Theater or Renter: January 2009

Theater or Renter: January includes 5 SF movies The Unborn, My Bloody Valentine 3-D, Inkheart, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, The Uninvited.  Will we watch? Will we rent? or do we even care? Rules of the Game: Watch the trailers. Rate the Trailer. Then share with us your comments: does the movie, it’s trailer and buzz make you want to watch it in the theater, rent it, or not interested at all, and why?

The Unborn:

The_Unborn Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date:  JANUARY 9th 2009

Listed as: Horror, supernatural Thriller

Studio: Rogue Pictures

Director: David S. Goyer

Produced by: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller

Written by: David S. Goyer

Stars:  Gary Oldman, Odette Yustman, Cam Gigandet, Meagan Good, Jane Alexander, Idris Elba, Rhys Coiro, Carla Gugino

The Plot / Story: Sometimes the soul of a dead person has been so tainted with evil that it is denied entrance to heaven.  It must endlessly wander the borderlands between worlds, desperately searching for a new body to inhabit.  And sometimes it actually succeeds.  A young woman pulled into a world of nightmares when a demonic spirit haunts her and threatens everyone she loves.  The source of a family curse dating back to Nazi Germany - a creature with the ability to inhabit anyone or anything that is getting stronger with each possession.  With the curse unleashed, her only chance at survival is to shut a doorway from beyond our world that has been pried open by someone who was never born.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

My Bloody Valentine 3-D:

my_bloody_valentine Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date: JANUARY 16th 2009

Listed as:  Horror, Thriller

Studio: Lionsgate

Director: Patrick Lussier

Produced by: John Dunning, Andre Link, Jack L. Murray, Mike Paseornek, John Sacchi

Written by: Original story: Stephen Miller, Screenplay: zane Smith, Todd Farmer

Stars: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Tom Atkins

The Plot / Story: Ten years later, Tom Hanniger returns to Harmony on Valentine's Day, still haunted by the deaths he caused. Struggling to make amends with his past, he grapples with unresolved feelings for his ex-girlfriend, Sarah, who is now married to his best friend, Axel, the town sheriff. But tonight, after years of peace, something from Harmony's dark past has returned. Wearing a miner's mask and armed with a pickaxe, an unstoppable killer is on the loose. And as his footsteps come ever closer, Tom, Sarah and Axel realize in terror that it just might be Harry Warden who's come back to claim them. A 3-D movie.  (Wikipedia)


Inkheart Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date:   JANUARY 23rd 2009

Listed as:  Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Studio: New Line Cinema

Director: Iain Softley

Produced by: Cornelia Funke, Ileen Maisel, Barry Mendel

Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay) Cornelia Funke (novel) Gary David Goldberg

Stars:  Brendan Fraser, Eliza Bennett, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis, Jim Broadbent

The Plot / Story: Based on a German Novel called Inkheart.  When Mo reads aloud from books, he has the ability to make the characters come out of the book, into real life. Mo discovered his power when his daughter Meggie, was just a baby. Mo read aloud from the book Inkheart, which caused several of the book's wicked characters, including Capricorn, to literally come to life. But while he read them out of the book, he accidentally read Meggie’s mother, Teresa into the story. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)U

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans:

Underworld_Rise_of_the_Lycans Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date:   JANUARY 23rd 2009

Listed as:  Action, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Studio: Screen Gems

Director: Patrick Tatopoulos

Produced by: Len Wiseman, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Skip Williamson

Written by: Len Wiseman, Danny McBride

Stars:  Rhona Mitra, Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Kevin Grevioux, Shane Brolly

The Plot / Story: The prequel will trace the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires and their onetime slaves, the Lycans. In the Dark Ages, a young Lycan named Lucian emerges as a powerful leader who rallies the werewolves to rise up against Viktor, the cruel vampire king who has enslaved them. Lucian is joined by his secret lover, Viktor's daughter Sonja, in his battle against the Death Dealer army and his struggle for Lycan freedom. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

The Uninvited:

The_Uninvited_2009 Watch The Trailer here in the P:S HQ

Release Date:   JANUARY 30th 2009

Listed as:  Drama, Horror, Thriller

Studio: DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures

Director: Charles Guard, Thomas Guard

Produced by: Michael Grillo, Ivan Reitman, Tom Pollock, Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Riyoko Tanaka

Written by: Screenplay: Craig Rosenberg, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard    Original Screenplay: Kim Jee-Woon

Stars: Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbelm, Elizabeth Banks, David Strathairn, Maya Massar

The Plot / Story: Anna Rydell returns home to her father and sister, Alex, after spending time in hospital following the tragic death of her mother. Her recovery suffers a setback when she discovers her father has become engaged to her mother's former nurse, Rachael. That night, Anna is visited by the ghost of her mother, who warns her of Rachael's intentions. Together, Anna and Alex try to convince their father that his current fiancée is not who she pretends to be, and what should have been a happy family reunion becomes a lethal battle of wills between stepdaughters and stepmother. Based on the Korean move A Tale of Two Sisters (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

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The Power of the Dark Crystal

Crystal Sequel KiraWhat happens when Disney buys your company? They make unnesseccary sequels of the films you became famous for. On February 1, 2006, The Jim Henson company announced the start of production on a sequel to Jim Henson's classic "The Dark Crystal." Award-winning animation director Genndy Tartakovsky, you might know him from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory, was tapped to direct Power of the Dark Crystal.

Brian Henson said the new "Crystal" will mix a lot of styles, including puppetry and a new 3-D animation technique that is being developed by the studio. The earliest release date, he said, is late 2008 (SFGate).

I am not sure that I my feeling about this feel could be more mixed up and confused. I love "The Dark Crystal" and the idea of a sequel excites me a little, but I doubt it could live up to the extraordinary vision and genius of Jim Henson. The characters and setting were formative to my imaginal life, and in many ways form the back bone of my concepts of story and epic fantasy that work themselves out in my own books.

The image of Kira they released from the new flick looks good, and I must admit: In a film like this image is half the problem. The other half is the story and with an honorable mention going to the acting.

"[David Odell], who wrote this film with his wife, is the original writer of 'The Dark Crystal,' and he had discussed this sequel concept with Jim," Lisa Henson said. "They didn't get too far into it, but [Odell] had a pretty good memory of the basic bones of the sequel idea (MTV Movie Blog)."

Whether it should or not, the very idea that Jim Henson wanted to make a sequel and only scrapped it after the lackluster reception to the "The Dark Crystal" and the difficulty in bringing such an original world to the screen gives me hope. I have read other reports that they relied on notebooks from those meeting with Jim in the development of the new story.

So what is The Power of the Dark Crystal about?

Set hundreds of years after the events of the first movie when the world has once again fallen into darkness, Power of the Dark Crystal follows the adventures of a mysterious girl made of fire who, together with a Gelfling outcast, steals a shard of the legendary Crystal in an attempt to reignite the dying sun that exists at the center of the planet (The Jim Henson Company).

Or as they explained it in October, 2006:

The "Power" script continues the tale of elfin heroes Jen and Kira, last seen returning the shard to the evil crystal and seemingly abolishing the vulture-like Skeksis from their land. Set many years after the first flick, "Power" casts Jen and Kira as king and queen, now overseeing a kingdom whose peace is disturbed by a visit from the underground-dwelling U-mun people. After the Gelflings refuse their request for a shard of crystal that could preserve the U-mun race, a desperate visitor takes it anyway, threatening their world with another thousand years of chaos (MTV Movie Blog).

Sounds interesting, and it at least seems to reference the last film. I am concerned about the use of the Shards from the Crystal again. This feels more like a sad excuse to bring back the Skeksis and the Sages than a solid foundation for a second story. While the success of a sequel is often judged more by how well it fits into the template established by the previous tale, part of me wishes they would have treated the first film more like "The Lord of the Rings treats "The Silmarillion", backstory and history.

I would feel more comfortable about the new project if they would have explored the setting more and not simply shattered the crystal again. It renders the Jen's victory in the previous film pyrrhic at best.

If a direct to DVD sequel wasn't enough for you:

The sequel is only one of several projects exploring the world of The Dark Crystal, a fan favorite that has remained consistently strong with worldwide home video and DVD sales. Other projects include an animated television series, a manga series from Tokyo Pop, and myriad licensed products such as books, apparel and collectible sculptures (The Jim Henson Company).

No details are available about the television series or the manga, but I am keeping my eyes open.

The Power of the Dark Crystal is slated for release in 2009. I think I agree with Frank Oz, Jim Henson's partner in crime and voice in the original "Dark Crystal":

When asked his feelings about a "Crystal" sequel, [Frank] Oz had a one-word answer: "Why (SFGate)?"