Friday, November 29, 2013

#1,201. The Sci-Fi Boys (2006)

Directed By: Paul Davids

Starring: Peter Jackson, Ray Harryhausen, Leonard Maltin

Trivia: This movie won a 2007 Saturn Award for Best DVD Release

Director Paul Davids’ 2006 documentary The Sci-Fi Boys takes us on a guided tour of the cinematic history of science fiction, from the early days of The Lost World and King Kong straight through to today, while also introducing us to the men who, for the better part of a century, redefined the way we look at the universe.

The Sci-Fi Boys talks with several of the genre’s pioneers, including Forrest Ackerman, publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland, and stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. Through interviews and archival footage, we learn what inspired these men and others like them to dedicate their lives to monsters and little green men. After paying a visit to George Pal’s grave, Ackerman lists off what he considers the five greatest science fiction films of all time (two of which, War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, were directed by Pal); while Harryhausen, during the 2003 ceremony where he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, recollects how a 1933 viewing of King Kong at Grauman’s Chinese Theater changed the course of his entire life.

Along with delving into what inspired them, The Sci-Fi Boys sits down with the next generation of fans and filmmakers, men and women who were, in turn, inspired by Ackerman and Harryhausen. Peter Jackson discusses the first time he read Famous Monsters of Filmland, while the likes of Rick Baker and Dennis Muren share the home movies they made as children, some of which featured their own brand of stop-motion. Even director Paul Davids gets in on the act, showing clips from his short Siegfried Saves Metropolis, a movie that served as his entry in a 1960’s contest sponsored by Ackerman’s Famous Monsters magazine.

Functioning as both a history lesson and a loving tribute to the artists and entertainers who helped shape the genre, The Sci Fi Boys is a film lover’s delight.

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