The Syfy channel and Spielberg’s Amblin Television have just announced that they are going to make a TV show based on Aldous Huxley’s superb Brave New World. I have to admit, I have mixed emotions about this – and most of those emotions are negative.
On the one hand, I can’t help but get excited when a novel I like is being turned into a film or TV show. On the other hand, I have been disappointed the vast majority of the time. I know I recently got fairly excited by the prospect of The Expanse coming to TV, but the books are written so visually that I can almost see the TV show in my head. On the third hand, Brave New World is pretty much a novella and short stories can make great TV/films as they can go with the idea and not be too beholden to the source material. On the fourth – alright, bollocks to the whole ‘hand’ thing – another point is the fact that the best novellas are the length they are because they have a precise story in mind that is longer than a short story but has a definite end. A Brave New World has a definite end.
I’m a huge Orwell fan. Animal Farm and 1984 were perfectly complete stories that were far too long for a short story, but not quite book length. They were the length they needed to be for the finite tale they told. The same goes for the perfectly written The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. (All of these have actually translated quite well into films as the novella is perfect film length.)
I just don’t think a Brave New World will translate into great TV. They should make it a movie or fixed-length mini-series. I guess we shall see.
There’s a new Star Wars trailer! Actually it’s a teaser trailer, but it’s quite long so… Ah, who cares. The more Star Wars I see the better. I think this will be the best Star Wars since Empire Strikes Back and have decided to pin all my hopes on it. Like I did with Phantom Menace, which didn’t work out well, but life is all about risk. Plus this also has a couple of characters that… well you’ll see. Without further ado, here is the new Star Wars 7 The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer (to give it the full catchy title). Enjoy.
I know it sounds like a bizarre comic book hero to choose but Ant-Man will soon be on our screens and the trailer actually looks quite fun. I knew Ant-Man existed but have never read any of the comics because, well it sounded a bit daft. Although I was certainly more aware of Ant-Man than I was of Guardians of the Galaxy and GOTG is now one of my favourite films of all time, and that had a raccoon and a tree as two of its main characters. Marvel’s taking slightly out there comic material and having fun with it.
So take the new Ant-Man trailer with a pinch of salt because that is the tone in which it is meant to be taken. Paul Rudd is generally a pretty funny guy and I think this has potential. Here is the new Ant-Man trailer. Enjoy:
This has been all over the internet already but in case you missed it, here is the much discussed TIE fighter wars short film by Paul Johnson. Basically, the premise is to show a Star Wars space battle from the point of view of the Empire and TIE fighter pilots, done in the style of 80s anime. It is superbly animated.
To be honest I am not a 100% keen on the music but given it’s harking back to a Gundam-esque style of animation, I guess it fits.Anyway, who cares. This is great. Go TIE fighters! Go Empire!
First off, take a look at the cover of this new Mark Millar and Sean Murphy comic called Chrononauts. Look at the watch on the left. What do you see? 1 in 15 people will see something different. More on the Chrononauts optical illusion later…
As I am a bit of a nerd, I still get excited on ‘new comic day’. When I was younger, this meant a trip to the local comic book shop where you would meet all the other cool froods who were similarly into such exciting literature. Now, it just means an email from Comixology letting me know what’s new and then me going online to buy digital copies. But you can still chat to the cool froods in forums and on sites like twitter, which is also where you can find out cool things about the comics and related topics. What’s even better is that the comic artists and writers join in, raising the tone and generally being quite interesting. Which brings me, long-windedly, to the Chrononauts optical illusion.
In the watch face you will see one of the following:
1/ A broken watch face. (What I saw.)
2/ A green hourglass.
Apparently only one person in fifteen will see the hourglass. It’s the comic book fan version of the stupid ‘colour of the dress’ debate. The artist, Sean Gordon Murphy, chimed in on Twitter to explain:
I don’t know if this is a cunning bit of marketing and there is no optical illusion but I thought I would share just in case it true. If it is an evil marketing trick then kudos Mr Murphy, I like your style.
I saw an earlier Tomorrowland trailer and thought it looked ok. George Clooney is nearly always good value and the science fiction element looked intriguing, but it didn’t seem all that special. Well the new Tomorrowland trailer looks even more interesting and my intrigued-o-meter has risen.
The premise of there being a world that runs parallel to our own has been done before – I was immediately reminded of Baxter/Pratchett’s (slightly disappointing) The Long Earth series or The Talisman by King/Straub. But Tomorrowland seems really cool, with an almost retro scifi feel to it. This feeling is enhanced by a couple of clips that were released separately – more on that in a second. The film also has Hugh Laurie, who is worth a watch. I don’t know his role in Tomorrowland but if he speaks with an American accent, he’s a good guy; with his natural English accent, he’s a baddie. Sorry if that turns out to be a spoiler, I’m just guessing. Anyway, here is the Tomorrowland trailer:
I think it looks pretty damn good.
The idea is that a secret society called Plus Ultra was founded by Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Gustave Eiffel, and H.G. Wells in 1889. They then went to live in a hidden city. On Youtube and Twitter there is a great conspiracy type account called Stop Plus Ultra that has already released a couple of videos. There’s also a website. The Youtube channel is here. The first video is great:
The second one is interesting but a bit long. For some reason, it reminds me of a recruitment drive for the underwater city of Rapture in the Bioshock games.
I’m a sucker for these kind of viral marketing techniques and have been ever seen the internet excitement that surrounded The Blair Witch Project. It remains to be seen whether the film is any good, but until then check out the STOP PLUS ULTRA website. Like most conspiracy theories it is untrue but I so want it to be real: STOP PLUS ULTRA blog.
Do you remember the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? If so, poor you. It sucked. I recently worked for a kids TV channel and had to watch a ton of the different Power Rangers on a daily basis and they were all dire. I grew up in Hong Kong and masked heroes from the 70s on kids’ TV were generally a lot cooler – Gatchaman, Masked Rider V3, and so on.
If you never saw the Power Rangers, the basic story is this: an evil alien witch, who had been imprisoned in a space container, escapes and decides to attack the nearest planet – Earth. Usually using robots or weird creatures. Another alien picks five teenagers and gives them the power to morph into a giant robot. They could also fight really well, which is what you want in a load of angsty teenagers.
Got that? Right. Well here is a short film starring Katie ‘Starbuck’ Sackoff, and James Van Der ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Beek in a gritty reimagining of how the whole story may have played out, if the annoying Power Rangers grew up to be attractive adults twisted by a life a violence. This new Power Rangers short movie is pretty well done, given the source material. Enjoy.
Cloud Rise is a superb animated short film by writer/director/producer/animator Denver Jackson. He spent 4 moths of his life putting this all together and crowdsourced the money needed to get the actors and sound recordist he wanted. I think it’s pretty amazing that a driven individual can do this sort of thing and am happy to provide support by showing the video.
There really isn’t any need to say any more. If you want more information about the Indiegogo campaign and the story behind it all, click here.
Watch the whole video as the story develops and the art is great. Hopefully Mr Jackson will be encouraged to do more. Here is Cloud Rise. Enjoy:
This two and a half minute clip shows almost a hundred years’ worth of robots on film and is pretty damn cool. Everyone loves a robot and I’m gutted the nearest I am likely to get to owning one in the next five years is if I buy a robot vacuum cleaner. Personally I think the robots from Metropolis, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet still hold up pretty well. But then I am a fan of all three films and may be a bit biased. Anyway, here are some robots on film. So many scifi classics… so little time… Enjoy!
The Expanse books are coming to Syfy and I’m incredibly excited. The trailer looks pretty good and they’re managed to show a lot of the characters without showing much of the action. According to Syfy it’s their most expensive product to date and if you’ve seen Sharknado 2 that’s no small boast. To be fair they are trying to get away from the Sharknado bollocks and make more science fiction so I should be more supportive.
I’ve written about every book in The Expanse series and raved about them but if you haven’t yet, give them a read starting with Leviathan Wakes. Each book feels like it’s a slightly different genre:
Leviathan Wakes – Noir detective / zombies.
Caliban’s War – Political / military
Abbadon’s Gate – Exploration / Arthur Clarke’s Rama
Cibola Burn – A bit like a Western
They are all great though and the recurring characters are awesome. The TV series seems to be just the first book but they have also included a character called Avasarala from the second, who is a brilliant character and is brilliantly cast. In fact the whole cast seems great and I knew the characters just by looking at them, so I that’s a positive sign.
Anyway, that’s enough waffle. Here is The Expanse TV series trailer: