Star Wars

Star Wars

When George Lucas spent $11 million to produce a little labor of love called Star Wars, he likely had high hopes for the ambitious science-fiction film. It is hard to imagine that he came even remotely close to envisioning the impact or success that the film would go on to achieve. In terms of box-office numbers, in terms of successful sequels (and prequels,) in terms of a massive marketing machine, in terms of astounding special effects, the film simply has few rivals. And if you were one of the first to stand in line in 1977, the first to see the text scroll up the screen, you likely remember the experience as if it were yesterday. Continue reading...

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Every teenager knows that his or her parents must have been geeks when they were seventeen, but Back to the Future gave one teen a chance to see for himself. Directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump), this mid-80's time-traveling romp became the highest-grossing movie of the year, and it helped transition Michael J. Fox, then best known as orthodox conservative Alex P. Keaton on the popular sitcom Family Ties, into a genuine movie star. Continue reading...

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Unfortunately, billionaire entrepreneur John Hammond learned this lesson the hard way, courtesy of several scaly, flesh-eating dinosaurs. Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park was a dark, terrifying fable of science gone amok in the name of entertainment, and it became an instant bestseller. The dino-adventure had "summer blockbuster" written all over it, and with Steven Spielberg signed on as director, the story came to thrilling cinematic life in 1993. Continue reading...

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Marking a change from the menacing aliens of the 50s and 60s, Steven Spielberg instead created movies that showed interspecies friendship and cooperation was possible. First, he found success with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a terrific film but one that was geared more toward adults. The next time around, he presented something that families could enjoy together, and the result was 1982’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, a film that conquered planet Earth box offices and put smiles on the faces of millions, kids and adults alike. Continue reading...

Tron

Tron

Hardly a film is made today without the extensive use of computer generated imagery. The practice is so commonplace that most moviegoers take such wizardry for granted. Back in the late 70s, however, things were still done the old fashioned way, until a Hollywood animator named Steven Lisberger took notice of the skyrocketing video game industry and decided to bring these artificially concocted environments to the big screen. The result was the 1982 Disney Film, Tron. Continue reading...

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The Twilight Zone

Television took a turn towards the surreal in 1959, thanks to a new anthology series called The Twilight Zone. Delving into such areas as science fiction, drama, comedy, horror or political commentary - the only thing to be expected from each episode was the unexpected. Famous for last minute twists, the series success is due to the genius of its creator, writer and host, Rod Serling, who imagined some of the most engaging stories ever to hit the airwaves. Continue reading...

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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Earthlings have a long-held affinity for the jolly bearded fellow in the red suit who hands out Christmas presents each year. Is it any wonder that other planets might be a little jealous that we haven’t shared St. Nick with the rest of the Cosmos? Well, that all changed in 1964, when Martians took matters into their own hands in the campy sci-fi classic, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Continue reading...

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

1951’s seminal The Day the Earth Stood Still had a major impact on atomic-era sci-fi and pop culture. A nuclear-age warning to the people of Earth, it was based on “Farewell to the Master,” the Harry Bates story concerning Klaatu, an alien who arrives on Earth with his robot Gort in a flying saucer from the far beyond. Continue reading...