By M. Keith Booker
For greater than 50 years, technology fiction motion pictures were one of the most vital and profitable items of yankee cinema, and are beneficial of analysis as a result by myself. On a deeper point, the style has mirrored vital issues, matters and advancements in American society, in order that a background of technology fiction movie additionally serves as a cultural heritage of the United States over the last part century.
M. Keith Booker has chosen fifteen of the main profitable and leading edge technological know-how fiction motion pictures of all time, and tested each one of them at length--from cultural, technical and cinematic perspectives--to see the place they got here from and what they intended for the way forward for cinema and for the United States at huge. From "Invasion of the physique Snatchers" to "Star Wars," from "Blade Runner" to "The Matrix," those landmark motion pictures have expressed our fears and desires, our skills and our deficiencies. during this deep-seeking research, we will be able to all locate anything of ourselves that we realize, in addition to whatever that we've by no means well-known before.
The concentrate on a pretty small variety of landmark motion pictures permits particular realization to really unique video clips, together with: "Forbidden Planet, Invasion of the physique Snatchers, 2001: an area Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, big name Wars, shut Encounters of the 3rd sort, Alien, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Robocop, The Abyss, Independence Day," and "The Matrix." This booklet is perfect for common readers drawn to technology fiction and movie.
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Extra resources for Alternate Americas: Science Fiction Film and American Culture
For example, the boarder Mr. Barley (John Brown) is not only just as thick-skulled as his wife, but he is also apparently a R e publican, thus linking the narrow-mindedness of both Barleys to that party. T o l d that the people in government (then the T r u m a n administration) will handle the crisis caused by the arrival of the alien visitors, Barley scoffs, " T h e y ' r e not people—they're D e m o c r a t s . " In addition, it is n o accident that the Judas figure, T o m Stevens, is an insurance salesman; his negative depiction as a venal, opportunistic cad takes a jab not only at that particular profession but at American business in general.
Granted, the politically orthodox Destination Moon had w o n an Oscar for Special Effects and had been nominated for another for Best Art Direction a year earlier. H o w e v e r , The Day the Earth Stood Still is an elegantly simple black-and-white film that actually includes very little in the way of razzle-dazzle special effects or space-age stage settings. T h e most impressive demonstration of superior alien technology occurs in the scene in w h i c h the earth's machinery is brought to a halt, 32 • Alternate Americas a phenomenon that requires no special effects at all—just a few shots of stalled machines.
Fearing retribution, the authorities order Klaatu buried in a hero's m o n u m e n t , then build a special n e w w i n g of the Smithsonian around the craft, w h i c h remains on the ground with Gnut standing motionless outside it. Most of the plot involves the efforts of protagonist Cliff Sutherland, a reporterphotographer, to get a scoop by hiding inside the m u s e u m at night to try to catch G n u t engaged in some sort of secret activity. H e finds that G n u t does indeed m o v e during the night, b e c o m i n g involved in strange goings-on such as a battle with a large gorilla that emerges from the craft in the night.