Tag Archives: science fiction

Metropolis

Science fiction drama film “Metropolis” (1927) of the silent era directed by Fritz Lang and starring Gustav Frolich, Brigitte Helm among others.

Too lengthy a film at two and half hours, the print was a restored one, but there were few areas where the print was not done properly. Its basically a fight between man and machine, a mad scientist, whose love went awry, sought destruction of the industrialist who married his love, created a robot, installed a face of Maria (Brigitte Helm) and made it do things.

The special effects were spectacular for a 1927 production, camera work and set design, picturisation etc. were all done beautifully. It must have cost a lot of money to make this film in view of the extensive set design used, the number of characters in the movie and the visual effects. The story is the weak point. Brigitte Helm in the double role has done a superb role in the film. Other than her and the special effects, nothing much to recommend except for its historic value as a big budget spectacular science fiction of that era.

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This Island Earth

Science fiction movie directed by Joseph M. Newman and Jack Arnold and starring Rex Reason and Faith Domergue among others,

Dr. Cal Meachem (Rex Reason) is a scientist and when he is flying in his plane his controls fail but he is mysteriously rescued by a green glow. At the lab they find an unusual part for a substitute which they had indented. But they get some instructions and machinery to construct something.

When they construct it, a strange man appears on the screen and tells them they have passed the test and that Dr. Cal is supposed to fly to their facility to join their scientist team.

At the facility which is in Georgia, he meets an old acquaintance Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue) but she fails to recognize him. A lot more sinister things going at that facility they decide to escape, but they plucked alongwith their copter into a space ship.

Inside the spaceship they are told that they i.e. the strange people are from a planet called Metalunia and they are at war with another planet called Zagon which is destroying them. Metalunia needs unlimited supply of uranium which is where the scientists come in to help them generate uranium and nuclear energy to keep Metalunia afloat.

Not a very exciting science fiction movie, but am anyways not a big fan of science fiction movies. The special effects of the movie made in 1955 are quite good, they are some good sequences there. On the acting side, nothing much to recommend, both the characters are average so to say.

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A Trip to the Moon

First ever science fiction movie in the history of cinema, A Trip to the Moon, made in 1902 by Georges Melies. Its a legendary movie in that sense. Its a short movie of 12.50 mins and silent movie. 5 astronomers (not astronauts) are chosen to a trip to the moon. They make a bullet like console in which to travel to the moon.

Note they are all going in their coats and hats and wigs and each one carrying an umbrella!! On the way to the moon, the moon smiles at them, as if welcoming them!! They reach the moon and wave to the earth.

They feel tired after the long trip from the earth to the moon, so all of them lie down there on the lunar floor and go to sleep!! In the absence of dialogue, unable to fathom the movie clearly, but a lot of stars appear there on the horizon, curious at these people. Then some other lady comes in a vehicle and starts showering snow on the humans, waking them up!!

Then they go into a cavern!! in which exotic plants and mushroom grow taller than humans.

They are then attacked by some aliens and captured alive and taken to the king of aliens. One of the astronomers frees himself from the ropes and goes and picks up the king of the aliens and throws him on the ground. Aliens go into puff of air upon being thrown on the ground.

Astronomers then escape back to their bullet capsule and one guy is seen hanging by the thread and one alien manages to land himself on the capsule back.

Astronomers return back to the earth to a tumultuous welcome.

The captured alien is made to dance on the streets with the humans. Its a path breaking movie in many respects, the first science fiction movie.

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La Jetee

Science fiction short film (1962) directed by Chris Marker and told entirely by a continuing series of still images. There is no dialogue in the movie except for some mild mutterings, which the viewers will not be able to make out. The central protagonist in the movie is a man who has survived a nuclear attack during World War III and is disturbed by some images from his childhood. There is nobody on earth following the apocalypse and so he is chosen as an experiment subject to do time travel to first go back in time and then ahead of time. He is continually seeing a woman (Helene Chatelain) in his time travel and keeps running into her at various stages of the time travel. In the end he comes back to the earth, where he sees another sets of images that of a man falling down on the airport tarmac. Its a very experimental movie and the editing of the photographs have been done quite well.

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Ad Astra

Ad Astra, a 2019 science fiction drama movie directed by James Grey and starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tylor, Donald Sutherland among others. It is more of a psychological drama movie rather than pure technology although there is a lot of science frontiers being broken down as shown in the movie, for eg. colonies in moon, Mars and space travel to Saturn, Jupiter & Neptune. Brad Pitt (Roy McBride) is the son of Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) who has gone away to space for 30 years in search of intelligent life on the universe, in the process he has travelled to Saturn, Jupiter and now stationed near Neptune. His space station has created some cosmic ray disturbances which has affected Earth also, so the son sets out to locate his dad in the vast universe, which takes 79 days from Mars itself. Lot of emotional tug of war between father and the son later, earth is safe from the cosmic disturbances and the power surges. The movie drags a bit in the middle especially when Brad is about to reach Neptune to find his dad after 3 decades. There is no emotional re-union sort of, the Dad has more or less lost his contact and interest in Earth. The movie was nominated to the Oscars in the sound mixing category. The special effects in the movie is quite extraordinary, it is in the human connect that the movie finds its weak spot. 

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