Summer of Sci-Fi preview montage  

It may be a new millennium, but not much has changed in Tinseltown, as studios unveil their squillion dollar big hitters. However, you’d have to be a very wise man to predict this season’s victor.

Hopefully our fourteen page guide in this issue will provide some answers.

By Jason Caro

  Selected from the new-look,
bigger Starburst Special #44
PREVIEWED IN THIS STARBURST SPECIAL:

THE HOLLOW MAN • THE X-MEN • MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2 • BATTLEFIELD EARTH • TITAN A.E. • DINOSAUR • CHICKEN RUN • THE FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS • THE CROW: SALVATION • FREQUENCY • ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE • NUTTY PROFESSOR 2 • SCARY MOVIE • SPACE COWBOYS • WHAT LIES BENEATH

BELOW: JUST THREE OF THE PREVIEWS FROM THIS ISSUE!

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The Hollow Man

Stars:
Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, William Devane, Kim Dickens

Writers:
Andrew Marlowe

Director:
Paul Verhoeven

US Release Date:
July 28

UK Release Date:
Sept 22

Premise: A trio of scientists reach a breakthrough with their experiments into invisibility. As is always the case, there is an unfortunate side-effect – insanity.

Why you should see it: One of the most anticipated thrillers of the summer, chiefly because of the involvement of envelope-pushing genius Verhoeven. We’ve all seen a multitude of imitations of James Whale’s brilliant 1933 version of HG Wells’s story, but Verhoeven’s version is unique...

Bacon’s disappearing act won’t be a ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ affair. As his body becomes transparent, we will see every muscle, tissue and vein pumping away in vivid biological detail. One report suggests that even the inner recesses of Bacon’s chipolata will be on display – sales of cinema hot dogs could well plummet during screenings.

The thrilling trailer doesn’t give away too much story info, apart from a lot of running around as Bacon silently stalks his fellow scientists. Marlowe previously penned Die Hard President actioner Air Force One, which was really implausible, but hugely entertaining, which bodes well. He also wrote End of Days, which doesn’t.

But then again: Difficult to foresee anything other than another rousing roller-coaster ride through Verhoeven’s twisted imagination. His previous three Sci-Fi movies (RoboCop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers) had technical flair and visual effects to die for. But will turning up the sickness volume to 11 be his undoing?

Shue tore an Achilles tendon during filming, forcing a temporary halt to production while she recovered. In other years this may have been called a ‘troubled shoot’, but compared to the setbacks faced by one of the summer’s other wannabe blockbusters (hint: a sequel starring Tom Cruise), it’s merely a troublesome hair on cinema’s bar of soap.

Kevin Bacon found the daily make-up routine most uncomfortable

Hollow Man star Kevin Bacon interviewed in this issue!

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Mission: Impossible 2

Stars:
Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Thandie Newton, Anthony Hopkins, Dougray Scott

Writer:
Robert Townes

Director:
John Woo

US Release Date:
May 24

UK Release Date:
July 7

Premise: IMF members Ethan Hunt, Luther Stickwell and new British recruits team up to bring down a rogue agent who’s got his hands on a lethal new virus.

Why you should see it: Two words for you – John Woo. He hasn’t earned the nickname ‘Mozart of Mayhem’ for nothing. His head-spinning, acrobatic action sequences in The Killer, Hard Boiled and Face/Off make the efforts of Michael Bay, James Cameron and The Wachowski Brothers look like out-takes from The Blair Witch Project. Okay, slight exaggeration, but he is bloody good at his job.

In what is easily the most impressive trailer of the year so far, we get a taste of what destructive delights are in store, including the sequence everyone’s calling ‘the mad bit with the bikes’. Trailer available on free CD-ROM with Film Review Summer Special 2000, out soon!

Cruise’s first all-out action movie, a reported budget of $180m, tons of gadgets n’ guns, Ving Rhames, Anthony Hopkins and John Woo. Why the hell aren’t you queuing yet?

But then again: There’s two sides to every story and this has without a doubt been the most horrendously troubled production of the last five years. Woo and star-producer Cruise apparently didn’t see eye-to-eye, many of the original crew were replaced after filming had begun, the opening date was put back from Christmas 1999, the budget has spiralled out of control etc, etc.

Not wishing to be the voice of doom or anything, but very few films that suffered as many setbacks as this turn out as spanking gorgeous as we would hope. (But it has taken over $175 million in less than a month - Web Ed)

Woo’s not exactly known for his family fare, but Paramount may have twigged that in order to recoup the gargantuan budget they will need to capture the widest possible audience. Saving Private Ryan and The Matrix were two recent ‘R’s that went through the roof. However, the studio might not want to take that chance. Looks like we’ll have to wait for the DVD to see Woo’s original full-blooded cut.

Tom Cruise: through a glass, greenly

M:I-2 producer Paula Wagner interviewed in this issue!

Alan Jones reviews Mission: Impossible 2 in print in Starburst #263

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Titan A.E.

Voice stars:
Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane, Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo

Writer:
Ben Edlund
Director:
Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

US Release Date:
June 16
UK Release Date:
July 28

Titan A.E.Premise: Just over 1000 years in the future, Earth has been destroyed by a malevolent alien race. Fortunately, a plucky teenage orphan has acquired a map that somehow holds the key to the future of human existence.

Trailer available on free CD-ROM with Film Review Summer Special 2000!

Why you should see it: An ambitious Star Wars-esque Sci-Fi adventure from the Bluth stable, boasting a similar grown-up feel and starry line-up to Dreamworks’ boundary-pushing Prince of Egypt. But with more spaceships, obviously. Reportedly more CGI effects than any other ‘traditional’ cel movie.

But then again:Ever seen a Bluth animated feature with a decent script? Mind you, Warner had a terrible track record before the superb Iron Giant.

 

Just a taste of Jason Caro's extensive previews section.
Read the full rundown in this Starburst SpecialBuy it here

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