Sci-Fi

Gillian Anderson and her robots win hearts at Comic Con

Robot Overlords star Gillian Anderson and director Jon Wright at MCM London Comic Con 2015.

Robot Overlords star Gillian Anderson and director Jon Wright at MCM London Comic Con 2015.

If there is anything to take away from the first day of MCM Comic Con in London, it’s that Gillian Anderson is an absolute gem and a real treasure to the world.

The actress was at the con to promote her new movie Robot Overlords with director Jon Wright (Grabbers). The two discussed the importance of British film – especially in the niche genres like science fiction. The movie’s goal is to set a precedent. It follows a family that live in a world Earth has been conquered by robots from a distant galaxy. The survivors are confined to their houses because they risk incineration by robot sentries if they venture outside. Anderson plays a mother of children in a fictional seaside town in Britain. Sir Ben Kingsley also stars as the movie’s protagonist, of course.

The independent film was made on an estimated budget of $21 million, a minuscule amount compared to big budget American robot films like 2007’s Transformers, which was made for $150 million. It’s a David and Golaith story for modern times, but it seems as though the little guy has lost this battle. Robot Overlords has won neither critical acclaim or many seats in the cinema. Despite this, the cast and crew remain dedicate and passionate about the project. Their love has paid off, as Wright announced at the panel that the show would indeed have a sequel – in the form of a television show.

While the movie was meant to be the focus of the hour-long panel, things quickly moved on to being all about Anderson. Like many great stars, she completely commanded the attention of the entire room. She offered a great sense of one part great intelligence and three parts sass. She shared strange teenage dreams (she was homeless in London, eating maggots out of the River Thames), how she struggles with looking stage left (she always looks like a scientist) and her beliefs, or lack thereof, of aliens. But when asked about the X-Files, Anderson was tight-lipped.

“There will be Mulder and Scully. And probably aliens,” the actress joked.

While the details were scarce, the fans were still fawning over their idol. While not many may have been Robot Overlords, an initial success, it could have been the small knowing audience. Perhaps the sparkling appearance from Anderson may create a spike in interest. If not for her, hopefully for the future of British independent film.

Robot Overlords: From Script to Screen will be showing at the Old Royal Naval College on May 24th as a part of the Greenwich Book Festival. The movie starts at 2.30 pm. Tickets are £6 at the door or can be bought  online here.

Modern Sci-Fi Films FAQ review: A ‘stellar bit of intergalactic fun

Modern Sci-Fi Films FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About  Time Travel, Alien, Robot, and Out-of-this-World Movies Since 1970 by Tom DeMichael

There are few fans like those of science fiction. It’s a world that best explains human kinds curiosity of the world unknown and beyond – they are flims about humanity. That love and fascination is well-collected in Tom DeMichael’s new book Modern Sci-Fi Films FAQ.

DeMichael has such a playful vocabulary that evokes the love of a true-fan. The words are excited and an absolute pleasure to digest, even if there is a lot of content involved. While seemingly has a simple FAQ, the book looks deeper at a passion shared by all fans – a passion for the future and the dissection of mankind and our minds. These films take us places we’ve never been all while being enjoyable fun. That being said, the book still follows a easy-to-follow structure despite not being the straight-forward question and answer.

FAQ is filled with fascinating stories of the those who helped construct modern cinema. DeMichael is thorough with his inclusion, throwing in everything from Philip K Dick to , In fact, some of the most fascinating stories aren’t necessarily about the films but the writers themselves. There is a reason science fiction is so compelling, some writers make it as believable as possible due to their impressive scientific backgrounds. Writers like Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) have multiple degrees that help put the ‘science’ in science fiction.

There is more to be shared than just ‘fun facts’ about movies. Is the information still fun? Sure is. But DeMichael helps paint a painting, if an introductory one, of modern sci fi. All the bits of background info like actors and synopses are given (just in case)  to fill in the mind for those who haven’t seen the film, which is very helpful considering the large amount of movies mentioned. There are a lot and divided into easy categories like time travel and space invaders. Included are brief insights to modern classics like Alien and Back to the Future, but attention is also given to more off-the-wall films like They Live. No hint of snobbery included.

This won’t be the book for the die-hard know-it-alls, but there’s always that chance of learning something new, and it’s quite an entertaining browse. FAQ is filled with nifty bits that surprise and entertain, and most of all – has the ability to perk interest in a universe well worth exploring.