When Gavin Hood told Orson Scott Card that he planned to adapt Card’s science-fiction classic Ender’s Game for the big screen, the author replied with
I wrote this behemoth!
Just spoke to the legendary futurist designer Syd Mead (Blade Runner, TRON, Aliens) for 40 minutes. That’s a bucket list interview, folks.
From Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, the team behind Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, comes a musical of epic proportions. When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are synched via a neural bridge, called “The Drift.”
But as the enemy grows more powerful with each attack, even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Neil Patrick Harris) and an untested trainee (Lea Salonga)—who are teamed to drive a seemingly obsolete Jaeger. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.
Pacific Rim stars Harris as Raleigh Becket, Salonga as Mako Mori, Jesse L. Martin as Stacker Pentecost, Darren Criss as Dr. Newton Geiszler, Harvy Fierstein as Hannibal Chau, Aaron Tveit as rival pilot Chuck Hansen, and Gavin Creel as Raleigh’s brother Yancy.
"In the Year 2020" — Ensemble
"Brother and Brother" — Neil Patrick Harris, Gavin Creel as Yancy Becket
"Another Wall" — Neil Patrick Harris, Ensemble
"Welcome to the Shatterdome" — Jesse L. Martin, Lea Salonga, Neil Patrick Harris
"Back Again, Old Friend" — Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Salonga
"Training Montage" — Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Solanga, Jesse L. Martin, The Rangers
"Driftin’" — Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Salonga, Darren Criss
"The Dream" — Lea Salonga
"There’s No Place for You" — Aaron Tveit as Chuck Hansen, Neil Patrick Harris
"Brother and Brother" (Reprise) — Neil Patrick Harris
"Double Incident" — Jesse L. Martin, Neil Patrick Harris, Darren Criss, Lea Salonga Aaron Tveit, The Rangers
"Drawing Kaiju Blue" — Aaron Tveit, Jesse L. Martin, Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Salonga The Rangers
"Return of Gipsy Danger" — Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Salonga
"The Kaiju Black Market" — Harvey Fierstein, Darren Criss
"The Time Is Now" — Jesse L. Martin, Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Salonga, Ensemble
"Driftin’" (Reprise) / "Dance of the Kaiju" — Darren Criss, Harvey Fierstein
"What a Hero Does" — Neil Patrick Harris
"The Dream" (Reprise) — Jesse L. Martin
"Cancel the Apocalypse" — Jesse L. Martin, Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Solanga, Aaron Tveit, The Rangers
"Category V" — Jesse L. Martin, Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Salonga, Aaron Tveit
"Between Two Worlds" — Neil Patrick Harris
"Return from the Other Side" — Lea Salonga, Neil Patrick Harris
"Go Big or Go Extinct" / "In the Year 2020" (Reprise) — Neil Patrick Harris, Lea Salonga, Ensemble
This week we’re coming to you live from the Shatterdome, as we review this week’s rock-‘em sock-‘em jaeger vs. kaiju adventure Pacific Rim . Does it live up to the many monster movies that inspired it? Has Guillermo del Toro made a film worth the five-year wait? Will David ever like a single blockbuster that comes out this summer?
This is not trolling bullpoo. Read on.
Yikes, The CW’s new sci-fi show The 100 looks dreadful. I can’t tell if the issue is lead Eliza Taylor or the writing. But paired together, the dialogue is nails on a chalkboard. A sample:
"97 years ago, a nuclear apocalypse killed everything on Earth, leaving the planet simmering in radiation."
"No it’s not my time!"
"No, it was my father’s!"
"They’re killing us, aren’t they? Reducing the population to make more time for the rest of you?"
"We all tested authority, one way or another."
"Stop, the air could be toxic!"
"The arc is dying."
"We’re not alone!"
Hey! Read an elegant, expanded, and revised version of this blog post over at Vulture. Now with actual English instead of the below chicken scratch.
This is not a review of After Earth . Rather, an intriguing underlying concept.
OK, this might be semi-crazy.
As far as I can tell, Will Smith has never blatantly stated he’s a member of the Church of Scientology while being a proponent of it. He’s been open about studying it and palling around with high profile elites like Tom Cruise, but in the end, he declares himself a “student of world religion.” In the end, it doesn’t really matter — but it’s hard to dismiss Smith’s ties to L Ron Hubbard’s sci-fi-inspired belief system when its ideas are all over his new film, After Earth.
I won’t get too spoilery here, but consider this:
In After Earth, Smith’s character Cypher Raige (ha!) is a commander in a human society that fled Earth 1,000 years ago. They escaped their ecologically-ravaged homeworld to a new planet that was picture perfect… minus a race of blind aliens with a thirst for the pheromones produced by fear. Convenient! What makes Cypher special is that he’s capable of “ghosting,” the ability to abandon fear and become invisible to the aliens. As we’ve seen in the trailers, circumstances eventually take Cypher and his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) back to Earth with company — a fear-hungry alien. Kitai ends up having to cross the terrifying forest land of Earth and his biggest problem is that he’s a total pussy. He is bubbling over with fear. He’s too fucking emotional and that makes him a huge target for the alien.
This struck me as Scientology 101. Cypher spends most of the movie guiding his son through the dangerous environments of evolved Earth, coaching him to drop his emotions and believe in his self. Fear is imaginary, a construct of the mind that can be abolished if you believe in your own abilities. To me, After Earth is all about cleansing the body’s “thetan,” or soul. If Kitai can leave behind the physical dangers of the world and invest in self-determinism, he’ll be triumphant. He’ll be a hero because he’s entitled to be one.
Scientology is all about personal survival — the the “first dynamic”— and that’s the key to Katai’s mission. Washing away the past, any bad decision he’s made, in order to come out on top. It’s the way his father has lived and it’s basically gone unpunished, even when he has massive mistakes on his record to show for it. Unlike many Hollywood science fiction movie’s, After Earth has an emphasis on self that I don’t believe is coincidence.
The auditing process also comes up. Kitai is stricken with memories of an ill-fated day back home, where he witnessed a love one perish at the hands of an alien invader. He was only a kid, but it kills him inside. This works like Scientology’s engrams, albeit a bit more overt. Through flashbacks, M. Night Shyamalan tortures his lead character with memories. The only way to make it to the end of his mission is to wash them away. So Cypher is giving Kitai his free stress test, one-on-one sessions between father and son that teach the emotionally involved child to put aside his feelings in favor of making the world a better place. The only thing missing is a 31st century E-meter.
So in this adaptation of Scientology, the bloodthirsty beast pursuing Kitai is psychiatric consideration. It’s destructive and murderous, preying on emotion and standing in the way of being a great soldier of the universe. But the spectacular world around Kitai during his multi-day trek through the jungle, and even the physical manifestation of Scientology’s anti-psychiatry stance, seems inconsequential in comparison to his own internal battle. After Earth is about the personal quest — the science fiction padding is just to make it appealing to the masses.
Am I waaaaay off base on this one? You may have to see for yourself and let me know. Scientologists: feel free to chime in if you think I’m way off on my facts. This isn’t a knock one way or another, just surprised to see Smith and Son star in a huge Hollywood blockbuster ingrained with a religion they’re adamantly not a part of.
This shot from the Thor: The Dark World trailer reminds me of a moment from another film and I can’t put my finger on it. Lady… revived on a bed of light… gaaaaaaaah. What am I thinking of?
My attempt to make some sense of Upstream Color. Get ready to have your minds blown.
I gush over Prometheus like an Alien exploding out of a man’s chest.
The best tribute to Ray Bradbury there will ever be.