdrop of destructive technology, we look forward to rediscovering the themes of the original movie. But most importantly will we ever find out Rick Deckard’s true identity… replicant agent or human? 

 

Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Ana de Armas, Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis and Harrison Ford. In theaters on October 4rd.

Ghost in the Shell

 

Masamune Shirow’s cult manga with its cyberpunk aesthetic has finally been adapted for the big screen after four animated films. The star of the story is cyborg Motoko Kusanagi, agent for a brigade of elite anti-criminals established to combat radical cyber-terrorists. The first scandal came with the announcement that Scarlett Johansson would be playing the protagonist. Director Rupert Sanders has been accused of “white-washing” in his choice of a Caucasian actress for a Japanese manga.  Comic book writer Jon Tsuei has also insisted that Ghost in the Shell is “a veritable pillar of Asian culture, more than just a simple science-fiction adaptable,” explicitly condemning the casting. 

 

Ghost in the Shell by Rupert Sanders, with Scarlett Johansson. In theaters on March 29th.

 

Alien: Covenant

 

Forty years ago the first Alien was released, perfectly crystallising our fears surrounding an extra-terrestrial presence. A theme and saga that has caught the imaginations of numerous directors responsible for seven films all together, from James Cameron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet to David Fincher. Now in addition to this long list comes Alien Covenant, the sequel to Prometheus and prologue to the first Alien. You do however almost get a bit lost and that's why we can't help but question the relevance of an umpteenth adaptation. Its scenario resembles the seven previous versions by focusing on the invasion of a spaceship by warlike aliens and whose crew is decimated one after the other apart from one character, long ago embodied by the glorious Sigourney Weaver. The most nostalgic purists will of course give the product a go… 

 

Alien: Covenant by Ridley Scott, starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, James Franco and Noomi Rapace. In theaters on May 17th.

 

 

War for the Planet of the Apes

 

After Rise of the Planet of the Apes, then Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the saga is back with its final chapter, War for the Planet of the Apes. It’s the ultimate conflict at the end of which the winner – man or monkey – will take control of the planet Earth. Inspired by Pierre Boulle’s novel, these adaptations are far removed from the original reference. Only the 1968 classic starring Charlton Heston really did it any honour. In spite of that, this saga is unquestionably well made, the spectacular rendering of digital effects combined with the motion capture acting make it an intense movie experience. 

 

La Planète des singes – Suprématie de Matt Reeves, avec Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson et Judy Greer. In theaters on August 2nd.

God Particle

 

The third chapter in the oft under-rated Cloverfield saga produced by J.J Abrams, God Particle deals with an American space station that witnesses the destruction of Earth following an accident caused by a particle accelerator. Shortly afterwards the members pick up foreign signals from another space station nearby. The keystone of this saga is the extra-terrestrial invasion whose origins and reasons should finally be explained in this conclusive episode. The impossibility of seeing the extra-terrestrial threat while witnessing the murderous attacks is without a doubt the common scenario linking these three films, because for everything else different techniques have been employed for each of them: the “shaky camera” aesthetic of the first Cloverfield gave way to a masterful performance by John Goodman in Ten Cloverfield Lane which (we hope) will move over for yet another original production in God Particle. 

 

God Particle by Julius Onah, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo and John Krasinski. In theaters on March 15th. 

 

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