I don’t know why, but the appearance of great science fiction movies is somehow cyclical. You get a few classics, then for years there’s nothing but a run of B-grade wannabes and remakes. Finally, Hollywood wakes up and stops churning out trash-for-a-buck and backs some original science fiction again, respecting a discerning audience, and the drought breaks.
I don’t hold high hopes for Star Trek Into Darkness. I’m sure it will contain some great space opera, but the last Star Trek was a travesty of science fiction. A journey from Earth to Vulcan took minutes, while the return journey took days! Characters teleported onto ships travelling at warp speed and, presumably, light years away, only to materialize inside water-filled cooling tubes(?) and – oh, don’t get me started.
At first glance, Oblivion and After Earth are entirely different, marking a return to classic science fiction movies that stir the imagination. They’re both quasi-plausible future visions of a dystopian Earth. Not only do they look great in terms of special effects, they’re exploring new territory in their story arcs, which is always refreshing, and they appear more grounded around solid characters.
I’m looking forward to both of these films. I’m sure there will be the odd technical fubar, but hopefully nothing on the scale of Star Trek or Prometheus. It would be nice to see another classic emerge from Hollywood.