Science-Fiction Weekly – Blade Runner 2049, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Annihilation
I watched Blade Runner again last weekend, and all I have to say is damn. Damn. Damn. Damn! That film withstands the test of time, and is so damned good that it immediately made me fear the sequel, Blade Runner 2049, which opens in theaters on Friday. Director Denis Villeneuve has big shoes – Death Star-sized shoes – to fill, and critics are saying that he may have done it. He may have created a sequel that not only lives up to the lofty ambitions of its predecessor; it may be an even better film.
Blade Runner 2049 is currently sitting at a 94-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the words critics are using to describe it tell more of a story. Entertainment Weekly says it moves modern moviemaking into the realm of high art, Rolling Stone calls it an instant classic, and most critics genuinely sound like they were blown away by it. I adored Villeneuve's work on Arrival, and he may be emerging as the new trailblazer for science-fiction cinema.
The final trailer for Blade Runner 2049 just hit, and although it's short, gives us a great summary of what we can expect from this sequel. Will I be seeing it Friday night? No. No, I won't. I made a previous engagement with Game Informer staffer Kyle Hilliard to go see My Little Pony: The Movie with our families. This is what being a father is like. You put your children above your interests, and do everything you can to make their lives special. Blade Runner can wait...until Saturday afternoon.
Disney continues to support the Star Wars: Forces of Destiny animated show in a big way. Along with an ever-expanding toy line (which my daughter adores), you can check out three new episodes of the show. Each episode runs for a few minutes and is absolutely free. The first episode is called "Newest Recruit," focusing on Sabine and Ketsu's unexpected stormtrooper encounter.
The "Tracker Trouble" episode shows us the events leading up to Rey, Finn, Han Solo, and Chewbacca meeting Maz Kanata. This little side story is as strange as Han Solo's new voice.
The final episode, "Teach You, I Will," gives us a look at Yoda training a dual-wielding Ahsoka.
Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy of books is heading to the silver screen February 2018. The first film, Annihilation, stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Issac. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, as it is an unfolding mystery, but I will give you the set up of a biologist, anthropologist, psychologist, and surveyor entering a forbidden location called Area X. They are the 12th expedition to enter it. All other parties have disbanded due to suicides, extreme mental trauma, and even people disappearing. The first trailer below gives you a better idea of what Area X holds.
Before I leave you today, I have one huge Star Wars: The Last Jedi SPOILER to reveal. From the moment Supreme Leader Snoke appeared as a giant hologram in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, people have been trying to figure out who he is. A popular theory linked Snoke to Darth Plagueis, saying he may in fact be Emperor Palpatine's master. After that rumor was debunked by Lucasfilm creatives, fans turned their speculation to Snoke's gold robes, which imply wealth. Is he a politician, a crime lord? The theories are all over the place, even suggesting he may be a woman (perhaps Rey's grandmother or mother). We may not get the answers we seek in The Last Jedi, but an upcoming book called Star Wars: Everything You Need to Know suggests we'll see him wielding the Force in the film. A snippet from this book says he's skilled in Force telepathy, as well as choke and throw attacks.
If I had to guess, I doubt he even rises from his throne, and instead uses simple hand gestures to fend of his attacker. Who could it be? Rey is the best guess, but don't rule out Luke Skywalker or Kylo Ren yet. I would love to see Ren turn on his master, but a rematch against Rey is probably more likely. That leaves Luke. Two masters throwing down in a windowless throne room? Yes, please. That sounds too good to be true. Who do you think Snoke will attack in the film? Leave your guesses in the comments section below, and I'll see all of you again in seven short days!