March 26, 2015
In 1988, 20th Century Fox released an ambitious sci-fi film called Alien Nation. It was produced by Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) and written by Rockne S. O'Bannon (Farscape). Nearly 30 years later, Fox has taken the first steps to producing a remake.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has hired two writers to pen the script for the new film: Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, who are best known for working on the first Iron Man. The original film starred James Caan and Mandy Patinkin and centered on a futuristic society where a race of aliens live alongside humans. The groups are separate but definitely not equal. The aliens, called Newcomers, are mostly segregated and don't have the same rights as people. Patinkin portrayed an alien police officer, whose partnered with Caan on the force.
Alien Nation wasn't a massive hit, but it made enough money to warrant a TV spinoff and several made-for-TV movies. Fox is hoping the remake will spawn a new franchise that could become just as successful as its Planet of the Apes series. The first film will be an origin story that explains how and why the aliens arrived.
I have to be honest, never really did see much of the original Alien Nation so I cannot give any opinion about that TV series and the movies. And let's be honest, FOX is a sci-fi killer (with the exception of The X-Files and Fringe), so I am hesitant to be enthusiastic.
May 14, 2014
Here we go again. In 1988 Rockne O'Bannon and Graham Baker unleashed an unexpected movie that combined alien sci-fi with the buddy-cop genre. The result was the cult hit Alien Nation. And while the movie itself wasn't exactly a worldwide hit at the time, it spawned a TV series. Every so often, someone tries to bring it back again.
It looks like Fox may finally bring the Newcomers back for real this time, though. If you recall, back in 2009, there was some talk that Syfy would be rebooting the TV series version. This attempt, which will be a remake movie, probably stands a better chance.
It's hard not to be of two minds on this topic. On the one hand, Alien Nation has, at its heart, a good concept that was never quite executed perfectly. Considering all the scientific evidence that we've wrecked the planet, that we're running low on vital and increasingly limited resources, that we're in a constant state of war, and, to top it all off, that Beyonce and Solange are deleting pictures of each other from Instagram, it's easy to see how enslaved aliens suddenly turning up could complicate matters. So, in that way, the story of a brand-new population trying to assimilate into our already-endangered social infrastructure has a lot of appeal and potential.
Then again, it's yet another remake. District 9 dealt with similar concepts and was a brand-new property. It might be better to just use some of Alien Nation's concepts, but stop there.