Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gravity and Robinson Crusoe on Mars: 4 Similarities

Gravity is a recent science fiction thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. It was a financial smash and runaway critical success, garnering rave reviews across the board and seven Academy Awards. Robinson Crusoe on Mars is a 1964 sci-fi adventure starring Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin, relocating the action of the Daniel Defoe classic to the planet Mars.

Now I don't like to make unfair comparisons. After all, Gravity is a slick, big-budget movie with state-of-the-art special effects and two award-winning lead actors, and Robinson Crusoe on Mars is an 1960s movie with a cheesy title. What I mean to say is... Robinson Crusoe on Mars is way better.

Like, it's not even close.

Do you want inspirational schmaltz or a pet monkey? It's up to you.
Seriously though, I very much enjoyed Gravity in the theater. Though it occasionally got bogged down in sentimentality, there's a lot to like about Alfonso CuarĂ³n's space epic in my opinion. I thought Sandra Bullock was very respectable in the lead role, the CGI was detailed and pretty, the action sequences were pulse-pounding, and the 3D was surprisingly effective.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars, however, really does take the cake, and it's one of my favorite sci-fi movies ever. The atmosphere, the sense of isolation, the compelling search for oxygen and drinking water, the wonderfully realized Martian environments, Paul Mantee's solid performance, and the capable direction of Byron Haskin all add up to the perfect late-night viewing experience. It's a bonafide classic of the genre.

"So," you may be thinking, "two good science fiction movies exist. What's the big deal?"

Well, dear inquisitive reader, allow me to inform you. Upon revisiting these two films recently, I couldn't help but draw a few rather odd parallels between them. For example...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Father's Day from The Cinemologists!

From us here at The Cinemologists to you, we would like to wish everyone a happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

3 Ways Pixar Changed How I Watch Movies

Allow me to state the obvious. We at The Cinemologists love movies. I think we've made that point pretty clear by the almost 200 articles and videos we've made on the subject, but I thought I should mention it in case anyone missed the memo. Recently though, I've been thinking about where I started down that road. There were a lot of cinematic influences in my childhood, from watching Alfred Hitchcock films on public television as a tot to seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark over and over again at my grandmother's. I'm sure I'll get to writing about those experiences at some point. But, much like a lot of people my age, I grew up with the wonderful films of Pixar. The first movie I ever saw in theaters was A Bug's Life, and I just about wore out my VHS copies of the first two Toy Story films and Monster's Inc. When I was bored on summer afternoons, I'd marathon through all the special features on The Incredibles and Finding Nemo DVDs, where I learned much about the filmmaking process.

As such, these wonderful movies influenced me a lot, both as a viewer and in my ambitions as a filmmaker (which formed very early on thanks to the family VHS camcorder). With that in mind, here are three of those influences...