Hey everyone, Aaron here to bring you the report from the 25th Annual 24-Hour Ohio Science Fiction Movie Marathon. I've been attending this event for seventeen years, and the other folks here at MovieWeb suggested I should cover the event here.
We had a pretty awesome line-up of films, and a major special guest for the event. The line-up consisted of:
Battlestar Galactica (Theatrical Pilot)
The Day the Earth Stood Still - With special guest, Academy Award-winner Patricia Neal
Journey to the Seventh Planet
The Andromeda Strain
Big Man Japan
Stranger from Venus
The Marathon began at noon EST on Saturday, April 19, 2008 and ran until noon(ish) on Sunday, April 20. So, without further ado, here's my recap of the event.
I'll confess to never having been a fan of either Battlestar Galactica series, either the classic version on the more modern remake on the Sci-Fi Chanel. But this was a pretty cool viewing, especially since we had the archival print of the film from Warner Bros. It was a beautiful print, but it did mean that we had to actually stop the film between reels.
This documentary is about the space-race between Russia and America, prompted by the launching of the Soviet satellite Sputnik. It was a great documentary, and pretty interesting, and I'm sure I'd love watching it on The History Channel sometime, but it was kind of an "eh" experience during the marathon.
This movie is just a classic, and if you haven't already seen it, then you need to. From the message of the film, to the not-so-subtle Christian allegory, to the killer performances from Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, there is just nothing that can be improved about this movie. And then we had a guest appearance by Patricia Neal herself.
Ms. Neal was charming and funny, and was a perfect guest. Despite being 82 years old and having recently suffered from a stroke, she entertained the audience with grace and wit, answering questions about her career and reminiscing about actors and directors she had previously worked with. The esteemed Ms. Neal even recited the classic line "Klaatu Barada Nikto" for the audience, to their delight. She also shared her thoughts on the planned remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. She thinks it's a terrible mistake, and when told that Keanu Reeves would be taking the role of Klaatu, she mischievously asked "Who?"
The Andromeda Strain
Another case where we had the archival print from Warner Bros., and the classic film written by Michael Crichton shows why it was a landmark film in science-fiction history. It suffers only from immensely slow pacing in the second third of the film.
This mockumentary followed one of Japan's giant-sized superheroes. Most of the time, our protagonist is an ordinary man, and a bit of a loser. But by running electricity through himself, he is able to grow to giant-size and fight off the giant monsters that routinely threaten Japan.
This movie was hilarious, and does a wonderful job of paying tribute to giant monster movies. To say that it was strange goes without saying, but I heartily recommend it to fans of the genre.
To watch the trailer for Big Man JapanCLICK HERE
There is little positive to be said about this movie. Made in Indonesia and trying desperately to combine gratuitous nudity with a myth about the South Seas Witch and stealing blatantly from Arnold Schwarzenegger's classic film The Terminator, this was just a mess. I will grant that it was fast-paced, and featured a lot of explosions and bare breasts, so the film will appeal to some people, but... wow.
Just in case you want to know more about Lady Terminator, you can get more information if you CLICK HERE
Another classic, starring John Hurt, Richard Burton and Suzanna Hamilton. This movie is a great adaptation of George Orwell's novel of the same name, and the print we had of it was in good shape. It remains a masteful film, and is all the more relevant in today's world. As a nice bonus, we were led into the film by a series of trailers for other dystopian films, including Logan's Run, THX 1138, V For Vendetta, Terry Gilliam's Brazil and the classic silent-film Metropolis.
This is not a good film. It's full of plot holes and most of the performances are amazingly one-note. But it does feature Vin Diesel fighting a bunch of aliens in a totally dark environment, and it never tries to be more than it is. As such, I appreciate the film for being itself, and it was a welcome switch after a series of good but slow films.
Stranger from Venus
I will never know why Patricia Neal, who was so wonderful in The Day the Earth Stood Still, and who won an Oscar for her role in Hud agreed to do this film, which is basically a British remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still - but without the cool giant robot. It was pointless and slow, and if it weren't for the fact that I will probably never again get the chance to see it on a big-screen, I'd have left the theatre for it.
If you simply must know more about Stranger from Venus then by all means CLICK HERE
Anything directed by Stanley Kubrick deserves a good watch, and to this day, A Clockwork Orange remain in my top five favorite films from the director. (Coming behind The Shining and Dr. Strangelove, but ahead of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Full Metal Jacket). Sure, the pacing is a little slow in parts, the 'hero' of the film is a sociopathic reprobate who doesn't deserve his cure, and the story is somehow hollow without the final chapter of Anthony Burgess' novel. But A Clockwork Orange remains a classic film, and an important lesson in morality and the importance of free will and moral choice.
To anyone who finds themselves in Ohio in the spring, I highly encourage them to attend this event. The people who put it on also organize a horror movie marathon each October, which is just as good of a time. To find out more about the event visit the official 24-Hour Ohio Science Fiction Movie Marathon website.