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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

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Ratings
Ratings are based on a four star system.
One star means that the commercials are more entertaining than the program.
Two stars watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars is good solid entertainment.
Four stars means you never dreamed television could be this good.

Each year about this time, I predict the best SF or fantasy movies of the year, based entirely on the reputation of the writers. I leave horror to those who like horror movies.

Last year, I picked V for Vendetta, Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Passion of the Clerks, and maybe Sin City 2. Sin City 2 never got made. Aside from that, how did I do? I liked Superman Returns less than I expected, X-Men: The Last Stand more. I failed to predict the success of Monster House (robbed of an Oscar by a stupid penguin flick), A Scanner Darkly, Children of Men, and Pan's Labyrinth. Readers of the SF Site Forum picked V for Vendetta best film of the year.

Looking forward to 2007, I have already seen Ghost Rider, TMNT, and The Last Mimzy, but none of those are apt to make many "best of the year" lists.

April:
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, by Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis.
I don't know about the movie, but there is a great review by technoklepto on IMDB. (Under "User Comments" click on "more" and scroll down.)

Next, by Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh, and Paul Bernbaum, based on The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick.
Goldman worked on Total Recall and Big Trouble in Little China; Hensleigh on The Saint and Armageddon, Bernbaum on Halloweentown and Hollywoodland. Sounds like too many second rate writers will spoil the plot.

Spider Man 3
 
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
 
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
 
28 Weeks Later
 
Shrek the Third
 
Paprika
 
May:
Spider Man 3, by Sam Rami, Ivan Rami, and Alvin Sargent.
Sam Rami wrote Darkman and Evil Dead. Ivan Rami's most noteworthy credit is that he appeared (as Alan Smithee, Jr.) in Nude Bowling Party, but we won't hold that against him. Alvin Sargent is a professional writer of long standing. He wrote scripts for TV's Ben Casey and for the Oscar-winning Ordinary People and the superb Julia.

28 Weeks Later, by Rowan Joffe, Juan Carolos, and Fresnadillo Jesus Almo.
Danny Boyle, auteur of 28 Days Later, has handed off the directing chores, but this just might be as edgy as the original.

Paprika, by Satoshi Kon and Seishi Minakami, from the novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui.
For those of you who liked Tokyo Godfathers and all fans of anime.

Shrek the Third, by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman.
Price and Seaman wrote Who Framed Roger Rabbit. On the other hand, they also wrote The Grinch, one of the very worst fantasy movies of all time. Neither has ever worked on Shrek before.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, by Ted Elliot and Terry Rosso.
Elliot and Rosso did create Shrek, as well as the two previous Pirates films, and the excellent The Mask of Zorro.

June
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, story by Mark Frost, based on comic books by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Screenplay by Don Payne.
The previews look great, and Mark Frost did a good job on the first FF film, but that screenplay credit has me worried. Payne is best known for My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

Day Watch, by Timur Bekmambetov and Alexander Lukyanenko from the novel by Valdimir Vasiliev.
For those of you who liked Night Watch, and all fans of Russian vampire films.

The Martian Child, by Seth Bass and Jonathan Tollins, based on a Hugo winning story by David Gerrold.
Bass and Tollins wrote a TV movie Twilight of the Gods which I have never seen. It is not clear if this film is SF. (The only SF in the story was a certain notorious prediction at the end.)

July
Transformers, by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and John Rogers.
Orci and Kurtzman are responsible for such mediocre films as The Legend of Zorro and The Island. They are working on the big new Star Trek film. Rogers wrote Catwoman.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by Michael Goldenberg, based on the novel by J. K. Rowling.
Goldenberg has never worked on a Harry Potter film before. His credits include Peter Pan and Contact. He is currently working on Where the Wild Things Are.

Stardust, by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, from the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess (not credited).
Goldman has written a lot of television. This is Vaughn's first writing credit.

August
The Invasion, by Dave Kajganich, based on the novel Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney.
New writer. English professor. Reportedly the Wachowski brothers were brought in as script doctors. Do we really need another remake?

September
The Dark is Rising, by John Hodge, based on the novel by Susan Cooper.
Hodge wrote Trainspotting and The Beach. Hope for something strange.

October
30 Days of Night, by Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie, and Brian Nelson, based on a comic book by Niles.
Beattie worked on the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and Bra Boy. Nelson wrote several scripts for Earth: Final Conflict.

November
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, by Zach Helm.
Helm wrote Stranger than Fiction, which I liked quite a bit. This is the first film he has directed.

Beowulf, by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, based on the Old English epic.
Gaiman is a great writer, but his screenplays have not been as good as his comic books. Avary has done some interesting work, notably contributing stories for Pulp Fiction. I have a good feeling about this one, directed by Robert Zemeckis, using the same motion capture technique as The Polar Express.

December
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, by Chris Weitz, based on the novel by Philip Pullman.
Weitz wrote About a Boy, Nutty Professor II, and Antz. The buzz is that they have taken out anything that might offend Christians. Are you a fan of the book? Remember what they did to Eragon.

I Am Legend, story by Akiva Goldsman, from a novel by Richard Matheson, screenplay by Mark Protosevich.
Protosevich wrote The Cell and Poseidon. Goldsman wrote Batman and Robin, Lost in Space, A Beautiful Mind, and The Da Vinci Code. Do we really need another remake?

Alien vs. Predator 2, by Shane Salemo.
Shane Salemo also gave us Armageddon and the remake of Shaft.

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, by story by Terry George and screenplay by Robert Nelson Jacobs, from a book by Dick King-Smith.
Terry George wrote Hotel Rwanda. Jacobs wrote Chocolat.

The envelope, please: I predict -- the best SF or fantasy films of 2007 will be Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Beowulf, and The Water Horse. Runners up: Fantastic Four, Harry Potter, and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

And Neil Gaiman's Coraline has been pushed back yet again, to 2008.

Copyright © 2007 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.


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