Hollywood Sees Dawn of New (and very Sci-fi) Era!

Morgan Freeman as Joseph Tagger, Cillian Murphy as Agent Buchanan, Johnny Depp as Will Caster (on monitors) and Rebecca Hall as Evelyn Caster in TRANSCENDENCE (Image Credit: Warner Bros.)
Morgan Freeman as Joseph Tagger, Cillian Murphy as Agent Buchanan, Johnny Depp as Will Caster (on monitors) and Rebecca Hall as Evelyn Caster in TRANSCENDENCE (Image Credit: Warner Bros.)

With last year’s Academy Award-winning Gravity, it looks like modern sci-fi in entertainment is getting the quality recognition it deserves. Award-winning sci-fi productions like that are few and far between and the best ones really get those wheels in your head turning. It looks like there will be several of those in 2014 as we move into prime movie season (anything outside of January/February), so film buffs, movie-going audiences and geeks alike could be in for a real galactic (sorry) treat this year.

Firstly, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar isn’t out until November, but it’s already looking to be a huge awards contender. Nolan has things to stay and he will more than likely implement a compelling story coupled with genuine scientific elements to say it. Naturally, the filmmaker has kept nearly all plot details under wraps save for a vague synopsis and several interviews with the stellar cast and crew, including one with Nolan’s longtime collaborator/composer Hans Zimmer, who states the director really has got something to say.

Next up is Wally Pfister’s Transcendence, hitting theatres April 17. Pfister, previously a cinematographer on nearly all of ( the above-mentioned) Nolan’s films, is stepping into the director’s chair for this eerily realistic sci-fi yarn starring Johnny Depp (and Nolan is a producer!). Depp plays a terminally ill scientist who downloads his mind into a computer and, judging by the outcome in the trailer things go awry as he becomes power hungry. The concept, while simultaneously original and startlingly realistic, sees biology merging with technology. Could this be inevitable? That, I assume, is the question the movie poses.

Another notable feature this year includes the intergalactic fantasy Jupiter Ascending, coming from the creators of The Matrix trilogy that, according to the trailer, claims “Our Earth is a very small part of a very large industry.” It stars Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum (interesting choices, but I have faith in the Wachowskis) and hits theaters July 18.

Movies aren’t the only star of the show though; television’s also bringing something to the table with the recent debut of Cosmos: A Spactime Odyssey. The new documentary series on Fox – hosted by astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson – serves as a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, and it sets out to explore evolution and humans’ accomplishments in space exploration (and what’s to come in both those fields). The series, excellently produced by Seth McFarlane, is cinematic, accessible and very informative. Cosmos premiered simultaneously in the U.S. across ten 21st Fox networks (introduced with a speech by President Obama!); they obviously want everyone to be on the same page. The show now regularly airs on Fox, Sundays at 9 p.m. and the National Geographic Channel rebroadcasts that episode the next night.

So, not to get too “heavy,” but it’s obviously not news to say as tech evolves, humans evolve and vice versa. Well, it also looks like as tech evolves (thank you, Gravity), films evolve, therefore sci-fi evolves and the capability for humans to convey sci-fi concepts on screen is easier than ever before. And I believe very soon, we will start to question what qualifies as “science fiction.” So, check out this Interstellar trailer, and tell me you don’t get chills when you hear “our destiny lies above us.” It’s gonna be a good year for sci-fi.

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Jesse Tabit is a native of Charleston, WV. He studies journalism at West Virginia University.

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