Metropolis

The iconic robot from Metropolis.

“Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction—its essence—has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all.” —Isaac Asimov

Cinerama kicks off its first annual Science Fiction Film Festival on Thursday and will screen many of the timeless works of the genre over the following two weeks. Rather than giving a rundown of all the films being show, we decided to highlight the top four reasons to check out the festival.

1. Metropolis with an Orchestra.

1927’s Metropolis is arguably the first landmark science-fiction film with its startling (for the time) visual effects and futuristic dystopian vision. While it’s a silent picture, director Fritz Lang originally intended to have a live orchestra perform the film’s score at screenings. That intent will become reality when Boston’s Alloy Orchestra, which Roger Ebert described as "the best in the world at accompanying silent films," live scores three screenings of Metropolis (Apr 19–21). This is sure to be a medium-melding treat.

2. A New 70mm Print of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece remains as visually stunning and emotionally jarring today as it was when it was first released. But at the festival, the visual onslaught will be kicked up a notch as Cinerama presents a new, never-before-seen 70mm print. Expect minds and eyes to be blown away during the famed (and trippy) "Star Gate" sequence, now in vivid 70mm detail on Cinerama’s massive screen.

3. Double Features.

What’s better than catching one great sci-fi flick? How about seeing its awesome sequel the same night? The festival features back-to-back screenings of Mad Max and Road Warrior on April 25 as well as Terminator and Terminator 2 on April 27. The unfortunate catch is that moviegoers have to buy tickets to each screening separately. But still.

4. A Forbidden Forgotten Gem.

While it doesn’t have a prominent screening time (Sunday, April 29 at 11am), don’t sleep on (or sleep in and miss) Forbidden Planet. The 1956 film about a space recon mission gone wrong (staring a young, hunky Leslie Nielsen long before he took a turn as a comedic actor) massively influenced both George Lucas and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

2001: A Space Odyssey – Star Gate Sequence

The First Annual Science Fiction Film Festival
Apr 19–May 2, $12–$30, Cinerama
For the complete festival schedule visit seattlecinerama.com.