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by Rick Norwood

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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.

Every year about this time I give my pick of the upcoming sf and fantasy films, based on the writers. How did I do last year? My picks were:
  •  The Hunger Games
  •  The Avengers
  •  Men in Black III
  •  Prometheus
  •  Brave
  •  Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
  •  The Dark Knight Rises
  •  The Amazing Spider-man
  •  Skyfall
  •  Gravity
  •  The Hobbit

And I had high hopes for
  •  Dark Shadows
  •  Cloud Atlas

Of my picks, the one I liked best was The Avengers. The one I liked least was The Amazing Spider-man, and I was disappointed by The Dark Knight Rises. But, all in all, it was a remarkable year for fantasy films. The best film not on my list was Chronicle. One film on my list, Gravity, has been pushed back to October 2013. Of the two I had high hopes for, Dark Shadows was a big disappointment. Julia Hoffman giving Barnabus Collins a blow job is not my idea of Dark Shadows. I liked Cloud Atlas a lot.

Here is what is coming up in 2013. I only mention the films that look most promising. I've omitted, for example, Flying Saucers over Fetishland.

The Elegant Clockwork of the Universe by Malik Isasis. Time travel will not be impossible forever. Malik Isasis's previous film, New York Decalogue, was widely praised.

Hyperfutura Exploding Sun Oz the Great and Powerful Oblivion

Hyperfutura by James O'Brien, based on a poem by Eric Kopatz. Medical experiments on the unemployed. Eric Kopatz's previous film, Venice Bound, got mixed reviews.

Exploding Sun by Jeff Schechter. Jeff Schechter's previous film, Breakaway, was not well-received.

Oz the Great and Powerful by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire, from the books by L. Frank Baum. Kapner wrote The Whole Nine Yards, Lindsay-Abaire wrote Rise of the Guardians.

Oblivion by Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, and Michael Arndt, from the comic book by Joseph Kosinski and Arvid Nelson. This is the first film Joseph Kosinski has written. He directed TRON: Legacy. Karl Gajdusek wrote Trespass and the short-lived tv series Last Resort. Michael Arndt wrote Toy Story III and is working on Star Wars VII.

Iron Man 3 by Drew Pearce and Shane Black, from the comic book by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck, and Larry Leiber. Drew Pearce is a tv writer with no previous big-screen experience. Shane Black wrote the Lethal Weapon series. My favorite film of his is The Last Action Hero.

Star Trek Into Darkness by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof, based on the tv series created by Gene Roddenberry. Movies written by Orci and Kurtzman have been a mixed bag. They wrote the first Star Trek, but they also wrote Cowboys and Aliens. Damon Lindelof also worked on Cowboys and Aliens, but wrote Prometheus and was a major writer for the tv series Lost. I would say he is the heavy hitter of the three.

Iron Man 3 Star Trek Into Darkness Epic Man of Steel

Epic by Tom J. Astle, James V. Hart, William Joyce, and Daniel Shere. Tom Astle wrote Get Smart and one episode of Stargate SG-1. James Hart wrote Contact, Muppet Treasure Island, Dracula, and Hook. William Joyce wrote the book upon which Rise of the Guardians is based. Daniel Shere wrote George Lucas in Love.

Man of Steel by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, based on Superman, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Goyer and Nolan wrote The Dark Knight Rises.

After Earth by M. Night Shyamalan, Stephen Gaghan, Michael Soccio, and Gary Whitta. M. Night Shyamalan wrote The Sixth Sense, but he also wrote The Last Airbender. Stephen Gaghan wrote The Alamo and Rules of Engagement, Michael Soccio is a tv writer brought in to supply additional dialogue. Gary Whitta wrote The Book of Eli.

Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters, Inc. Oddly, no writer is listed, but Pixar is usually reliable. (Cars 2 was an exception.)

Pacific Rim by Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro. Aliens vs. robots. Travis Beacham wrote Clash of the Titans, Guillermo del Toro wrote Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, and is one of the writers on The Hobbit films.

After Earth Monsters University Pacific Rim The Wolverine

The Wolverine by Christopher McQuarrie, Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Mark Bomback, from comic books by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont. Len Wein created Wolverine but is not credited in the film. Christopher McQuarrie wrote Jack, the Giant Slayer, Jack Reacher, and The Usual Suspects. Scott Frank wrote Minority Report. Mark Bomback wrote the remakes of Total Recall and Race to Witch Mountain. James Mangold wrote Oliver and Company, the Disney cartoon.

Magik by Stephen Wallis and Dominique Swain. Stephen Wallis wrote Love, Guns, and Christmas. Dominique Swain acted in Nazis at the Center of the Earth.

Elysium by Neill Blomkamp. The rich live in space and the poor on a desolate Earth. Neill Blomkamp wrote District 9.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters by Scott Alexander, Marc Gugenheim, and Larry Karaszewski, from the novel by Rick Riordan. Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski wrote Ed Wood. Marc Gugenheim wrote Green Lantern and is working on The Flash. He also writes for the tv series Arrow.

Riddick by David Twohy from characters created by Jim Wheat and Ken Wheat. David Twohy wrote Pitch Black and Waterworld.

Ender's Game

Gravity by Alfonzo Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón, and Rodrigo Garcia. A mission to repair the Hubble space telescope goes wrong. Alfonzo Cuarón wrote Children of Men. Jonas Cuarón wrote Year of the Nail. Rodrigo Garcia wrote Mother and Child. (Originally announced for 2012.)

Singularity by Roland Joffé from a story by Ajey Jhankar. Roland Joffé wrote City of Joy. Ajey Jhankar wrote The Child.

Ender's Game by Gavin Hood, from the novel by Orson Scott Card. Gavin Hood wrote Tsotsi.

Thor: The Dark World by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely, from a story by Don Payne, based on comic books by Stan Lee, Larry Leiber, and Jack Kirby. Christopher Yost has written many comic books and superhero tv shows, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote Captain America and the three The Chronicles of Narnia films. Don Payne wrote the first Thor film and Fantastic 4: Rise of the Surfer.

Carson Napier by Mark Maine from the novel At the Earth's Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Mark Maine wrote Beach Bar: The Movie.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro, from the book by J. R. R. Tolkien. Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson won Oscars for The Return of the King. Guillermo del Toro wrote Pan's Labyrinth.

My picks, based entirely on the writers:
  •  Oz the Great and Powerful
  •  Iron Man 3
  •  Star Trek Into Darkness
  •  Epic
  •  Elysium
  •  Gravity
  •  Thor: The Dark World
  •  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Very mixed feelings:
  •  Oblivion
  •  Man of Steel
  •  The Wolverine
  •  Ender's Game

Copyright © 2012 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. Visit his web site at

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