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SYFY WIRE The Old Guard

WIRE Buzz: The Old Guard reviews; Andy Serkis narrating The Hobbit; Midwich Cuckoos TV series

By Josh Weiss
The Old Guard

Hot on the heels of yesterday's new trailer, Netflix has lifted the review embargo for The Old Guard. An adaptation of the Image comic series by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández, the film centers on a group of immortal mercenaries led by Charlize Theron's Andromache of Scythia.

"Led with take-charge authority by Charlize Theron, flanked by a breakout turn from KiKi Layne, this is unusually soulful superhero material firmly rooted in real-world situations," writes David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter. "Actually, calling the Netflix feature a superhero film seems reductive given the melancholy ambivalence shown by its protagonists toward their powers. But it's definitely superhero-adjacent, and a welcome surprise for those of us craving more emotional layering and dramatic grit and less routine comic-strip wham-kapow."

Variety's Owen Glieberman writes that the impending release (out next week) feels like "an origin story that’s trying, in its utilitarian Netflix way, to launch a badass franchise; and an 'elegiac' late episode of that same franchise. It’s a genre movie that, if anything, takes its characters a lot more seriously than the audience does."

Glieberman also praises Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as Copley, a mortal historian who unravels the mystery behind Andy and her squadron of undying soldiers.

"[He's] an actor who never fails to surprise," continues the Variety review. "Here, he goes from villain to soul-haunted collaborator to the film’s equivalent of a certain character with an eyepatch in a way that’s entirely convincing, even as he barely moves a facial muscle."

Describring Theron's performance as "excellent," IGN's Joshua Yehl writes: "The Old Guard is a run-of-the-mill genre action movie at first glance that becomes so much more once you dive in ... The story opens the door to a fascinating mythology of ancient warriors and immortality, although things get a little clunky when it comes time to explain how it all works. Still, The Old Guard is well worth watching if you’ve got an itch for something new."

Helmed by Gina Prince-BythewoodThe Old Guard makes its Netflix premiere next Friday, July 10. Rucka wrote the screenplay. Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, and Harry Melling co-star. 

Andy Serkis is heading back to Middle-earth for a new audiobook of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. The actor famously played Gollum in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. HarperCollins UK announced the precious news along with an excerpt, which you can check out below.

A prequel to LoTR, The Hobbit follows a young Bilbo Baggins as he's recruited by Gandalf to embark on an adventure with a pack of dwarves, who plan to take back a vast treasure from the clever dragon known as Smaug.

There's no release date for the audiobook yet, but fans can pre-order a copy from Audible here.

Serkis, who directed the Venom sequel, recently hosted a live-read of the novel for charity.

The Night Manager's David Farr is working on a television adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos for Sky, Deadline confirmed today. A 1957 sci-fi novel written by John Wyndham, Cuckoos inspired 1960's Village of the Damned and John Carpenter's subsequent remake of the same name in 1995.

The '60 version was a big hit for MGM (both critically and financially) and holds a retroactive 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. A sequel, Children of the Damned, followed in 1964, but didn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor. Even so, the film has its own fresh score of 75 percent.

Carpenter's version was a flop, bringing in less than $10 million at the box office against a $22 million budget. To add insult to injury, the project was nominated for Worst Remake or Sequel at the 16th Annual Razzies. It currently holds a 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

You can view the trailers for both movies below:


According to Deadline, Farr's interpretation of the book will yield an eight-part miniseries. The source material takes place in the sleepy English hamlet of Midwich, which is thrown into turmoil when the town's women start giving birth to alien children with strange powers.

Wyndham is also known for penning The Day of the Triffids, which was published in 1951.