Science Fiction Thursday: 'Pacific Rim 2: Shirtless Jax Boogaloo,' 'Dragonriders of Pern,' and Joe Abercrombie
Did you see the trailer for Interstellar yet? Do that. It’s in a separate post so it gets the exposure it deserves, because damned if that’s not what movies are meant to be as far as I’m concerned, but in spirit it’s in this column. Because it is the epitome of science fiction and today, indeed, is the holy Thursday of that order.
Pacific Rim was one of the most wonderfully fun movies of the last few years. It made not one bit of goddamned sense, but it was senseless in that sort of charming eye wink of a way that drags you back to when you were playing with giant robots in the canyons and gullies of your back yard. There’s a line I think, where you have to admit that something is fantasy and not science fiction. It’s hairsplitting to some, but there are things with robots and lasers and the trappings of science fiction that at their hearts are all fantasy. And they work.
In any case, Pacific Rim 2: Shirtless Jax Boogaloo is already in the early stages. And although del Toro has managed to drop essentially every project he’s been attached to for the last decade, the fact that he managed to squeeze the first film out seems to my hopeful mind to be evidence he’ll stick with the second. He says the script will be done next month, and had this to say:
We start designing in three weeks. We get the first draft of the screenplay in three weeks; Zak Penn and I are co-writing and then there’s a long, long, long journey of drafts and design. It took nine months to design “Pacific Rim”; it will take nine months or more to design the second one. We start scouting for the movie in the summer next year, July, and then we start shooting in November. Then it’s a long year of post after we wrap and we’ll probably be showing the movie in January/February 2017 to test audiences …
No, it’s all over the world this time. I want it to be different enough to the first one that you don’t feel you’re seeing the same movie. I’m doing a little more location-oriented stuff, there are night battles, but there are also daylight battles. The things we do in the action scenes is very different from the first one. We are expanding the mythology of the Anteverse. We are taking the characters into a completely different journey this time because Raleigh for me solved his problem the minute he was able to go full circle and save Mako by sacrificing himself, which is what he couldn’t do with his brother. He’s not on that journey anymore, he’s on a new journey.
This next bit of news takes me back to used bookstore paperbacks: Warner Brothers has just optioned the entire 22 volume Dragonriders of Pern series. They’re wonderful books, the sorts that people of the time devour and then sadly they sit stale on old bookshelves as new generations come along and never even see them. The top tier stuff sticks, but the second tier fades in cultural memory like polaroids left in the sun. It’s not specific to science fiction and fantasy, but a universal sort of sadness. But I’m sure that Warner will do a fantastic and loyal job of retelling those stories, and didn’t just cynically snap it up to throw a low budget hail mary at the Game of Thrones crowd’s love of dragons. Perish the thought.
In print news, there was a new Joe Abercrombie book released two weeks ago, and no one told me, so you’re all dead to me. Half a Kingis a new trilogy set in a new world from his previous novels. Dead to me.