Top five science fiction films

Tomorrow sees the release of new science fiction film Moon, the first feature from young British director Duncan Jones.

I’ll be discussing the film in more detail in tomorrow’s Guide, as well as publishing my interview with Jones on this very blog, but before all that I decided to take a quick warp drive through five other sci-fi movies I hold close to my distinctly non-bionic heart.

5. Brazil (1985)
Terry Gilliam’s comically dystopian depiction of a world overrun by bureaucracy follows Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) as he searches for his (quite literally) dream woman in a nightmareish future, his attempts meeting with death and chaos. When watched today the film seems scarily prescient as all our lives become increasingly wrapped up in red tape and government follies.

4. Planet of the Apes (1968)
Astronaut Charlton Heston gets up to monkey business on an oddly familiar planet when his spaceship crash lands and he finds himself coming face-to-face with a race of primates. With its intelligent script commenting on subjects such as racism, politics and war, this is also a decent adventure film which still bears repeat viewing to this day. The sequels aren’t bad either.

3 Blade Runner (1982)
Stylish, bleak and starring one of the 20th Century’s most iconic actors in Harrison Ford, Blade Runner has inspired many imitators (most recently TV’s Red Dwarf openly spoofed it) but it has yet to be bettered by any of them. Ford stars as policeman, or Blade Runner, Rick Deckard who has been asked to hunt for the replicants who have killed a colleague. The recent five disc DVD edition offered fans an in-depth look at the making of Ridley Scott’s future-noir, but strip all of that away and your left with a morally ambiguous film that deserves a place on everyone’s shelf.

2. Serenity (2005)
Based on the not-so-hit US TV series Firefly, this movie spin-off features a rag-tag group of renegades, led by Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), knocking round the universe trying to make a dishonest living. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, this is a near perfect gem of a science fiction film, with enough action, one-liners, great characters and sheer fun to put many bigger budget movies to shame. Shiny.

1. Back to the Future (1985)
One of the films I’ve seen the most over the years (along with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Third Man), I remember first watching this on its original cinema release, probably in the old ABC on Lothian Road, and being blown away by the combination of comedy, time travel and music plus the brilliant interaction between Michael J Fox as schoolkid Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as boffin Doc Brown. Special mention must also go to Thomas F Wilson as one of the 80’s (or is that 50’s?) finest bad guys, Biff Tannen.

So, those are five of my favourites – what are yours?

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One thought on “Top five science fiction films

  1. I would have to say Alien for many reasons. It was also the first film that we saw an alien that looked like that. It's also a masterclass on what “you don't see”.

    Don't know if my top sci fi flick, but definately in my top 5

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