Steven Spielberg still has his war drama War Horse in theaters, and next holiday season he’ll put out another piece of potential historical drama Oscar-bait with Lincoln - but after that, the acclaimed director is returning to that other genre he seems to do so well in, with the sci-fi flick Robopocalypse, which was written by Cloverfield scribe Drew Goddard, and is based on a book by Daniel H. Wilson.
In recent months Spielberg has been somewhat vocal about his intentions for Robopocalypse, but today we get some concise words about when it will take place, and what kind of narrative and/or thematic focus the film will have.
Daniel H. Wilson (a Ph.D. student in robotics as well as an author) is known for his science-fact-meets-science-fiction books How to Survive a Robot Uprising and, of course, Robopocalypse. His work tends to focus on the real…er, mechanics of artificial intelligence and the very real dangers that come with it. Spielberg tells Time Out London that his film adaptation will follow a similar narrative/thematic thread:
‘It’s a movie about a global war between man and machine. I had a great time creating the future on “Minority Report”, and it’s a future that is coming true faster than any of us thought it would. “Robopocalypse” takes place in 15 or 20 years, so it’ll be another future we can relate to. It’s about the consequences of creating technologies which make our lives easier, and what happens when that technology becomes smarter than we are. It’s not the newest theme, it’s been done throughout science fiction, but it’s a theme that becomes more relevant every year.’
It’s good to hear that Spielberg recognizes the fact that the idea of A.I. run-amok is a subject that has indeed been done-to-death in sci-fi films (and literature). Movies like Eagle Eye, The Matrix, I, Robot and to much lesser extent Transformers are still fresh in this generation of moviegoers’ minds, with the older generation(s) having even more examples like 2001 or Terminator crowding the list. That Spielberg put out a film titled ‘A.I.’ only reinforces the cliched nature of the sub-genre.
But of course, as the director himself points out, the rapid evolution of technology makes the themes and allegories of such stories even more relevant than ever today. After all, it’s easier to imagine iPhone’s Siri going rogue and developing Skynet-style self-awareness than it is the archaic computers that were on the market when Stanley Kubrick thought up 2001‘s HAL 9000 back in late 1960s.
That is to say: It’s a pretty sure bet that Spielberg will have some pretty clever (and visually enticing) ways of ushering us into the Robopocalypse by the time the film hits theaters on July 3, 2013.