Lots of us have been bingeing pandemic movies, understandably: It’s perversely comforting to see that things could be worse. But what else, I wondered, did film envision for us in 2020, specifically? I looked at five sci-fi movies set this year (and available for rent on Amazon, among other platforms) to see if things were better or worse than the real deal.
“Edge of Tomorrow”
In 2014’s “Edge of Tomorrow,” tentacled aliens have taken over huge swaths of the globe and humanity seems to be permanently at war with them. (So: worse?) In a sort of cross between “Starship Troopers” and “Groundhog Day,” Tom Cruise’s soldier character finds himself living the same day over and over until he can get it right and move forward on the battlefield.
He teams up with a ruthless Emily Blunt, who’s got an unnerving willingness to shoot him in the head to restart the day. The idea of waking up over and over to do the same exact thing is . . . pretty familiar, eh? As Cruise and Blunt’s characters battle their way toward the alien mothership, dodging whirling, terrifying aliens, my husband remarks, “Yeah, this is pretty much what it feels like going to the grocery store.”
“Mission to Mars”
Next up: “Mission to Mars,” from 2000. Director Brian De Palma was clearly overly optimistic about our space exploration capabilities. Or was he? Three characters have died 20 minutes in, and there’s a giant face on the surface of the red planet. Yikes. Here’s a whisper of quarantine familiarity as a rescue mission finds that a scraggly Don Cheadle’s been tending a greenhouse alone on Mars for a year. Some of us may find a whisper of relatability here. This is a very cheesy movie, but it’s got a great scene of Tim Robbins and Connie Nielsen dancing in zero gravity. Also, we meet a Martian relative. On balance: better.
In Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” from 2013, the earth is being ravaged by kaiju, which are giant monsters emanating from a deep crevasse in the Pacific. This is both worse and way more thrilling to watch than a pandemic. The world comes together to fight the monsters: No squabbles over medical supplies, just a band of enormous robots with an international team of daredevil pilots. I thrilled to the rallying cry of “Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!”, though found it depressing to see government officials on what appears to be a Zoom call in the year 2025. I’d have hoped we would have improved the format by then.
“Reign of Fire”
Way back in 2002, “Reign of Fire” envisioned this as the year of . . . dragons? George R.R. Martin would be proud, but I think it’s fair to say fire-breathing reptiles annihilating our cities while our fate hangs in the balance of a shaved-headed, crazy-eyed Matthew McConaughey is worse than our current predicament. Still, points for teaming him up with Christian Bale: This movie balances out its bad CGI and silly plot with a preponderance of good abs.
“A Quiet Place”
In the most recent entry, 2018’s “A Quiet Place,” John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are shepherding their children through a ravaged America where aliens will rip you to shreds if they hear a single footfall. This is clearly worse than having to cover your lower face in public — although I bet “a quiet place” is what every working-from-home parent is dreaming about right now.
Source: Read Full Article