The Major Sci-Fi and Fantasy Anniversaries of Summer 2021

The Major Sci-Fi and Fantasy Anniversaries of Summer 2021
V for Vendetta and Spy Kids have milestone anniversaries this year. (Photo: Warner Bros/Dimension)
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Let’s face it. We’re all old. Even if that’s not technically true, there’s always something a person can say or do to make you feel that way. For us, one of those things is when we realise a movie we feel an affinity for is way older than we remember it being. The best course of action? Use the fact that your favourite movie is about to celebrate a landmark anniversary and watch it again!

We’ve collected a slew of sci-fi and fantasy films that will be celebrating some big anniversaries this year. You’ll probably see us highlighting a few of them individually over the course of the year — in fact, we already started with a few — but for now, take a look and bask in the nostalgia.

Below, we’ve got all the significant movie anniversaries (in Gizmodo’s coverage areas, naturally) coming up in February and March 2021. (As well as a few January’s because, well, better late than never.) We’ll be sharing more soon but for now, take some time to make a new watchlist for yourself.

1961 – 60 Year Anniversaries

The Absent-Minded Professor (Image: Disney) The Absent-Minded Professor (Image: Disney)

The Absent-Minded Professor (March 16) Fred MacMurray, star of the legendary Double Indemnity and classic sitcom My Three Sons, stars in this Disney movie about a goofy professor who invents a substance that defies gravity.

1971 – 50 Year Anniversaries

THX 1138 (Photo: Lucasfilm) THX 1138 (Photo: Lucasfilm)

THX 1138 (March 11) Before Star Wars, before even American Graffiti, George Lucas made his feature debut with this adaptation of his own student film about an eerily fortutous future society where reproduction and emotion are forbidden. Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence star.

The Andromeda Strain (March 12) Seems fitting that a movie based on Michael Crichton novel about a killer disease celebrates its 50th anniversary in the middle of a global pandemic. Thankfully though, covid-19 isn’t quite as bad as the titular strain in the film.

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1976 – 45 Year Anniversaries

Connery and Hepburn in Robin and Marian. (Photo: Sony) Connery and Hepburn in Robin and Marian. (Photo: Sony)

Robin and Marion (March 11) These days we’re used to star-studded movies about Robin Hood. However, very few come close to the cast of this 1976 film. You’ve got Sean Connery as Robin, Audrey Hepburn as Marian, Nicol Williamson as Little John, Robert Shaw as Sheriff of Nottingham, Richard Harris as King Richard, and Denholm Elliott as Will Scarlet. That just…wild.

1981 – 40 Year Anniversaries

Baby Sam Neill in Omen 3. (Photo: Fox) Baby Sam Neill in Omen 3. (Photo: Fox)

Scanners (January 14) Unfortunately we missed this one by a month but it’s always a good time to celebrate exploding heads with David Cronenberg.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman (January 30) Lily Tomlin stars as, you guessed it, a woman who shrinks and begins to see the world from a whole new perspective. It’s not exactly a beloved classic or anything but Joel Schumacher directed it and you get Charles Grodin and Ned Beatty along with Tomlin.

My Bloody Valentine (February 11) My Bloody Valentine is about a masked killer who murders a bunch of people at a Valentine’s Day party. You know. Something very relatable considering the recent holiday and people who like to celebrate unsafely during a pandemic.

Omen III: The Final Conflict (March 20) By the time you get to the third in most horror franchises the quality has dropped significantly. Which is the case with Omen III. But, Sam Neill does star as the antichrist Damien in one of his earliest U.S. roles. And that’s worth celebrating.

1986 – 35 Year Anniversaries

Double Connery! Here he is in Highlander. (Photo: Lionsgate) Double Connery! Here he is in Highlander. (Photo: Lionsgate)

House (February 18) The team behind the first few Friday the 13th movies stepped back from that franchise for this unique — at the time — blend of horror and comedy which spawned multiple sequels.

Highlander (March 7) Is it just me or does it feel like Highlander is older than this? I would’ve sworn it came out in 1981 or something. But no, 1986 was the first time we met immortal swordsman Connor MacLeod, learned of the eternal battle between Highlanders, and found out that “There can be only one.”

GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords (March 21) If you grew up in the 1980s, and the Transformers were sold out, there were always GoBots. The less cool, but still pretty cool, shape-changing robots also had a movie in 1986, though it’s far less memorable than the counterpart.

1991 – 30 Year Anniversaries

Turtles 2 forever.  (Photo: New Line) Turtles 2 forever. (Photo: New Line)

The Silence of the Lambs (February 14) Just as a brand new TV show sequel hits the air, it’s time to celebrate 30 years of one of the best films ever made, period. The chilling tale is as creepy and incredible now as it was then and deserved all the accolades it did, and continues, to get.

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Defending Your Life (March 22) Albert Brooks movies always have the most incredible premises and 1986’s Defending Your Life is no different. He plays a man who must defend the choices he made in life in order to enter the afterlife, resulting in all manner of humour and heart.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (March 22) I’d like to say in March of 1991 I was into Anthony Hopkins’ serial killer or Albert Brooks films. But that would be a lie. Instead, I was very, very into Ninja Turtles, especially Secret of the Ooze because of Super Shredder and, of course, Vanilla Ice. Go ninja, go Ninja, Go!

1996 – 25 Year Anniversaries

Muppet Treasure Island (Photo: Disney) Muppet Treasure Island (Photo: Disney)

From Dusk Till Dawn (January 17) It’s early 1996. Everyone was getting around to seeing Pulp Fiction for the 10th time and had just seen Desperado a few times, then…bam! Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teamed up with then-rising stars George Clooney and Salma Hayek for this gross, hilarious, action horror movie.

Muppet Treasure Island (February 16) Though not my favourite of the Muppet movies, Muppet Treasure Island does somehow feel a bit more accomplished and grand than the others. Probably because of all the pirate ships. And it’s still the freaking Muppets so it’s great. Plus, Tim Curry.

2001 – 20 Year Anniversaries

Spy Kids! (Photo: Dimension) Spy Kids! (Photo: Dimension)

Hannibal (February 9) Ten years after the original film, Anthony Hopkins (but not Jodie Foster) returned to this horrifying world. This Ridley Scott thriller is nowhere near as good as that masterpiece but does have an incredible cast — Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta — and an unforgettable moment with a brain. You know the one.

Memento (March 16) Sure, some people saw Following, but for most of us, we met one of the great filmmakers in modern cinema 20 years ago. Christopher Nolan’s Memento was, and remains, incredible, by unfolding a mystery starting at the end and working back to the beginning. It’s a movie you can watch again and again and just feel stunned at its genius and artistry.

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Spy Kids (March 30) Big anniversary year for Robert Rodriguez, huh? From Dusk Till Dawn in 1996 and five years later, the family-friendly story of little kids who become spies to save their parents. This movie was such a big hit, 20 years later, Rodriguez is coming back to do it all over again.

Also: Valentine (February 2).

2006 – 15 Year Anniversaries

V for Vendetta (Photo: Warner Bros.) V for Vendetta (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Hostel (January 6) When Eli Roth’s Hostel came out, no one was ready. It all seemed so innocent. A bunch of American tourists in Europe get captured. But then, when rich people start paying to torture them, well, it got super messed up. But in a great way.

V For Vendetta (March 17) We talk a lot of comic book adaptations these days but one that should be mentioned a lot more is the James McTeigue-directed, Wachowskis-written V for Vendetta. Based on the Alan Moore/David Lloyd comic, this exciting, thought-provoking, arse-kicking mind melter of a film is an under-appreciated masterpiece.

Slither (March 31) How Slither isn’t a movie everyone knows these days is beyond me. It’s the handiwork of writer-director James Gunn (from that tiny franchise Guardians of the Galaxy) and stars Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks in a horror movie about disgusting slug things. Incredibly gross, incredibly gory, incredibly awesome.

Also: Final Destination 3 (February 10), Ultraviolet (March 3), The Hills Have Eyes (March 10).

2011 – 10 Year Anniversaries

The crew in Paul. (Photo: Universal) The crew in Paul. (Photo: Universal)

Paul (February 14) I feel like I have to watch Paul again. Because sitting here thinking about it, I’m wondering: “Why isn’t this movie more beloved?” It’s got Simon Pegg and Nick Frost playing nerds who find an alien, voiced by Seth Rogen, and they go to Comic-Con. I really enjoyed it when it came out but I guess maybe it was a bit too on the nose for me, personally.

Rango (February 14) In a time when Pixar was straight up dominating the animation game, Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski stole the spotlight ever so briefly with this wacky, but great, movie about a chameleon voiced by Johnny Depp.

Attack the Block (March 12) OK, I’m cheating. Attack the Block wasn’t released in the U.S until July and it came out in the U.K in May. But, March 12, 2011 was when it had its world premiere at the South by Southwest film festival and the buzz was so massive, it instantly started building its legacy. Plus, it’s a movie that’s so good, we can celebrate it March, May, and July.

Sucker Punch (March 25) Zack Snyder’s dystopian look at mental health through the eyes of a brothel is, well, weird. Everyone was so pumped about it after seeing the wildly ambitious trailer but, ultimately, the movie didn’t quite hold up. And yet, the cast is so great — Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, and Oscar Issaac — for a 10 year anniversary, why not give it another spin? It does have a fantastic soundtrack.

Also: The Adjustment Bureau (February 14), I Am Number Four (February 18), Beastly (March 4), Red Riding Hood (March 7), Battle: Los Angeles (March 8), Mars Needs Mums (March 11), Rio (March 22).