Megalopolis’ First Teaser Gives Us a Glimpse at the Year’s Most Audacious Sci-Fi Movie

“Time, stop!”

Francis Ford Coppola/YouTube

After years of work and watching the city change around him, one of our finest living filmmakers is close to releasing his passion project. Megalopolis is a sprawling, Romanesque sci-fi epic set in a dystopian future written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the director behind The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, and The Conversation.

Now, we finally have our first look at the self-funded opus, and it reveals inspirations drawn from not only one of the most iconic sci-fi movies but arguably the first sci-fi movie ever. Check out the full teaser below.

The teaser shows Adam Driver as Cesar, an architect looking to rebuild a major city after a disaster. As he climbs down the steep roof of a skyscraper and prepares to step off of it, he yells “Time, stop!” and manages to freeze the flow of time itself, the traffic below him halting in place.

It’s only a quick look of what seems to be a broad-ranging movie with dozens of influences, but there’s already something to be gleaned from these few shots. The design of the building Cesar is standing on — presumedly one he designed himself — has multiple triangular windows with a stark, art-deco influence.

The Megalopolis first look seems to pay homage to the Art Deco masterpiece Metropolis almost a century later.

Francis Ford Coppola/YouTube

The art style and skyscraper imagery pay direct homage to Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi movie Metropolis, often referred to as the first feature-length science-fiction movie. Skyscrapers played a major role in Metropolis, as they were a recently new invention at the time. Now, they’re commonplace, but that doesn’t stop the aesthetics from translating across time.

Francis Ford Coppola has put everything on the line for Megalopolis, self-funding and retaining complete creative control. With this first look, it’s clear that his influences stretch to the very beginning of sci-fi film history itself.

The only question remaining is how Cesar’s time-stopping powers will affect the storyline. Is this entire moment a surreal sequence, or does Adam Driver’s character really have Zack Morris-esque powers to stop the time-space continuum? Regardless of the plot, it’s sure to be a visually beautiful — and referential — adventure.

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