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Great Steampunk Movies For Kids

Updated on May 28, 2013

Trailer For "The Golden Compass"

What Is Steampunk

Steampunk is a sub genre of science fiction with roots dating back to the turn of the 18th century. Even thought the word and the genre were created in the mid '80's the themes and ideas embraced by steampunk have been evident in science fiction since the time of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. At the core, steampunk is science fiction based on a historical perspective. The most common scenarios occur in Victorian England, the Wild West, WWI and WWII, The Civil War and many other frames of historical reference. The central unifying them is that the stories are set in an alternate and highly advanced society in which scientific advancement progressed upon different lines than reality.

Other authors who have contributed to steampunk

  • Jules Vern
  • Mary Shelley
  • Ian Flemming
  • HG Wells

The Golden Compass Is Classic Steampunk

Great Movie, Deep Slightly Dark Themes

The Golden Compass is the first in a series of novels by Phillip Pullman . These stories are well loved by children old and young alike. What many of them do not know is that the series is classicly steampunk. The story takes place on a world parallel to our own. There are many similarities but there are also numerous differences. The differences are what sparks the story of a young girl named Myra who follows a trail of tantalizing clues to find a hidden conspiracy only she can thwart.

Along the way she meets a people called the "Gyptians" who resemble our own gypsies. She also meets interesting characters such as an air ship piloting cowboy played by Sam Elliot and a War Bear she helps to regain his kingdom. There are some deep running themes that touch on the nature of spirituality so be prepared to answer questions or have discussions with your kids. One of these has to do with the animal spirits called daemons which accompany each person.

At the beginning of the movie watchers are informed that the story takes place on one of many parallel worlds. On this world in particular the spirits of people are contained within the animal daemons. The daemons are like companions or pets and show a high degree of intelligence and loyalty. The characters in the story can be affected by touching or threatening their daemons. One of the main themes of the movie is a plot to experiment with removing the daemons from stolen children.

The Golden Compass embodies steampunk in several ways. Parallel universe is one of many ways to define what a steam punk story is. Since the Golden Compass is a sci-fi/fantasy story set in a parallel universe it is by default a steampunk novel. After that things like the clothing and machinery help to cement the movie in its standings as a steampunk movie. The costumes are a blend of Victorian attire with elements from the Old West, the Roaring Twenties, knights in armor other adventure stories. The machinery depicted in the movie comes straight from the steampunk list of standard machines and include clockworks and highly advanced dirigible airships.

John Carter Is Based On Edgar Rice Buroughs Book

John Carter Of Mars is a character in a series of books written by Edgar Rice Boroughs. This series is widely recognized as an early precursor to modern steampunk.
John Carter Of Mars is a character in a series of books written by Edgar Rice Boroughs. This series is widely recognized as an early precursor to modern steampunk. | Source

John Carter Is A Good Steampunk Movie

Great Movie, Fast Action, Some Violence

John Carter did not get great reviews when it was released because too many people were expecting the movie to more closely resemble its inspiration "John Carter Of Mars", a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs featured John Carter in a series of novels in the Barsoom Novels. Carter is a Civil War era ex-military man whose search for gold led him to be transported to Mars. After his first appearance on Mars a series of adventures and subsequent trips back to Mars ensues throughout the series.

The movie does not hold true to the original story in ways that have upset the hard core sci-fi and Burroughs enthusiast. However, the original series appeared in several different forms and was even featured in comics and other pulp printings such as The Big Little Book. When taken out of the context of its history Disney's production of John Carter From Mars is a great sci-fi steampunk movie.

The movie is a great example of what the Disney studios can do with a good story and a big budget. I just hope that the movies reviews and response in the theaters does not keep them from making the sequel. The movie is full of action and includes many fight scenes it is balanced by interesting characters, plots and sub plots. I highly recommend this movie to any family with children who love science fiction movies.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Steampunk Costumes

Steampunk Costumes For Kids

Steampunk is a great theme for kids costumes. They are easy to make, can be made from a wide variety of items and can be as serious or as whimsical as your child. The base of any great steampunk costume is the clothing. An outfit from Victorian or Edwardian England, a Cowboy suit or a pinstripe gangster suit all make good bases. Just remember, whatever you pick it should look old. One Idea I have seen was a a '70's disco steampunker.

Once you have the base costume you have to add the embellishments. This is where the costume gets really fun. Two easy to add items are a hat and goggles. Steampunk goggles are perhaps the most iconic of all the things that distinguish a steampunk costume from a set of old clothes. The goggles are important because everything in a steampunk world operates on steam, it is necessary to protect your eyes from the steam. Another way to accessorize is with a pair of heavy work gloves for the same reason as the goggles. If it helps picture Dick Van Dyke in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He wore an Edwardian era costume highlighted by goggles, gloves and other items that tied him to his wonderful car.

The idea is to have as odd a combination as possible. The use of a leather or rubber apron does not fit with a white lab coat. Add to that a pair of googles with dark lenses and perhaps a switch or lever for increased effect. All of a sudden a tame doctor outfit is now a steampunk mad scientist! bwahahahaha!. The same runs true for other costumes. An ordinary safari costume that includes a pith helmet reaches new heights when you add in a pair of goggles, some funky equipment and an oversized revolver. The combinations are endless.

Steampunk Costume Accessories

  • Hat - Pith helmet, leather pilot helmet, top hat, cowboy hat
  • Goggles - leather straps, rubber straps, metal rims, screws
  • Gloves/Apron - leather or rubber
  • Weapons - Fanciful, oversized/cartoonish
  • Instruments/Tools - Odd, oversized or unusual looking
  • Gears/Wheels - clockworkds, springs, gears, cogs, nuts and bolts
  • Hoses/Gauges - hoses, wires, cables and gauges

Learn how to make your own steampunk goggles here!

Ideas For Steampunk Costumes

  • Inventor - White or leather apron, gloves, goggles, wild hair
  • Airship Pilot - Pilot helmet, goggles, gloves, long scarf
  • Mad Scientist - crazy goggles, rubber gloves/apron, crazy oversize tools
  • Ghostbusters - tan jumpsuit, proton pack and gun, ghost trap
  • Time Traveler - goggle, gloves, travel coat, bag of tricks, scarf
  • Clockwork man - giant key, gears, cogs,
  • Space Traveler - space suit/travel suit, helmet/face mask/goggles, tools/weapons

Steampunk Costumes For Kids

Steampunk adds a fun element to any costume idea.
Steampunk adds a fun element to any costume idea. | Source


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    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Great post on the Steampunk movement. I had posted my 100th article on this topic and saw your posts next to mine.

    • Geekdom profile image


      7 years ago

      I had never heard of the term Steampunk before, but apparently I have been a fan of it for year. Who knew? Thanks for the fun read.


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