Random Nerdery is a regular Opus feature covering the latest nerdiness from the worlds of film, TV, literature, comic books, video games, technology, web development, and more.
One of my foundational childhood memories is of the time my dad took me out of school early to go see Top Gun. As a kid, I was obsessed with military jets, and even imagined myself becoming a fighter pilot when I grew up, so Top Gun was like my dream movie, and it left a huge impression on my childhood psyche. (Sidenote: It’s weird to think that my oldest is now the same age that I was when I first saw Top Gun.)
News and rumors of a sequel have been bouncing around for years, though the possibility of a sequel seemed remote after the original film’s director, Tony Scott, committed suicide in 2012. But Maverick himself, Tom Cruise, recently tweeted that filming had begun, with the Department of Defense and U.S. Navy confirming the film’s production.
The film is being directed by Joseph Kosinski, who previously directed Tron: Legacy and Oblivion (which also starred Cruise). No official plot details have been revealed, yet, though. Older announcements indicated that the film would deal with drone warfare while more recent announcements claim that it’ll revolve around Maverick (now a flight instructor himself) knocking heads with a young hotshot pilot who just so happens to be Goose’s son.
As I’ve written elsewhere, Brad Bird’s The Incredibles is arguably my favorite Pixar film thanks to its colorful characters and a wonderfully clever blend of superhero action, family drama, and social commentary. Suffice to say, I’ve been looking forward to Incredibles 2 ever since I first saw Mr. Incredible et al. in action and June 15 (when the sequel arrives in theatres) can’t get here soon enough.
But some lucky folks have already seen the film, and the inital buzz? Basically, Incredibles 2 is well worth the wait, and maybe even the best Pixar sequel since Toy Story 3. CBR has compiled a number of glowing reactions: “Will go down as one of the best titles of the summer,” “improves on practically everything from the original,” “worth every second of the 14 year wait,” and so on.
Related: To say that fans are excited about the film would be an understatement. Ticket presales have set a new record for an animated film and some predict that Incredibles 2 will have the biggest opening weekend for an animated film ever.
I had doubts about the first LEGO Movie but I’m glad to say they were completely baseless. As it turns out, the movie was a clever in the best possible ways, wildly inventive and entertaining, and even a wee bit theological in a delightful twist. That there’d be a sequel for such a film was never in question. What was in question, though, was whether a sequel could match the original’s creativity. The recently released first trailer for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part gives us some idea.
It’s 5 years after the “horrific events of Taco Tuesday” and Bricksburg has been reduced to a post-apocalyptic wasteland à la Mad Max: Fury Road — though Emmet (Chris Pratt) is still as guileless, upbeat, and seemingly clueless as ever. But will his chipper, can-do attitude survive a DUPLO invasion from outer space, or when all of his friends (Lucy, Unikitty, Metal Beard, etc.) are abducted?
The trailer is filled with plenty of chuckle-inducing moments, from Emmet’s reaction to the Beastie Boys to Lucy being asked why a hapless male is the leader even though she’s done all the butt-kicking. (A similarly “woke” joke is in the new Wreck-It Ralph 2 trailer.) I am curious, though, if the sequel will also explore the metaphysical angle that helped the original subvert the usual “Chosen One” clichés and made it so much more than it seemed. I have no doubt that The LEGO Movie 2 will be entertaining, is that all it’ll be?
If you’re looking for something a bit… edgier… than charming, family-friendly animation, then Upgrade might be up your alley. Written and directed by Leigh Whannell, Upgrade is set in the not-too-distant future where technology usage is even more ubiquitous than it is today.
Grey Trace is a technophobe who avoids technology as much as possible, until an accident robs him of both his wife and leaves him a quadriplegic. But when a mysterious benefactor gives him a new lease on life in the form of a computer chip that helps him regain control over his body, Grey seeks revenge on those who ruined his life. But who or what is really in charge of his actions?
The trailer — it’s red band for a reason, so it’s definitely NSFW — is filled with crazy action sequences as the computer chip (named STEM) imbues Grey with powerful abilities and reflexes. But this recent interview makes it clear that Whannell is looking to do something more than a simple cyborg revenge action film (as cool as that might be).