Mickey Rourke Is Starring in a Dystopian Movie About Figure-Skating Robots

Friday, 03 November 2017 - 8:36PM
Friday, 03 November 2017 - 8:36PM
Mickey Rourke Is Starring in a Dystopian Movie About Figure-Skating Robots
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It seems that a recent trend of original science fiction movies (not all of which were successful ones) is set to continue into next year.

The Hollywood Reporter brings word of Vestige, a brand new science fiction movie starring Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler, Sin City, Iron Man 2), Analeigh Tipton, and Anne Heche. Billed as "Ex Machina meets Black Swan and Whiplash," the movie envisions a dystopian future in which humans and androids face off in sporting competitions.

Tipton will play a young, aspiring figure skater who, along with backhanded "help" from her overbearing mother (Heche) and her surly coach (Rourke) must fight for a chance to compete against robots in the Winter Olympics.

It's not the type of story that normally gets a science fiction twist - the idea of combining sports and a dystopian sci-fi setting isn't without precedent (see The Hunger Games, or perhaps more fittingly Real Steel with its robot boxing), but this certainly is a mixture of ideas that aren't regularly thrown together.

This could mean a big risk for project lead Stephon Stewart. In appealing to several different types of moviegoers, this film could end up having broad appeal, or could fall flat as it fails to land with any one potential audience.

That said, there's a certain sense of satisfaction and excitement in knowing that movie studios are getting more eager to greenlight sci-fi movies that fall outside the standard Hollywood action formula. For example, we're also getting a Tom Hanks movie about a robot and a pet dog, which similarly will combine high concept speculative fiction with a quiet, somber, character-rich narrative that doesn't focus on explosions and fistfights.

As time goes by, we'll likely see a lot more of these kinds of films. This comes partly from the fact that advanced AI is no longer a dim, distant concept. Given time, the events of Vestige may well become regular occurrences, as society has to adapt to the presence of advanced computer constructs that can easily outperform humans in the vast majority of roles.

It's also likely that this current boom in sci-fi stories that aren't designed as action blockbusters comes from the fact that special effects technology has become cheaper and more manageable on a small budget. Essentially, as our ability to design and create visual representations of futuristic worlds becomes more common, it's easier for an arthouse movie to embrace more complex sci-fi concepts.

And over the past year and a half, science fiction fans have been blessed with an unusual abundance of original science fiction movies. While Passengers with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence is one of the more high profile releases, there have been several innovative high-concept sci-fi movies hitting theaters which, as something of a rarity in modern Hollywood, aren't adaptations of remakes of existing properties - and that's not even counting all the stuff Neill Blomkamp has thrown together for online platforms.
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