Friday, 18 September 2015

Forbidden ex-planet

The latest batch of Pluto images downloaded from the New Horizons probe look alien and stunning, sure enough. But to me, they also look both unreal and strangely familiar. They remind me of the artwork from some vintage science fiction film, an alien world as imagined by a visual effects artist from the 1950s.

To see what I mean, compare Pluto with the planet Altair IV, as visualised for the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet - the desolate plains, punctuated by towering mountain ranges, the hazy, layered atmosphere. The only thing missing from the New Horizons download is Louis and Bebe Barron's unearthly electronic film score.
Science fact is finally starting to look like science fiction.

The Forbidden Planet image was nicked from NZ Pete's Matte Shot blog, a highly-recommended wunderkammer of cinematic visual effects artistry, in what I hope is an act of fair use.