Saturday Matinee

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’m returning to the “Saturday Matinee” posts, where I’ll review an oldie but goodie movie beginning this weekend. Tomorrow, it’s a double feature: Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.

There’s been an amazing number of old science fiction movies that have entered into public domain, as well as being re-released on multi-disc packs; many of which are fascinating to watch, because they provide a hint into the culture of the times (and based on the country where the film originates). I’ve also found that even the worst of these movies usually has a tiny spark of brilliance somewhere in them; if you pay attention, your time is rewarded.

Some movies have been lovingly restored to excellent condition and modern displays, such as The Beginning of the End and include interviews with someone associated with the movie (such as the director’s wife, or the director themselves). These movies typically have ‘bad’ ratings, and everyone talks about the poor acting, or the ‘cheezy’ effects.

I think we’ve become too dependent on effects now–especially computer effects. I, for one, really like the original Star Wars movies, with the use of models rather than the more modern CGI-based triple. I recently watched Disney’s Lady and the Tramp and was struck again how beautiful this movie is with its hand painted scenes. This same beauty is captured in more modern anime films, such as Spirited Away, with its combination of exquisite hand painted scenes and characters, combined with computer animation.

Modern television shows such as Battlestar Galactica and Firefly focus more on the characters then the effects. You can go an entire episode with both with not seeing much more than a ship hanging in space. I think that’s what makes these shows stand out: the development of the characters and plots as compared to reliance on effects.

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