Director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) has started something called Oat Studios, which is a creative venture focusing on monsters, aliens, and general weirdness. Which sounds bloody great to me. His idea is to create short experimental films and be funded by people online rather than go through the studio system or crowdfunding. The first such offering is called Rakka and it stars the always superb Sigourney Weaver. I won’t give too much away as you can watch the 20-minute film below. Basically, aliens invade and they are really, really mean. Sigourney is trying to kick their alien asses and let’s face it, she has a history of success in this kind of endeavour. Blomkamp’s Alien 5 is officially not going to happen, so this is a great way to fill that Sigourney/Alien shaped hole.
I am a big fan of Blomkamp, especially District 9, and Rakka has a similar feel to that film. I also think it is an interesting experiment that he is trying with his Oats studio creation and want to support in my own minor way. Rather than simply do a Kickstarter or go to a Hollywood studio, he is hoping people will be interested enough to fund further work. Have a look at what is happening and a way to contribute yourself on Steam by clicking on this link.
Without further ado, here is Rakka. (Warning: it is a tad violent and not for kids.)
I am thinking of developing the story of Cooperworld into a novel. It can go places. If I do, it will probably be quite different in tone but the essential idea will be the same. I won’t give too much away but thought I would use this ideal opportunity to plug it. If you like sci-fi and stuff like the Matrix, you might find it fun. The most important thing is that you buy a copy to find out and find out for yourself. It is currently going for a pittance – which is cheap in anyone’s reality.
Here is the blurb:
In the near future, AI research is strictly controlled by paranoid governments. When a renowned Artificial Intelligence expert illegally decides to create digital life in a simulated universe, he doesn’t at first realise the implications of what he has done. Implications not just for him, but for everyone.
Game of Thrones season 7 is coming! There is a new trailer to prove it and it looks fucking incredible. I have utterly given up on the books now and it is pretty liberating to have no idea what is going to happen. I am pretty sure Cersei is doomed, however (I reckon eventually killed by her very loving bro Jaime). Plus. and this is a hopeful guess, there will be boobs and violence and dragons.
The new series of Game of Thrones is back on 16th July. Here is the trailer:
A couple of days ago I wrote about The Orville – a Star Trek parody that I hope will be good but I can’t help feeling on the fence about. In that case it was because it might not be funny. Now the Star Trek Discovery trailer has landed and I feel myself on a similar fence, except this time because is just doesn’t feel like should.
The trailer for Star Trek Discovery has divided the world into three camps – those who are Trek fans and think this looks great, those who are Trek fans and don’t like the JJ Abrams prequel-ness of it all, and non-Trek fans who are just getting on with their lives.
Now I will grudgingly admit that the trailer looks quite fun and seems well made with a decent budget, great cast and so on. If it had been a different series entirely, or even set after Voyager, I might even be massively excited. This is shiny new prequel Trek however, and while the films are fun and exciting, it isn’t exactly what I was hoping for when it comes to a Star Trek TV series. If asked, which I shockingly wasn’t, I would have requested something that continues the original timeline and looks like Star Trek before the Kelvin/Abrams reimagining. Something more character and story based, with less lens flare, action and see-through computer screens.
I know a lot of Star Trek fans are now sounding like whining little sad sacks but I understand where they are coming from. I guess it feels like the makers were unaware that there were a load of TV shows before the Abrams films. So they decided to make a prequel show that mirrors his ‘reimagining’ whereas most actual Trekkies want more stuff that feels like all the TV shows – and I am including Enterprise in that. I think I have just hit ‘peak prequel’. If something is going to look more technologically advanced, set it after the original.
I will stop bitching. Star Trek Discovery looks like it might be a good show with a great cast and the best effects yet. I just remain to be convinced that it is good Trek. Fingers crossed.
Seth McFarlane is the guy behind Family Guy, American Dad! and Ted. So if you like his humour you will probably like this. If you hate his stuff, then your course of action is pretty clear. Good for you. Personally, there are moments of his work that I find funny but on the whole, I can take it or leave it. But this is in space, so all bets are off.
I am hoping his live action science fiction comedy “The Orville” will be his best work yet because it looks like it has a lot of potential and appeals to my inner nerd. It is clearly a parody of Star Trek and if it is even half as good as Galaxy Quest, I will be very happy indeed. The difference between this and something like Family Guy is that the whole thing is set in a space with aliens and robots and so on, so it hopefully won’t be so reference-laden and desperate to shock. The effects look pretty decent too, although maybe that is just for the trailer. Oh, and it is also directed by Jon Favreau, who is generally pretty reliable.
We shall see. I like comedies set in space. I hope I will like The Orville. It is already pretty polarising on the internet but then everything is these days because people are opinionated idiots. (Fact, not opinion.) There is no official word on when it will be out, but it will be this year and on a Thursday. Here is the trailer:
I wasn’t going to post the Blade Runner 2049 official trailer as it has been out for almost a day and is all over the internet. But then I thought that someone may have missed it and that would be a shame because it looks incredible.
It is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who has proved he can do thoughtful and evocative sci-fi with the superb Arrival (go and watch that if you haven’t seen it yet). Plus Gosling and Ford are generally pretty reliable and I am a sucker for cyberpunk.
Check it out the official trailer. Ideally on a big screen:
I wrote relatively recently about the Dark Tower book and how good it was. As I said in my review, the Gunslinger was damned enjoyable and I wanted to read it before the film came out. I’ll be honest though, I thought it was going to be a series of films but now it just looks like a one-off movie. Which is a shame but what are you going to do? The casting is great though – I am a big fan of both Elba and McConaughey and can easily imagine them in the roles. I seriously doubt that I will read the next six books in the Dark Tower series before this comes out in August, so the film had better be good.
I think the Dark Tower official trailer looks great but then trailers nearly always do these days. See what you think…
This review of Babylon’s Ashes: book 6 of the Expanse will only be of interest if you have read the first five Expanse novels. Which is an obvious thing to say but you may have stumbled here by accident.
I love the Expanse, the books as well as the TV show. Again, this should be apparent given that I am now eagerly awaiting book 7. Babylon’s Ashes continues telling the story of the crew of the Rocinante and increasingly, the story of a shitload of other people. The cast is seriously ballooning, which is generally a good thing although it can be hard to follow if, like me, you have time away from the series.
I read somewhere that the series is supposed to be 9 books – 3 duologies and a final trilogy. Babylon’s Ashes was a great read but it did read a little like a “book 6” (if you know what I mean) while at the same time wrapping up the events of book 5. I do find the Free Navy, (and to a lesser extent the OPA,) a bit like an angry teenager banging on about stuff not being fair. This book deals with the Free Navy a lot. In the last book they trashed the Earth, in this one, they mostly act petulant and try to fight a lot. There are some great set pieces though and a load of awesome space battles. There are also some other more mysterious alien elements developing in the background, in case you forgot.
So while Babylon’s Ashes is a great story, it deals more with the OPA/Free Navy and less with stuff I want to read about – aliens, the rings, the new planets, Miller, etc. There is a feeling that it is finishing off some storylines and setting the scene for the epic final trilogy. As such, it wasn’t one of my favourite entries in the Expanse series but I still enjoyed it and I am totally on board for what will hopefully follow. Go Expanse!
I have been plowing through VR games in the £15-20 range recently. I recently finished Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and then, grateful for the complete change of scene, I thought I would try Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. Until Dawn was a horror shooter on a roller-coaster with a ton of jump scares, whereas Psychonauts is a humorous and mostly stationary adventure game. I highly recommend doing things this way round.
In the Rhombus of Ruin you play Raz, the newest member of the team of Psychonauts. I haven’t played any of the other games in the series but it really doesn’t matter. The characters are fun and the story is standalone. If you are new to VR and are worried about motion sickness, then this is highly recommended for reasons that are best explained by the plot.
The team is on a plane and as Raz, you are still experimenting and learning about your psychic abilities. Because you are on a plane, this is done from a seated position. The plane crashes and the team is scattered and when you awaken you are strapped motionless to a chair. Fortunately, your psychic abilities allow you to transport your conscious into the various minions and creatures you see and you can get them to press button and so on. Essentially, this is a puzzler and as everything is viewed from within stationary minds, there is no threat of dreaded VR motion sickness.
At first, your abilities are essentially mind jumping and psychic prodding. As you release other members of the psychonaut team, you get better abilities like being able to blast stuff and set things on fire. You also travel around quite a bit and soon find yourself jumping into things like jellyfish, rats and all sorts (mild spoiler: you are underwater).
I really enjoyed this game and highly recommend it. It’s fun and the VR is top notch. The only real negative was that it was short. I finished it in about 2 hours. So while the story was enjoyable and the characters were great, it felt slightly perfunctory and never really had a chance to go anywhere too deep. The fact I wanted a bit more is a good thing I guess, it just depends how much action you want for £15 (roughly).
Personally I loved Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. It could have been longer and I will never play it again but if a sequel came out I would definitely get it. Recommended.
The last two Thor movies have been ok. Not great but entertaining none the less. Ragnarok seems like it is going in a very different direction and looks like it could be a shitload of fun. Fewer plotlines about people being tricked by Loki the Trickster and more space adventure goodness. In fact, as the trailer went on I was fully expecting one of the Guardians of the Galaxy to pop in and say something witty. I will be surprised if that doesn’t happen in the Ragnarok at some point.
I think this looks great but that could just be I have been in a long excitement build up to Guardians 2 and this feels like a crossover. Plus – Led Zeppelin. Zeppelin rule. Enjoy.