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Turner Classic Movies: Must See Sci-Fi Movies- 50 Movies That Are Out Of This World Book Review

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“Turner Classic Movies: Must See Sci-Fi- 50 Movies That Are Out Of This World” is another superb film list book.

After releasing the “TCM: Must See Musicals,” a new TCM presented book has hit the shelves titled “Turner Classic Movies: Must See Sci-Fi- 50 Movies That Are Out Of This World.” In this book, author Sloan De Forest provides a chronological list of 50 essential sci-fi films from 1902 to 2016. Each of the 50 films are accompanied by credits, glossy B&W and color film stills, written pieces, factoids, a “mind-blowing moment,” and recommendations of similarly themed films. Readers can also expect to see a poignant foreword by Roger Corman about the imaginative genre, an intro by Sloan defining the genre, and the usual bibliography and article references.

As a film list book enthusiast, I’m always interested to see what is included. Is the book comprised of the usual suspects? Are there some obscure gems? Are there films I’ve never heard of? With this particular release, the book has a strong emphasis on pre 80’s sci-fi (this is a TCM book after all). If you’re a film buff or a sci-fi lover like myself, you likely won’t be surprised by the content although there may be a few lesser known titles to some ala “These Are The Damned” and “The Brother From Another Planet.” If your knowledge of sci-fi films is limited or if you’re looking to expand your sci-fi horizons, however, this book is the perfect educational tool.

As you can probably expect, many of the sci-fi film classics are indeed listed here like “Planet of the Apes,” “Frankenstein,” “Star Wars,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “The Matrix,” but, as mentioned above, the list is largely devoted to important early sci-fi films. While they may come across as campy or dated to some, their influence cannot be denied. Sloan De Forest understands this as her written pieces explore each film’s history, importance and influence on the genre and the filmmaking industry at large. As an added bonus, the factoids here were actually quite enlightening as you get to learn about the alternate “When You Wish Upon A Star” ending of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Kubrick wanting to use a mechanical boy only in “A.I.,” and the identity of the extras in “THX 1138.”

As is the case with any list book, I do have a few nitpicks, but that’s what these books are all about. It’s fun to analyze, discuss, and ponder what was left out. In terms of absences here, there are several films that are mentioned but weirdly not on the top 50 list such as 1933’s “King Kong,” “Tron,” “Ex Machina,” and “Starship Troopers.” There’s also a strange aversion to sequels here. Again, they are mentioned, but it’s odd that groundbreaking and some would say superior sequels like “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” don’t get a slot.

Overall Thoughts: ‘Must See Sci-Fi Movies’ is another rewarding film list book. Keep this line of TCM books coming!

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July 21, 2018 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , ,

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