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The Day The Earth Stood Still: Three Things You Might Not Know About The SF Classic

DayStillFeatWhen The Day the Earth Stood Still hit theaters in 1951, it brought to the screen the qualities that made the genre so fascinating and durable on the page. Sure, there was a flying saucer, and a robot, and a space man from another world…but this wasn’t a cheesy invasion from beyond the stars. It was a grim reminder that mankind had finally harnessed the power needed to destroy itself utterly, and a warning that our species would not be allowed to transport its violence beyond our homeworld…even if that meant our cosmic neighbors had to wipe us out first. Like the best science fiction, The Day the Earth Stood Still used the trappings of the fantastic and the futuristic to examine very real problems and questions.

The Day the Earth Stood Still opened on this day in 1951. To celebrate the iconic adventures of Gort and Klaatu, we decided to highlight a few bits of trivia you might not know about director Robert Wise’s sci-fi classic. (And let’s just all put the Keanu Reeves version out of our minds…)

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Astronomy Photographs Of The Year Show Off The Universe’s Beauty

es9_james_woodend_aurora_over_a_glacier_lagoon_651Each year the Royal Observatory pores over thousands of entries to honor the very best in astronomical photography. This year the Observatory teamed with BBC Sky at Night Magazine and Flickr to evaluate some 1,700 submissions, representing photographers from over 50 different countries. The submissions are divided into four categories: “Earth and Space,” “Our Solar System,” “Deep Space,” and “Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year.” They also award two special prizes: “People and Space,” which is sort of self-explanatory; “Robotic Scope” for shots taken using one of those gizmos; and the “Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer,” named for the noteworthy English astronomer. The winning pictures will be on display in the Royal Observatory.

You can check out the winners and runners up for each category below.

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Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Week Of September 29

As much as we love science fiction on TV, on the big screen, on the comics page, and in video game form, there’s just something irreplaceable about digging into a good book. There’s no shortage of new sci-fi adventures hitting shelves on a regular basis, but GFR is your one-stop shop to keep up with what’s hitting shelves in a given week. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

DeadZone“Dead Zone (Blackout)” by Robison Wells

Homeland meets Marie Lu’s Legend in the explosive sequel to Blackout, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Ally Condie called ‘a thrilling combination of Wells’s trademark twists and terror. Fantastic!’

It began with a virus. Then a series of attacks erupted across the nation. Now America is at war — and a handful of teens with impossible powers are its only defense.

In Dead Zone, Robison Wells delivers his most nail-bitingly tense read yet — and an electrifying conclusion to a two-book series that’s perfect for fans of The Maze Runner and I Am Number Four.

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars Story Reels Give A Glimpse At Unfinished Episodes

CloneWarsTopStar Wars: The Clone Wars found itself in a peculiar position after Disney purchased Lucasfilm — and with it, the Star Wars franchise — back in 2012. As many suspected, Disney would soon begin streamlining and culling back much of the franchise so that a cohesive, official multimedia canon could be established. The good news is that it was eventually announced that The Clone Wars would, along with George Lucas’ six films, be part of this new Star Wars canon. The bad news was that the show was ending, and before it had completed all the stories its creators had hoped to tell. Thankfully, many of these stories have since come to light in one form or another, and now Clone Wars fans can get a glimpse at a few more unfinished episodes, courtesy of a series of “story reels” just released on StarWars.com.

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Back To The Future Documentary Breaks Down The Opening Scene

Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future turns 30 in 2015, which sounds impossible, but even at the three decade mark it’s aged incredibly well and totally holds up to repeat viewings, while still serving as an artifact of the time. Part of why is maintains its integrity is because it’s just a sound, fundamentally strong film, all the way down to the bare mechanics. A short new documentary takes part of this, the opening shot, and breaks it down into its parts.

Jamie Benning has made his short, making-of “filmumentaries” for a while, and has covered the likes of Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars, and he recently turned his attention to BttF. In this video, he talks to special effects supervisor Kevin Pike, and listens to him tell the story of how this one, single, long take came into existence.

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Chris Pratt And Saturday Night Live Spoof Marvel’s SOP

It seems nuts that NBC’s Saturday Night Live has been on the air for 40 years, especially considering I haven’t enjoyed it in more than a random, momentary basis for like 20. (I’ve tried, I really have, but as much as I have fond memories of staying up late on weekends in junior high and endlessly dissecting it with my buddies the next Monday at school, it’s largely become too painful to watch.) Chris Pratt hosted the 40th season premiere last night, and, as you probably imagined, they spoofed Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel as a whole, and it’s kind of brilliant.

With the success of Guardians and it’s mismatched crew of assassins, weirdoes, bizarre creatures, and general ne’er-do-wells, it’s starting to feel like Marvel can do whatever the hell they want and make a ton of money. That’s the general gist of this digital short, titled Marvel Trailer.