1. The Philosophers – (view trailer)
What It’s About: For the final session of his philosophy class, a teacher sets up a thought experiment: If the apocalypse comes and you can only fit so many people in your shelter, who do you let stay and who do you leave to die? (Based on the trailer, I’m guessing they play out the experiment in some sort of simulator.) But what starts as a mere experiment, turns violent and all too real.
Why It Looks Awesome: Gorgeous visuals combined with a complex moral dilemma should make for a captivating story. Also, it plays on the original Greek definition for apocalypse, “a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation,” which is rather refreshing.
2. Pacific Rim – (view trailer)
What It’s About: Enormous monsters from beneath the seas have awakened and begin reeking havoc on the world. In response, humanity designs giant mechanical robots to fight back.
Why It Looks Awesome: I have mixed feelings about giant mech stories (though I enjoyed Mobile Suit Gundam Wing), however I like the idea of the mech operators having to share memories. It reminds me of a number of anime stories and Godzilla, and it also includes a number of Asian characters (though I don’t know how sidelined they are). Also, this is directed by Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hell Boy), who is simply amazing at creature design. Not all of his movies are great, but they tend to be fun, and when he hits the right note, his work is fantastic.
3. The World’s End – (view trailer)
What It’s About: After many years, five friends return to their hometown to complete the epic pub crawl they failed when they were younger, only to find everyone in the village has been replaced by robots.
Why It Looks Awesome: Simon Peg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, and the same crew that did the fantastic and hilarious Sean of the Dead. There is no doubt in my mind that this will be amazing.
4. Europa Report – (view trailer)
What It’s About: An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately funded mission to search for extraterrestrial life on Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Europa. But following a disastrous technical failure and the death of one of the crew, the remaining crew struggle to regain communication with Earth
Why It Looks Awesome: Stunning visuals and a realistic depiction of space travel, plus what looks like intense action. Should be amazing.
5. Upstream Color – (view trailer)
What It’s About: The IMDB description reads: “A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.” I’m not sure what that means.
The equally confounding trailer claims notes, “You can force your story’s shape but the color will always bloom upstream.”
Why It Looks Awesome: I don’t know if “awesome” is the right word here, since this is described as an experimental film (and I’m not even sure it’s really science fiction), so “intellectually stimulating” is probably more accurate. It’s directed by Shane Carruth, who created Primer, an extremely low budget time travel movie, which was complex, understated, and presented a realistic view of time travel based on currently known physics (it was also a movie you had to see more than once to really understand). My guess that Upstream Color will be equally understated, intelligent, and complex. Plus I’m quite curious to see if watching the movie is as confounding as reading the description.
Edited to Add: I found out after posting this that Upstream Color is already out on streaming and DVD.
So that’s my five. I tried to stick to movies that might be lesser known, which is why The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smog, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Carrie didn’t make the list).
For more science fiction and fantasy movies coming out this year, you can also check out IO9’s massive list.
What are the movies that you can’t wait to see in the coming months?
*My plan is to start doing a weekly Friday Five again (on an assortment of random topics), and I’m hoping the ability to schedule posts will help make that happen.