Across the Universe: Winter/spring 2013 preview, Part 4
Sci-fi, comic book and horror movies in April and beyond
By Don Kaye
Special to MSN Movies
April seems to be the calm before the summer storm in 2013: We count just two new genre movies coming out, along with a highly anticipated 3-D reissue. And no TV shows (not yet, anyway). Let's take a look:
"Jurassic Park 3D" (April 5): We're honestly not that excited about 3-D conversions of classic or hugely successful films -- in fact, we skipped the recent reissues of "Titanic," "Star Wars -- Episode 1: The Phantom Menace" and so on. But for some reason, the idea of seeing "Jurassic Park" in stereoscopic vision has us intrigued. Maybe it's because Steven Spielberg's dinosaur adventure holds up so well even today and its effects still look so good. Who wouldn't want to see that T. rex bearing down on them in three dimensions? All right, we'll go.
"Evil Dead" (April 12): This long-in-development remake of Sam Raimi's no-budget 1981 horror mini-masterpiece has been supervised by Raimi himself, with first-time director Fede Alvarez at the helm. A ridiculously frightening trailer has gotten the buzz going big-time for a film that many horror fans have been decrying ever since it was announced. Will Raimi spoil the memory of his classic or take it to new heights of terror? We remain cautiously optimistic.
"Oblivion" (April 12, IMAX exclusive/April 19, wide release): With the release of "Tron: Legacy" in 2010, no one doubted first-time director Joseph Kosinski's ability to create stunning visual landscapes, but it was his handling of those small details like story and character that sunk that expensive sequel. "Oblivion" is based on a graphic novel that was created by Kosinski himself and stars Tom Cruise as a drone repairman tasked with helping to pull the last vital resources out of the Earth after it has been rendered unlivable by a war with a terrifying force known as the Scavs. Yet Cruise's rescue of a woman in a crashed spacecraft changes everything for him. It sounds promising, and the visuals are, once again, pretty spectacular from what we can see. It's up to Kosinski -- with Cruise's help -- to nail everything else.
Looking ahead: What do the next four months after April hold for us? Here are some quick thumbnail previews of the summer's major geek-oriented releases:
"Iron Man 3" (May 3): Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) meets his deadliest adversary yet, the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) in a struggle that pushes Iron Man to the brink of catastrophe.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" (May 17): J.J. Abrams' second "Trek" feature is almost starting to sound like "The Dark Knight" with Kirk and Spock instead of Batman and Jim Gordon. Benedict Cumberbatch also stars as the Jok -- sorry, we mean a Starfleet terrorist named John Harrison.
"The Purge" (May 31): A totalitarian regime that rules over a future America seeks to rid the nation of violence by allowing three days during the year when murder is legal.
"After Earth" (June 7): Director M. Night Shyamalan attempts to salvage his career with the help of Will and Jaden Smith, who play a father and son marooned on a savage planet called ... Earth.
"Man of Steel" (June 14): Yes, it looks very much like a retelling of the origin story, but the question it poses -- how would the human race actually respond to a being like Superman? -- is ripe with potential.
"World War Z" (June 21): Delayed from this year, and reportedly so trouble-plagued that director Marc Forster and star Brad Pitt stopped talking to each other, this zombie epic will finally roll out this summer after undergoing seven weeks of reshoots.
"Kick-Ass 2" (June 28): Writer Mark Millar's subversive takedown of the superhero comic genre continues with this sequel, which finds original stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse joined by Jim Carrey.
"The Lone Ranger" (July 3): Let's hope this plays more like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and less like "Wild, Wild West." Armie Hammer stars as the masked vigilante of the plains, with Johnny Depp as faithful (and smarter) sidekick Tonto.
"Pacific Rim" (July 12): Guillermo Del Toro's first directorial effort in five years finds robots the size of skyscrapers acting as Earth's last line of defense against equally large Lovecraftian monsters from another dimension. GDT is going bigger than ever, and we can't wait.
"The Conjuring" (July 19): "Insidious" director James Wan spins this supposedly true story about what happens when a couple summon a paranormal research team to investigate strange occurrences at their farmhouse.
"R.I.P.D." (July 19): Based on a Dark Horse comic book, "R.I.P.D." stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as members of the Rest in Peace Department, a team of undead police officers. Reynolds' first case? Find the man who murdered him.
"The Wolverine" (July 26): Hugh Jackman plays Logan for the sixth time as Wolverine heads to Japan and encounters a mysterious figure from his past. We'll supposedly forget all about "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" after seeing this one.
"300: Rise of an Empire" (Aug. 2): Yes, it's a prequel to the surprise 2007 hit, but neither star Gerard Butler nor director Zack Snyder are returning. But we're sure to get more highly stylized brawn, battles and blood no matter who's in the director's chair (Noam Murro, for the record).
"Elysium" (Aug. 9): In writer-director Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to his brilliant 2009 debut, "District 9," Matt Damon plays an ex-con who leaves the ravaged surface of Earth to breach the confines of Elysium, the space station where only the privileged get to live.
"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" (Aug. 23): This adaptation of the first of six books in the "Mortal Instruments" series stars Lily Collins as a young girl who finds out she is part of a secret society of demon hunters after her mother is kidnapped by an evil entity.
More to come as the year unfolds ...