Life hits cinemas today, giving the well-trodden tale of an Alien species trapped on a space ship a new lease of life with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds taking on this extra-terrestrial. To celebrate this well-reviewed sci-fi film’s release I have put together a list of 5 great Science Fiction films you probably haven’t seen to get you in the mood.
I’m kicking off with an absolute classic, it’s a crime if you are yet to view this stumble through time and space full to the brim with phenomenal actors. Terry Gilliam directs the wonderfully odd tale of a young boy who accidentally joins a group of time travelling dwarves on their adventures, sounds great right? It get’s better the dwarves are led by the late Kenny Baker in my most cherished role of his and while on this adventure they meet Sean Connery as King Agamemnon, Ian Holm as Napoleon and a wonderfully droll Robin Hood played by John Cleese. Time Bandits is in my eyes Gilliam’s best film and makes for a bizarre watch that honestly has no parallel.
I’ve tried to cover everything with these 5 films from comedy to drama and postmodern to classic. This film from 2014 comes under the kick-ass action movie category. This film has one big similarity with the upcoming Life, one Jacob Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal is a pleasure to watch as a soldier who wakes up in another body, discovering he is part of a government experiment. Some fantastic action sequences combined with a very intriguing plot that engrosses you the more you watch. If I haven’t convinced you yet, this film is directed by Duncan Jones the man behind another great sci-fi flick Moon. You will enjoy this movie if you like you’re Science Fiction thick and fast.
On paper, this film is almost as crazy as Time Bandits but in reality, it’s a very reflective human piece of cinema pushing the boundaries of love and relishing in the wonders of postmodernism. The most recent film on my list is by far the least original as it’s set in a dystopian near future where single people are given 45 days to find a partner or become turned into an animal of their choice. Don’t let the strange plot fool this is a beautifully orchestrated picture, with great performances from John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux and Collin Farrell. You could have a million guesses but you’d never predict how this one ends, I assure you it will stay with you for a couple of days after those credits role.
Unlike some of the other films on this list, West World is a slow burner building a state of the art futuristic western theme park right before you’re very eyes and setting it up to fail in spectacular fashion. Michael Crichton, the writer of Jurassic Park writes and directs a visually beautiful and at the time groundbreaking film, telling the tale of an adult themed futuristic theme park that malfunctions and turns on it’s guests. Though Crichton likes re-using his ideas of theme parks turning on guests I can’t deny how fantastic and enjoyable West World is, granted it’s slow at the beginning while laying the ground work but the finale is spectacular.
I’m finishing this list with possibly the least heard of, of the five. The Signal which hit cinemas early 2015 tells the story of 3 friends in the middle of no where attempting to track down a computer hacking genius, what they find is a living nightmare. This film has a very claustrophobic feel combined with an erratic pacing, the result is uncomfortable and shocking. The plot in retrospect doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense but at the time of viewing that’s not what you’re thinking about I assure you. This film is not for everyone but I think that’s the beauty of science fiction cinema everyone gets something else out of it.