Seattle Cinema Survey – Directors Trying Sci-Fi

Hello nerds and welcome to the latest edition of the Seattle Cinema Survey where other nerds reply to the nerdy questions I ask them. Nerds.

Speaking of nerd-stuff, a little franchise by the name of Star Trek has a new installment arriving this weekend. At the helm is Justin Lin, best know for his work revitalizing the Fast & Furious series, having directed the third through sixth films. Lin is now trying something seemingly different, if still about a bunch of gadgets and the racially diverse teammates that use said gadgets. So I pondered; what director would you like to play around in the science fiction genre?

Wes Anderson is the answer for myself. Sci-fi, perhaps too often, can be drowned in a self-serious tone. There are oodles of classics that do this, with just as commonly the genre spurring action for action-sake; the laughter can be a tad lacking. Give me Anderson in a world where aliens, blasters, teleportation and the like can be fiddled with for a gag. The visuals would be an equal treat, surely a step away from the shiny steel or washed out dystopias that, in the wrong hands, read as solely cliche.

Jason Roestel @filmbastard
Easy. David Fincher’s recently shelved project Rendezvous With Rama is perhaps one of the great tragic losses of the 21st century. I can’t help but believe that if Ridley Scott had ignored science fiction early in his career his career wouldn’t carry the same weight and wouldn’t be nearly as prolific as it is now. Fincher’s tailor made to create the perfect storm of hard science fiction and popcorn art. I can’t imagine why he hasn’t yet. Rama was all geared up to be something fresh and thoughtful – and, I firmly believe – radical in a genre now mass franchised by super studios like Disney. For every 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek The Motion Picture (you heard me) Under The Skin, and Sunshine (Danny Boyle’s film) there’s fifty Guardians Of The Galaxy. Not that I’m complaining, but science fiction should never settle for softcore. I’ve still got my fingers crossed that David will pick up the script for Rama someday, blow the dust off the dust-cover, and finally get to work making it. Also…. why didn’t Michael Mann ever dip his toe in this well?
Brent McKnight of Cinema Blend/The Last Thing I See @BrentMMcKnight
He’s talked about it a number of times over the years, though it has never come to pass, but holy fuck goddamn do I want Quentin Tarantino to make a sci-fi movie. Once a year or so, the Pulp Fiction mastermind teases an idea for a foray into the genre he has, at least up to this point, never touched on film.
Though he rarely reveals much in the way of details, he’s said that it’ll be earthbound rather than “spaceship sci-fi.” Back in 2014, however, he did say he was interested in putting his own spin on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, showing it from the pod people’s perspective, making the audience root for the extraterrestrial trespassers. He’s made a career out of aligning us with murderers and outlaws, making us empathize with hoodlums and general ne’er do wells, so it makes perfect sense he’d want tell a story like this.

I doubt we’ll ever see a QT sci-fi movie. If he does retire after his tenth movie, which seems unlikely (remember when Steven Soderbergh “retired”?), that means he only has two left in the clip. Even if he does keep making movies at his usual leisurely pace, he doesn’t sound super stoked on sci-fi, but wouldn’t that rule? I can’t help but imagine a paranoid, John Carpenter-eque thriller, packed with references to obscure movies that can only be found on grainy bootleg VHS tapes.

Matt Oakes of Silver Screen Riot @SSRdotcom
I would go ga-ga to see The Coen Bros take on sci-fi. Their astute idiosyncrasies lends itself to finely tuned worlds – I mean, hell, even the otherwise straight-forward Raising Arizona almost operates as a fantasy film – and that kind of narrative construction is where sci-fi lives and dies. When you’re dealing with science fiction, tone is king and these boys are absolute maestros of tone. I would imagine that their brand of sci-fi would much more resemble a 1984 dystopia, a la Blade Runner, than an all-out hard, action-tilted sci-fi the likes of The Matrix but what I wouldn’t pay to see the Minnesota Boys give it a whirl. They’ve slayed the Western genre, why not expand the horizons even further? To infinity and beyond.

Drew Powell of  Queen Anne/Drew’s Movie Blog
David Fincher. But I don’t want him to direct a franchise film like Star Wars or Star Trek (I doubt he would even do it unless he was guaranteed total artistic freedom). Considering his expertise in making dark crime drama/thrillers, it would be cool to see him tackle a smaller more intimate Sci fi noir in the vein of Blade Runner.

Tim Hall of The People’s Critic Blog @peoplescrtic
I would love to see Kathryn Bigelow try her hand at sci fi. She’s got a knack for creating tension and shooting action. I think she’d be great. Imagine Zero Dark Thirty as a space hunt for an evil alien. I would be first in line for that movie.

Erik Samdahl of Film Jabber @Filmjabber
While I’d be curious to see what Quentin Tarantino would do with a sci-fi movie, I’m going to have to say Sam Mendes. The Spectre disappointment aside, the guy makes some fantastic movies and has proven his ability to go big budget while still telling a great story with deep characters. At the very least, whatever he does, we know it would be a gorgeously crafted film.


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