The early history of Sci-Fi films
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The early history of Sci-Fi films is vibrant, colourful and revolutionary. It is generally believed to be the pioneering genre in special effects and has offered a wide range of innovations that have been used across the film world. Six categories are primarily associated with Sci-Fi: time travel, alien invasion, disaster films, robots, mind and identity and monster films. The early 20th century wrote the code for all these aspects of the genre and the period deserves more credit than it is given. The 50s and 60s are largely thought to be the start of the genre’s journey; however, it was born well before this and faced a long uphill struggle to be taken seriously. The first Sci-Fi films were no longer than one or two minutes and were intended to be humorous and light-hearted. Not till later would the genre start to focus on serious social aspects of humanity and develop an avid fan base. Nevertheless, everything has to start somewhere and the first Sci-Fi film was Le Voyage Dans La Lune created by George Melies in 1902. You may be familiar with the 2011 film called Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese which focused on George Melies’s life. ‘Le voyage’ showed a rocket being fired from a cannon into the moon, it had a comic effect and the inspiration for the spaceship was drawn from writers such as H.G Wells and Jules Verne. The contributions of this film would be felt in the industry for decades to come; Sci-Fi had taken its first steps to revolutionising the way films were made. Throughout the early 1900s there were many great adaptations of books that were classed as Sci-Fi. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was adapted in 1910 and in 1916 Jules Verne’s 20,000 leagues Under The Sea was made into a feature film. Frankenstein was particularly revolutionary as it overlapped horror and Sci-Fi which has encouraged a whole lot of films to settle in this mixed genre. The Lost World written by Arthur Conan Doyle was made into a film in 1925 and is one of the first examples of stop motion animation.
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