Do you find yourself intrigued by time travel and alien worlds? Do interstellar travel and futuristic dystopia open your mind to worlds of possibility?
The science fiction genre has been popular with audiences and critics alike, and encompass themes from extraterrestrial life to robot invasions, often blending social issues and philosophical ruminations into the larger-than-life action and special effects. If you wish to challenge your curiosity and explore unknown worlds from the comfort of your couch, look no further- here are the top 10 science fiction movies to give your mind food for thought.
A 1999 science-fiction action film starring Keanu Reeves, the Wachowski’s dystopian cyberpunk futuristic drama has become a classic in the science fiction genre. The first of the three-movie Matrix franchise features the computer-generated dream world “matrix”, trapping sedated humans within it. The film tracks the hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and the Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne)-led cyber rebels as they plan to crack the virtual world’s framework to free the sedated humans from the control of the Matrix.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, described as “an epic drama of adventure and exploration”, has been hailed as an iconic classic in the science-fiction genre. “2001: A Space Odyssey” centers around the discovery of a black monolith on the lunar surface in the future as mission pilots and scientists Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) embark on a quest to find its origins, aided by the iconic supercomputer H.A.L. 9000 (Douglas Rain).
Written and directed by George Lucas, “Star Wars” released in 1977 starring Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford was the first installment of the original Star Wars series, which would go on to achieve international fame and expand into a multi-film franchise. The film is set in a fictional universe inhabited by humans and alien species alike, and charts the heroic journey of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as he gets caught in the conflicts between the Rebel Alliance and the tyrannical Galactic Empire.
The James Cameron award-winning blockbuster broke all records, becoming the second highest grossing film of all time. The epic science fiction film centers on a paraplegic marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) as he replaces his Na’vi human-hybrid counterpart on Pandora to explore the planet’s biosphere. The film tracks Jake’s burgeoning love for another Na’vi Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), as he attempts to win the confidence of the Na’vi clan, all events culminating in an epic battle for the survival of the alien world and its alien inhabitants.
The 1982 Harrison Ford-starrer is set in a dystopic cyberpunk future world where humans are replaced by their replicant humanoid androids bio-engineered to work in space colonies. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a “blade runner”, must come out of retirement to reprise his role as a replicant-terminating cop when four rogue Nexus-6 replicants illegally escape one of the space colonies and land on Earth.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in the titular role, the James Cameron-directed box-office hit tracks the cyborg assassin’s mission to go back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) to prevent her unborn son from preventing the A.I.-mounted mass extinction in a post-apocalyptic future. The larger-than-life special effects makes it a must-watch, as its popularity launched it into a multi-movie franchise.
This 1979 science fiction horror film is considered as one of the greatest films of all time, its iconic tagline “In space, no one can hear you scream” gripping the attention of millions in its time. Winning an academy award for special effects, the film follows the Nostromo spaceship crew, as their response to a distress call leads to widespread mayhem as they encounter aggressive attacks from alien lifeforms attempting to take over the ship. The Ridley Scot directed film stars Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt and Tom Skerritt in leading roles.
E.T.- The Extra-terrestrial
A Steven Spielberg film, the 1982 boy-meets-alien film broke all records to become the highest grossing film at the time, winning four academy awards for visual effects and sound score. The film narrates the innocent bond of friendship between the troubled child Eliott Taylor (Henry Thomas) and the stranded alien “E.T.”, as he and his siblings Michael (Robert McNaughtan) and Gertie (Drew Barrymore) attempt to send the friendly alien back to his home.
Set in a dystopic future gradually eroded by the crop-eating “Blight”, the 2014 dystopic space thriller charts the course of ex-NASA pilot-turned farmer Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a group of three other astronauts as they are humanity’s last hope in searching for a new home planet in a distant galaxy. Also starring Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine, the film was dubbed an “intergalactic extravaganza” as it seamlessly fused complex scientific problems and vivid special effects with fundamental human emotions and soulful father-daughter relationships given life by Hans Zimmer’s score.
Back to the Future
Back to the Future is a 1985 time-travelling “comic-strip” film, considered a landmark of American cinema and popular culture. The film features a young Michael J. Fox in the role of Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as the eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett Brown, as Marty goes back in time using the scientist’s time-travelling DeLorean. Praised for the cast, story and comedic plots, the film went on to become the highest-grossing film worldwide in 1985.