Filmmakers employ various images to suggest the strangeness of outer space, but protective spacesuits most powerfully communicate its dangers and the frailty of humans beyond the cradle of Earth. (Many films set in space, however, forgo spacesuits altogether, reluctant to hide famous faces behind bulky helmets and ill-fitting jumpsuits.) This critical history comprehensively examines science fiction films that portray space travel realistically (and sometimes not quite so) by having characters wear spacesuits. Beginning [A] with the pioneering Himmelskibet (1918) and Woman on the Moon (1929), it discusses [B] other classics in this tradition, including Destination Moon (1950), Riders to the Stars (1954), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); [C] films that gesture toward realism but betray that goal with melodramatic villains, low comedy, or improbable monsters; [D] the distinctive spacesuit films of Western Europe, Russia and Japan; and [E] America’s spectacular real-life spacesuit film, the televised Apollo 11 moon landing (1969).
This book gathers together many of the illuminating essays on science fiction and fantasy film penned by a major critic in the SF field. The pieces are roughly organized in the chronological order of when the movies and television programs being discussed first appeared, with essays providing more general overviews clustered near the beginning and end of the volume, to provide the overall aura of a historical survey. Although this book does not pretend to provide a comprehensive history of science fiction and fantasy films, it does intermingle analyses of films and TV programs with some discussions of related plays, novels, stories, and comic books, particularly in the essays on This Island Earth and 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequels. Inciteful, entertaining, and full of intelligent and witty observations about science fiction and its sometimes curious relationship with the visual media, these essays will both delight and entertain critics, fans, and viewers alike.
"This critical history comprehensively examines science fiction films that portray space travel realistically by having characters wear spacesuits. It discusses classics; innumerable films which gesture toward realism but betray that goal with melodramatic villains, low comedy, or improbably monsters; the distinctive spacesuit films of Western Europe, Russia and Japan; and America's televised Apollo 11 moon landing (1969)"--Provided by publisher.
Although the exploration of space has long preoccupied authors and filmmakers, the development of an actual space program, discoveries about the true nature of space, and critical reconsiderations of America's frontier experiences have challenged and complicated conventional portrayals of humans in space. This volume reexamines the themes of space and the frontier in science fiction in light of recent scientific and literary developments. Included are the observations of noted science fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke, Gregory Benford, James Gunn, and Jack Williamson, along with contributions from leading scholars in the field.
While students and general readers typically cannot relate to esoteric definitions of science fiction, they readily understand the genre as a literature that characteristically deals with subjects such as new inventions, space, robot and aliens. This book looks at science fiction in precisely this manner, with twenty-one chapters that each deal with a subject that is repeatedly addressed in science fiction of recent centuries. Based on a packet of original essays that the author assembled for his classes, the book could serve as a supplemental textbook in science fiction classes, but also contains material of interest to science fiction scholars and others devoted to the genre. In some cases, chapters offer thorough surveys of numerous works involving certain subjects, such as imagined vehicles, journeys beneath the Earth and undersea adventures, discovering intriguing patterns in the ways that various writers developed their ideas. When comprehensive coverage of ubiquitous topics such as robots, aliens and the planet Mars is impossible, chapters focus on major themes referencing selected texts. A conclusion discusses other science fiction subjects that were omitted for various reasons, and a bibliography lists additional resources for the study of science fiction in general and the topics of each chapter.
This handbook takes us through the making of The Wandering Earth, one of the highest-grossing non-English films of all time. It is a rare, in-depth, behind-the-scenes study of the making of a masterpiece, taking the reader through the entire production process of a landmark Chinese science fiction film. The book brings to life how The Wandering Earth was created, from words to images, by a young and innovative professional team assembled by director Frant Gwo. It discusses specialized details of the filmmaking process and the collaborative work of the crew and the cast involved to present an intuitive feeling of the film’s production. A step-by-step guide on the making of a radical large-scale film, this handbook critically examines its various stages such as its development and production stages – the planning, preparing, recruiting, setting up departments and processes; writing the screenplay; creating a visual style and the production design; and the principal photography; its challenging post-production stages – the editing, visual effects production, color mixing; dubbing, sound editing; publicity, etc. Further, the chapters in volume also explore how Chinese science fiction films disrupt the Western narrative context and provide the larger discourse on Chinese science fiction. Richly illustrated with exclusive first-hand visuals from the making of the film, this handbook, part of the Studies in Global Genre Fiction series, will be an essential read for professionals, scholars, researchers, and students of film and media production, film studies, popular culture, cultural studies, Chinese studies, world literature, and science fiction. It will also be of interest to the general reader interested in filmmaking.
Science fiction film offers its viewers many pleasures, not least of which is the possibility of imagining other worlds in which very different forms of society exist. Not surprisingly, however, these alternative worlds often become spaces in which filmmakers and film audiences can explore issues of concern in our own society. Through an analysis of over thirty canonic science fiction (SF) films, including Logan's Run, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Gattaca, and Minority Report, Black Space offers a thorough-going investigation of how SF film since the 1950s has dealt with the issue of race and specifically with the representation of blackness. Setting his study against the backdrop of America's ongoing racial struggles and complex socioeconomic histories, Adilifu Nama pursues a number of themes in Black Space. They include the structured absence/token presence of blacks in SF film; racial contamination and racial paranoia; the traumatized black body as the ultimate signifier of difference, alienness, and "otherness"; the use of class and economic issues to subsume race as an issue; the racially subversive pleasures and allegories encoded in some mainstream SF films; and the ways in which independent and extra-filmic productions are subverting the SF genre of Hollywood filmmaking. The first book-length study of African American representation in science fiction film, Black Space demonstrates that SF cinema has become an important field of racial analysis, a site where definitions of race can be contested and post-civil rights race relations (re)imagined.
Films about Mars have been a science-fiction staple for more than a century. From Thomas Edison's 1910 short film A Trip to Mars to Ridley Scott's 2015 smash hit The Martian, the red planet has captivated audiences worldwide. This comprehensive survey describes 98 significant (and not so) films, television movies and miniseries, and direct to video productions focusing on Mars. The author discusses them in their historical context and details the development of special effects and cinematic approaches through the years. Cast, crew and production information are provided where available, along with plot summaries and quotes from critics.
Skiing in movies, like the sport itself, grew more prevalent beginning in the 1930s, when it was a pastime of the elite, with depictions reflecting changes in technique, fashion and social climate. World War II saw skiing featured in a dozen films dealing with that conflict. Fueled by postwar prosperity, the sport exploded in the 1950s--filmmakers followed suit, using scenes on snow-covered slopes for panoramic beauty and the thrill of the chase. Through the free-spirited 1960s and 1970s, the downhill lifestyle shussed into everything from spy thrillers to beach party romps. The extreme sports era of the 1980s and 1990s brought snowboarding to the big screen. This first ever critical history of skiing in film chronicles a century of alpine cinema, with production information and stories and quotes from directors, actors and stuntmen.
This book is meant as a companion volume to The Beatles Film & TV Chronicle 1961-1970 and covers the first ten years of the solo careers of the individual Beatles from 1971 to 1980. It is the indispensable reference book for every serious Beatles video collector, with several years worth of research and investigation into the massive amount of film material held in archives around the world. The book includes details on over 100 hours worth of solo material, with many items covered for the very first time, and is fully illustrated with over one hundred and eighty thumbnail images (b/w) taken from a variety of film sources. As a bonus, the book also includes a chapter of updates regarding recently discovered and new information about films of The Beatles as a group during the years from 1961 to 1970. Through the years the author has been consulted for several Beatles film and book projects, including the 2011 Martin Scorsese documentary: George Harrison - Living in the Material World.
Over the course of several decades, scientific fact has overtaken science fiction as humankind's understanding of the universe has expanded. Mirroring this development, the cinematic depictions of space exploration over the last century have evolved from whimsical sci-fi fantasies to more fact-based portrayals. This book chronologically examines 75 films that depict voyages into outer space and offers the historical, cultural, and scientific context of each. These films range from Georges Melies' fantastical A Trip to the Moon to speculative science fiction works such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris, and Contact, and fact-based accounts of actual space missions as depicted in The Right Stuff, Apollo 13, Salyut 7 and First Man. Each film is analyzed not only in terms of its direction, screenplay, and other cinematic aspects but also its scientific and historical accuracy. The works of acclaimed directors, including Fritz Lang, George Pal, Stanley Kubrick, Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Wise, Ron Howard, Robert Zemeckis, Ridley Scott, and Christopher Nolan, are accorded special attention for their memorable contributions to this vital and evolving subgenre of science fiction film.