Planet Of The Apes – The Original
A masterpiece. I saw it in the theatre during its first run. It was not taken seriously at first. People laughing at the Ape Suits and more. By the end of the film however, the theatre was silent and everyone was riveted to the screen. I remember the gasps as The Statue of Liberty was revealed. As time went on, the sequels cheapened the original film by not even coming close to the original. Of course the films best known line “It’s a Madhouse!” has been repeated many times in my life. LOL. The remake was not bad either. As an prequel & as an homage to the original and on it’s own, I can deal with it.
At a time when Sci-Fi Movies were mostly B-Movie forays into Cinema Making, along came Forbidden Planet. An all-star cast and Academy Award nominated effects by way of Disney, put Sci-Fi Movies on the map forever. This film also introduces Robby The Robot, who went on to start in many Movies & TV Shows. The movie is also the first to feature an all Electronic Soundtrack. Another first was that it was the first movie set entirely on another planet. It broke all kinds of grounds on this planet. For me the Movie signifies a Maturation of the Genre and is a great Movie to watch any number of times.
What more can I say that has not already been said? From the first moments, seconds of the Movie, I knew I was in for an epic experience. Sci-Fi Effects reached a new high with 2001 A Space Odyssey and Star Wars took it to the next level. No film even came close to the effects of 2001 until Star Wars. The story is not too complicated, the characters are easy to understand and the visuals are amazing of course. This is yet another Movie which I saw during its first run, back in the day as the hipsters say. To say this was a landmark film would be redundant, but this landmark made every other film change their gaze on what mark they should hit. No Sci-Fi film would ever be taken seriously if it did not have the look of Star Wars.
2001 A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick’s Masterpiece, but all his films were Masterpieces. Ground Breaking? No. Earth Shattering Effects. All designed at huge expenses to give Movie Go-ers a realistic Space experience. At a time just before we even landed a man on the Moon, this movie came along with a vision of the future that matched our hopes and dreams for Space. The future did not pan out as quickly as we thought it would. I looked around 15 years ago and was quite disappointed that I was not living on a Donut-Shaped Space Station and that I had no Jet Pack. I read the book beforehand in 1968 at the tender age of 7. Of all the movies that were based on books, that I had read, this one left little to complain about. While the book always paints a more vivid picture in your mind, the visual spectacle and dramatic story line, made the book almost obsolete.
Ridley Scott outdid himself with this one. While perceived as a Sci Fi Epic, which it was, it really was a classic Suspense movie. It just happens to happen on a Spaceship. While on the edge of my seat, I thought to myself “Alfred Hitchcock would be smiling.” A true piece of suspense that almost made you forget it even was a Sci Fi Movie. As with most movies, the visuals are an important element. More ground was broken by Geiger’s set and costume designs. There still has not been anything that matches the spectacle that this movie slowly but surely becomes.
Finally, somebody decided that we Sci Fi Fans have a sense of humor. The All-Star cast certainly helps this movie be more than a parody of all the Sci-Fi TV Shows and Movies around at the time. What begins as Parody becomes a serious story with it’s comedy becoming a supporting role. No great effects here & none are needed. Great performances and writing combined with lots of good laughs at ourselves make this a keeper in my book.
A Trip To The Moon
You do not know this one? You should. It is an early Silent film made in Quebec that was years, decades ahead of it’s time. It is perhaps one of the earliest attempts at Sci-Fi with a notable difference. They were trying to be Scientifically realistic. Of course in the early days of film, there were no references to go by, and this is what makes the film epic. It’s “Fictional” Depictions of what they thought a Trip to the Moon would entail, are stunningly prophetic. It is almost as if they were looking into the future when they made this one. Of course the old films needed to be entertaining. The part of this movie you have probably seen a clip of is at the end. The Rocket hits the Moon (complete with grimacing face) right in the eye. A vision of the future that was pretty darn close to the mark.