Get ready, because this summer's most captivating new series is going to trap your attention and instantly become your new favorite obsession. One of Hollywood's biggest directors, Steven Spielberg, is pairing with literary giant Stephen King for an out of this world CBS event. Under The Dome is a whirlwind of drama, intrigue, and jaw-dropping mysteries that is unlike anything else on TV.
We've collected all the details from the pilot to help catch you up on this sci-fi phenomenon and point out things you may have missed. However, since this show has a multitude of diabolical characters, twists, turns, and head-scratching events, it would be easy to get lost in a vast sea of paragraphs. (And come on, ain't nobody got time for that!) So we at Hollywood.com present you with an effecient yet effective alternative: recapping Under the Dome in under 500 words.
Is it ambitious? Heck yes! But if our cut-to-the-chase recap is exactly what the TV fan-on-the-go needs to keep up with this fantastic show, then we're more than happy to help. Read on for all the spoilers and secrets from this week’s Under the Dome series premiere.
Who's Who? Welcome to the itty-bitty neighborhood of Chester's Mill, a quaint place that features small-town charm and a variety of citizens — some who couldn't hurt a fly and others who are bats**t crazy. We first meet Dale "Barbie" Barbara, a handsome yet mysterious former army captain who seems too good to be true, despite the fact that we saw him burying a dead body. Yikes! Sheriff "Duke" Perkins is the town's fearless leader who watches over these small streets along with loyal Deputy Linda.
Big Jim Rennie is a smarmy politician and used car salesman who seems a little too excited when all hell breaks loose in town. The crazy doesn't fall too far from the tree with his son, Junior Rennie. Junior has the hots for a pretty little lady named Angie McAllister (we actually meet them both mid-coitus, ooh la la!) and he tells her that he's going to drop out of college to be with her. She promptly tells him no, he slaps her, and we realize that this is one sick teen that we sure as hell don't want to mess with.
Julia Shumway is the town's newest newspaper reporter, and someone who clearly takes her job way too seriously in a town that doesn’t even have its own Denny's. Nonetheless, she gets a tip that the town is stocking up on way too much propane and we begin to get curious. We also meet Angie's brother, Joe McCallister, and Carolyn and Alice (a lesbian couple passing through from L.A.) and their troubled daughter Norrie.
Dropping the Dome: With all of the firefighters, most of the police staff, and a handful of citizens over in the next county for the big parade day, Chester's Mill is pretty much down to their basics. And then… it drops. Birds fall from the sky from broken necks, cows are chopped in half and planes and trucks smash into invisible barriers causing mind blowing and breathtaking explosions.
No one knows what it is, no one knows why it's there, but here's what we do know: When you touch the wall of the dome, it zaps you... the first time. But any time after that, you're fine. No sounds can get in or out of the dome. The higher-ups at the military are very interested in figuring out what is going on, showing up in HazMat suits to investigate. The dome affects some teens in a super strange way — both Norrie and Joe go into a full-blown seizure, mumbling, "The stars are falling in lines."
Out Comes the Crazy: The dome is also not a fan of certain electronic devices. For example, poor Sheriff Duke has a pacemaker, and after creeping closer to the dome, the little device shoots right out of his chest. We're not 100 percent sure, but he looks all kinds of dead at the end of the episode. Junior becomes absolutely obsessed with Angie and now that the town is in disarray, he promptly kidnaps her and locks her away in his family's fallout shelter. Ready for the biggest shocker of them all? The man that Barbie was burying in the beginning of the episode is actually Julia's doctor husband, but she doesn't know he’s dead yet. Yikes!
Has Under the Dome trapped your attention? Shout out your speculations and sci-fi theories in the comments below!
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The one guy who can whip the female (and select male) contingent of the Comic Con crowd into frenzied cheers without putting on a superhero hero costume is Neo himself, Keanu Reeves. And with genre hits like Dark City, Hulk, Labyrinth and Rocketeer to her credit, Jennifer Connelly’s fan base there is feverish as well. And with the two of them teaming up to show footage from their upcoming remake of a bona fide sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, well, very little was standing still in the Convention Center when they took the stage.
Hollywood.com quizzed the pair about re-imagining the beloved original – which was as much a parable for Cold War paranoia and mutually assured destruction as it was an alien invasion thriller – for contemporary times.
Hollywood.com: Can you talk about the difference in your interpretation of your character versus the original?
Keanu Reeves: Yeah, Michael Rennie was more human than human in the first piece. He was not quite an Everyman but he was very human. In this version Klaatu is not. He is in a human body but he is not human. He doesn’t have the same kind of human empathetic qualities. In this one I’m a little more sinister. Michael Rennie kind of brings the stick at the end. I kind of bring the stick in the beginning.
HW: Did you try to avoid the original film before taking this on? How familiar were you?
KR: In terms of looking for his performance, the films had different ways of telling the story. My take on being a slightly more sinister Klaatu was more about the structure of the film. It wasn’t about avoiding it, Rennie is fantastic.
HW: In what ways did the story resonate for you guys in a contemporary way? What did you see in that which made you say that this was something you wanted to do because the message still applies?
Jennifer Connelly: It had a great impact on me when I read the script. I thought that it was really powerful. I loved that it was a movie that was looking at how we treat each other, how we live on the earth, whether we do that responsibly. We have a tendency to be self-destructive. It just really struck me. I thought it was poignant and moving. It was a great combination of that in a film that was exciting, dramatic, thrilling, and suspenseful. And I like these guys, so I wanted to work with them.
HW: Thematically its as valid today as it was in 1951?
KR: Absolutely. It’s still the human character. The same kind of violence.
HW: Both of you had considerable success in genre films, and in what some people call “serious” movies. Do you have to invest as much into the acting process when you do a blockbuster-style movie as opposed to more traditional films?
JC: Absolutely, I don’t want to classify films into what is serious and what isn’t. In terms of the way that I work, I can’t say ‘Oh, I’m doing this one for whatever superficial reason.’ Everything I become involved in working on, I’m so committed. I’m so madly, compulsive, and obsessive about it. I approach it with the same seriousness, on everything.
HW: What is it like when you know that this audience is the fan base, moreso than you might encounter in L.A. or New York. These are the hard core fans. You want them to like it, so how hard is it to face all the devoted hard core fans?
JC: It’s a lot of people there. I got a little bit nervous. I’m really critical of films and myself. I was really happy working on the movie. We worked really hard, it was long hours. I felt really good about doing it and to me that means a lot. I haven’t seen the whole thing but I’ve seen a bunch of things now. Even my husband [Paul Bettany] said “How does it look?” I said “It looks really good.” Even he was like “My God, she never says that!”
HW: So he hasn’t seen it yet?
JC: No, neither of us has seen the whole thing. I feel comfortable and confident. I look forward to seeing the whole thing. I felt when we were making the film that Scott was doing a phenomenal job. I couldn’t imagine anyone doing better. I think that he made the best version of the film that could have been made. I think he’s smart. I think he understands the original film. I think he loved the original film. He loves filmmaking. He knows so much about film history, current film, and everything. He wanted it to be real. He wanted it to be dramatic. I just think he had all bases covered.
HW: Keanu you’ve been to Comic-Con for the Matrix films, among others – how’s this experience compare?
KR: Great…I haven’t been on the floor yet. I know when I first came here, I guess it was a decade ago, it’s a little bigger. I think that is great and awesome.
HW: Did any fans in the big presentation surprise you with a zinger question?
KR: We didn’t really have any questions from the floor this time. We had a lot of “We love you’s!”
JC: HE got that. Just go downstairs and go ‘Keanu’ and you’ll hear [screaming] ‘Ahhhhh!’.
In the tradition of Batman Begins and Casino Royale the clock is rolled back on the legendary icons the D—the self-proclaimed greatest band in the world—as the curtain is pulled back on their secret origins and the demons that drive them are unveiled… OK so it’s not really that deep. Though the heavy metal/comedy combo of Jack/JB/”Jabeles” (Jack Black) and Kyle/KB/”Kage” (Kyle Gass) have long played hip clubs cut an album starred in their own short-lived HBO series and amassed a devoted cult of fans their first feature film reveals how the pudgy duo first meet form the band meet their first fan (Jason Reed as TV holdover Lee) go questing the fabled Pick of Destiny—a shard of Satan’s tooth turned into a guitar pick passed among rock’s most accomplished shredders—and ultimately smack down with the devil himself. Believe it or not it’s a love story. Thanks to their long professional partnership Black and Gass comprise two perfectly crafted sides of a very polished comedy coin: Black is the wild-eyed uncontrolled id Gass is the low-energy manipulative slacker and they meet in the middle with an equal amount of unchecked delusion about their musical ability and potential. They both deftly pull off the trickiest types of comedy: smart jokes in the guise of dumb characters and it’s nice to see Black—obviously the bigger film star of the two—share the funniest bits equally with Gass. Of course all of this hinges on the audience’s tolerance for the ambitiously clueless ego-cases (and moviegoers who only love Black for his tamer version of the same persona in School of Rock should be warned—this is the cruder ruder and more profane incarnation) but we admit we’ve long had a taste for the D. They boys carry they movie squarely on their shoulders though longtime D supporters Tim Robbins and Ben Stiller stand out in cameos—the first Stiller cameo in ages that’s both amusing and non-gratuitous! Also appearing in small bits: SNL’s Fred Armisen and Amy Poehler Oscar-nominee Amy Adams Colin Hanks hard rock hero Ronnie James Dio Foo Fighter Dave Grohl as Satan and an uncredited John C. Reilly though you’ll never ever recognize him when he’s onscreen. And kudos to whoever had the inspired notion to cast Meat Loaf as JB’s pious father and Troy Gentile as the young rockin’ JB (Gentile also played a junior version of Black in Nacho Libre). Helmer Liam Lynch who also collaborated on the screenplay with Black and Gass and directed their music video “Tribute ” understands the absurd world of the D completely and demonstrates a clever assured sense of straight-faced silliness. Indeed the first ten minutes of the film alone—a mini-rock opera in itself—announce him as a comedy director to watch. Although we’re sure the bandmates themselves would take full credit for the film’s success. After all they may not have made the greatest movie in the world but in D-speak they came up with a pretty rockin’ tribute version.
The clock is ticking down. There are only a few more weeks to catch up on Hollywood's end-of-the-world flicks before life as we know it goes to ... well, you know.
Don't worry about whether you're prepared for armageddon, though. We've done the research and stocked the shelter with enough apocalyptic flicks to see anyone through a nuclear winter.
So grab your sunscreen, head for the hills and remember the remote. It's time for the final countdown:
20. "The Omega Man" -- Imagine your worst nightmare about the end of the world, and Charlton Heston probably suffers it in this adaptation of Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend." He's the last guy on Earth, and as luck would have it, there are zombies spawned from germ warfare trying to tear his guts out.
19. "The Seventh Sign" -- Forget Ah-nuld in "End of Days." The true biblical blood curdler is this mid-'80s parable starring Demi Moore. She's the only one who can stop the rivers from forever running crimson. Michael Biehn, out of Terminator/Navy Seal mode, plays her low-key husband. Jurgen Prochnow is the ultra-creepy avenging angel.
18. "Strange Days" -- Nothing's more timely than this millennium murder mystery, which takes place on the eve of the 21st century. Ralph Fiennes is a cyberpeddler hawking memories of real experiences to sensory-deprived customers. When someone starts using his virtual addictions for real-life killing, the hustler finds it hard to keep partying like it's 1999.
17. "Night of the Comet" -- So bad it's great, this low-budget sci-fi quickie features a killer comet, valley girl heroines and a couple of hilarious, over-the-top villains. As the baddies chase the gals cross-country, the filmmakers forgo logic and effects and concentrate on making cheeky fun of the genre.
16. "Deep Impact" -- Last chance to clear those tear ducts before Y2K becomes reality. "Armageddon" may have the firepower, but when it comes to good old-fashioned emotion, even cynics agree that Morgan Freeman makes a first-rate president as the fate of all mankind rests in the balance.
15. "The Stand" -- Nobody does the good, the bad and the apocalypse quite like Stephen King. Clocking in at around six hours, this epic showdown between the forces of light and dark tempts viewers to figure out who'll be the last man or woman standing. Our bet: Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe, who have already survived their Brat Pack infamy.
14. "A Boy and His Dog" -- Before he lost his socks and collared shirts, "Miami Vice's" Don Johnson roamed the wasteland with a telekinetic dog in this smart and sassy cult favorite. On a mission that would make his '80s alter-ego proud, the young traveler and his trusty guide forage exclusively for two things: food and women.
13. "WarGames" -- It has no radioactive mutants, martians or supernatural boogeymen, and it's not rated R. But John Badham's "what if" scenario for world destruction is as tense and thrilling as cinema gets. In today's Internet-crazy universe, the prospect of a Matthew Broderick-like hacker accidentally setting off World War III is an apocalyptic possibility a little too close to reality.
12. "The Road Warrior" -- After the world goes boom, there's nothing like a harried Mel Gibson in shoulder pads and biker boots to raise hopes for a new savior. It wouldn't be the end of the world without Mad Mel dispatching a dozen or so mohawked punks who can't wait for their turn at the gas pump.
11. "Escape From New York" -- One look at Kurt Russell's scowl and eye patch, and director John Carpenter's message comes through loud and clear: The future could be very, very ugly. Nihilistic, dark and altogether winning, this action-adventure has hero Snake Plissken out to rescue the president in 24 hours, or else the world gets it.
10. "Ghostbusters" -- If the destructor of the universe really were a 100-foot Stay Puft Marshallow Man, who else to call than smart-ass Bill Murray and friends? The "Saturday Night Live" star knows how to handle millennial boogie woogies: Simply sit back and make fun of them. Dogs and cats living together? That's "mass hysteria."
9. "Planet of the Apes" -- Charlton Heston is in for an unforgettable surprise at the end of this classic sci-fi flick. He's a U.S. astronaut stranded on a planet where ape creatures walk and talk while humans wander about beast-like in loincloths. The first in the "Planet of the Apes" series offers plenty of action, intrigue and the best use of a New York monument in movie history.
8. "The Last Wave" -- "The Truman Show" director Peter Weir arrived on the scene with this frightening vision of the apocalypse. Richard Chamberlain of "Shogun" infamy stars as a lawyer assigned to defend a group of aborigines on trial for murder. His investigation leads to a series of scary, oddly fascinating discoveries.
7. "On the Beach" -- The bombs have landed, and the radioactive cloud is on the way. Submarine commander Gregory Peck surfaces long enough to search the barren Australian landscape for survivors. It's all in the name of superior drama that realistically explores the effects and true terror of nuclear holocaust.
6. "Last Night" -- Winner of multiple Genie Awards (Canada's equivalent of the Oscar), this low-key drama skips the Bruce Willis histrionics and focuses on regular people living through the last six hours of the planet. They eat, they talk, they fight, they even love a little. In the end, they do exactly what people might do on the last night of their lives.
5. "War of the Worlds" -- The granddaddy of martian invasion movies puts "ID4" and everything that followed to shame. The effects stand up, and the concept's sound. Based on H. G. Wells' famous story, this classic, featuring Gene Barry as a scientist who's on to the green beings' game, is truly one for the ages.
4. "12 Monkeys" -- Bruce Willis can't stop the world from coming to an end, but maybe he can figure out what pretty boy Brad Pitt has to do with it. As a psychologically damaged hero from the future, the action star finds himself trapped in a Terry Gilliamesque present that's flawed with all sorts of dark eccentricities.
3. "The Rapture" -- "The Player" screenwriter Michael Tolkin directs a singular motion picture that's unlike anything you've ever seen. Mimi Rogers stars as an L.A. swinger who trades in her hedonism for religious fanaticism just in time for an apocalypse literally straight out of the Book of Revelations. Expect the unexpected in this controversial mind-blower.
2. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" -- Klaatu barada nikto! That's the unforgettable phrase from Michael Rennie as a foreign visitor who comes to warn Earth about the dangers of weapons of mass destruction. This landmark science-fiction film is the best defense against the real apocalypse. If aliens can't stop us from playing mean, who can?
1. "Miracle Mile" -- Never heard of this gem from director Steve de Jarnatt? When it comes to end-of-the-world scenarios, this one's the absolute keeper. Before he donned his "ER" scrubs, Anthony Edwards had his best part to date as a modest, likable musician who finds the girl of his dreams ... 90 minutes before a nuclear bomb strike. As he demonstrates, when it comes to the end, it's not about quantity. It's all about quality.