Monday, April 30, 2012

UFOs & video games: guest blogger exclusive

RPJ's List of UFOlogically Flavored Video Games

By Red Pill Junkie (a.k.a. Miguel Romero)


I've been a fan of videogames all my life. From my very first console --an antediluvian Sears
Pong home unit I received as a gift-- to the awesome Atari 2600 console my dad gave me in return for accepting to enter a damn summer camp so my fat ass could shrink a bit --it was worth it... barely-- followed by a Nintendo NES that became the first payment I received as a free-lance artist at the tender age of 15, up until my dear Xbox 360 that valiantly perished in the line of duty three months ago, I've spent countless hours fixed to a screen in an ineffable mix of frustration and joy, battling scores of digital enemies that have turned ever more complex and lifelike as the years (and the gray hairs on my head) progress.

Life well spent!

And I'm hardly the only one who thinks that way, which is the reason videogames have slowly risen to supplant Hollywood as arguably the biggest revenue-generating industry in America. Today, the biggest game studios spend as much in terms of time and money in development for a single game than a movie studio for a modest film. And with two thirds of American households owning
at least one console, the sky is the limit as to where the industry can go. Video games are anything but child's play.

The old days of the penny arcade round the corner where you would spend your entire allowance in just a couple of minutes playing games that required no introduction or deep storyline are a thing of the past -- or rather, it's a thing relegated to a quick fix delivered by a smart phone when you have a few minutes to kill. Game designers know only too well that with the increasing offer in their competitive market they need to deliver a product which allows the player to connect to the game at an emotionallevel. Thanks to Moore's law and the relentless increase in performance of graphic processors videogames have entered an age where they can deliver a cinematic experience no movie theater will likely ever be able to provide: a fully interactive one.

Verily if the comic book is the bastard child of Literature that will never be granted the same recognition by Academia --even though Alan Moore's Watchmen is part of Time magazine's list of best 100 books ever published-- then the same thing happens between videogames and Cinema.

Yet videogames enjoy a freedom that is seldom found in the movie industry: since the very essence of the medium is to create an entire world from scratch, then that world need not be the one we're familiar with. In fact, the landscapes of such virtual realms and the denizens that inhabit them are only limited by two factors: one tangible (the capacity of computer chips) and the other intangible (the imagination of artists and engineers).

That is one of the reasons why game designers have always been compelled to tap into the rich streams of Science Fiction and Fantasy as sources of inspiration. And of all the incredible creatures conformed by an elaborate matrix of textured polygons and inverse kinematic, it is space aliens that have remained a perennial fascination for gamers of all ages. Ever since we futilely tried to avoid the invasion of 8-bit extraterrestrial monsters that kept coming closer to Earth at a slow but relentless pace, we've vowed never to lower the guard.

There might be other reasons why aliens have maintained a predominant role in the industry: the technological constrains imposed by what is known in A.I. research as the

Uncanny Valley for instance -- the paradox of how as a human simulation becomes more life-like in appearance, the more artificial it will be perceived by the human spectator. But as the depth of the Uncanny Valley gets rapidly eroded by new computational innovations, I suspect that even with games that are close to becoming indistinguishable from real life there will still be a psychological necessity to utilize non-human adversaries in a confrontational scenario -- pulling the trigger at an non-human foe will always be easier (or at least more acceptable) than pulling the trigger at an in-human one... and besides, the games in which you get to fight against German Nazis are becoming a tired genre.

And so, extraterrestrials have been part of some best, and also some of the worst games ever released. Spielberg's E.T. the Extraterrestrial is still a staple-mark of sci-fi cinema, and yet, ironically, the game that was released after the film became a mega-blockbuster has the dubious honor of being considered by many to be
the worst game of all time--"Ouch!" said the poor long-necked fellow -- and might have even single-handedly caused the downfall of Atari, inc.! "OUUUUCH!" said the poor Atari stock-holders. That launching a game just as a marketing tool for a movie constitutes a bad idea is sadly a lesson Hollywood has yet to grasp after so many decades.

But what about UFOs? Has UFOlogy and its associated folklore --which has emerged from encounters with *real* non-human entities-- been exploited by the game industry? The answer is a resounding yes, and below we will have a brief exploration of some of the most notable examples:

[The titles marked with a (P) are the ones I've personally played. Each game will be ranked according to the number of UFOlogical elements incorporated in its plot]

Secret Files: Tunguska

A PC point-and-click adventure game developed by German studio Fusionsphere Systems in 2006, Secret Files: Tunguska is centered around the famous and as-yet unexplained explosion that blasted a great chunk of the Siberian tundra in 1908 that has garnered a lot of explanations over the years, from the logical and uninspiring (a piece of comet) to the truly radical (a malfunctioning alien spaceship). From a third-person perspective the player has to solve a series of puzzles that will take you all over the world in order to find the answers to the mystery of the historical event, as well as the disappearance of the female protagonist's father, a Russian scientist named Vladimir Kalenkov. Here, once again, making use of real-life historical events is exploited as a tool to break through the 4th wall. The unoriginal aspect of the gameplay as disclosed by the online reviews I found makes this game worthy of just 1 silver saucer out of 5.

Doom [P]

The classic first-person-shooter originally designed by the great John Romero in '93 that triggered a whole series of bloody gut-spilling releases. The story centers on an anonymous space Marine fighting his way out of a Martian colony overrun by a horde of infernal creatures creeping out of a demonic dimension. To anyone thinking "what the hell does Hell have to do with UFOs?" I suggest you have a good read of Nick Redfern's book Final Events, in which you'll discover why several top-key groups in the US intelligence community have reached the harrowing conclusion that UFOs are nothing but the latest deception employed by Satan's minions in order to deceive mankind and snare as many souls as possible before Armageddon. Because of this, Doomreceives 1 silver saucer out of 5.

Gears of War [P]

One of the most successful game series of all time, which almost single-handedly ensured the success of the Xbox 360 console over its Japanese competitor the Playstation 2, these games have seemingly nothing to do with the UFO phenomenon, yet I'll presently explain why I believe they do. First released in 2006, the story is set on Sera, an Earth-like planet ravaged by an endless war fought against a vicious subterranean race called the Locust, which oddly look like Reptilian aliens on steroids; the player controls Sergeant Marcus Fenix, who is in command of a squad of soldiers set on preventing the total annihilation of the human race. Although most people believe the UFO phenomenon can be explained with the ETH (Extra-terrestrial hypothesis) there have been some researchers within the field brave enough to entertain alternative theories; one of those researchers was the late Mac Tonnies, who before his untimely passing managed to write The Cryptoterrestrials, a written 'thought experiment' in which he speculated that the true origin of the UFO phenomenon was not to be found in the outer realms of interstellar space but in the hidden realms of the hollow earth, in lieu with the ancient hermetic traditions about Agarthi and Shambhala that had such a major influence in the western esoteric schools of the XIXth and early XXth centuries, as well as with the pulp mysteries written by Richard Shaver after WWII. Because of the success of Gears of WarI wouldn't be surprised if Tonnies' book garners more attention in the years to come, and that's why the series should at least receive 1 silver saucer out of 5.

Tomb Raider [P]

Ah, Lara Croft... with her sultry English accent, pony tail and buxom topology accentuated by those oh-so short pants, for many years this adventurous archaeologist was the #1 sex symbol for an entire generation of lonely geeks, which later won her the right to be impersonated by real-life sex symbol Angelina Jolie for the big screen, in a couple of regrettably mediocre movies. But the reason Tomb Raider deserves an inclusion on our list is because central to the theme of the games was the idea of ancient civilizations in possession of technologies so advanced they become indistinguishable from magic; thus it's fair to say the success of the franchise was fuelled by the premise of the Ancient Astronaut theory, so I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Giorgio Tsoukalos is a big fan of Lara Croft --and frankly, who could blame him?-- and so Tomb Raider deserves 1 silver saucer out of 5.

Assassin's Creed [P]

Another very successful franchise developed by Ubisoft which makes an oblique use of Ancient Aliens and Conspiracy theories to shroud the enigmas hidden behind the core of the story -- to the point that they shatter through the virtual 4th wall and entangle the game with real-life historical events in a manner that should delight of any self-respecting tinfoil-hatter. The Assassin’s Creedgames explore the war between two powerful secret societies since the days of the Crusades to modern times: the Templars, who seek to impose order in the world by way of controlling governments and, ultimately, the very thoughts of men; and the Assassins, who oppose the Templars and fight for the freedom of mankind -- even if that involves deception and the murdering of important personages. Both factions seek the possession of a powerful artifact called 'the apple of Eden', a very ancient yet incredibly advanced object created by 'Those Who Came Before' as they are cryptically called in the series; it almost makes me wonder if Alex Jones' latest rage against Ridley Scott and Prometheusis partly fuelled by his frustration with trying to reach the next level in one of these games? The badass cloaked assassins deserve 2 silver saucers out of 5 in our list.


A First-person-shooter published in 2006 for the Xbox 360 and the PC, the game story focuses on Domasi "Tommy" Tawodi, a former US Army Native American who is abducted into a massive alien spaceship called the Sphere --which combines advanced technology with biological elements-- along with his girlfriend Jen and his grandfather Enisi. After Enisi gets killed his spirit bestows upon Tommy ancient indigenous spiritual powers to combat the aliens and stop their invasion, which makes for a great tactical advantage along with some salvaged alien weaponry; this mix of Native American religious traditions and alien themes reminds one of Colm A. Kelleher and George Knapp's Hunt for the Skinwalker. Adding to all this the special bonus of including an Art Bell broadcast, Preyreceives 3 silver saucers out of 5.

Half Life [P]

This is not a single game, but a whole series started in 1998 with its last chapter released in 2010. The story of these FPSs center on Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist with a penchant for wielding a crowbar --hey, you can't always solve your way out of a problem with a calculator!-- originally employed in the secret Black Mesa research facility located in New Mexico, the all-time UFO capital of the world. After working on an advanced teleportation experiment, Freeman inadvertently opens an interdimensional portal that provokes an infestation of xenomorphic --read 'butt-ugly'-- organisms. As the story progresses, the governments of the world finally submit to an alien/trans-human --read 'hybrids'-- force named The Combine, who have at their disposal an uncanny array of bio-technological weaponry, including parasitic organisms that turn humans into mindless zombies --something a bit more crude and terrifying than all those alleged alien implants removed by Dr. Roger Leir-- and even tripod-like Striders that would have given H.G. Wells nightmares. Considering that many important researchers like Jacques Vallee are of the opinion that the UFO phenomenon is better explained as the meddling of interdimensional denizens than the arrival of interplanetary explorers, and adding to the fact that I personally happen to have something of a passing physical resemblance to Gordon Freeman --if I ever managed to lose about 3 stone in weight, that is-- the Half Life series receives 3 silver saucers out of 5.

UFO: Enemy Unknown

A critically acclaimed strategy game published in 1994 for PCs and the Playstation, the plot manages to incorporate UFO sightings, alien abductions --which were beginning to be part of the mainstream vocabulary thanks to TV series like The X-Files-- and a race of malevolent alien overlords called the Ethereals endowed with incredible mental powers (another important common theme in the UFO mythos) whose main base is located in the Martian region of --wait for it-- Cydonia. For all this, UFO: Enemy Unknownproudly deserves 4 silver saucers out of five.

Destroy All Humans [P]

If there ever was a game series based on the UFO phenomenon, this is it. Released originally for the Xbox console in 2005, the first gamebegins with the infamous Roswell crash of a scout spaceship sent by the Furon empire in search of fresh DNA that could assist this ancient and dwindling alien race in preserving of its immortality via cloning procedures. The player controls Cryptosporidium-137, a wise-ass stereotypical Gray alien who needs to fulfil several missions, like anal-probing hapless human targets --a rather awkward method to collect DNA samples, but who are we to judge Furon medicine-- and fighting the MIB agents sent by the nefarious Majestic agency --in this game, you root for the aliens, and it's AWESOME-- through several Rockwellian landscapes that Crypto has the chance to joyfully obliterate with the help of a devastating arsenal. The hilarious B-movie tone employed --along with some jewel bonus like the chance to watch Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Spacein a movie drive-in-- compels me to award Destroy All Humans with the highest rank of 5 silver saucers out of 5.

This list is obviously just a sample of titles, and if I happened to leave out some that you feel should be included, feel free to point them out in the comment section.

So what are we to make of these videogames in which key aspects of the modern UFO folklore have been inserted either deliberately or by happenstance? Personally I feel it's an example of how pop culture in its most modern manifestation --interactive entertainment-- has matured enough to allow the continuous exploring of what Jeffrey Kripal aptly names ‘mythemes,’ archetypical narratives that are to forever be retold in our religions, our myths, and our fiction. And in all those narratives there's hardly one more persistent and alluring than our encounter with The Other, a superior form of intelligence that we recognize as different from us, and by which we might finally measure ourselves from a more objective perspective. The search for The Other is nothing but the need for a mirror.

And this is where videogames happen to excel over the previous forms of mytheme transmission --oral tradition, books and movies-- because without the need of ingesting psychotropic substances or other alternative practices intended to provoke an altered state of consciousness, videogames manage to effortlessly deliver the promise of all the ancient mysteric religions: the embodiment of the god/hero by the practitioner -- and with a kick-ass Lancer rifle to boot.

Alas, these practices are not without risk.

But what about other veiled purposes in the coupling of UFO themes with videogames? We are fully aware of the influence of government agencies inside movie studios as revealedby our friend and host Robbie Graham; and it's no secret that the Armed forces see videogames as a great recruitment opportunity, to the point that they have developed and launched a few titles of their own.

The military have also grasped the power of videogames as teaching tools that help train their troops in simulations close to what they'll experience in real life. And this is where I can't help thinking of a movie that had a huge influence on me when I was young: The Last Starfighter, in which a teenage boy stuck in a small trailer-park community dreams of escaping this dull small life to explore bigger and better things, and it's precisely his skills with videogames that grants him his wish.

So who knows? There may come a day when the sharpened reflexes and agile thumbs of my gaming comrades will be all that's left to protect your non-gaming ass from the evil Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada! Therefore show some love next time you meet a gamer -- just don't stand in front of the screen.

Red Pill Junkie —a.k.a. Miguel Romero— is an interior designer by trade, and student of paranormal phenomena by calling. He's been interested in weird mysteries for as long as he can remember. When he's not searching the web looking for his daily fix of Forteana, he can be found blogging at Mysterious Universe, fooling around, and offering his services as news administrator at The Daily Grail.

Friday, April 27, 2012

'Prometheus': new featurette, plus update on certification

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

New Prometheus featurette focuses on Ridley Scott...

Also, diehard fans of the Alien franchise might be pleased to know that, contrary to Internet rumours and even hints from Ridley Scott himself, Prometheus may yet be granted an 'R' rating from the MPAA. In a recent interview with MTV, Fox CEO Tom Rothman said "Not one frame of Prometheus will be cut... if that means it’s an R rating, so be it." Last month, Ridley Scott hinted to Empire magazine that in order for his movie to generate maximum profit it would possibly have to go out as a PG-13.

We won't know the age rating for Prometheus for sure until we see it attached to future trailers for the movie or splashed across official posters. For what it's worth, though, Prometheus posters here in the UK are currently being displayed with a "TBC" rating of '15' - the UK equivalent of 'R' (which also covers the UK '18' rating). 

Monday, April 23, 2012

'John Carter' gives Disney boss the boot

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers
Mars movies typically spell disaster for Hollywood studios, as Disney chairman Rich Ross (above) has learned the hard way.

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross last week "stepped down" from his long-held position at the house of mouse, stating in a letter to his staff: "I no longer believe the Chairman role is the right professional fit for me."

"But make no mistake about it," writes Deadline, "Ross did not simply decide to step down – he was fired... His ouster now ends his 15+ year Disney career which included one of the most public and worst film failures in Hollywood — John Carter, a $200M writedown for the Walt Disney Co."

Deadline notes that, "even though the film wasn’t greenlit by Ross (it was greenlit by predecessor Dick Cook and championed by John Lasseter), it was still overseen by him and mismarketed by his studio — and became one of the most public and expensive film failures in Hollywood history."

For more on this story, head on over to Deadline. And for a comprehensive overview of Hollywood's many failed Mars missions, read my article: Hollywood and the Curse of Mars.


'John Carter' will lose Disney $200 million

'Total Recall' remake erases Mars/ET storyline

'Invaders from Mars': UFO acclimation movie?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

'Avengers' aliens are shapeshifting reptilians?

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Marvel’s The Avengershas previewed to high praise from critics, currently scoring an impressive 96% at 

Empire Magazine calls the movie “A joyous blend of heroism and humour that raises the stakes even as it maintains a firm grip on what makes the individual heroes tick.” Empire does have some minor complaints about The Avengers, however. One of which is that:

“The alien army... are very throwaway, bland types who serve as little more than intergalactic cannon-fodder. Yes, they’re from the Marvel universe (we won’t name them, but they’re not who has been rumoured [the Skrulls]), but they display very little in the way of unique abilities.”

Empire’s unwillingness to name the alien race matters not, though, as the movie’s director, Joss Whedon, spilled the beans himself at a press conference earlier this month, revealing that “The alien race are the Chitauri — or a version of them.”

Chitauri attack in Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

According to Marvel Database, the Chitauri – which exist as part of the Ultimate Marvel universe – are:

a shapeshifting alien species who have attempted to conquer the Earth, most notably during World War II and again in the early 21st century... The Chitauri were able to mimic human form and absorb human knowledge, apparently by ingesting the bodies or brains of the humans they imitated.”

The Marvel Database further states of the Chitauri “claim to be part of ‘the immune system of the Universe’, wiping out disorder and free will wherever they find it.” 

Interestingly in the context of UFOlogical conspiracy theory, when in their true form, the Chitauri “appear to be large, and reptilian.” They prefer to “act behind the scenes, mimicking and influencing the social and military methods of the species they are currently infiltrating. For example, they aided the Nazis in their attempt at world conquest by providing them with the technology to create a nuclear bomb carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile.”

Naturally, for the UFO buff, this calls to mind theories surrounding alleged reptilian beings described in numerous abduction accounts, and also the popular idea that these “reptoids” have long played a hidden part in humanity’s political affairs.

Click to enlarge
It is notable that the Chitauri have also attempted to quietly conquer Earth using “long-term methods of manipulation such as will-inhibiting drugs in many nations' water supplies, influencing the media, and R.F.I.D. (Radio-frequency identification) microchips to be implanted in schoolchildren, among other means.”

How much of the Chitauri’s comic book mythology has actually been incorporated into the upcoming Avengers movie remains to be seen. But if Empire’s “bland cannon fodder” comments are anything to go by then, it would seem, not very much. Also, the Chitauri as shown in the movie’s trailers (see above) and as represented in toy form (see right) do not appear overtly “reptilian.” But then, perhaps we’ve yet to see them in their true scaly form. All will be revealed when Marvel's The Avengers hits cinemas on April 26. In the meantime, if you’re hungry for more insight into the movie’s production, here’s 20 minutes of on-set footage...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Alien mothership poses human questions in Spanish UFO movie

Silver Screen Saucers

“Everyone knows what to do if one morning the sky would be absolutely full of UFOs: run as fast as you can. However, what would happen if the invasion started while you are in the flat of the girl of your dreams, the one you have just met?”

This is the premise for the critically acclaimed Spanish UFO-Rom-com, Extraterrestrial, a movie which, although produced in 2011, is only now finding its way to US audiences.

According to The Hollywood Reporter:

“The movie will be released simultaneously in theaters and via video-on-demand and also will be available for audiences nationwide to create their own theatrical screenings through the Tugg platform. Extraterrestrial will have an initial theatrical release in Brooklyn and Seattle, open a week later in North Hollywood and then play Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations in Texas in June.

Through Tugg, an individual can create personalized theatrical screenings by selecting the date, time and theater of his choice and then spreading the word to their friends and fellow film fans. Once enough people commit to attending, the event will be automatically confirmed and fans can host their own screening.” 

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Extraterrestrial premiered to warm reviews at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Its plot concerns “two strangers in Madrid [who] find their morning disrupted by a suspicious neighbor, an ex-boyfriend and a mysterious flying saucer.”

According to the review site - which describes the movie as a “very funny lark of a science fiction film” - Extraterrestrial has “absolutely no aliens in it at all,” but instead concerns itself with “how humans react in dire situations. How they treat each other, themselves. The film asks a lot of questions, like what would you do if you were locked in an apartment with the woman you loved and her boyfriend? If you were threatened by one of her neighbors who knows secrets about you.”

Extraterrestrial will arrive on DVD this summer through Entertainment One.

View the trailer here...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Face-to-face with ‘Battleship’ aliens

Silver Screen Saucers

New clip shows alien unmasking (SPOILER!)

Battleship arrives in US cinemas May 18.


This is a bit late, mainly because I'm on vacation in Alexandria, VA this week and next.  I'll put up a few pics from earlier last week.  We had quite a bit going on with boat operator certification training and first responder training for the airport staff.  We had some really good instructors out to help.  I only did first aid training since I am still qualified as a Wilderness First Responder.  I didn't do the boat training either since I'm still good with that too.  We didn't have a tour group this week after Joe Van Os left with his group.  He has been here with his groups for 3 weeks.  His groups concentrate on photography, so his groups always have really great photos.
I won't do a blog this coming week, and probably not the next weekend either, since I won't be getting back to Midway until that Monday.

I went to Eastern Island to check the duck seeps and the boat operating course students came to pick me up.

 One project that the volunteers worked on was building nest boxes for Bulwer's petrels and Tristram's Storm petrels to nest in.  This is Peter, RJ, and Jennifer.

 The Red-footed boobies are nesting on Eastern Island.

 There are only a few White tern chicks around, but a lot of eggs that will be hatching soon.

 The chicks are getting bigger.  Here are a few over by the gun on Eastern Island.

I got to see one cool thing on vacation so far.  The space shuttle Discovery is on its way to the Smithsonian Museum for permanent display.  I got this shot as it flew over the Potomac River.  I was trying to get a photo of it flying over the monuments at the Mall, but I didn't have a good angle on it, or it was too far away when it flew over them.

'Ender's Game' ET invasion movie: first photo

Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Ender's Game producer Roberto Orci (whose credits include alien/UFO movies Transformers 1 & 2 and Cowboys and Aliens) has updated the film's Production Tumblrwith a teaser photo of Ender Wiggin (played Asa Butterfield of Hugofame) and his monitor implant.

Orci says...

Though Ender
s world is one worth saving, it sometimes comes with a price. The novel was amazingly prescient about a great many things: remote controlled drone wars, the internet, the influence of blogging, hand held computing tablets like the I-Pad, and of course, electronic surveillance implants. Implanted tracking and monitoring chips are no longer a science fiction concept. They exist now. And one day, they may be as advanced as the monitor implanted into Ender, which allows Colonel Graff to see through his eyes and know: HE’S THE ONE.

Ender’s Game is a big screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s classic – and, until now, “unfilmable” – sci-fi novel about a future Earth under threat of invasion by a race of insectoid aliens known as 'Formics'. Set seventy years after an epic human/alien war, the story follows the character of Ender Wiggin, a young boy whose tactical genius offers hope for humanity in the face of a new Formic invasion.

Currently filming under the direction of Gavin Hood for a November 1, 2013 release, Ender’s Game stars Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and Viola Davis.


'Cowboys and Aliens' writer alleges UFO cover-up

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

UFO movie news round-up (18 April, 2012)

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers 


Voltage Pictures has secured the rights to a sci-fi project called Alter, reports. No director or stars are yet attached. The script has been written by newcomers John and Thomas Sonntag.

According to ComingSoon:

“The plot for the movie is said to deal with a crew of scientists monitoring a black hole. Their research takes a terrifying turn when they receive a transmission from what appears to be the near future, showing a deadly attack from an alien force and their own deaths at the hands of the extraterrestrials.”

Silver Screen Saucers will report more details on this movie as they emerge.

Guardians of the Galaxy

In an interview with Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige about Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers movie, CraveOnlinelearned that Marvel’s big screen adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy – which is currently in the early stages of development – will be about the modern version of the team, as opposed to the old version.

When asked to confirm that the movie would focus on the new team, Feige said: "Yeah. It's more Star-Lord and Drax and Gamora, and less Vance Astro and that team."

Originally created in 1969 and resurrected in 2008, Guardians of the Galaxy begins as a far-future story revolving around a group of alien beings – each the last of their kind – who eventually travel back in time to protect the earth from alien invasion.

Guardians of the Galaxy is unlikely to hit cinemas before 2014.

Avatar sequels delayed

Empirereports that James Cameron’s two Avatar sequels have been delayed. In a recent interview with the UK movie magazine, Avatar producer Jon Landau said of the first sequel: "We're not naming dates, but I think 2014 will be a tough date for us to make. It's about getting it right," pointing out that “movies make release dates; release dates don't make movies."

Based on Landau’s comments, Empire says “it’s safe to say that we won't be heading back to Pandora until 2015 at the earliest, with the third instalment likely in 2016 or 2017."


The Guardian’s Paul MacInnes was one of several European journalists invited to London's Leicester Square last week to watch approximately five minutes of new material from Ridley Scott’s upcoming Alien prequel, Prometheus.

MacInnes notes that the footage included “what may be the entirety of the opening scene in which archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her lover and colleague Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) uncover a pictogram that Shaw sees as confirmation that aliens visited Earth in pre-history and invited humans back to theirs.”

“Next,” continues MacInnes, “we were whisked straight off into space and the exploratory vehicle Prometheus. We are introduced to the crew, from push-up loving suit Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) to disgruntled staffer Fifield (Sean Harris). There's an on-ship briefing, a bit of truculent banter and the judicious use of technology which, it's fair to say, is far more sophisticated than that in the Nostromo, despite it taking to the skies decades later (in Alien time). From there the descent begins to planet LV223 and, one suspects, the trouble starts.”

MacInnes goes on to say that he learned five distinct things about Prometheus. To find out what those things are, check out The Guardian’s article.

Last week, Empire’s Chris Hewitt hosted a Prometheus Q&A in London with Ridley Scott, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron. You can read the Q&A (which includes minor spoilers) here.

Meanwhile, Twentieth Century Fox’s viral campaign for Prometheuscontinues to evolve with a new ad for "David," the latest generation android from the Weyland Corporation played by Michael Fassbender...

Will you be ordering a “David”?

Finally on the subject of Prometheus, have a ganders at these new pics from the movie, which come via

Monday, April 16, 2012

Surviving alien contact... Hollywood-style

Silver Screen Saucers

Empire Online is currently featuring a 10 Step Guide To Surviving First Contact With Alien Races. The site provides a Hollywood list of dos, don’ts, and things to watch out for in the not-unlikely event that we Earthlings will one day all come face-to-face with other residents of our galactic neighbourhood.

Check out the feature, here.

Image credit: Empire

Sunday, April 15, 2012

'Battleship' makes critics seasick

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Naval recruitment campaign, Battleship, is now in cinemas. Judging by its reviews, though, few film critics will be enlisting to sail the high seas any time soon. The alien invasion movie – produced with the full co-operation of the US Navy – currently scores just 46% at, with comments such as:

The latest, loudest and stupidest example of the hyper-jingoistic, military-fetishising, intellect-lowering alien invasion movie.” Moviedex

“Compared to this, Independence Day was subtle and sensitive. Hell, even last year’s Battle: Los Angeles was smarter... Battleship is trash.” Daily Mail

“If you found Transformers just a touch too subtle, this is the film for you.” The Guardian

“It's a preposterously lunkheaded salute to American naval machismo. It's a Frankenstein's monster of a digital action spectacle, bolted together from ill-fitting parts of other movies. And it's arguably the noisiest film ever made.” Daily Telegraph  

“Impressive visual effects and Berg's epic set pieces fight against an armada of cinematic clich├ęs and some truly awful dialogue.” Hollywood Reporter  

So lunkheaded - both in concept and execution - that it’s hard not to suspect director Peter Berg of playing a prank.” Empire

Check back here next week for my Silver Screen Saucers UFOlogical review of Battleship.