Forecasting 2015 in motion pictures

Graphic by Shannon Millar
Graphic by Shannon Millar

With the Golden Globes behind us and the Academy Awards drawing closer, it’s time to look beyond the lavish award ceremonies and more towards which cinematic trends we can expect to dominate the silver screen in 2015.
2014 offered us glimpses into adolescent life with Boyhood, cartoonish mayhem with The Lego Movie, dystopian visions with Snowpiercer and fierce psychoanalysis with the likes of Foxcatcher and Nightcrawler. Based upon these films that excelled in the past year and gave audiences hope for more innovative and smarter films, 2015 bodes well for an even more exciting year of cinematic trends.

The first commonality moviegoers can expect to see in 2015 is the return of authentic and thought-provoking science fiction. In recent years science fiction has taken a backseat to a plethora of comic book adapted installments, but in 2015 there are three specific films— Ex Machina, Chappie and Tomorrowland — which have me hopeful for a fitting return of original sci-fi.

The first is a directorial debut from British writer-director Alex Garland, who wrote the screenplay for 28 Days Later for Danny Boyle as well as Sunshine, one of the more underrated and space exploration films of the past decade.

Ex Machina stars Domhnall Gleeson as a budding programmer who is chosen to assess the seemingly human behaviour of a cutting-edge and beautiful design of artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, Chappie is a new feature from Neil Blomkamp, whose debut film District 9 was one of the more inventive science fiction films ever. Chappie tells the story of a robot with feelings, emotions and insecurities, but its existence threatens to upset the balance of human peace with a robot police force already implemented.

Once again, Blomkamp will look to push the envelope by posing the scientific questions such as can humans coincide with artificial intelligence, or are we doomed to be victims of succession to mechanical creations of our own doing?

Lastly is Brad Bird’s secretive epic, Tomorrowland, which through a cryptic trailer presents a whimsical parallel universe where anything is possible.

The concept is simple, but through co-authorship on behalf of Bird as well as Damon Lindelof alongside the casting of stars like George Clooney and Hugh Laurie, this film is sure to be a refreshing sci-fi tale for adults and children, as well as a jumpstart for emerging actress Britt Robertson.

Unfortunately with each fresh-thinking sci-fi film, we are bound to receive an onslaught of unnecessary sequels, prequels, spin-offs and reboots.

However, I will say that exempt from this portion of the list are Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Although both of these films are reboots of hugely successful series, they are far from unnecessary due to the directors who have been put in charge of overseeing their production and development.

George Miller, the original mastermind behind the Mad Max trilogy is back to revisit his gritty dystopian world, while Steven Spielberg prodigy and Star Trek director J.J. Abrams is responsible for ensuring the latest Star Wars doesn’t fall flat like the previous three did.

Nevertheless, prepare for yet another Peter Pan film, titled Pan, another adaptation of Cinderella, a Jurassic Park reboot called Jurassic World, a Fantastic Four reboot, a National Lampoon’s Vacation reboot with Ed Helms, Mission: Impossible 5 sequel and a Terminator reboot called Terminator Genisys.

It’s almost all too much to say in one breath.

With 2015 proving to be plentiful with a forgettable amount of reboots, look for science fiction films to be the most prevalent in 2015.

If early trailers are any indication, these films will use unique narrative foundations to delve into the popular topics of morality, humanism, artificial intelligence, evolution and escapism, which will lead to a strong box office return for the forecasted resurgent genre in the upcoming year.

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