Science fiction, or for short sci-fi, is a wide and rich genre of movies. Sci-fi movies usually include topics such as parallel universe, time travel, future technologies, and extraterrestrial life. It is generally called the literature of ideas since it explores the possible outcomes of innovations in the context of social, scientific, and technological areas .
The genre may be hard to define because of the vast topics it encompasses, but one good definition is what Isaac Asimov, the writer of many popular science fiction books, states. “Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology.”
The genre makes us think about the relationship between future and our now. It is a highly creative field where ideas turn into realities all the time. This is one of the reasons why I recommend watching sci-fi movies once in a while. To broaden our vision and open our eyes to the limitless possibilities of the future. These five movies I picked are one of my all time favourites and also easy to watch. Grab your popcorn and let’s dive into the sci-fi world.
The Matrix Trilogy directed by The Wachowskis
During the year 1999, a man named Thomas Anderson (also known as Neo), lives an ordinary life. A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal – from what or whom he doesn’t know – until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus. A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long.
You probably heard of this series or watched at least the first one. The Matrix is one of the classics and the cornerstones of sci-fi. The first movie was the highest-grossing movie of the year and also won four Academy Awards, including Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects. The sequels did not create much of an impact as the first one, but were still pretty good.
So what makes The Matrix so crucial to watch?
One of the reasons was the cast. It included many important names such as Keanu Reeves, Laurance Fishburne, and Carrie-Anne Moss. They all played their parts amazingly in the movie.
The most important reason that made the movie successful is, I think, that it makes us wonder. The movie manages to create questions we still ask today. It feeds into and off of human paranoia and fascination at the same time. It bends our perception about reality and touches on philosophical topics that many of us don’t think about in the business of our lives. After you watch it, however, you stop for a while and rethink your life. This creates many what-if questions in the watcher’s mind. Are we real?
Minority Report directed by Steven Speilberg
It is the near future, a future where murders have become so common, that a system had to be established. This system is called “Precrime”, where 3 psychics can predict murders before they happen. Allowing police to stop the murders. This system is in production in Washington D.C. Where police officer John Anderton (who lost his son to a murder 6 years previous) has stopped numerous murders in his career. One day, he found out that he is the next person to commit a murder. Now, he is running away from a system he helped become successful, and trying to find out why he was set up to commit murder.
As a sci-fi action movie starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton, Minority Report received plenty of awards, one of them is an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing. The movie is based on the short story of Philip K. Dick’s The Minority Report written in 1956.
Even though it is mainly seen as an action movie, Minority Report tackles today’s ongoing issues such as government surveillance, free will’s war with determinism, and the power of the media. The movie speaks to our conscience. If a crime was about to be committed, should we arrest that person? Would they change their mind possibly? Can our system really be perfect? As technology develops, how independent can we be from the system?
Now more than ever, we are facing privacy issues. Our telephones, smartwatches, smart house systems… They are all collecting data and we don’t know what is going on in their analysing process. So I think the movie, despite being an extreme example, makes us consider our own future.
There are a lot of predictions that came true after Minority Report, here are some great examples
Snowpiercer directed by Bong Joon-ho
Set in 2031, the entire world is frozen except for those aboard the Snowpiercer. For seventeen years, the world’s survivors are on a train hurtling around the globe creating their own economy and class system. Led by Curtis (Chris Evans), a group of lower-class citizens living in squalor at the back of the train are determined to get to the front of the train and spread the wealth around. Each section of the train holds new surprises for the group who have to battle their way through. A revolution is underway.
There are many things that make Snowpiercer a must watch movie. It stars Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris. The actors, plot, and camera works are all fabulous. It focuses on issues that we still face in the world. The results of climate change, social class systems, and inequalities we try to decrease, and conservative economic policies.
The movie includes many symbolisms but the ultimate message the director wants to give is; as long as the system exists, people who have the will to change are, in the end, chewed up by it. In his view, the only thing that can change the system is terminating the system completely even if it means consequences in terms of lives. While I leave the comment to you, I suggest everyone watch it.
Children of Men directed by Alfonso Cuarón
With this dystopian world ravished by war, paranoia, and the frustrations of Man, the Orwellian vision of 1984, the totalitarian future is now complete and amongst us. With female fertility becoming obsolete, Man cannot reproduce, and no child has been born on the face of the Earth for eighteen years. Man, and his future, is dying. Soon he shall be extinct. Theo, the beaten, downtrodden and middle-aged ex-political activist will, unwittingly, become involved in a war of an underground revolt. Here, he is active once more, in the perilous journey across England’s home counties, with a young girl, Kee, who, to Theo’s bewilderment, is pregnant. The first pregnant woman for more than eighteen years. This secret must be protected, at all cost, and mother and child must flee to the mysterious and enigmatic Human Project, across the seas. Their flight is a constant fight for survival. Who can be trusted? Who can keep a secret?
Based on P.D.James’s novel The Children of Men, the movie has been nominated for various awards such as an Academy and a BAFTA. It stars Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, and Chiwetel Wijofor as the main characters.
Children of Men revolves around hope, faith, and religion as main themes, but also gives maybe an insight, in regards of – intolerant policies, capitalist consumerism, military violence, and refugee policies. The movie also has many references to books, paintings, and sculptures.
In our lives, we tend to focus on the main events related to our stories. When we watch a movie, we are also likely to follow the main character as well. What makes Children of Men so special is in the background, we see things we ignore in real life as well. What I mean by ignoring is the ongoing issues we forget in the busyness of life. Poverty, refugee issues, violence, abuse, pollution. Most of the time we don’t emphasize enough about the world’s problems and solutions. In the movie, these issues occur as subtle plot points.
Interstellar by Cristopher Nolan
In the near future around the American Midwest, Cooper, an ex-science engineer and pilot, is tied to his farming land with his daughter Murph and son Tom. As devastating sandstorms ravage Earth’s crops, the people of Earth realize their life here is coming to an end as food begins to run out. Eventually stumbling upon a N.A.S.A. based near Cooper’s home, he is asked to go on a daring mission with a few other scientists into a wormhole because of Cooper’s scientific intellect and ability to pilot aircraft unlike the other crew members. In order to find a new home while Earth decays, Cooper must decide to either stay, or risk never seeing his children again in order to save the human race by finding another habitable planet.
This was one of the few movies I cried while watching. The acting, plot, visuals, and music, everything fits so well together. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Irwin. Even though the movie might be seen as a mere space journey on the outside, it actually contains a spiritual and emotional journey into simple human desires such as home and family.
It connects the cold blackness of space with the intimacy of human relationships. Moreover, it reminds us the only thing we can stick to is our memories compared to the fragility of time, which in the end will be lost also. Despite everything that is going to happen, we will still push our boundaries in this world and explore.