Retreat Into Fantasy | Vol. 4 / No. 3

It’s been such a week that today’s news roundup is instead going to be a complete retreat into fantasy. Follow us as we ignore real life and talk about the trailers that dropped this week and the movies we can’t wait to see.

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Arrival (Opened 11 November 2016)

I seriously can’t wait to see this, and as soon as I’ve gotten over the week long cold that is causing coughing fits that would drive every other moviegoer to complete distraction, I’m going to go see it. Based on the Nebula Award-winning novella by Ted Chiang called Story of Your LifeArrival tells the story of Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguist who is tapped to communicate with aliens called Heptapods upon their (unexpected) arrival on Earth. The novella centers around the way the Hetpapods’ written language, “Heptapod B,” changes Banks’s perception of time itself. The whole thing is based on the idea of linguistic determinism, in which the understanding of a language changes the perception of the world — for example the idea that certain colours can’t be seen without a linguistic concept for them (which I find wholly dubious, but which is all in all a great premise for a story). Understanding the Heptapods’ written language, which is based in a wholistic understanding of time rather than a purely linear one, affects Banks’s perception of the universe. I don’t know the extent to which the film follows the novella, but the scenes in the trailer that show her daughter suggest it’s pretty close. Meanwhile the reviews are pretty darn good (“best film of the year so far” is pretty a great compliment in mid-November), so all in all I’m looking forward to seeing it.

 

Ghost in the Shell (Coming 21 March 2017)

The trailer for the at-times controversial live-action Ghost in the Shell movie dropped this week, and it looks pretty stunning. The controversy, of course, arises because the main character — Major Motoko Kusanagi — has been reimagined as white (Scarlett Johansson), even going so far as to only be referred to as “The Major.” But there are still some things to be excited about. The part of the story it seems as though it’s going to tell (the Ghost in the Shell universe is fairly extensive) is from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig and will be about a character named Kuze. As io9 explains:

“Kuze” is referring to the main antagonist of the GitS TV series Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig, where Major Motoko Kusanagi and Section 9 fight a terrorist group called the Individual Eleven, of which Kuze is a member. It’s a bit complicated to explain, but it involves an ideology virus, the ramifications of World War IV, an immense amount of refugees living in Japan, and someone Motoko knows from her childhood.

The cloaked-in-shadows figure from the end of the trailer — purportedly telling The Major that her life was stolen — is probably Kuze. Overall it looks like it’s going to be a pretty cool adaptation and an interesting addition to the Ghost in the Shell franchise. It’ll almost certainly be worth watching, if not on opening night.

 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Coming 21 July 2017)

Also dropped this week was the first trailer for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the latest “vivid science-fiction world-building project masquerading as a movie” by Luc Besson. It’s being touted as the “spiritual successor” to the much-adored 1997 film The Fifth Element, and after watching the trailer it’s not hard to see why: the visuals are ridiculous, the scale is epic, and the story is… well it’s hard to tell really if there is much of a story. It’s based on a French sci-fi comic book series called Valérian and Laureline which ran from 1967 to 2010, loosely following the exploits of time-travelling agent Valérian (portrayed in the film by Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (ditto but Cara Delvingne) as they get up to all the things one can get up to in 43 years of publishing. The plot for the film seems to be “V and L get sent to Alpha, a massive city filled with a thousand alien cultures, and Things Happen.” And boy do Things really Happen in the trailer. Big Underwater Things try to eat them, Angry Things With Spears try to skewer them, a Giant Turtle Thing tries to slash at them while they’re jumping into a moving vehicle’s cargo bay door. Things Fall From Great Heights, including our main characters. Rihanna Does Things with a Hat. I can’t really tell you whether it’ll be a movie or just a chaotic mess of pretty things, but if that’s what you’re into (and I tell you that’s enough for some people *cough*Jupiter Ascending*cough*) then this will definitely be a must-see for you.

 

ICYMI

Anyway, that’s it for escapism, so here’s what happened this week on the blog.

If you missed them, now’s your chance.

 

Best of the Rest

Here’s some other things that happened this week:

 

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That’s all for today folks, thanks for reading! Except for the very *very* occasional tip (we take Venmo now!), I only get paid in my own (and your) enthusiasm, so please like This Week In Tomorrow on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @TWITomorrow, and tell your friends about the site!

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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.

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