Tag Archives: science fiction

The Transformers: The Movie (1986) | Nelson Shin



The first of four feature-length ventures between Marvel Productions and Sunbow Entertainment that centered on toys made by Hasbro, THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE would make for an ambitious way to not only sell toys and entertain fans, but also to set for a new course for the animated TV series, in this bridge between the second and third seasons of the show.  A critical and commercial misfire, the film has gained cult status among Transformers property aficionados and lovers of cultural oddities of the 1980s, not only for its bold story choices, but also for its eclectic voice actors (Orson Welles, Judd Nelson, Eric Idle, Leonard Nimoy, Casey Kasem, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, John Moschitta Jr, and Scatman Crothers), as well as its driving hair-metal soundtrack.


The Dark Crystal (1982) | Jim Henson & Frank Oz



Jim Henson conceived of this elaborate realm of fantasy in which two competing races vie for the destiny of a faraway planet, as the evil Skeksis try to thwart the Gelflings of prophecy from uniting the planet yet again and bringing equilibrium to life there for those enslaved.  This imaginative film had been a disappointment on early release but has gained a rabid following among fantasy fans.  Frank Oz co-directs this film done entirely with puppets, and is a rare film that doesn’t a human character in sight.


Back to the Future Part III (1990) | Robert Zemeckis



The third and final entry in the BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy sees Marty and Doc in the Old West of Hill Valley in 1885, where Marty must save Doc from getting gunned down by an ancestor of Biff Tannen.  It’s a softer, and more romantic effort, as Doc finds love with the charming schoolteacher, Clara Clayton, who is also supposed to meet her maker, unless Marty can figure out a way to save them both without messing things up for the future!

 

 


Back to the Future Part II (1989) | Robert Zemeckis



Marty and Doc must head 30 years into the future to save Marty’s kids from calamity,l but end up making a mess of the past when Biff Tannen takes over the DeLorean.  Will they save themselves, and their pasts, as well as their futures?

This ingenious sequel takes the premise of the original film for a loop-de-loop of logic few were expecting it to go, from the minds of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale.


Back to the Future (1985) | Robert Zemeckis



Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale and Steven Spielberg present the original 1985 class, BACK TO THE FUTURE!

Michael J. Fox plays 17-year-old Marty McFly, a spirited teenager who doesn’t seem to quite fit in with his current family, so much so that he spends a great deal of his time helping out an eccentric local scientist, Doc Brown, in his kooky experiments.  One night, Doc calls Marty out to an empty mall parking lot to witness his latest triumph, a souped- up DeLorean that he has modified as a time machine.  Upset that Doc has used the plutonium given to make a proposed nuclear bomb for his own machine, some angry terrorists gun him down in cold blood, leaving Marty with no other choice than to escape in the DeLorean, which sends him back in time to the date Doc first came up with the idea for time travel, November 5th, 1955, which also happens to be the date that Marty’s parents met and fell for each other.  Problems ensue when Marty’s mother begins to fall for him instead, which would completely negate the existence of Marty and his siblings.  Marty must find a way for his parents to fall in love, and get back to the future without the nuclear component necessary, with only the younger Doc Brown to help him.


My Science Project (1985) | Jonathan R. Betuel



John Stockwell, Fisher Stevens and Dennis Hopper appear in this low-budget sci-fi/comedy from 1985, MY SCIENCE PROJECT, where teens find an alien contraption of seemingly unlimited power that opens a portal from which people and things from Earth’s past and future pour into their high school.  Now the teens need to pull the plug on it before everyone is in mortal danger.  It’s a very 80s movie in the best ways — and the worst.


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) | Stephen Herek



The breakthrough performance for Keanu Reeves, along with co-star Alex Winter, in this fun time-traveling romp through history, as two California teens pick up verious historical figures in their phone booth through time to pass an oral presentation that will secure Earth’s future — a future in which Bill & Ted are revered as saviors!  George Carlin supports in this fun flick from 1989.


The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981) | Joel Schumacher



Lily Tomlin stars in this wacky comedy from 1981, playing multiple roles, exploring the satirical themes of the diminishing role of the American housekeeper in the period, getting smaller, literally, by the day, as she eventually measures only two inches tall.  Zany antics ensue in this first feature directed by Joel Schumacher.


Innerspace (1987) | Joe Dante



In this episode, Vince takes a look at “Innerspace” from director Joe Dante, starring Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, and Meg Ryan.  produced by Steven Spielberg, this sci-fi based comedy riffs on “Fantastic Voyage” where an unassuming supermarket clerk is injected with the microscopic vessel containing an ace test pilot who is wanted by hi-tech thieves looking to score.


Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) | Joe Johnston



Rick Moranis stars as lovable dad and ambitious college professor Wayne Szalinski, who has recently become something of a laughing stock to his peers when he dares to introduce a potential way to drastically reduce the size of everyday objects.  His own experiments have proved futile, but a fluke accident causes the reduction machine to finally work — too bad the Szalinski children are the ones in the ray’s path, along with the rambunctious neighbor kids, the Thompsons.  Wayne accidentally tosses the kids out with the trash, causing the miniscule kids to have to venture through the entire yard and hope they can grab the attention of their parents, and, hopefully, the professor can figure out a way to grow them back to normal size again.  Making it there proves more difficult than it would seem, with treacherous bugs and other pollutants blocking the way at nearly every turn.


Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi | Richard Marquand



This final entry sees the Empire creating a new Death Star, a feat with such magnitude, even the Emperor himself has come to oversee the progress.  Meanwhile, a rescue attempt is underway to try to spring Han Solo from his icy trap in Jabba the Hut’s lair.  Luke has grown in his Jedi training, but only a confrontation with Darth Vader will make the transformation complete, and its a showdown Luke wants to avoid now that familial ties have been revealed.  The Rebellion once again plans to destroy the Death Star before it becomes functional by eliminating the force field surrounding it generated by a base on a nearby planet, but the Emperor isn’t a fool, and has a few surprises up his sleeve.


Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back | Irvin Kershner



The Empire Strikes Back continues the Star Wars saga in exciting fashion, with the Empire now having driven the Rebels from their secret base to another on an ice planet called Hoth. The Empire eventually locates this new base, forcing an evacuation, whereupon a more experienced Luke is told by the “spirit” (aka Force Ghost) of Obi-Wan Kenobi to seek out a wise and powerful Jedi instructor named Yoda for training. Meanwhile, romance is brewing between Han Solo and Princess Leia,, but Han has problems of his own as he is plagued by bounty hunters and the Empire out to nab him. Excitement erupts as Luke and Vader meet face to face, and some startling revelations occur.


Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) | George Lucas



The inaugural review of the 1980’s film retrospective, looking at George Lucas’ monumental blockbuster.  Yes, it’s from 1977, but it’s mandatory to cover in order to comment on the later films.

The plot: A couple of robots shuttle to a desert planet after their rebel spaceship is taken over by an Imperial star cruiser, capturing everyone on board including the Rebel Alliance princess, Leia. Leia has sent the robots to Tatooine to convey a message to a man named Obi-Wan Kenobi, who she claims is the only hope left for the rebels to beat the evil Empire.  A pair of Tatooine farmers buy the droids after they are captured by some scavengers to use on their farm, and after the farmer boy, Luke,discovers the princess’ message, he heads to Obi-Wan to deliver it. While he is away, his family is killed by the Empire seeking the droids, as they make their escape from the planet with the aid of a galactic smuggler named Han Solo, and make their way to help the princess, who is now aboard a space station powerful enough to destroy an entire planet in seconds, the Death Star, to which the rebels have obtained plans that reveal a weakness to destroy it — if only their home base doesn’t get destroyed first.