Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Masterminds, we're are so excited that the multi-platform epic Dinosaurs vs. Aliens is charging full steam ahead, and that it is already nerdgasm-inducingly brilliant. Created by dream-team Barry Sonnenfeld (director of the Men In Black series) and Grant Morrison (graphic-novel-hero-extraordinaire), this tale of cosmic proportions has been released as a book, a motion comic, and is now in the works as a film trilogy.
At last, the two most epic of creatures—one separated from humanity by massive amounts of time and the other by massive amounts of space—will face off in a mutual fight for survival. It is as if the heavens have opened to rain down geek manna upon us!
Though the title of this project recalls recent blockbusters such as Cowboys & Aliens or Alien vs. Predator, Morrison and Sonnenfeld's inter-species battle is already shaping up to be much more innovative and thoughtful than its moniker might suggest. Morrison has taken great pains to develop complex character dynamics amongst the dinosaur population, entirely through their body language. He told Wired magazine that "every dinosaur scene had to be constructed like a silent movie to ensure that “characters” of the various dinosaur heroes would come through clearly. So although the dinosaurs don’t talk, they’re fairly expressive physically and it was obvious that audiences would immediately root for the reptiles as the underdogs."
But the aliens are also not your standard, heartless invaders. Nothing less than the survival of their species, earned through eons of hardships and sacrifice, is at stake. They act out of desperation rather than trivial colonialism. Again, Morrison commented that "they’re not just rapacious monsters from another world, as they might have been in a less ambitious movie. These aliens are conflicted, brave, frightened, hopeful and poised on the edge of extinction themselves."
The intention, he says, is to constantly play with the audience's sense of allegiance. Along those lines, both Sonnenfeld and Morrison compare the film to a cross between Jurassic Park and Apocalypse Now, which seems to us to be exactly the kind of mashup Hollywood could use.
And just as the characters aren't what you'd expect, neither are the project's themes. Morrison and Sonnenfeld have sidestepped the problem of relating to two very non-human tribes by making the story pointedly relatable to the current zeitgeist. "Themes of apocalypse are very potent right now, as we live through a time of mass extinctions brought about by human intervention," says Morrison. "Dinosaurs dominated the planet for 165 million years. Human civilizations has been around for 6,000 years and we’re already well on the way to rendering the planet uninhabitable for ourselves and other species. So it’s definitely worth using our entertainment media to talk about how that feels. Both dinosaurs and aliens can be seen as representatives of where we are as people right now."
If you haven't yet had a chance to check out Episode 1 of the motion comic series, we highly recommend it. Though it's honestly more of a trailer than a full episode, the monologue is absorbing and the artwork is intricate. There are also interviews with Morrison and Sonnenfeld available on the sidebar, if you're in the mood to hear Grant Morrison's awesome Scottish brogue (which really, when are you not?).
And of course, darling Masterminds, the most important question still remains:
What side are you on, dinosaurs or aliens?