When in comes to SF movies, there’s a guilty pleasure constantly hovering above our heads. Admit it or not, there’s at least one SF movie we keep in our hearts, despite our not being the type who would enjoy such a movie in all circumstances. They are so diverse, that they cannot hit a nerve. Let’s take a look at 6 SF movie masterpieces.
They go way beyond space ships and aliens. They can be metaphysical, indeed, and also the perfect guide to personal revelations as they constantly nurture our imagination and accurately predict the future.
1. STALKER – Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979
Based on the novel Picnic By The Roadside, written by brothers Boris and Arkady Sturgatsky, Tarkovsky’s film follows an absorbing character as he is guided by the “stalker,” who leads people into a secluded room that’s said to turn dreams into reality. But don’t expect dream sequences full of visual effects. Tarkovsky creates a hidden tension and revelation using various color schemes and editing tricks. But this movie is a must-see. It’s revolutionary without making a boast; it’s science fiction without the visuals.
2. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND – Steven Spielberg, 1977
According to this film, aliens are friendly beings, despite first impressions. Spielberg, who both wrote and directed Close Encounters, answered the eternal question “Are we alone?” with an optimistic: “No, and we’ve got some pretty adorable and friendly neighbors beyond those stars.” Back in 1977, that a daring position to take, especially since UFO interest was at its peak and Hollywood was full of paranoia that took advantage of this newly installed movie inclination that only nurtured it and increased its impact.
3. METROPOLIS – Fritz Lang, 1927
Credited as being the first feature-length movie in the sci-fi genre, Metropolis is the cultural legacy of Lang’s visions of the future that cannot be over stated. That’s a good thing, considering it took a budget worthy of 20 pictures of the day therefore easily making it the most expensive movie made at the time. It’s all about the urban dystopia and it’s a feast for the eyes, inspiring awe with its large-scale cityscapes, overcrowded set pieces, and iconic shot of a female robot given life through Frankenstein-style electrical experimentation.
4. 2001-A SPACE ODYSSEY – Stanley Kubrick, 1968
Divided into four main parts, the monkeys, proto-Roy Scheider Heywood Floyd’s mission to the moon, the Discovery One’s Jupiter flight, and the LSD finale, the film’s plot is about an alien monolith that is discovered by astronauts, and how it leads to a close encounter of the third kind. But it also discusses our evolution, where we are heading; this film could never become outdated. It’s simply overwhelming.
5. SOLARIS – Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972
Tarkovsky started work on an adaptation of Stanis?aw Lem’s philosophical science-fiction novel in 1968, novel that posited the existence of solaristics – the study of an outlying star system that had bizarre effects on human psychology. Tarkovsky took this idea, and turned it into an interrogation on faith, memory and the transfiguring power of love.
6. BLADE RUNNER – Ridley Scott, 1982
It is based on Philip K Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It also borrowed its title from William S Burroughs. Blade Runner follows a detective called Rick Deckard as he hunts down a group of replicas. The magic of this movie is that it’s technically anything but old school, despite its noir influences. It explores all the major themes of humanity, from environment to religion. Blade Runner, however, was completely misunderstood when it was released.
The list goes on and on, that’s for sure. But all of the above, despite being classical, are life-changing due to their being so full of meaning, tension, questions and introspection. Except for Blade Runner, they are perhaps less known by the younger public. That’s why they should definitely be given a chance.