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Seven Things To Watch Instead Of Transformers: Age Of Extinction

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AgeFrankly, there’s probably not a lot we can say to sway you when it comes to seeing or not seeing Transformers: Age of Extinction this weekend. You should already know whether or not you’re a fan of Michael Bay’s particular brand of Kool-Aid — and now that I think about it, a grinning mug full of sugar-water bursting illogically through a brick wall is a fairly concise metaphor for Bay’s Transformers franchise in the first place. They should just go ahead and slap “Oh yeah!” on all of the posters. But assuming Age of Extinction is not on your to-do list, and assuming Snowpiercer isn’t playing anywhere near you, we’ve got seven superior alternatives to pouring Bay’s digital excess into your eye holes.

Since the Transformers movies are based on a cartoon and thus, at least theoretically, they should be suitable for all ages, we’re including a variety of different choices here, all of them involving robots in one way or another. And to hear GFR’s Nick tell it, you could marathon all of these in a row and it’d still seem shorter than sitting through Age of Extinction. Hit the jump for all our picks!

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Star Wars, Planet Of The Apes, And Forbidden Planet Costume Test Images

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ApesIn this digital age, it’s easy to take for granted how simple it is to dig into the behind-the-scenes stories of pretty much any project you can think of. Special edition sets come packed with insightful commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, and photo galleries. Websites and forums are often able to show you far more about any upcoming film than the filmmakers would ever prefer. So there’s something cool about making-of material from earlier decades when the wall between creator and consumer was a lot more daunting. These images from various sci-fi movie costume tests are pretty straightforward, but there’s still something charming about getting a look into a past when, for the most part, nobody outside the production would get to see this stuff until it was done. Especially when, as in the picture up top, they look like a mug shot from a DUI bust on the Planet of the Apes.

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Happy Birthday To The Unlikely Lead Of Forbidden Planet: Today In Science & Science Fiction

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NielsenActor Leslie Nielsen’s career became synonymous with silliness, with his role in the parody series Police Squad! revived for three Naked Gun movies in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Those comedies, as well as an appearance in Airplane!, were a far more memorable legacy than Nielsen’s roles in countless lesser spoof comedies such as An American Carol and the benighted Scary Movie franchise. But, as much as I laughed my ass off at the Naked Gun movies, Nielsen will always hold a special place in my heart for a very different role: that of Commander John Adams in the 1956 science fiction classic Forbidden Planet.

Before he became known almost exclusively as a comedy guy, Nielsen worked extensively in television as a dramatic actor. Indeed, it was because he played the straight man so well that Police Squad! was so damn funny, with Nielsen deadpanning it in the face of utter ridiculousness. Those dramatic chops are on full display in Forbidden Planet, with Nielsen playing the no-nonsense starship captain sent to investigate the fate of the Bellerophon expedition to the planet Altair IV, which went out of contact some 20 years earlier. Upon arriving, he finds only two survivors: the brilliant Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis). All the rest of the Bellerophon crew were — according to Morbius — killed by a mysterious “planetary force” while trying to leave the planet.

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Forbidden Planet And The Right Stuff Make National Film Registry List For 2013

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Forbidden PlanetOnce a year, the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress chooses 25 films that are least 10 years old and are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” These are American films that are considered revolutionary and important to filmmaking, American cinema, and American culture at large. In 2013, two of the 25 lucky films chosen for preservation are the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet and the space exploration film The Right Stuff.

According to the National Film Registry, Fred M. Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet revitalized and empowered science fiction after World War II. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the film examines America’s newly created post-nuclear age. “Forbidden Planet is both sci-fi saga and allegory, a timely parable about the dangers of unlimited power and unrestrained technology,” that inspired the future of the genre and its visionaries including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. “Along with its literary influence, highly influential special effects and visual style, the film also pushed the boundaries of cinematic science fiction.”

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Forbidden Planet Gets A Modernized Fan Trailer

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Forbidden Planet was part of my science fiction upbringing for as long as I can remember. It’s a favorite of my father and was in regular rotation throughout my childhood. And while some of my favorite flicks from my youth don’t hold up under the weight of three decades of perspective, Forbidden Planet is still awesome. So awesome that part of me is glad all that talk of a new Forbidden Planet remake or prequel a few years back eventually trickled off into silence. Because while I love love love Forbidden Planet, it’s very much a product of its time, and frankly I’d rather let it stand as a piece of sci-fi history rather than let it be tarnished with a coat of 21st century paint. Case in point, the above fan-made trailer, which attempts to apply modern trailer style and tropes to the 1956 original. It just feels…wrong.

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New Auction Includes Posters From Forbidden Planet, Revenge Of The Jedi, And More

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Hey there. Yeah, you. You look like a discerning chap, so let me ask you something. You got a couple thousand bucks on you right now? No, no, calm down, this isn’t a stick-up. I’m just saying if you do have that much disposable cash burning a metaphorical hole in your equally metaphorical pocket, you might want to check out the new Heritage auction that’s currently underway, featuring gorgeous posters from Metropolis, the Star Wars films, and dozens of classic ’50s and ’60s SF films. Just look at this baby: