James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction
Starring: James Cameron, Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
I love documentaries, and I love documentaries about movies and the film business even more. I also love sci-fi films as well as my well-documented fondness for fright flicks. Besides, among horror fans there has long been the argument that Terminator is basically a slasher movie. Now, I don’t agree with that. At all. But if that’s what you “hardcore” horror fans need to get you to give this multipart and multi-hour doc a chance, then use it, because this is a documentary no movie lover should miss.
Originally a six-part series that aired on AMC, then made the jump to AMC’s horror streaming site Shudder, it is now available on Blu-ray for those without access to either outlet, and that’s a very good thing in my book. Hosted by James Cameron and packed with a ton of interviews with some of the biggest names in sci-fi, such as Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan, Ronald D. Moore, Paul Verhoeven, Keanu Reeves, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Luc Besson, Robert Kirkman, and many, many more. There are also a bunch of clips from the movies under discussion, so hopefully you will find some great movies that have escaped your notice until now. Even if that’s not the case, I love these trips down memory lane and the interviews with so many crazy-creative people are well worth the price of admission.
As for the subject of those conversations, this Story of Science Fiction is broken into six episodes, each one focusing on a pillar of sci-fi, such as aliens, exploring outer space, monsters (there you go, horror hardliners, rejoice), dark and post-apocalyptic futures, the rise of A.I. that will no doubt doom us all (but I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords), and one subgenre that has always been a favorite of mine, time travel. So pretty much all aspects of what makes a good science fiction story are covered, and covered in depth.
Now, something this new Blu-ray can offer that the show on AMC or Shudder cannot, are the extras. While there are not a ton of them, there are some of note. Specifically, they are extended interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since discussions with those folks are some of the highlights of this documentary, having more of that is more than fine by me.
If you are a sci-fi film fanatic, then getting this doc is a no-brainer. If you just love film as a whole, regardless of genre, then this is also a must-have. Hell, if you just like hearing cool and smart people talking about stuff they love, then yes, you should get this, too. So yeah, I’m basically saying that this documentary is very good and you should like it, whoever you are. Consider it highly recommended.