Friday, February 19, 2010

The 2010 Boston Science-Fiction Marathon, Part I

Hello friends, anyone who pays attention to my twitter posts (and really, who wouldn't?) will know that this weekend I endured 24+ hours of nonstop science fiction films at the 35th Annual Boston Sci-Fi Marathon held at the Somerville Theatre. It is a wonderful, exciting, and very taxing experience, and one of the few times I'm really all-out releasing my inner super-nerd amongst like-minded folks. 14 films were shown, along with a delightful bevy of shorts and old trailers, plus a few contests and a geeky burlesque performance. After Miles won the logo contest with his superb design, we got in fo' free plus received some sexy merchandise. I'll be breaking down the entire marathon into three posts, so pace yourself for some sci-fi thrills! First five films after the jump...

1 Moon (2009)
I've probably said enough times how amazingly amazing this movie is, but in case you needed a reminder: Hey, Moon is spectacular! It was a great way to kick off the 'thon and I was happy to see it again on the big screen. Clint Mansell's metallic, almost ethereal score really stuck out to me with the theatre's improved sound system. The title links to my original review.

2 Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
This movie was pretty darned awesome and ahead of its time (I assume so, anyway, not like I was around during its time to confirm), imagining a future in which an all-powerful super computer dubbed "Colossus" is installed to control all of the USA's defense networks. It hooks up to the USSR's own computer and the two systems become bent on world domination, blackmailing humans to do their bidding by launching missiles against civilians if they don't comply. Colossus takes special interest in Dr Forbin, its creator, who is secretly plotting a means to destroy it. The film is an engaging and well-written rumination on the potential for man-made world destruction and a pre-Skynet version of enslavement by machines. It's a nice dramatic take on the subject as opposed to the more action-packed versions we get nowadays (although I do enjoy the thematically-related War Games). Also check out how similar its poster is to Moon. Coincidence?

3 9 (2009)
We'd already seen this when it was in theaters and found it to be rather uninteresting, so we popped back home and ate some Pizza Hut and homemade cookies. This Russian version of the poster is pretty sweet though right? The title links to my original review.

4 The Giant Gila Monster (1958)
Following the Aluminum Foil Hat Contest (we forgot! next year I'll participate maybe), this next film offered some fun 50's schlock to enhance the lighthearted mood, with a cliche story and laughable special effects that begged the audience to shout out humorous commentary (which we of course did). The story focuses on a teenage mechanic who discovers his missing friends have been killed by a giant lizard that's been hiding in a nearby river. It's not a "good" movie by any means, but it's really enjoyable for its goofiness and random musical numbers, plus it was the star of an MST3K episode, so it holds a special place in my heart just for that.

5 Labyrinth (1986)
I know this isn't exactly appropriate for the science-fiction theme, but it still fit in fairly well to the lineup. It was sort of a last-minute decision, I believe, since they couldn't get a hold of Godzilla vs Mothra. I hadn't seen this since I was a kid, and I'll tell you it doesn't thrill me quite as much now as an "adult". It might be because I think Jennifer Connelly is a really bad actress, or it might be because it's not very well-written (oddly enough I never knew the screenplay was by Terry Jones). Of course we still get David Bowie rockin' some truly tight stretch pants and a host of memorable characters with Henson's signature puppet style, so Labyrinth is still worth a viewing. Plus there's a nice MC Escher-inspired ending and some cool Bowie tunes.

Alright 5 (well, technically 4, but I'm thinking time-wise here) movies down and I'm feeling pretty good. Bah, I can totally do this 24-hour thing, no problem! I'll just keep drinking soda and eating canned pears, mmmm. These thoughts and more ran naively through my head as the evening passed and night began. The next four films will be highlighted in tomorrow's post!


  1. What a great lineup! (besides 9, which I heard was a bummer) Colossus: The Forbin Project is one of my favorite movies ever.

  2. I'd like to imagine they put Colossus right after Moon on account of the fact that they apparently had the same person design their posters, 40 years apart.

  3. I'd never heard of Moon before - I'll be sure to check that one out!