The June/July issue of Geek Monthly has a cover story on what a great year 1982 was for geeks. We may not have noticed it at the time, but it is astonishing what a plethora of great sci-fi films came out all in that one year. Unfortunately, some of these films I did not see upon their initial release, and some are not as great today as they were 25 years ago. Nonetheless, here in brief is my rundown of their list:
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Considered "the zenith of the Trek feature films", I agree this film began the even-numbered successes that persisted until Nemesis. The tie-in to the original series, Ricardo Montalban as the villain, and the ending were all fantastic facets… but for all that, I still think I prefer the more lighthearted The Voyage Home.
I confess that the one time I tried watching this was a decade ago and I just couldn't get into it; I turned it off probably before it got interesting. (Confession #2: I was bored by Tolkien's books, too.) Without lambasting me, could someone tell me what I'm missing?
What more can I say about this film, other than my previous recollections and my own 25th anniversary commemoration? Though I do wish I could combine this film with one of my favorite geek shows:
In 2004, I was witness to a theatrical screening of TRON as Chris Hanel (occasionally of TheForce.net and The Truly Dangerous Company; now of Geekza) and his cronies performed a live MST3K lampoon. I've been wanting to get my hands on that script ever since. Considering his podcast recently interviewed Mike Nelson of RiffTrax, I'd think some sort of collaborative MP3 should be possible.
The Dark Crystal
I haven't seen this film since my age could be counted without taking off my shoes. My parents thought this Muppet movie perfectly palatable to a young, impressionable mind (similar to their misinformed opinion on Watership Down: "Oh, a cartoon about talking bunnies!"). In hindsight, The Dark Crystal may've been one of the films that engendered my preference for dark, edgy stories. It's a wonder my mother didn't worry when her third-grade son brought home from the library every book he could find on vampires and werewolves; nowadays, that'd be grounds to see the school counselor. (Course, in my day, schools didn't have counselors…)
Look for a sequel next year.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Another movie not seen in a score of years — though anything scored by local-boy-done-good John Williams is okay by me. Funny that Drew Barrymore went on to become a household name (and one of my co-stars); whereas Elliott did not. Who even knows the actor's name? (Psst — it's Henry Thomas.) Too bad — he's still quite a prolific actor.
Conan the Barbarian
I've not read Robert E. Howard's original pulp series, nor the Marvel comic books, both of which this Arnold Schwarzenegger film is based on. But I'll be in the minority of preferring the film's sequel, Conan the Destroyer, to the original; I found the follow-up to be a more classic Dungeons & Dragons romp.
Also featured in Geek Monthly but which I've never seen:
- Cat People
- The Thing
- The Road Warrior
And other anniversaries this year:
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30 years
- Masters of the Universe: 20 years
- Robocop: 20 years
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: 20 years
What films or occasions are you observing this year?