Say Hello to The HUVr Board
If you never asked your parents, hat in hand, for a sweet-ass hoverboard after seeing Back to the Future: Part II for the first time, you’re either lying or you’re too young to know what the hell I’m talking about. Truthfully, all you need to know is that the hoverboard is an immaculate piece of fictional technology capable of doing just what its name describes: making you look insanely rad while hovering eleven inches in the air. Now, thanks to HUvr, you can own one, too.
Or, you could, if the whole thing wasn’t a complete hoax (and a mighty expensive one, at that). Carefully watching the video reveals that the celebrity riders (including Tony Hawk, Moby, Terrell Owens, and a guest appearance by the one and only
Doc Brown Christopher Lloyd) reveal the harnesses under their clothing, and shadows on the pavement occasionally betray the illusion by broadcasting the outlines of cranes.
Still, you have to admit, for something that isn’t necessarily real, the team at HUVr sure put a lot of work into this. As much as I wish it was all promotional material for Back to the Future 4, it’s been confirmed that this viral sensation was orchestrated by the website Funny Or Die. This doesn’t necessarily stop me from wanting one, of course, but it definitely made my Christmas list just a little bit shorter. Good thing Marty McFly’s power laces are still coming out, right?
First Footage of Gareth Edward’s Godzilla Does Not Disappoint
I’ve harbored a fascination with monster movies since I was small. There’s something both terrifying and awe-inspiring about creatures with the power to decimate entire cities in the blink of an eye. Godzilla, of course, is the king of such beasts, and has been one of the most well-known monsters to ever grace the silver screen since his original appearance in 1954.
Today, we finally witness the first footage from the newest iteration in Godzilla’s reign of terror. Gareth Edwards, director of the amazing film Monsters, is finally giving us the Godzilla that fans have been pining for, and I can hardly wait.
The trailer, brief as it may be, shows a city leveled by the destruction of, what appears to be, a tremendous battle. We’re treated to a glimpse of a kaiju corpse, strewn across a deserted street. To make matters more horrifying, J. Robert Oppenheimer’s infamous speech about the Atomic Bomb is draped over the trailer like a dark shadow. The line pulled from Hindu scripture sends a chill racing up the spine of any who hear it and, when paired with the striking visual of Godzilla rising triumphantly from a haze of smoke, it’s effectively one of the most promising and terrifying things I have ever witnessed.
Maybe the fan in me is blowing this severely out of proportion, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t the Godzilla film that I’ve always hoped for. Sure, this is merely a trailer, but the sheer sincerity with which Edwards is approaching this film gives me a kaiju-sized amount of hope.
Don’t just take my word for it, friends. Feast your eyes on the first trailer here.
This Week in Science Fiction
It’s been a long week, folks, and the internet has been positively rife with exciting science fiction news; so rife, in fact, that I’ve hardly been able to keep up with it all. Luckily for you, however, I have managed to boil down the most exciting stories of the week into a nice, boring list. No need to thank me, friends. Here’s this week in science fiction:
- The first trailer for the upcoming remake of Robocop has hit the web to a sea of wavering skepticism. The cast looks incredibly promising, but something about the trailer seems a little too straight forward on the action for my tastes. The original Robocop felt much darker, and it provided a sense of social commentary that this film doesn’t seem to have. On the other hand, this is only the trailer, and I have been pleasantly surprised by remakes before. Who knows? This could be absolutely incredible, but only time will tell.
- The winners of the 2013 Hugo Awards have finally been listed, featuring a number of incredible short stories, novels, and comic books. Take a gander at the list of nominees and recipients, folks; you may just find your new favorite author on there.
- Gather ye dollars while ye may, Whovians. The BBC is releasing all of Doctor Who (series 1 - 7) on Blu-Ray in an amazing collectors edition, set to hit stores on November 5th. Not only does the box set include every episode and television special in 1080p, but it also includes special features, original art cards featuring 9, 10, and 11, an exclusive Doctor Who comic, and (get this) a universal remote in the shape of a Sonic Screwdriver. Look, I’m not one to beg, but can someone please drop three hundred and fifty bones on this for me? Please?
- Roland Emmerich, co-creator of the Stargate movie circa 1994, has fans of the franchise dizzy with excitement. (Do you guys even have a name? Gaters? Gateheads?) Emmerich is currently in talks with MGM to reboot his vision as a trilogy of films. Some fans wonder whether rehashing the franchise is even necessary at all, considering the vast array of television series that branched off from the original film. Gateheads will have to wait a little while longer before anything is confirmed, however, considering that Mr. Emmerich is currently shooting Independence Day 2, and we all know how important that is.
- If you’ve been following this blog for some time now, you may know just how much I adore the television series Futurama. I’ve toted it as the wittiest animated series of our generation, and I don’t think I’m too far off in that assessment, if you ask me. And, while I knew this day would eventually come, I wasn’t truly prepared for the series to end. Like all good things, however, it has. I hesitate to link you to any reviews of the finale, as they are all heavily laden with spoilers, but I can tell you this — for a show that’s been on the air for almost fourteen years, I’d say it had a pretty good run. Farewell, Futurama. I’ll never forget you.
- Dark Horse Comics are gearing up for something spectacular. This image, depicting the legendary Serenity-class ship Firefly from the television series bearing the same name, with the words “#wheresserenity" across the front, has graced their blog, effectively hinting at the possibility of an upcoming return to the Firefly universe in comic form. So far, Dark Horse is keeping a tight lid on any facts surrounding the arrival of a new series, but all signs point to “hell yes”. Keep an eye out for everyone’s favorite “big damn heroes” returning to a comic book store near you.
I Want To Believe: CIA Confirms the Existence Area 51
Conspiracy theorists and X-Files enthusiasts, rejoice. After years of speculation, the redacted information surrounding the infamous Area 51 has been unveiled, revealing to the world once and for all that… well, it exists.
To the residents of Nevada, and anyone with access to Google Maps, this comes as no real surprise; Area 51’s existence has been well-documented for some time, with various signs littered across the state warning citizens to steer clear of the government sanctioned strip of land near Groom Lake. However, this is the first time that the CIA has officially acknowledged the existence of the base, leaving many to speculate over their motivation in doing so.
The information was released alongside a report stating that Area 51 was used primarily to test various spy planes and stealth equipment, but theorists maintain that such details only scratch the surface of what goes on behind closed doors. Does this declaration of validity mean that the location is no longer in possession of highly guarded government paraphernalia, effectively rendering it’s “top-secret” nature useless? Are they turning it into a science fiction themed amusement park/petting zoo? No one can say for sure, friends, and there’s no way to know if we ever will.
The 12th Doctor is In
It looks like the wait is over, friends. After today’s live broadcast, the BBC has finally confirmed that Peter Capaldi will play the Doctor’s twelfth regeneration, even though he is, regrettably, not a ginger.
Capaldi is no stranger to Doctor Who. Not only is he a self-proclaimed fan, having written letters about Doctor Who to the news broadcast Radio Times in his youth, but he has also made a previous appearance on the show as Caecilius in season four’s “The Fires of Pompeii”.
Jenna Louise-Coleman will stay on as the ever-engaging Clara, helping to gently ease fans into the newest season. I, for one, am highly intrigued to see what kind of direction the show will take once our newest Doctor encounters the barrage of obstacles that the universe has in store for him.
Now, I’ve already seen quite a few complaints cropping up about his age, and honestly, friends, that depresses me. While it’s true that Capaldi is the oldest actor to portray the Doctor since William Hartnell, I see no reason why he couldn’t take up the reigns and truly make the role his own, regardless of how old he is. Might I mentioned that far fewer complaints were cast when Matt Smith became the 11th incarnation at age 27, making him the youngest actor to ever accept the role? Regardless, I think it’s high time that fans took a step back from their misconceived perceptions and accepted the fact that we won’t know a thing about the 12th Doctor until we see him in action, whenever that may be.
Independent of all criticisms and praise, Capaldi is, more than anything, completely beside himself with joy. “Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege,” he said. “Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to get started.”
Truly, I think my favorite part of this entire announcement is the way in which Capaldi first learned that he had received the role. He’d been shooting in Prague, filming the BBC’s Three Muskateers, and missed the original call informing him that he’d gotten the part. Finally, an assistant was able to deliver the good news to him, and the first thing she said was: “Hello, Doctor.”
This Week in Science Fiction
Summer is upon us, friends — the air is dense, the sun is scorching, and the reasons to remain inside are stacking up higher each and every day. However, if you’re the type to enjoy ‘weather’ and ‘sunshine’, you might’ve been away from your computer just long enough to miss these bits of news that were floating around the web this past week.
- Warner Bros. has wisely sought the help of Bioshock writer Ken Levine to pen the remake of Logan’s Run. Insisting that he won’t be diverting his attention from his home at Irrational Games, the Logan’s Run remake is said to be a “passion project” for Levine, and I for one am absolutely thrilled to see such a talented writer revitalizing this compelling and thrilling dystopian tale.
- The newest season of everyone’s favorite sci-fi sitcom, Futurama, premiered last night on Comedy Central with an hour long episode and a new one set to air each Wednesday at 10pm EST. Strap in for some rollicking good times with your favorite interstellar delivery crew, folks. Who knows how much longer they’ll be around?
- News of the latest Star Wars films has been scarce, and fans are grasping at any news regarding the franchise that comes their way. Enter: the casting call. An agency in the UK has begun scouting for actors to star in the upcoming Episode VII. The character descriptions are as follows:
- A young man aged between 20 and 25, witty and smart, fit but not classically handsome.
- Man in late twenties, also fit, but this one is handsome and confident.
- Late teenage girl, independent, good sense of humour, also… physically fit.
- Second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and physically fit.
- Man in his forties, obviously physically fit, this one is a military type.
- A man of around thirty or so, this one is an intellectual type.
- Finally, a guy aged around seventy, strong opinions and tough.
George Lucas did make mention that we’d be seeing some of the old gang this go ‘round, but it seems anything other than that is pure speculation at this point, stay tuned for any further developments.
J.J. Abrams to Begin ‘Star Wars' Production in 2014
News of the upcoming Star Wars sequels has been scant, at best. J. J. Abrams and Disney have been keeping quite a lid on the whole ordeal, but the flare-favoring director recently dropped a few hints for his hungry fans.
"Most likely we are going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie,” said Abrams, explaining that shooting would begin sometime at the beginning of 2014, with a full-fledged release following in 2015.
When asked if the newest films would follow any of the previously established canon found in the wide variety of novels dedicated to the series, the Star Wars director remained tight-lipped, offering: “No comment.”
So, it seems that we know about as much as we did before, but now there’s a timetable. If anything, we have an idea about the script, which must nearly be complete at this point if they’re set to start rolling the cameras.
Personally, it seems almost silly to ignore the bevy of literature attached to the series, some of which would make captivating and wonderful films. On the other hand, it might be nice to see something a little different happen for the series. Abrams said, “I think that the thing is so big and so massive to so many people that the key to moving forward is honoring but not revering what went before”, which is probably an incredibly smart move on his part. The man does know a thing or two about making movies — maybe it’s time to simply wait patiently while the man works his magic.
The Eleventh Hour: Matt Smith Leaves Doctor Who
I’ll be glib with you, friends: Matt Smith is not my Doctor. His rollicking adventures through time and space, accompanied by an air-headed kiss-a-gram and her stalwart husband, left little more than a bad taste in my mouth. Half a season ago, you would’ve found me overjoyed at the news of him leaving the show. “Farewell, Mr. Smith,” I would have said. “Don’t let the TARDIS hit you on the way out.” With the latest addition of the lovely Clara, however, the episodes seem to have taken a dramatic step in the right direction, harkening me back to the same sense of tension and drama that I felt was so easily imbued up until season five. And while I am, by no means, his biggest fan, my recently acquired comfort with Matt Smith leaves me with a mixed reaction to the news of his departure.
Regardless of whether or not I enjoyed his portrayal, there can be no discounting the amount of hard work and dedication that Smith has put into the role over the past four years. Filling the shoes of ten Doctors before him is no small feat, and Smith has grown significantly as an actor over the course of his tenure.
This year’s Christmas Special will be our final voyage with Eleven. His regeneration will, presumably, be unveiled in that episode, which will air roughly a month after the 50th Anniversary, and there’s a good chance that we’ll be granted a better glimpse into the future of Doctor Who.
Fans are beside themselves with grief, of course, which is entirely understandable: put yourself in their shoes, and you’ll find yourself fraught with empathy in no time. But I think this show deserves something fresh after all this time, something more engaging than, say, River Song taking up the mantle, or some other easily digestible route. Personally, I think that a female Doctor would be a welcome addition to the show, but I would much rather see the role handed to a capable individual (*cough cough*) over one who would be placed in the spotlight merely for the sake of fanservice. On the other hand, many devote lovers of Doctor Who have vehemently stood by the fact that they would rather abandon their admiration than see a woman as the Doctor. From a report on last year’s Doctor Who convention:
There was a slightly jarring moment when a fan asked the panel if there would ever be a female Doctor, and Steven pointed out it would be entirely possible, but then asked for a show of hands who would like to see it happen. This got about 50% of the audience raising their hands, but he then asked how many people would switch off the show if there was a female doctor, and 20-30% of fans put a hand up, to a certain amount of gasping from everyone else.
There’s simply no way to tell where the show will go from here, of course. My only desire is to see it continue on its current path of forward momentum, regardless of who the Doctor regenerates into next. As we bid farewell to Matt Smith, I find myself hoping he goes out with a bang, and moves onward to bigger and better things. Someone should remind him to grab his stetson on the way out, though. Stetson’s aren’t cool.
Behind The Scenes with Pacific Rim
The latest issue of Empire Magazine has revealed a rather monstrous selection of images from the set of Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming film, Pacific Rim. I’m sure you’ve heard me wax poetic about this movie enough times to understand just how excited I am for it, and those of you that share my unending enthusiasm should take a gander at some of the stills and concept art that have me chomping at the bit to see this kaiju-laden spectacular.
The Return of the Doctors
BBC has just released an exclusive interview with Matt Smith and David Tennant on the set of Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Special. The occasion? A reward for fans who received their Blu-Ray and DVD copies of the shows latest season before the final episode had a chance to air, and not spoiling the finale for the rest of us.
The shows official Twitter explained to fans that if they were able to keep details of the final episode under wraps, a “special video featuring Matt & David" would be unleashed. True to their word — gasp — the video was released to a sea of fainting Whovian’s, and while the actors reveal some incredibly scant details about the upcoming special, I think the clip’s true merit lies in watching Tennant don his signature pinstripe suit and tie once again, but hey, that might just be me.
Nebula Award Winners Announced
It’s time to get a jump start on your summer reading, folks. The most recent batch of Nebula winners was announced this weekend at the SFWA’s 48th Annual Nebula Awards in San Jose, CA., with titles such as 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson and Beasts of the Southern Wild coming out on top. You can head over here for a complete list of recipients, but you might as well open up your Amazon wishlist while you’re at it — you’re going to want to get your hands on these puppies.
Justice is Served: Detroit Sees Robocop Statue Come To Life
After years of crowd-funding and rallying support (from everyone but their own mayor), the city of Detroit is preparing to welcome it’s newest citizen: a bronzed statue of Paul Verhoeven’s version of the ever-impressive Robocop.
The statue, petitioned by some of Michigan’s nerdiest and most admirable citizens, was created as a labor of love after the idea of a permanent monument to the mechanized policeman was shot down by mayor Dave Bing. Given the state of Detroit’s reputation regarding violence and crime, many thought the statue to be in poor taste, and with their debt sinking deeper into the red as days go by, no one can be sure whether such an expensive and elaborate project will reflect well on the Motor City.
Though there’s no word yet on where in city the statue will reside, here’s to hoping that the glistening testament to justice will serve Detroit well, and also that a placard is erected below it which reads: “Excuse me, I have to go. Somewhere there is a crime happening.”
The First Trailer for Ender’s Game Has Landed
Look, I’m not going to lie to you folks — up until recently, I’ve been incredibly skeptical about this adaptation of Ender’s Game. Despite being written by one of the most bigoted science fiction authors in recent memory, it happens to be one of my favorite books and, incidentally, one of the greatest novels of all time. We’ve all been burned by Hollywood before, so I feel confident that my trepidation towards the film is not entirely unjust. But I have to tell you guys — I took one look at this trailer, and you know what? I’m actually excited.
The award-winning cast should have been enough for me. Of course Harrison Ford is going to ace his performance, and there’s no questioning the utter brilliance that is Ben Kingsley, but it’s really Asa Butterfield’s portrayal of the titular Ender Wiggin that piqued my curiosity. It’s hardly possible to cast a six-year-old in such a tense and demanding role, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the Hugo star is well and truly capable of.
As a director, Gavin Hood has a lot to prove. My initial reaction to his attachment to the film was lukewarm at best, and the thought of him turning one of my most beloved novels into an over-produced blockbuster is not an unfounded fear. However, seeing the Battle School in action and watching a fleet of formic baddies swarm over our heroes has genuinely impressed me — plus, it’s a little hard not to fall head over heels for the Bugger’s ship design. Hell, just look at that thing!
There isn’t much else I can say without spoiling it, so why not take a gander at the first trailer for Ender’s Game and judge it for yourself. The film is set to hit theaters sometime this November, and though the odds of a successful translation of the original text are looking up, always remember, friends: the enemies gate is down.
Bad News, Everyone: Futurama Gets Cancelled, Again
Forgive me if I’m a bit late to the news, but you can chalk it up to the fact that I’ve been in mourning since I learned that Futurama is getting canned for the second time. Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s science fiction/comedy powerhouse has faced the slaughter before, of course — Fox gave them the boot back in 2003, and though Comedy Central was a faithful ally from 2009 until 2013, it’s still a shame to see the show blasted into orbit.
The show-runners hope to see Futurama picked up by a different network once the current season ends on September 4th, but I think it’s time for them to turn their attention towards, well, the future. Streaming entertainment has recently garnered a great deal of positive attention, and who can deny it? Subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu have shot through the roof in recent years, and, with the latest trend of stream-exclusive content ala House of Cards and the upcoming season of Arrested Development, it’s a wonder that Futurama isn’t looking for a more permanent home on the streaming circuit.
Only time will tell what happens to one of the most hysterically witty television shows of our generation. Until we learn more, I’ll just have to content myself with watching hours of reruns in my pajamas, crying over Jurassic Bark like a small, unattended child.