Top 10 Science-Fiction Films of All-Time
‘A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. ~ IMDB’
Gattaca is a Sci-Fi that just entered my consensus recently with its Blu-ray release and now every time I recommend a good science-fiction movie, this is the one I say. A wonderfully casted film, Gattaca delights with the talent of Ethan Hawk, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law. The film was directed and written by Andrew Niccol who also wrote one of my favorite drama’s in The Truman Show. Gattaca brings an interesting dilemma into the world which could very well be possible someday, that parents would be able to choose which genetics would form their offspring. This would certainly bring even more separation of power and wealth though and create seemingly unattainable dreams for those who weren’t genetically engineered correctly. I love the climax of this film as well. A swimming contest between two brothers and the limitations that arise during the contest between them. Gattaca probably doesn’t get mentioned enough, but now it is.
4. Star Wars V – The Empire Strikes Back
Yoda: You must unlearn what you have learned.
Growing up I was always partial to the first Star Wars film, A New Hope. I suppose it has a great deal of promise for the franchise and the heroes coming out ahead was great. As a film though, Empire Strikes Back is superior. At every turn there is something impossible for the heroes to overcome. Luke goes from being trapped on Hoth to losing his hand. Solo gets captured, frozen, and sold to a crime lord. The empire has learned from their mistakes in the first film and effectively destroyed much of the hope that was found. I find the greatest success of Empire Strikes Back is that even though it is a middle film in a trilogy, it easily stands on its own and comes with an intense sense of despair.
3. The Matrix
What The Matrix brought to the table of Sci-Fi is a new frontier of special effects. The most famous of course being ‘bullet time’ which was copied by countless others, but none would be able to claim that technique like The Matrix. The characters were believable within their framework, although it could be argued some of the humans acted as robotic as the machines. I’ve seen Matrix more times than I care to remember and it is certainly one of my favorite films ever. Matrix, while being original in its own right, borrows heavily from Japanese animation tropes. The Wachowski‘s have cited influence from Japan before and specifically The Matrix has some typical power-up clichés and can easily be linked to Ghost in the Shell as well. I’m not sure how it would play to audiences today, but when it was unleashed on the world in the late nineties it was definitely genre defining. I was blow away back then and today I can easily re-watch the film and bask in the glory of the famous corridor shooting scene.
2. Blade Runner
Rick Deckard, a blade runner, must find and terminate four rouge replicants. Even the synopsis of Blade Runner would lead audiences to believe they were in for a typical Sci-Fi adventure from Harrison Ford. Little did they know they’d get a classic that ruminates on the meaning of life and what it means to live. Blade Runner certainly has a strong foundation, being loosely based on a Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep. I love how the story has such a small scope. The replicants don’t want to destroy the world or enslave humanity, they just want the ability to live longer in the world. Blade Runner showed how mainstream fare could harbor a unique vision and captivate audiences over twenty years later.
Well, this isn’t much of a surprise is it? While I’ll admit 2001 may not be the most entertaining film on this list (I would probably place Blade Runner higher in that regard), but it is the most influential Science-Fiction film ever. It is also the film that influenced me the most in my venture to study film. It is amazing that scenes in 2001 were completed without the use of CGI. The musical score has become synonymous with space exploration when before it stood on its own as classical music. Stanley Kubrick didn’t want to just make a Science-Fiction film, he wanted to make the most realistic space exploration film ever. I would be short-sighting 2001, if I failed to mention HAL 9000. An antagonist that AFI named the 13th greatest villain of all time. HAL’s chilling computer tone, containing much of the spoken dialog in the film, adds to the desolation of space. Stanley Kubrick, a master of many genres, created the best Science-Fiction film ever made.