To a whole generation of filmgoers, Tom Cruise will always be Maverick, the hotshot fighter pilot from Top Gun. Since that classic movie, Ol’ Shorty McCouch-Jumper hasn’t done much on-screen flying, well, unless you count flying off the handle, but he’ll soon be back in the cockpit again for Yukikaze.
And true to his recent science fiction binge, he’ll be dogfighting it out with aliens. As a fairy. Or something. It’s all based on a Japanese novel okay, so things are kind of weird.
Cruise was actually attached to star in a possible adaptation of Chohei Kambayashi’s Yukikaze novels (which was already turned into a 5-part anime mini-series back in 2002) for Warner Bros back in April already, but other than just snapping up the rights there was no other movement on it.
Now though, it’s officially in development as Variety reports that WB have brought Wrath of the Titans scribe Dan Mazeau onboard to adapt a screenplay from the Japanese sci-fi epic. And when I say “adapt”, I really mean change because there is just no way that some of the more absurd names and terminologies in this tale will be making it into a Hollywood blockbuster intact.
The film is set in the very near future where Earth is attacked by bi0-mechanical hive-minded aliens called JAM, after these JAM come a-knocking via an interdimensional wormhole opened above Antarctica. Instead of the usual “woe is us, we’re subjugated by alien overlords again” schtick, Earth actually puts up quite the counter-offensive, eventually managing to send a squadron of fighter pilots back through the wormhole to the JAM’s home planet, which is dubbed Fairy. This squadron, whose mission it is to take the fight back to the JAM by establishing a foothold on their homeworld, is known as the Fairy Air Force.
And it’s around this point where all the audience burst into uncontrollable laughter. So yeah, expect some changes, the title probably being the first casualty.
Whatever it ends up being named, this marks the third big science-fiction project that Cruise has taken on recently, first with Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion, which may have divided critics but cleaned up at the box office, and he’ll soon be seen doing his sci-fi Groundhog Day impersonation in Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow, which is also based on a Japanese sci-fi saga.
Mazeau’s name has been attached to adaptations of DC’s The Flash, cult-favourite cartoon Johnny Quest and popular manga/anime Bleach, but thus far the only completed work we can judge him from is Jonathan Liebesmann’s Wrath of The Titans. Now Wrath‘s script was actually not too bad, certainly a huge improvement on its nerfed predecessor, but the film overall was let down by lazy directing and an over-reliance on CGI flotsam and jetsam. It will be interesting to see what Mazeau can cook up this time playing with a completely different set of toys, and hopefully paired with a more capable helmer.
To get a feel for what this could look like, here’s one of the anime’s cooler dogfights, as well the official synopsis for the tale.
More than thirty years ago, a hyper-dimensional passageway suddenly appeared over the continent of Antarctica. Fighters from the mysterious alien force known as the JAM poured through the passage, the first wave an attempted terrestrial invasion. Their ferocity was unquestionable, their aim unknown. Humanity, united by a common enemy, managed to repel the invaders, chasing them back through the passageway to the strange planet nicknamed “Fairy.”
The task of finishing the battle was given to the newly formed FAF, a combat force created to go to Fairy and eliminate the JAM bases once and for all. Now, in the midst of a war with no end in sight, Second Lieutenant Rei Fukai carries out his missions in the skies over Fairy. Attached to Tactical Combat and Surveillance Unit 3 of the Special Air Force, his duty is to gather information on the enemy and bring it back to base—no matter the human cost. His only constant companion in this lonely task is his fighter plane, the sentient FFR-31 Super Sylph, call sign: Yukikaze.
Last Updated: July 25, 2013