Showing posts with label aliens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aliens. Show all posts

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Fede Álvarez's Alien begins filming

Whilst we wait for further details regarding the Alien live-action spin-off series from Noah Hawley (Fargo) coming to FX on Hulu and Star on Disney+, the next Alien movie begins filming this month in Budapest.

Here's a brief synopsis released by 20th Century Studios:

"A group of young people on a distant world, who find themselves in a confrontation with the most terrifying life form in the universe."

Fede Álvarez (Don't Breathe) is directing the Hulu production with Sir Ridley Scott (Alien) as executive producer. The movie stars Cailee Spaeny, Isabela Merced, David Jonsson, Archie Renaux, Spike Fearn and Aileen Wu. The working title is purportedly Alien: Romulus.

Hopefully, Álvarez's straight-to-streaming movie will revitalise the chest-bursting franchise as Dan Trachtenberg's Prey did for studio stablemate Predator.

What would you like to see in a new Alien movie? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 13 January 2023

Alien series in pre-production at FX

Alien fans (myself included) rejoice. As reported by Deadline, Noah Hawley's (Fargo) long-awaited live-action spin-off series is in pre-production for Hulu and Star on Disney+.

"Noah is currently in production on the fifth season of Fargo but he’s in active pre-production on Alien, he’s written scripts," FX boss John Landgraf said during the Television Critics Association press tour. "I think he’s meeting with his production designer in Austin this weekend, gearing up for production this year after he completes the fifth season of Fargo."

Hawley's Alien spin-off series was first announced during the pandemic in 2020. Whilst we wait for further details, you can read Nick Smith's thoughts on the state of the franchise here.

Are you looking forward to the Alien spin-off series? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Alien Day toy bug hunt

It's Alien Day celebrating all things xenomorph on LV-426.

So what better time to examine the plastic fantastic incarnations of the monster that first terrorised the ill-fated crew of the Nostromo.

Nick Smith, our resident US-based collectable guru, goes on a toy bug hunt.

Guest post by Nick Smith

The internet can be a deep, deep rabbit hole, fluffy tail and all. While immersing myself in the intense video game Alien: Isolation, I was compelled to check out the toys that have accompanied the Alien saga.

I find it fascinating that there are toys associated with such a visceral, fatalistic franchise, proof that America never misses a chance to prize making a buck over childhood innocence. Sure, there have been monster movie toys since plastic was mouldable; Aurora Monster Scenes were rattling around in the ‘60s.

But the monster movies that spawned those toys were not the R-rated equivalent of plastic reliquaries for kids.

Picture little Johnny’s playroom, where tiny terrible xenos with two sets of jaws and acid blood take on Disney stablemate Buzz Lightyear. Or imagine toy developers going wild, creating alien shapes that have burst from different animals.

Fox’s films have always struggled to merge rollercoaster horror scares and iconic characterization with marketable monsters and space action that appeals to teens – and since the paintings of H.R. Giger formed the basis for those monsters, the way the Alien films have been developed and marketed is a quintessential example of art vs commerce.

Thanks to nerd culture, you don’t have to be a kid to play with action figures, as long as you don’t mind getting a few strange looks down the pub. My own online research was spurred by the recent appearance of Alien tie-in toys in my local Wal-Mart, where you’re more likely to see a hillbilly in slippers than a space marine.

The action figures are an eye-catching surprise, considering the last movie, Alien: Covenant, is four years old.

The toy range retains the late, great and rather sick H.R. Giger’s artistic xenomorph design, which helped the original Alien film transcend its B-movie trappings to become an eternally watchable classic. But there have been other, more faithful figures through the years, as well as goofy caricatures and cute Lego-like chestbursters.

Reports of Corporal Hicks’ death in ALIEN³ may have been exaggerated, since he turned up as a Kenner toy in 1992, the same year David Fincher’s gloomy movie was released. Most of Kenner’s toys were based on the earlier Aliens movie, and the figures included a gorilla alien, a snake alien and a queen hive playset.

Sadly, the toys were not remotely as popular as Kenner’s Star Wars range, probably because its target buyers weren’t even supposed to be watching the Alien saga. Kenner dropped the line in 1995 and it was a long time before we got new figures from a new company.

NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) first caught the attention of collectors in 2001 with a range of 7” figures based on the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice. These were followed by toys based on Tron, Ghostbusters, A Nightmare on Elm Street and many other popular properties.

By 2013, NECA was hatching various Alien toys and figures, with a big push for Alien’s 40th anniversary in 2019. The wide range includes a replica of the original Alien and the sinister foes from Alien: Isolation. The attention to detail is excellent, although there have been reports of a limb or two coming loose in packaging. Let’s blame it on the acid blood.

The Minimates aliens are intricate and charmingly chunky, as all Minimates are designed to be. However, they are as flimsy as the plot point that brings Ripley back to life in Alien Resurrection. The alien’s tail and paws fall off at the drop of a space helmet, so keep close track of the pieces or they’ll be lost in the space behind your display cabinet. But these figures are still a lot cuter than a sci-fi horror movie toy has any right to be.

When I spotted a Funko Pop! of Katherine ‘Danny’ Daniels from Alien: Covenant in a bookstore bargain bin, I had to pick her up. In hindsight, the astoundingly popular, ridiculously bug-eyed pieces of plastic are my fave thing about that movie (sorry, Sir Ridley).

The Lanard Toys Aliens may be the wrong colour, but it’s a joy to see them on the shelves when I visit my local superstore. Their kid-friendly green colour is apparently deemed less disturbing than the glossy, crustacean black of the movie aliens. They lurk in Wal-Mart, waiting to draw some unsuspecting pre-teen into their nihilistic world. My favourite in the range is a glowing, semi-translucent alien that ties in, intentionally or not, with Marvel Comics' Aftermath.

As the Alien franchise has aged, it has gained a split personality, trying to please target-age cinemagoers and veteran fans who’ve been loyal since the ‘70s. Neither of these age groups is going to rush to Wal-Mart to pick up a kid’s toy.

Veterans are more likely to drop dollars on NECA’s realistic figurines. The ironically goofy-looking Minimates and Funko Pops! might appeal to 18-25-year-olds.

If Lanard Toys' Alien line is successful, maybe we’ll see more unlikely movies turned into toys. Hey kids, do you want to play a game with Jigsaw?

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Ask Astrid

Digital assistants are no longer the stuff of Star Trek or Tony Stark's lake house laboratory.

Amazon announced Astro, an Alexa-based autonomous home robot, last week. The love child of WALL-E and an iPad is a far cry from my original Omnibot.

Tomy's programmable toy robot was an attempt to capitalise on the popularity of Star Wars' R2-D2 during the Atari age. With its built-in cassette deck, remote control and tray, Omnibot hinted at future app-enabled devices such as Astro and Sphero.

Ambient computing is as cool as it sounds and broadly describes smart devices used in everyday life. From wearables to automobiles, there's no escaping this omnipresent technology and privacy threat therein.

Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, explores the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and the trials and tribulations of filming during a global pandemic.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Despite months or even years of preparation, filmmaking doesn’t always go as planned. It’s impossible to anticipate every setback. Ask Astrid, a new sci-fi short filmed in Florida, is a case in point.

There I was merrily making movies with my friends, setting up what is known as the ‘martini shot’ – the last setup of the day – when a lady popped her head through a curtain of black velour onto the set and asked what we were doing. I explained and, off the cuff, asked if she wanted to help out?

Her husband barged in and shoved a cell phone in our faces, telling us to remove our COVID-19 masks and give him our names, threatening to call the police. He was right to be shocked – imagine coming home to find an uninvited movie crew in your living room!

I had arranged to film in this cranky man’s office via a management company. I had written permission to use the property, I had met with a representative and I’d visited the location twice during preproduction. But the company had neglected to tell the private owners of the office space.

The red-faced man asked me why we were making a film and that was a deep question for me. The reasons are many: creativity, the social aspect; we do it for fun, to develop our skills and give opportunities to actors.

I called the management company, smoothed things over with the owners and befriended them. My crew packed up its gear and left the office considerably cleaner than we’d found it. Most importantly, we finished the film.

In hindsight, I should have carried the location agreement paperwork in my hand all day in case we were challenged. But how was I to know we’d be interrupted? Every film has its surprises, and this was the shocker reserved for Ask Astrid.

Astrid (voiced by Power Rangers’ Ann Marie Crouch) handles surprises very well. She is an AI device that sits in your home, answers your questions, takes shopping lists from you and tells jokes. Unlike Alexa or Google Home, Astrid has human colleagues collecting your data and hitting you with targeted marketing… OK, maybe Astrid isn’t so different after all.

Ask Astrid is set in the near future where digital assistants have advanced enough to become almost human. Marcy (Megan Caulfield), an office worker, bonds with the machine and teaches it to become even more of a ‘person.’

Gadgets have been a longtime fascination with our generation, as we yearn for the high technology of films like Aliens and Blade Runner but fear the dystopia that could come with them. A machine-driven future looks lonely – Ellen Ripley and Rick Deckard live in solitude, no picket fences or garden parties for them. Ask Astrid explores our risky over-reliance on gizmos but also heralds their great potential; when Marcy and Astrid overhear a crime being committed, they work together in an attempt to save the day.

I was determined to tell this story even though production had ground to a halt in Florida due to COVID-19. In order to complete the film, I trimmed the on-camera cast down to one (Megan) but involved as many actors as possible by asking them to record their voices from home. They played the homeowners and customers that Marcy and Astrid listen in on. That way I could highlight their comedic and dramatic skills while focusing on Marcy and her relationship with Astrid.

With Marcy’s office as our central location, we had to get the look of the film precisely right. Director of Photography Kevin Almodovar lit the office space with blue and green hues, just the right side of future-gloomy. Set designer Brandon Alan Perdue mixed traditional mahogany furniture with future tech cobbled together from laptops, an intercom system and even equipment from an abandoned chicken farm, making the most of our limited resources.

Since hitting the circuit in May, the film has been screened twice at the Pensacon Short Film Festival and was part of the FantaSci Short Film Festival as well. Audiences have been intrigued by Ask Astrid’s concept and the execution. They appreciate the way the movie explores an all-too-plausible future and how humans handle a world where friendship is artificial but still existent. After all, what else are friends – mechanical or otherwise – for, if not to tell each other entertaining stories?

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Nerf blaster celebrates Aliens

"Hey, I wanna introduce you to a personal friend of mine!" To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Aliens, Hasbro is releasing a limited edition electronic Nerf blaster based on the iconic M41-A Pulse Rifle used by the Colonial Marines in director James Cameron's spectacular sequel to Alien.

With its Power Loader-inspired livery, electronic dart counter and movie-accurate sound effects, it's too cool to pass up for fans (myself included) of both Nerf and Aliens. The Nerf LMTD Aliens M41-A Pulse Blaster is available to pre-order for £99.99 from Hasbro Pulse and will be released in October 2022. Yes, that's over a year away.

Nerf LMTD is a premium, fan targeted line from Nerf that brings to life some of the most iconic items from entertainment and video games. This will be the first official Aliens collectable I've bought since Kenner's nineties toy line ended.

In related news. Marvel Comics has begun a new comic book series and Aliens: Fireteam Elite video game is released on PlayStation, Xbox and PC this month. The live-action Alien series begins filming in early 2022 for FX on Hulu and Star on Disney+.

It's not game over for the bug hunting multimedia franchise.

Are you excited for the Nerf LMTD Aliens M41-A Pulse Blaster and what Nerf LMTD license would you like to see Hasbro produce next? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 9 August 2021

Aliens: Aftermath

This year, Aliens celebrates its 35th anniversary and to commemorate Marvel Comics has released a sequel to James Cameron's action-packed follow-up to Sir Ridley Scott's Alien.

Aliens: Aftermath.

Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, goes on another bug hunt with the help of the fine folks at TBS Comics in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Not content with a monthly Alien comic, Marvel Comics has released a one-shot sequel to 1986’s Aliens and it successfully captures the atmosphere and motifs of James Cameron’s masterpiece. It’s not going to get your adrenaline pumping like the movie unless nostalgia is your epinephrine of choice.

Cleverly, Aftermath is set 35 years after the movie and features Jennette Vasquez’s nephew, Cutter. He explores the mystery of Hadley’s Hope, a lost colony on LV-426. When he and his crew visit the desolate moon it’s suffering a nuclear winter, as if it’s been nuked from orbit. Yet something has survived the holocaust…

The homages come thick and fast. The Weyland-Yutani company is as devious as ever. Writer Benjamin Percy (Wolverine) and artist Dave Wachter (Iron Fist) take the bold step of introducing a different xenomorph that doesn’t have the oily, shadowy camouflage of the originals. Part of their charm – of that’s the right word – is that they can pop out from the shadows at any moment; this one is more ghost-like in appearance. But it is still just as effective at killing hunky heroes.

Story-wise, the perspective is different - Cutter is part of the anti-corporate live-feed guerrilla movement Renegade XM. The tropes are the same as always, however: betrayal, sudden death, corporate greed and using people as ‘space mules’ for chestbursters, as seen in the Alien movie series and the regular comic.

There’s nothing wrong with telling the same story differently; Cameron was an expert sequel-maker (see also Terminator 2). But the universe is vast and there are so many new stories that could be told, new characters to meet and new species to fight. If Aliens and Predators co-exist, what else is out there to threaten humanity and make us scream?

Marvel is staking its claim as the new home of Alien comics and it’s doing it with care and skill. I’m glad they chose Percy, an unashamed Alien fan, to write Aftermath. The publisher quotes him as saying:

“When I was a kid, I had a door-length poster of a xenomorph crashing through the wood, tearing off the hinges, creeping forward with a drippy fanged smile. This is the image I would drift away to every night, which no doubt influenced my imaginative hard-wiring, along with the films and comics that I watched and read over and over and over. To this day, I can't grip a knife without wanting to lay my hand on a table and tick-tick-tick the point between my splayed fingers—I can't play a game of ping-pong or Clue without yelling, ‘Game over, man.’—I can't scratch an orange tabby without whispering, ‘You are my lucky star.... lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky.’ I’ve been in love with these stories most of my life, and it's truly an honour and a delight to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Aliens with a script inked in acid blood.”

Typically, giving a fan the tools to work with his or her favourite franchise usually works to the readers’ benefit. Percy certainly leaves us wanting more and although Aftermath is a double-length comic, it deserves a second issue.

14 years before the adventures of Cutter and Co., Security Officer Gabriel Cruz tries to reconnect with his son in the regular Alien comic. Compared to Aftermath this is a slow burn, spending several issues onboard the claustrophobic Epsilon Station.

Alien writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Batman) takes a chance by focusing on Cruz, a sympathetic character who nevertheless is gruff and lonely; if you’re looking for a younger male or female hero to relate to, you have my sympathies [I see what you did there - Ed].

Alien introduces strange xenomorphs with horns and bizarre appendages and refers to ‘others that didn’t exist yet.’

This is what we really need to see, and what will keep the franchise alive, with fresh acid breath and dark ideas to surprise us the same way that the first appearance of the chestburster shocked us, with characters as memorable as the original Vasquez and her fellow ill-fated Colonial Marines. It’s quite a challenge but so far Johnson isn’t doing too bad… for a human.

Aliens is now streaming in the UK on Disney+.

Are you reading Marvel Comics' Alien series? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Alien series shooting without Ripley

James Cameron's Aliens marks its 35th anniversary this year and Noah Hawley (Fargo) has shared details about his mysterious Alien spin-off series for FX on Hulu with Vanity Fair.

"What's next for me, it looks like, is [an] Alien series for FX, taking on that franchise and those amazing films by Ridley Scott and James Cameron and David Fincher," Hawley said. "I've written a couple of scripts, the first two scripts, and we're looking to make them next spring."

If you are hoping for a cameo from Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), a la Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in Disney stablemate The Mandalorian, you may be deeply disappointed.

"It's not a Ripley story," he added. "She's one of the great characters of all time, and I think the story has been told pretty perfectly, and I don't want to mess with it."

This may be a misdirect as Weaver could be de-aged for the FX on Hulu and Star on Disney+ series. Regardless, I want to be surprised and Nick Smith recently wrote about his hopes and fears for the upcoming Alien series.

Whilst many fans (myself included) of the franchise lament never seeing Neill Blomkamp's (District 9) Alien 5, I'm hopeful this spin-off series will surpass Sir Ridley Scott's prequels as it focuses on humanities parasitic past and AI-dominated technological future.

Prometheus is available to stream on Star on Disney+. The original Alien and Aliens are coming soon to the House of Mouse's streaming service in the UK.

Monday, 28 June 2021

It's a bug hunt in Aliens: Fireteam Elite

The Alien film franchise is no stranger to the video game medium with official tie-ins for the Atari VCS and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) to Fortnite.

Sega's Alien: Isolation distilled the claustrophobic horror of Sir Ridley Scott's original film to nerve-shredding effect in 2014. Aliens: Fireteam Elite, for Xbox, PlayStation and PC, sees Aliens' Colonial Marines back in action for a licensed co-op shooter.

About Aliens: Fireteam Elite:

"Set in the iconic Alien universe, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a cooperative third-person survival shooter that drops your fireteam of hardened marines into a desperate fight to contain the evolving Xenomorph threat.

Face off against waves of terrifying Xenomorph and Weyland-Yutani Synthetic foes alongside two players or AI teammates, as you and your fireteam desperately fight your way through four unique campaigns that introduce new storylines to the Alien universe. Create and customize your own Colonial Marine, choosing from an extensive variety of classes, weapons, gear and perks, battling overwhelming odds in this heart-pounding survival shooter experience."

Although the game's longevity remains to be seen, it looks fun and something I would play if it ever comes to Game Pass. Hopefully, it won't be any worse than Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, which is included on Game Pass and was one of the first titles I tried out on my new Xbox Series S last week.

Will you be joining the fight against the deadly xenomorph threat this August? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

MasterClass with filmmaker James Cameron

Academy Award-winning director James Cameron (Titanic) took a break from working on his Avatar sequels to become the latest member of a growing pantheon of creatives to be featured on MasterClass.

"From The Terminator and Titanic to Avatar, James Cameron has directed some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Now, for the first time in his 40-year career, he opens up about his process. Through behind-the-scenes breakdowns, James shares his approach to developing ideas, storylines, and characters; harnessing technology; and worldbuilding on any budget. Explore the innovation and imagination behind epic moviemaking."

“I’ve been directing films for almost four decades, and if there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s that learning is a constant process,” Cameron said in a statement. “Every filmmaker stands on the shoulders of the filmmakers who came before them, and I hope that my MasterClass will allow members to filter and develop my techniques through their own subjective lens and experiences.”

Added MasterClass founder and CEO David Rogier: “Having directed two of the top three highest-grossing films of all time, there’s no question the impact that Jim has had on both the film industry and film fans around the world. In his class, Jim takes our members behind the camera and, for the first time in his career, shares what he’s learned in four decades of directing epic films.”

25 years ago I graduated with a degree in Media Production from Bournemouth University. Cameron, along with contemporaries George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, inspired me to pursue a career in the creative arts.

As I've written previously, a textual analysis of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (handwritten and lost to time) garnered unconditional offers to study on several university courses, which was in stark contrast to what a high school career tutor suggested would ever be possible as outlined here.

Will you be watching James Cameron's MasterClass? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 21 June 2021

Alien to infest Hulu and Star on Disney+

Marvel Comics' all-new Alien series heralds the arrival of the iconic movie monster at Disney.

Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, looks ahead to the first live-action spin-off series coming to FX on Hulu and Star on Disney+.

Guest post by Nick Smith

I first saw Sir Ridley Scott’s Alien on TV as a teenager. I’d read a lot about H.R. Giger’s designs, seen pictures of the Space Jockey, watched clips and spoofs of the chestburster scene and read reviews describing Alien as a “boo!” of a film. But I wasn’t prepared for the sheer excitement of watching it as it built to its roller coaster peak of a finale. I watched it at midnight, alone, in the dark. It was a goose-bumping, singular experience that could be repeated but surely never topped.

Not to be outdone, James Cameron (Avatar) went ahead and topped it with his sequel. It was bigger, more exciting, satirising military movie stereotypes in the same vein as Alien’s over-the-top “company” had commented on powerful corporations, steering just this side of realism. Instead of Jones the cat, Ripley had a little girl to rescue, emphasizing her maternal instincts. Aliens is rarely matched for its thrills and characters you care about.

I played my Alien and Aliens soundtrack LPs until vinyl wasn’t a thing anymore. They made great background music when I was writing, furiously typing away to James Horner’s climactic beats. If I’d been able to get my young paws on Kenner’s toy range, I would have bought every figure. But the range never surfaced in my local toy store.

The Kenner range was released in the US in the early ‘90s, featuring animal hybrid xenomorphs that prefigured the bio-blends of later sequels. There were toys of the marines from Aliens (Apone, Hudson, Drake and Vasquez) despite the sticky end they received in the movie!

A cartoon was proposed, but perhaps we should be thankful that a great outer space horror movie didn’t get turned into watered-down, kid-friendly fare a la the Rambo and RoboCop toons that did get produced.

Now there are Alien toys in the local Walmart and Disney has its mousey gloves on Fox’s cash creature. In December 2020, Disney announced its mission to make Alien its next 'mega-franchise.' The live-action series will be on Star on Disney+ internationally and FX on Hulu in the US, with Noah Hawley (Fargo) showrunning and Sir Ridley Scott in an executive producer role. Will the forthcoming live-action series be a pale imitation of its silver screen forbears, like My Big fat Greek Life (except with creatures laying eggs in your chest)?

On the big screen, the xenomorph has never quite reached its Scott/Cameron heights since Aliens was released in 1986. While Prometheus was intriguing, it trod stale ground with its “Ancient Aliens” ideas and characters as cold as LV-426, distant from the sympathetic heroes of the first two Alien films.

TV might be a good fit for the franchise right now. The format is more prone to showing scary stuff these days; while in the 70s and 80s it would focus on atmosphere and characterization, now we can see special effects gore (The Walking Dead) and spectacle (the twisted corpse sculptures of Hannibal).

How much will be shown on FX on Hulu and Star on Disney+? Promisingly, a source told Edward Lauder of Small Screen, "These future Alien properties will be full-blown action-horror. They are not intending to make these upcoming movies and TV shows PG-13. Disney execs see this property and the Predator franchise – which they now also own – as their ‘adult’ offerings and they are hoping to boost their adult subscribers…"

Although the new show is being touted as the first story set on Earth, we’ve already seen xenomorphs on the loose in Alien vs Predator: Requiem. If that 2007 film hadn’t been part of the saga, it would have been fine as a monsters-on-the-loose film. But it failed to live up to its legacy with a puppy love story pandering to 18-to-25-year-olds instead of focusing on mature, capable actors. So how can the new showrunners learn from Requiem’s mistakes?

I like a happy ending as much as the next viewer, but Lost and The Walking Dead have shown that audiences are not turned off by the death of major characters; in Alien, the ‘final girl’ element raises the stakes and makes us care more about her, admiring the fact that she survives.

If the new Alien series wants to endure, it will have to cater to the fans who have supported the movies over the years, invent new ways to incorporate original, horrific ideas, and scare the pants off them.

Are you looking forward to the Alien spin-off series? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Aliens and Terminator star joins The Mandalorian

If it wasn't enough that Rosario Dawson is playing fan-favourite Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Michael Biehn, star of Aliens and The Terminator, joins the cast of The Mandalorian.

Biehn is expected to play a bounty hunter pursuing the titular character, played by Pedro Pascal, in the second season of the live-action Star Wars series on Disney+.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, The Mandalorian wrapped principal photography on its second season and will premiere this October on Disney+. Meanwhile, the first season continues every Friday on Disney+ in the UK.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Neill Blomkamp to direct RoboCop Returns

Whilst we may never see director Neill Blomkamp’s retconned sequel to Aliens. Because Ridley Scott. Fans of Paul Verhoeven’s seminal eighties cyberpunk movie RoboCop will see Blomkamp’s take on a sequel, which ignores Irvin Kershner’s risible RoboCop 2.

RoboCop Returns.

“The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid,” Blomkamp said. “I loved it then and it remains a classic in the end of 20th Century sci-fi catalog, with real meaning under the surface. Hopefully that is something we can get closer to in making of a sequel. That is my goal here. What I connected to as a kid has evolved over time. At first, the consumerism, materialism and Reaganomics, that ’80s theme of America on steroids, came through most strongly. But As I’ve gotten older, the part that really resonated with me is identity, and the search for identity. As long as the human component is there, a good story can work in any time period, it’s not locked into a specific place in history. What’s so cool about RoboCop is that like good Westerns, sci-fi films and dramas, the human connection is really important to a story well told. What draws me now is someone searching for their lost identity, taken away at the hands of people who are benefiting from it, and seeing his memory jogged by events.”

The recent RoboCop reboot ignored satirising rampant American consumerism, favouring instant gratification for a generation socialised on Call of Duty. So, hopefully, Blomkampf will rediscover his socio-political mojo and imbue the franchise with pathos for RoboCop Returns.

Do you want another RoboCop movie? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A sequel to Alien: Covenant is already written

Director Ridley Scott recently confirmed to The Sydney Morning Herald that Alien: Covenant is the beginning of a new prequel series to Alien, and the next installment may start filming as soon as 2018.

“You’ve got to assume to a certain extent success and from that you’d better be ready. You don’t want a two-year gap. So I’ll be ready to go again next year…. If you really want a franchise, I can keep cranking it for another six. I’m not going to close it down again. No way.”

The article goes on to corroborate what many fans (myself included) expected. Prometheus is not a part of the new prequel series starting with Alien: Covenant.

“What we did really well on Prometheus, considering that it was a ground zero idea that was starting all over again, was I discovered that people do have an appetite for the alien and what he means and his evolution – the egg, the facehugger, the chestburster as we call them. People still want to see it. So I return to a little bit of that but not wholeheartedly; there’s a lot in here which is new as well… We go from Prometheus into both worlds of the original Alien and a little bit of Prometheus. Prometheus was about who and why? This is getting closer to who designed it and for what reason.”

This reaffirms my suggestion Alien: Covenant is a soft reboot of the franchise. And could also explain why Neill Blomkamp's sequel to James Cameron's Aliens, thereby retconning Alien 3 out of existence, is on hold indefinitely.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Oscar-winning composer James Horner dies in plane crash

Deeply saddened by the news of Hollywood film composer James Horner's death in a plane crash. The first I heard of this was, as is now often the case, on social media.

It's not hyperbole to suggest James Horner, alongside John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith, scored the soundtrack to my life.

From Battle Beyond the Stars to Krull and Captain EO to Willow. Horner's golden age in the 1980s informed and enriched films, childhood playtimes, lively teenage academic debates and countless hours in darkened edit suites.

Here's my top ten James Horner film scores (in no particular order):

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
An American Tale
The Amazing Spider-Man
Field of Dreams

In this clip James Horner discusses his creative process for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Thank you for the timeless musical odysseys. RIP James Horner.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Neill Blomkamp's Alien is a direct sequel to Aliens

Game over! Director Neill Blomkamp confirms his Alien movie will be a sequel to James Cameron's Aliens during an interview, promoting Chappie, with Sky Movies.

Franchise star Sigourney Weaver, currently starring in Chappie, is keen to reprise her role as Ellen Ripley. "I would love to take Ripley from orbiting around in space and give a proper finish to what was such an excellent story."

This is what Blomkamp said during a Q&A with EW: "Over the years, I came up with a story for a film in that universe that I wanted to make. And then when I talked to her about her experience making those films and what she thought about Ripley and everything else, it informed and changed the film I wanted to make into something different. It just sort of stuck with me. A year later, when post-production was winding down on ‘Chappie,’ I started fleshing out the idea for a film that would contain Sigourney. Fox never knew. I just worked on it when I could. Before I knew it, I had this really awesome film with a lot of artwork and a lot of backstory. And then I didn't know whether I was going to make it or not. So I just kind of sat on it for a while."

More and more directors are leveraging social media and Blomkamp's is a marketing masterclass comparable to fellow genre auteurs JJ Abrams, Bryan Singer and Zack Snyder.

Does it bother you Alien³ and Alien Resurrection will be ignored? Let me know in the comments below.