It was a reasonably good day for science fiction today, starting with Rene Laloux’s Fantastic Planet, a strange, surreal and quite wonderful foray into pure imagination. It depicts a distant world where humans are hunted or kept as pets by a race of advanced giants, and what happens when one little guy decides to disrupt the status quo. It remains a classic not only for its amazing visuals, but for the simple fact that nothing like it has ever been seen before or since. It opened in the U.S. today in 1973.
The Star Trek phenomenon has had its share of ups and downs, and not all of the good moments come solely for the quality of the film or show in question. Ask any Trekkie where Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country sits, and they’ll likely say somewhere in the higher middle portion of the pack: behind such stalwarts as First Contact and The Wrath of Khan, but well ahead of, say, the reviled Star Trek V or some of the later TNG movies. Its real value, however, lies less in its storyline (a serviceable but unexceptional yarn about finally making peace with the Klingons) than in the simple fact that is was the final outing featuring the entire crew from the original series. Self-indulgent and even corny at times, it still gives the gang that started it all a proper curtain call, thanks in part to director Nicholas Meyer, who also helmed the beloved Wrath of Khan. (Also, Iman is in it, and she’s awesome.) Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country opened today in 1991.
We’ll close with Gimme Shelter, the documentary covering the Rolling Stones’ ill-fated Altamont concert in which a man was stabbed to death by the Hell’s Angels assigned to guard the band. The cameras caught that horrifying moment, as well as everything else in the lead-up to it: acting as a testament to why grown-ups need to be involved in any endeavor like this. It opened today in 1970.