Acme Novelty Library 4 by Chris Ware

By Chris Ware

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The animated Planet 51, also for kids, reverses the alien-invasion theme as a human from earth lands on another planet. James Cameron’s Avatar, the breakthrough 3-D sf epic, is released in December 2009, after more than four years of production (although the screenplay was written in 1994). indd xxxiv 7/28/10 11:30 AM Introduction The history of science fiction (sf) film now spans more than 100 years, during which time more than 1000 science fiction films of various kinds have been made, thanks to the contributions of filmmakers from around the world.

Indeed, the history of science fiction film is inseparable from the history of the technologies that have been developed to create the special effects for the films. THE TECHNOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION FILM Science fiction film presents special challenges to filmmakers because it inherently involves the representation of a world that does not actually exist. Thus, sf filmmakers cannot simply rely on the photographic representation of the world as it is but must instead use various techniques to produce visual images of an imaginary world, filled with devices, landscapes, and creatures for which there is no direct real-world counterpart.

Meanwhile, Star Trek became the most successful film franchise of the period with the release of The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of the Jedi (1983). T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), a sort of follow-up to Close Encounters that again featured benevolent aliens, but was aimed more at children and families. Of course, even during this period, science fiction films were not guaranteed to be successful, as can be seen from the case of Disney’s big-budget, adultoriented effort The Black Hole (1979), a critical and commercial bust.

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