Sci-Fi Boys, The

Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 05/11/06 17:56:36

"The grandfathers of fantastic cinema get some love."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

A sweet little treat for us old-school sci-fi fans, Paul Davids' "The Sci-Fi Boys" is a warm and winning homage to the genre's finest men, movies, and memories. It's a little rough around the edges -- and more than a little fawning -- but this indie doco has got its heart in the right place ... and it's got very good taste in movies.

Basically an 80-minute recap of American fantasy cinema from the original King Kong to the early 1970s, The Sci-Fi Boys takes great enthusiasm in applauding the works and accomplisments of Ray Harryhausen, George Pal, Forrest J. Ackerman, William Castle, Willis O'Brien, and several others. (Indeed, this is a subject that Ken Burns could probably expand into a 6-hour series.)

Much of the attention is paid to Harryhausen and Ackerman and the ways in which their work inspired a whole new generation of sci-fi enthusiasts -- many of whom grew up to win six or seven Oscars. (Several old "homemade" movies are included, most of which are quite quaintly amusing.) Davids is to be commended for inviting a wide variety of craftsman in for interviews. Those who grew up on this stuff will undoubtedly be interested in the thoughts, ruminations, and anecdotes of:

Forrest J. Ackerman (the original sci-fi movie geek and editor of the beloved Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine)

Rick Baker (6-time Oscar-winning makeup FX master: An American Werewolf in London, Men in Black, etc.)

Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451 and a whole lot more)

Bob Burns (noted genre historian and collector)

Roger Corman (producer of about 400 movies, of which a good portion dabbled in horror, sci-fi, and fantasy)

Ray Harryhausen (FX genius: Jason and the Argonauts, the Sinbad flicks, etc.)

Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, King Kong)

Steve Johnson (FX creator: Spider-Man 2, Species, War of the Worlds)

John Landis (director of An American Werewolf in London and a bunch more)

Leonard Maltin (noted movie critic, film historian, and old-school movie geek)

Dennis Muren (7-time Oscar Winning FX guru: E.T., T2, Jurassic Park, etc.)

Stephen Sommers (director of The Mummy, Van Helsing, etc.)

Short and sweet and packed with a real affection for classic sci-fi movie-makers, The Sci-Fi Boys should be a treat to anyone who adores the genre. True that this indie-doc only manages to scratch the surface of a massively colorful topic, but it's a lot of good fun all the same -- and if all it stands for is a sweet cinematic Thank You to Ackerman, Bradbury, Harryhausen, and Pal ... well, that's just fine by me.

If you grew up fascinated with all the Famous Monsters of Filmland, then consider this indie doco highly hecommended. It might not aspire to be the world's most encyclopedic sci-fi chronicle, but it's still a lot of fun. Plus the DVD is packed with a whole lot of extra material, which is always nice.

( Review reprinted from DVDTalk, with permission from the author (me) and the DVDT management. For the full DVD specs on this particular movie, please visit and get friendly with the search bar.)

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