Thursday, October 16, 2008

The SciFi Boys

I just watched a a documentary called "The SciFi Boys" and I highly recommend it.
Click for IMDB

It covers the field of special effects in the movies through interviews with some of the most accomplished creators of this generation. It is held together through some common themes. Most importantly is the fact that all of the effects wizards, as young boys, were fans of a magazine called "Famous Monsters of Filmland" which was produced by a man named Forrest Ackerman, or known to his readers as Uncle Forry. This gave a voice to the SciFi special effects world with articles about directors, producers, and even makeup artists from the Monster Movie genera. It had a letters page and a section in the back which published photos from the fans who were making their own movies with their mom's 8mm cameras. To a large extent, the film is a tribute to Uncle Forry.

The interviews are great, but even better are the examples of some of the works these geniuses were making as kids. Eventually the primitive works of these children would blossom into Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Terminator, and all the rest.

Being that these people were kids in the late 50s and 60s, they were inspired by the likes of King Kong and all the Ray Harihousen films. As such, much of the content is from that era.

My only issue with the film is that it was hyped as staring George Lucas and Steven Speilberg, while these guys only have about 45 seconds of screen time each. Peter Jackson does have a large part, though. But mostly it's about the hands on technicians who really did the innovative work. It's not a technical "how to" movie, but it does take you into the minds and passions of the special effects artists.

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