From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

The Line Starts Here

It looks to be a banner year for fantasy and science fiction films, at least in terms of quantity, if not quality. In the first month of 2010 we’ve seen the release of Daybreaker vampires, a post apocalyptic Book of Eli, and a Legion of killer angels, not counting The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, the latest Terry Gilliam film to tank at the box office.

But 2010 is just getting started. Here then are nine more fantasy and sf films to look forward to in the next six months.

9. Prince of Persia, The Sands of Time

Some movies are all about the popcorn–you know, the kind where it’s best to leave your brain in the lobby, unbuckle your swash, and have a good time. Oh, who am I kidding, Prince of Persia is likely to be as irritating as sand in your shorts. After all, has there ever been a good film based on a video game? The Dagger of Time should be made available to all movie patrons in case they need to get two hours and their money back. Still, I like popcorn.


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8. Love

Featuring the music of Angels and Airwaves (fronted by Tom DeLonge of Blink 182), Love is being released on Valentine’s Day. In the film, an astronaut, trapped on the International Space Station with no rescue in sight, seeks solace in his imagination. The producers describe the film as an exploration of “the fundamental human need for connection and the limitless power of hope.” Underwritten by a corporation, the film is being released for free. An album by the same name is also being released for free. Free is good, right? We shall see on Valentine’s Day.


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7. Kick Ass

If the red band trailers are any indication, Kick Ass might actually kick ass. A healthy dose of cringe-inducing splatter is part of this tale of youthful superhero wannabees. Gonzo Nicholas Cage is also at it. And apparently his troubles with the IRS have inspired him to appear in no less than four films this year. My tingly preview-supersense tells me this will be the best of the lot.


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6. Robin Hood

Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott team up yet again. Originally, the film was to feature Crowe playing a sympathetic Sheriff of Nottingham. Then there was talk of Crow playing both Nottingham and Robin Hood. As is Hollywood’s forte, unique ideas were whittled down until we’re left with standard fare, albeit a story that’s supposedly more historically accurate to the 12th-century than past depictions. Perhaps not genre, but mythic. Arrows are split May 14th.


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5. Clash of the Titans

CGI and togas, myths and monsters–what’s not to love? A remake, you say? Well, sure. After all, those classic B-movies from the 80’s are so dated. Big time movie star in the making, Sam Worthington (Sully, in Avatar) plays Perseus, mortal son of Zeus (Liam Neeson). Perseus and his band of warriors must embark on a journey where they battle gods and monsters. Should they fail, the god Hades will turn Earth into a living Hell. Release the Kraken! Mar 26.


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4. The Wolfman

Based on the classic Universal film, The Wolfman features Benicio Del Toro playing Lawrence Talbot, who returns home to his family estate after his brother goes missing. Talbot reunites with his father (Anthony Hopkins), and discovers a dark side, while mutilated villagers pile up on moonlit nights. Special effects master Rick Baker has designed the film’s creature effects, so know that you’re in for a transformative feast on February 12th.


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3. Alice in Wonderland

At the very least, Alice in Wonderland should be interesting to look at. At the very most… well, it should be interesting to look at. Let’s face it: Tim Burton doesn’t care about story, never has. But oh, the pretty pictures! String enough of them together, put mad Johnny Depp in a costume, and come March 5th, people are almost assured to leave the theater with smiles as wide as the Cheshire Cat’s.


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2. Iron Man 2

More snark from Stark. Need I say more? As if Robert Downey Jr. isn’t capable of carrying a film, Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Sam Rockwell (Justin Hammer), and Scarlette Johansson (Black Widow), have been added to the remix. Top it off with an over-the-top Mickey Rourke as the super-charged villain, Whiplash, and let them have at it. Set six months after the previous film ended, this time around, Tony Stark is pressured to share his designs with the military. Come May 7th, find a theater with D-Box motion controlled chairs, sit back, and watch Mickey whip it. Whip it good.

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1. Inception

One of the most secretive projects of 2010, Inception is shaping up as the most anticipated film of the summer. Details are beginning to leak, so read no further if you wish a pristine experience. Still with me? Okay, apparently, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, is both a businessman and a criminal who enters people’s dreams to steal or implant information. This takes place in the near future where injectable dreams are designed by Cobb’s architects. If director/screenwriter Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) says the scene of the crime is your brain, prepare to get skull-f*cked.

How about you? Between now and Aug, which films will have you waiting in line? Repo Men? Shrek Forever After? Toy Story 3? Predators? The Last Airbender? The Twilight Saga: Eclipse? A busy filmgoing summer awaits.

William T. Vandemark can be found wandering the back roads of America in a pickup. He chases storms, photographs weather vanes, and prospects for fulgarites. His fiction has appeared in Apex Magazine, Brain Harvest, and assorted anthologies. Currently, he is pursuing an MFA in multimedia.

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