previews... - January 8, 2019 previews.... 2019's Best Movies - Sci-Fi / Fantasy
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, previews.... 2019's Best Movies - Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Over the next two weeks, we're going to be previewing 100 of 2019's best movies. We continue today with 10 of the best sci-fi and fantasy movies coming your way this year...


Artemis Fowl

Starring: Ferdia Shaw, Judi Dench, Josh Gad

Director: Kenneth Brannagh

Release date: August 9


Eoin Colfer's hugely successful novels featuring the precocious young criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl was always ripe for a big screen adaptation, and with eight novels in the series there's plenty of material to work with, it was just a question of who would stump up enough cash to make Colfer's science-fantasy adventure come to life. Miramax quickly snapped up the rights in 2001, shortly after the publication of the first book in the series, but the project subsequently spent the next decade in development hell while Colfer continued to publish new novels in the series, eventually winding up in the hands of Disney in 2011.

It's been a long time coming, but a film based on the first two novels in the series is finally due to make its arrival in cinemas this year. The story revolves around Artemis' kidnapping of a LEPrecon officer and his plan to use the ransom to fund a search for his missing father. Kenneth Brannagh is the man in the director's chair for Artemis Fowl, which stars previously unknown young actor Ferdia Shaw in the starring role, supported by a cast that includes Judie Dench, Josh Gad, Hong Chau and Adrian Scarborough. The film is due to make its arrival in UK cinemas on August 9th.


Chaos Walking

Starring: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley

Director: Doug Liman

Release Date: March 1


Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking series first arrived on bookshelves in 2008 with the publication of the trilogy's first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and looked like a candidate for a big screen adaptation even before the trilogy's concluding instalment Monsters of Men became the first young adult novel to be shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. The team working on the upcoming movie based on Ness' books certainly looks promising, with Doug Liman set to direct and a script overseen by a team that includes Ness, Charlie Kaufmann and John Lee Hancock.

Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley are set to star in Liman's film, which is set in the near future on a planet known as New World and follows the story of Holland's protagonist Todd, a young man brought up to believe that a viral germ has wiped out the female population an unleashed the ability to hear the thoughts of humans and animals, known as Noise. When Todd discovers a silent area the Noise cannot penetrate and traces it back to a mysterious girl named Viola, both are forced to flee their hometown in search of answers. Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas and David Oyelowo also star in Liman's film, which is due to land in cinemas on March 1st.


The Kid Who Would Be King

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Louis Ashbourne Sekis

Director: Joe Cornish

Release Date: February 15


After making his directorial debut in 2011 with sci-fi adventure Attack the Block, Joe Cornish returns to the director's chair for a new film loosely based around the legend of King Arthur. Louis Ashbourne Serkis stars as a bullied schoolboy named Alex whose life is turned upside down when he stumbles upon the location of Arthur's legendary sword Excalibur and retrieves it from its stone. Alex subsequently learns that he has been chosen to form a new Round Table and lead them in a battle against the ancient sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), whose imminent return spells catastrophe for the world and everyone in it.

Starring alongside Serkis and Ferguson are Sir Patrick Stewart, Angus Imrie, Tom Taylor and Denise Gough. The Kid Who Would Be King is set to make its arrival in US cinemas on January 25th and will make its UK debut on February 15th.


Captive State

Starring: John Goodman, Vera Farmga

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Release Date: April 12

Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt returns for his fourth feature film with a sci-fi adventure co-written with his wife Erica Beeney. Captive State is set in Chicago approximately 10 years after an extraterrestrial force has invaded and occupied Earth, controlling the planet's population under a strictly enforced message of peace and unity. However, not everyone believes that the visitors' intentions are good and the population is divided into those who are willing to collaborate with their new alien overlords, and those who aren't.

The man charged with uniting the world against its alien captors is Chicago Police Chief Mulligan (John Goodman), who sets about investigating the emergence of a shadowy resistance group known as Phoenix in the hope they could provide assistance in defeating the planet's otherworldly captors. Vera Farmiga, Ashton Sanders and Machine Gun Kelly also star in Wyatt's new film, which is due to appear in UK cinemas on April 12th.


Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Bill Nighy

Director: Rob Letterman

Release Date: May 10

When Nintendo's stock price jumped 25% following the 2016 launch of their augmented reality game Pokémon Go, several studios in Hollywood saw big screen potential for the Japanese phenomenon and quickly entered the race to bring the first live-action Pokémon movie to cinema screens. Legendary Pictures eventually secured the rights and although some had expected the kind of cynical cash-in that brought us The Emoji Movie, the first trailer – featuring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu – indicates something altogether more promising.

Rob Letterman is the man directing the film, which revolves around a young man named Tim (played by The Get Down's Justice Smith), a former aspiring Pokémon trainer whose detective father has gone missing. Pikachu happens to be his father's partner, who seeks out Tim to offer help in finding out what happened to his dad. Letterman's film also stars Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy, Suki Waterhouse and Rita Ora, with a UK release date scheduled for May 10th this year.


Gemini Man

Starring: Will Smith, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong

Director: Ang Lee

Release Date: October 4

Ang Lee's most recent movie, Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk, saw the director embrace pioneering new technology, shooting the entire movie not just in digital 4K and 3D, but also at an unprecedented 120 frames per second – almost five times the usual film rate of 24 fps and more than double the rate of Peter Jackson's 48 fps rendering of The Hobbit. The results produced a mixed reaction from audiences, some of whom found the ultra-high clarity distracting or “un-cinematic”, but the film was nonetheless a technical marvel and Lee's next film will see him embrace more new technology, with the aim being nothing less than creating cinema's first entirely convincing CG human.

The movie in question is Gemini Man, which is due to arrive in the autumn and stars Will Smith as an ageing assassin who finds himself facing off against a younger clone of himself – a scenario which has tested and pushed the limits of CG animation, motion capture and 'de-ageing' visual effects. Starring alongside Smith is a cast which includes Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong. The film is slated for release in UK cinemas on October 4th.


Ad Astra

Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland

Director: James Gray

Release Date: May 24

James Gray's 2016 drama The Lost City of Z told the true-life story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in 1925 while on an expedition in South America to find the mythical lost city of El Dorado. Gray's next film, set to arrive in late spring, also features a story which involves the disappearance of an explorer, only this time the expedition in question is of the interplanetary kind.

Brad Pitt stars as astronaut Roy McBride, whose father Clifford disappeared 20 years earlier while on an expedition to Neptune. The younger McBride sets out on a mission to discover what happened to his father and unravel a mystery that could represent a threat to humanity, but what he finds on his journey causes him to question the very nature of human existence. Also starring are Tommy Lee Jones in the role of Clifford McBride, as well as Donald Sutherland, Ruth Negga, John Ortiz and LisaGay Hamilton. Gray's new sci-fi adventure is due to make its arrival In UK cinemas on May 24th.



Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton

Director: Tim Miller

Release Date: November 1

Despite the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the fifth instalment in the Terminator franchise, Terminator Genisys didn't go down particularly well with either critics or audiences and the film's failure to break even was cited as one of the reasons why, despite the film originally being pitched as the first in a new trilogy, the storyline has been quietly abandoned in favour of a new reboot, with Deadpool director Tim Miller at the helm.

James Cameron will oversee the film as producer, and while Arnie is due to reprise his role as the T-800 the film is also expected to “pass the baton” to a new star and serve as the first in a new trilogy of films. That said, there is at least one other returning cast member for the new film, with Linda Hamilton set to return to her iconic role as Sarah Connor. Plot details are scarce at this point, but we do know that the story will pick up where Terminator 2 left off, effectively ignoring 3, 4 and 5 – or, as James Cameron put it: “pretending they were a bad dream.” Whatever it ends up being called, it'll be in UK cinemas from November 1st.


The Call of the Wild

Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Gillan

Director: Chris Sanders

Release Date: December 26

Jack London's famous novel is no stranger to screen adaptations, having already been the subject of two feature films as well as the basis for various cartoons and TV spin-offs, but a new adaptation that will blend live action and CG animation is winging its way to cinema screens in 2019 courtesy of How To Train Your Dragon director Chris Sanders. Harrison Ford is the man stepping into the shoes of Clark Gable and Charlton Heston in the role of John Thornton, with the voice of the story's canine protagonist, Buck, being provided by Terry Notary.

Set largely in Yukon, Canada during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, the story sees Buck kidnapped from his owner Judge Miller and whisked from his privileged, domesticated life to the harsh environs of a Canadian winter, where he must quickly learn to adapt to life as a sled dog working and living in a pack. Karen Gillan, Dan Stevens and Wes Brown also star in Sanders' adaptation, which is due to arrive in cinemas in time for Boxing Day.


Sonic the Hedgehog

Starring: Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey

Director: Jeff Fowler

Release Date: November 8

For anyone who spent their adolescence huddled around one of Sega's string of consoles in the 1990s, Sonic the Hedgehog will need no introduction whatsoever, but while he's long been a fixture on the screens of gamers, can he make it as the leading star of his own big screen adventure? That seems to be the question that filmmaker and effects artist Jeff Fowler is determined to answer with his feature-length directorial debut, a live-action / animated adaptation bringing Sonic into cinemas later this year.

Parks & Recreation star Ben Schwartz is the man providing the voice of Sonic, with Jim Carrey set to fill the role of his evil nemesis Dr. Robotnik. Schwartz's film will also star James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Neal McDonough, with a release date scheduled in the US for November 8th.


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