Space Sweepers is an action-packed science-fiction adventure that combines elements from other beloved spacefaring franchises, such as Star Wars, Firefly and Guardians of the Galaxy.
In the not too distant future, Earth is dying, humanity under the influence of an evil mastermind and UTS company CEO (never a good idea to let big tech get too much power!) James Sullivan has moved to Mars. The tiny percentage of people who have been allowed to join him live in a new Eden. The rest are left to rot and live in squalor and permanent debt on Earth or in non-citizen space towns.
Enter the motley crew of the salvage ship Victory, each with their own pasts and reasons to hate UTS, and one special little girl who holds the key to literal salvation.
The year is 2039. Princess Catharina-Amalia, heir to the Dutch throne, has married Prince George of Wales, nine years her junior, creating a personal union between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Two ambitious prime ministers propose to go further: unifying the kingdoms on the North Sea, thus making it possible for Britain to reenter the European Union by the backdoor.
It may seem far-fetched, but it almost happened before — thrice.
Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 movie Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swington, didn’t exactly leave the door open for a sequel. Instead, courtesy of TNT, and streaming on Netflix internationally, we get a reboot with Daveed Diggs, of Hamilton fame, and Jennifer Connelly, who recently starred in the movie adaptation of Alita: Battle Angel (our review here), in the lead roles.
The series, which consists of ten episodes — a Season 2 is underway — follows the basic premise of the long-running French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, on which it and Bong’s movie are based: The world has become a frozen wasteland as a result of catastrophic climate change. Humanity survives aboard the 1,001 cars of Snowpiercer, a huge train built by the eccentric billionaire known as Wilford. (See Big Trains in the Snow.)
It’s 2045. War is the main industry and cryptocurrencies are invalid, leading to even more conflict and civil unrest.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 doesn’t start with a bang. It takes several episodes before the plot gains momentum and you’ve seen enough of the world, and the people in it, to really get into it. But it’s worth sticking with it.
Unlike such dystopias as Mad Max, the post-apocalyptic world of SAC_2045 is familiar to ours. It’s about real people. The series shows the impact of a large economical crisis and currency devaluation on average people.
The impact of the United States as a global power on other countries is another nice touch. It’s a bit of a cautionary tale, and this aspect of the anime is very well done.
What is less well done is the animation. I am not a fan of this style of cheap and basic-looking CGI at all, and I feel the anime deserves better.
In our tradition of keeping reviews spoiler-free, you won’t find anything about the plot of Altered Carbon‘s Season 2 here. But to summarize: the Netflix series, based on the book of the same title by Richard K. Morgan, is set in a cyberpunk future where those of means can literally live forever. They store their consciousness on “stacks” and jump from one body — real or synthetic — to the next, indefinitely, never experiencing real death.
The story centers on, Takashi Kovacs, “the last envoy”, what that means, and his place in a society he doesn’t quite fit into.
The cyberpunk adaptation of the beloved manga is definitely a step up from many other anime adaptations we’ve seen. With names such as Christopher Waltz and Jeniffer Connely, you know that at least the cast is strong and there to support the story.
You don’t have to be familiar with the setting of Alita, although you may be left with some questions if you aren’t. The entire history of the setting isn’t explained very well.
All we know is there’s a post-apocalyptic war and people are scrambling to survive in a mostly mechanical city. Cyborgs are common and some kind of evil villain lives in a splendid city in the sky.
It’s all a bit Hollywood-esque popcorn entertainment with, to be perfectly fair, a run-of-the-mill action/love story.
High Tech Low Life, the cyberpunk band from Okinawa, Japan, came as somewhat of a surprise to the European scene.
Not just a band, but an entire worldbuilding setting with their own characters and concept. Which is in itself nothing new, as many steampunk bands have done that. But their intent on doing better and saving the future is something done so well, I had to go and investigate.
So I sat down with the guys from High Tech Low Life to find out more about them and the terrible possible futures converging in 2069, which is, let’s face it, not that far away!
Which you can read right behind the piece about their music and concerts I witnessed. Stick with it til the very end, because there is a little giveaway!