To say I’m a big Science Fiction fan is a bit of an understatement. I’ve watched a huge amount of it in the course of my life, and I’ll undoubtedly continue to do so over the rest of my life. The simple fact, I think, is that for the most part, Science Fiction is about hope. Hope not necessarily for a better future, but for a future, and in a world rapidly that’s rapidly populating, facing massive climate change and economic madness, without even thinking about lunatics with weapons of mass destruction, a genre that entertains the idea of a future is pretty appealing.
I am somewhat particular in what I watch when it comes to Science Fiction though. Unlike 99% of the geek world, for instance, I think that all six Star Wars movies are amongst the most pathetically written tripe that’s ever raped our eyes and ears through the big screen. Well, particularly the 3 prequel movies.
That being said, there are definitely some Science Fiction movies that I think everyone should see. This of course is not a definitive list, it’s just my list.
Anyone who has read my blog has probably seen me say “Monsters of the Id!” from time to time. If you want to see the movie that started this meme, and a movie with depth way out of its time (the 1950s), then book yourself a good couple of hours on the couch to watch this one.
This gem from Germany was released in 2004, and despite being a comedy science fiction movie, and a gay movie as well, it’s a hilarious romp through space and time. It also has fantastic musical numbers:
OK, I’m not one myself for horror movies, and Alien most definitely falls into the classic horror category, but it’s also a brilliant piece of Science Fiction writing. It showed the world what an amazing actress Sigourney Weaver was, and started a whole universe of imagination.
Now, some might say that Pleasantville isn’t technically science fiction, but I say – any movie about people being sucked into an alternate reality TV world sounds pretty much like science fiction to me! It’s a real heart-tugger too, looking at discrimination, conformity and the 50’s in a whole new colour. Take the time to watch this one, you really won’t be disappointed.
OK, I’ll admit that I have a real thing for Vin Diesel. If they made a movie with him wearing just his underpants while reciting prime numbers for two hours, I’d not only go and see it but I’d be queueing for the Blu Ray – mainly thanks to his voice. Pitch Black in many ways owes its genre to Alien, but it was also a great modern take on the monster-alien style movie. Not all monsters are aliens though, and Pitch Black certainly explored that aspect of humanity.
I loved this movie so much that I bought it for my brother for a xmas present, and for years now it’s haunted me because every time the topic of the movie comes up he’s convinced I gave it to him as a great practical joke. He didn’t take the time to watch it seriously, and I bet he talked all the way through it, too. That being said, if you take the time to watch Donnie Darko properly, you’ll be blown away.
I’m not normally one for pseudo-apocalyptic movies, but I went into Sunshine known absolutely nothing about the movie, and walked out thinking it was the best science fiction movie I’d seen in probably a decade. To me, it still stands the test of time. Like all great science fiction movies, it’s not about vast space battles and futuristic technology – it’s about the human condition in a world just slightly removed from our own.
The Fifth Element
OK, like Vin Diesel, I also have a bit of a thing for Bruce Willis, and that’s undoubtedly what drew me to this movie originally. However, a breed apart from most science fiction, this movie manages to blend humour with an apocalyptic style story, as well as a love story, while still being thoroughly entertaining. It also has an amazing piece of original opera that’ll leave you with goosebumps.
Undoubtedly, there’s other contenders for me. I’d be reluctant to finish this off without recommending the most recent Star Trek movie, where the entire franchise was effectively rebooted. Star Trek for me had become so sterile and prissy that it was a welcome change, and allowed me to be interested in that story universe again. Equally, I’m a sucker for Michael Shanks and Stargate in general, so for me a must-see movie would be Stargate The Ark of Truth, but only after you’ve watched all ten seasons of Stargate SG-1. Similarly, I’d say you should most definitely watch Serenity, but only after you’ve watched Firefly.
Have I missed out some movies? Undoubtedly. But make sure you watch those ones!