Universal has bought Michael Bay’s new future dystopia project Little America. The movie is apparently set the near-future where a Trump-like president has bankrupted the country, China has called in its debts, and Americans are migrating to China looking for work. It’s also being described as “sci-fun.” I have some questions.
The story is about a former Marine—please, contain your shock that a Michael Bay movie has a military component to it—being hired by a Chinese billionaire to rescue his daughter. The daughter lives in an American ghetto, which I’m betting is the “Little America” of the title.
The Hollywood Reporter has a source describing Little America as “a ‘sci-fun’ story rather than ‘sci-fi.’” If that source isn’t someone in marketing, I will eat every hat I can find. Because that kind of bullshit only comes from ad people—ad people who haven’t actually read the script, I presume, because this movie sounds nightmare-ish on several levels.
Who the hell looks at “a future based on our own where everything has crumbled” and goes “Sounds like fun to me!”? Also, what does “sci-fun” even mean? Because “scifi” means “science fiction.” “Sci-fun” should therefore stand for “science fun,” which should be a Bill Nye show and not a fucking genre. The only reason someone would even bother to come up with this term is because they think scifi is somehow a dirty word.
Which may actually be the most baffling thing about this. Are we not past the notion that “science fiction” as a moniker dooms a film? Maybe, maybe if you were looking for a bunch of awards you’d avoid a genre label. But who involved in this thinks they’ll get any award that isn’t a Razzie? It’s a Michael Bay film. Even if it transcends the bounds of all his past work, he’s not exactly known for making Oscar bait. Why not just call it science fiction?
And, oh god, who the hell buys a dystopian movie from Michael Bay? The last time he did it, in 2005, he made The Island, his lowest-grossing film ever (domestically). This time, he’s traded clones for American-Chinese relations and Trump. Do we want to see Michael Bay’s attempt to world-build a future based on Donald Trump’s presidency? Do we? Because when I think Michael Bay, I do not think subtlety.
At least this is a fictional future world, so his ham-handed devotion to America-fuck-yeah-edness won’t be portraying actual events, as did Pearl Harbor. And 13 Hours. (Yeah, remember when Michael Bay tackled Benghazi? Of course you don’t, no one does.) Sure, his fictional movies like Transformers are awful as well, but at least I didn’t have to worry that Bay was trying to “mean” something with them.
Anyway, I’m sure everything will be fine.