Posts Tagged ‘cinematography’

Decided to make a list of my personal favourite sic-fi movies. Here are my Top 5. The list goes in chronological order (by the year of move release):

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The apotheosis of space sci-fi cinematography. The movie is almost half a century old now, yet it’s still unbeaten in its genre. Scientific realism, technical details, high production values, deep themes that cover everything from evolution of the Humankind to our strive to explore to the issues with the artificial intelligence – everything is put together perfectly, making 2001: A Space Odyssey a prime example of what the true Science Fiction should be about. An absolute must-see. Lots food for thought this movie gives you. (by the way, I think it was the first movie that had computer generated graphics in it)

Gattaca (1997). A movie about dystopian future society in which each person’s place is predetermined by his/her genes. It kind of depicts what could have happened if nazis had won – eugenics, ultimate biological determinism, cast systems, among other things. But the main message is about the importance of strong free will that can help you overcome the boundaries through hard work. The movie is about personal character and how it is possible to reach the stars if you have the right determination. A must-watch.

The Matrix (1999). My personal favourite movie of all times. The film is brilliant on multiple levels, appealing to a wide range of aesthetic, emotional and intellectual senses. It’s one of those works that you have to re-watch at different ages, because, as you grow older, you start noticing new details and uncover new themes in this multi-layered work of art. I first saw it when I was 8. I was instantly blown away by the fight scenes and the special effect. When I was in my early teens, the movie was getting me with the brilliant atmosphere and the overall cyberpunk aesthetics (e. g. the soundtrack, which is beyond amazing; it played a huge role in forming my taste in music: The Prodigy, Rob Zombie, Lunatic Calm, Ministry, Fluke, Juno Reactor, even Paul Oakenfold, who wrote proper, non-BS trance music for this project, among many other artists). As I grew older, I began seeing the philosophical and religious themes expressed in the movie. The Wachowski brothers did an outstanding job at playing with jungian archetypes and various ambiguous elements, making the movie resonate strongly with various people. The Matrix is not sci-fi about science per se (everyone who understands the basic law of conservation of energy will laugh at the core scientific concept of the film), but it’s about the deep symbolism, and the subtle details. The movie could be seen as a giant metaphor for the post-modernistic world we live in. Replace the machines with the financial elites and the Matrix with the mainstream media and our current socio-economic structure, and we will get a pretty accurate description of the times we live in.

Equilibrium (2002). A much less known sic-fi movie with Christian Bale. It’s about a dystopian post-WW3 society the citizens of which are forced to pharmacologically repress all the emotions to avoid future conflicts. It is quite apparent that the creators of this movie were inspired by The Matrix. In fact, it could be referred to as “The Matrix Light”. Similar themes (a system that represses society’s most human virtues in order to stay afloat, a hero who breaks free and joins a few in resistance to fight it), similar aesthetics (e. g. costume designs and fight scenes), all conveyed at a rather sound level. I wouldn’t say that this movie is an absolute must-watch, but I would recommend it anyway, especially to those who like the sub-genre. I, personally, love it.

Interstellar (2014). A truly brilliant masterpiece. Probably the best space sic-fi since 2001: A Space Odyssey. I haven’t seen anything that would touch me that much in a very long time. The movie is not perfect, there have been some questions raised about the scientific accuracy (although Interstellar touches the topics that are still subjected to theoretical research, and, therefore, Christopher Nolan had the right to make certain extrapolations in the ways he saw them), some of the moments in the plot are also questionable, but it’s not a big issue. The movie is about the Human character, about human strive for survival, compassion, progress and exploration. The movie shows how one selfish jerk can destroy the entire Human race, and how another selfish jerk can save it if they stop being a selfish jerk and try to develop thoughtful compassion and understanding of other’s motives. Interstellar is one of those rare movies that deliver a message (rather than aiming to merely entertain the audience; although visual effects, soundtrack and acting are superb in this film), it raises many grand questions and makes you think. It’s one of those true Science Fiction movies that make you more complete. A true masterpiece. A must-watch.

Bonus. A couple of sic-fi movies that are among my personal favourites that everyone seems to hate: Contact (1997) with Jodie Foster and I Am Legend (2007) with Will Smith.
Also, a couple of my favourite (formally) sic-fi movies that are more valuable as cinematic works on their own, rather than the works of Science Fiction: Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Men In Black and The Avengers (yes, I loved the Avengers! extremely entertaining).