8 Films: Science Fiction

Looper (2012). Deadpool 2 owes as much to Looper as it does Terminator 2. And like Deadpool 2, some things in Looper may not make sense when you really think about it. But just like Deadpool’s second coming, Looper asks a difficult moral question: Is it right to kill a child, a future criminal, only so you can have your love one(s) back?

Back to the Future (1985). What are you gonna do when you’re suddenly transported back to the past and endangers your own existence? Well, be creative and pretend you’re an alien armed with a Walkman and a dose of ’80s rock/metal. Make sure your parents meet-cute happens. And play “Johnnie B. Goode” during your parents’ school dance, because that would inspire Chuck Berry to write a would be rock and roll classic.

The Thing (1982). There is this bizarre otherworldly quality to animatronics and practical effects that CGI can’t seem to replicate—CGI’s either too perfect, too smooth, or lightweight to be truly terrifying. Most of the time, anyways. It’s also probably because of this, not just the script and the actors, that you could sense the fear, the paranoia, the desperation of the characters in the movie. And that’s the thing with John Carpenter’s, uhm, The Thing, it’s an unrelenting horror movie that’s also part dark comedy.

Donnie Darko (2001). Now this is the kind of mindfuck I’m talking about. It’s science fiction, it’s time travel, it’s a superhero movie. The girl asks: Donnie Darko? What the hell kind of name is that? It’s like some sort of superhero or something. Wait, what makes her think he’s not?

Edge of Tomorrow (2014). If your ovaries don’t jump upon seeing Tom Cruise, say, you’re not the type or he’s not your type, there’s still a lot reasons to watch this. Well, there’s Emily Blunt, for one, and she plays bad ass soldier who once possessed Cruise’s time-resetting power. If only they hadn’t messed with her blood. Maybe not great science fiction, but great solid fun movie. Because there’s nothing more satisfying in a Tom Cruise movie than to see Tom Cruise try, fail and die. Multiple times.

Minority Report (2002). If Edge of Tomorrow isn’t great science fiction, maybe, this one is. Spielberg expand on P.K. Dick’s short story and took it to a different direction, with his usual visual flair and great set-pieces. Dick’s story is a must read (spoiler: there is no true minority report) as this movie is a must-see. And unlike in the book, the Pre-Cogs aren’t babbling idiots.

eXistenZ (1999). Not as cool and sleek as The Matrix or Inception. In fact it looks closer to Cronenberg’s older works, than any similar minded movies from the late ’90s and early ’00s. If there’s one thing eXistenZ does better, it’s in mixing Cronenberg’s sensual body horror with that dream within a dream concept which Christopher Nolan also did in Inception. What is real and what isn’t? Can you tell between bad acting and intentionally bad in-game acting?

Dark City (1998). When Marimba rhythm starts to play, dance with me, make me sway… I love Jennifer Connelly. Dark City is like The Matrix, minus the bullet time and late ’90s rock soundtrack. It’s closer to a Tim Burton movie than to the Wachowski’s stylish wire-fu meets greenscreen/CGI backdrop. The Matrix is also more an action-oriented while Dark City is more like an old arty science fiction film.

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