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Science Fiction Thursday: 'Mad Max', 'Lazarus Effect', 'Ghost in the Shell', and 'The Culture'

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | January 8, 2015 |


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Science Fiction Thursday, because if Thursday isn’t a good enough reason for sci-fi, then you wouldn’t understand anyway.

First up, we’ve got The Lazarus Effect, which is a sci-fi horror movie that is getting me excited because it stars Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, and Olivia Wilde. I perked up at first because I thought it was based on the Frank Herbert novel, but no dice. Says Producer Jason Blum:

“The most important thing to make a movie scary is that the you forget you’re watching actors, and you think you’re watching real people. So I think if the audience sees someone they don’t necessarily associate with that genre, it make it feel more real.”

That’s very true, because actors aren’t real people. They’re made in a factory outside of Omaha. The defective ones are sent to the Tannhauser Gate. The most terrible secret? They give them all pens and paper in their final testing, and the ones who write poetry are the ones tossed back into the grinding recycler maw, because slaves that dream are slaves who fight.

(source, and a trailer with black eyes right out of X-Files here: Blastr)

Next up, is the dawning reality that we seem to be getting a live action Ghost in the Shell remake. The original is anime, and it’s beyond fantastic. It’s deep, it’s philosophical, it’s filled with action, and it creates a stunningly visual and interesting world that puts most stories to absolute shame. If you haven’t seen it, do that first. Here’s a scene from the film, and please don’t go looking up trailers, the only ones out there for it are really quite terrible. (Mild NSFW for animated android breasts, in case you need such warnings):

Anyway, the big news on the remake is that Scarlett Johansson has signed up for the lead (which is not the topless android from above, if you’re getting your hopes up). She can act when she wants to. Now, the horrific Lucy probably got this movie to happen and got her into the star role for it, but let’s hope it’s more like Under the Skin instead. It’s being directed by Rupert Sanders who specializes in not being Edward Cullen.

(source: The Verge)

Finally, there are a bunch of new pictures out from Max Max: Fury Road. For example, here’s Charlize Theron having a nuanced debate about the challenges faced by amputees in post-apocalyptic wastelands:

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And here’s Nicholas Hoult demonstrating that even albinos have a future after the world ends. The film’s plot apparently revolves around a desperate search for chapstick, because hot damn has he got some peeling action going on in every shot from this movie.

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More pictures can be found at SlashFilm.

I’m suspicious of this movie. It doesn’t look bad per se, but is terribly polished-looking, which just doesn’t feel right. All of the cobbled together freak show machinery and costumes look like they were made by pros to look cool rather than by desperate people in the wasteland. And the trailers have gone for this sort of B-movie tongue-in-cheek vibe, which just really puts me off after the original two movies took themselves so seriously. Thunderdome you ask? That movie doesn’t exist, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

To sign off, I think it’s always appropriate in this space to spark some conversation about books. In order to fix a gross oversight, I just started reading Iain Banks’ Culture series. Knocked out Consider Phlebas, Player of Games, and Use of Weapons in the last week. This is some of the best science fiction I’ve ever read. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait like I did, go pick these up. They’re deep novels, with a veneer of action and excitement that makes them page turners even as you fall in love with the language and read and re-read sentences to roll them around in your head and appreciate the angles of what is being said.

Comments below, fill ‘em up with everything sci-fi that you’ve got in your mind parts.


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