Next year’s sci-fi offerings are promising for this genre’s fanatics. As this list aims to prove, there are some genuinely intriguing sci-fi films coming out in 2013; from indie oddities to expensive epics. Here are four that we’re excited about.
'After Earth': June 2013
Why it’s worth your 10 bucks: After a string of flops, director M. Night Shyamalan might be on the path to redemption with his upcoming actioner ‘After Earth’ starring Will and Jaden Smith. The pair play a father and son—General Cypher Rage and Kitai Rage—who crash land on Earth 1,000 years after humanity has moved on to another planet light-years away. Separated during the crash, Kitai must battle his way across an aggressive and deadly planet— and the obligatory Shymalan plot twists—to reach his injured father, who is in bad shape.
‘After Earth’ trailer
‘Cloud Atlas’: 17 January 2013
Why it’s worth your 10 bucks: After the mind-numbing ‘Matrix’ trilogy and the techni-coloured pastiche of awesome in ‘Speed Racer’, Andy and Lana Wachowskis take on David Mitchell’s opus ‘Cloud Atlas’, which was published to great critical acclaim. Six narratives spanning six centuries, ‘Cloud Atlas’ is onion-like in the way it is layered; with every layer more concentrated in depth and breadth. The epochal film explores how actions can have consequences in the past, present and future, and the notion that humanity cannot help but repeat itself.
‘Cloud Atlas’ extended trailer
Matt Damon in 'Elysium'
‘Elysium’: March 2013
Why it’s worth your 10 bucks: Trust ‘District 9’ director Neill Blomkamp to conjure up another sci-fi epic with subtext. Set in 2159, ‘Elysium’ shows two classes of people: the one percenters that live in a swanky space station called Elysium, and everyone else—the 99 per cent—that live on Earth with all of its resources wiped out. Matt Damon plays a steel worker who is told that he only has five days left to live. He travels to Elysium—where there are no diseases and where machines can even eliminate cancer—to complete a mission and find a cure for himself. There he encounters Jodie Foster, a space station technocrat in charge of keeping Earthlings away. Of course, curveballs are thrown every step of the way.
Also read: A bluffer’s guide to sci-fi movies
'Pacific Rim' also stars Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi
‘Pacific Rim’: July 2013
Why it’s worth your 10 bucks: Three words: Guillermo del Toro. Anything this Mexican auteur touches is guaranteed cinematic gold. ‘Pacific Rim’ is del Toro’s first movie in over four years and of course the fan boys are frothing at their mouths. So what do we have here? Monsters and robots. Basically this is a high concept sci-fi adventure film where monstrous creatures known as Kaiju mysteriously arise from the sea and attack earth. As a war for survival begins, giant robots piloted by two humans—whose minds and bodies are synced to the robot—are created to fight the giant Kaiju. We hear that legions of hideous beasts will be spit out from the sea to attack coastal cities around the globe. ‘Pacific Rim’ will be the stuff of nightmares.
The cover of Joseph Kosinski's graphic novel
‘Oblivion’: 11 April 2013
Why it’s worth your 10 bucks: After starring in two Spielberg sci-fi movies—one dud (‘War of The Worlds) and one slamdunk (‘Minority Report’), Tom Cruise returns to the genre but this time with ‘Tron: Legacy’ director Joseph Kosinski. Set in the usual trope of a future dystopian and post-apocalyptic Earth, ‘Oblivion’ sees Cruise playing a soldier assigned to live alone on the planet’s surface (everyone else has moved up above the atmosphere), repairing the probes and drones that patrol the ruined wasteland to search out and destroy remnants of a savage alien race. One day, he finds a mysterious woman in a crash-landed space pod, setting off events that force him to question his mission. The movie also stars Melissa Leo (‘The Fighter’), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (‘Game of Thrones’) and Olga Kurylenko (‘Quantum of Solace’).