Found History

by Tom Scheinfeldt

Summer Blockbusters: Sci-fi and Alternate History


It seems the past has replaced the future as Hollywood’s preferred setting for summer’s science fiction blockbusters. Jon Favreau’s screen adaptation of the graphic novel, Cowboys and Aliens imagines an extraterrestrial invasion of the Old West. X-Men: First Class offers a prequel to the popular franchise, tracing Magneto and Charles Xavier’s education and upbringing and (of course) crucial involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

[Image credit: Wikipedia]


  1. And, I gather from the trailer I was forced to sit through that Transformers 3 reinterprets Apollo 11…

  2. Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his op-ed about X-Men: First Class has some interesting things to say about the film’s choice of villains and heroes, given that it’s set in 1962. Money quote:

    “First Class” proves itself not merely an incredible film, but an incredible work of American historical fiction. Here is a period piece for our postracial times — in the era of Ella Baker and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the most powerful adversaries of spectacular apartheid are a team of enlightened white dudes.

    As with most of TNC’s work, the whole (short) piece is worth reading, and might be an interesting assigned reading for, say, a first-year-writing course.

    Continuing the trend you describe is the new Captain America movie, due out in a few weeks. Nostalgia for wars with bright lines between good guys (us) and ad guys (them) is in the air, I guess.

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