My 12 Favourite Sci-Fi Films

Ah Sci-Fi, friend, lover, captain, king. There’s no other like you. The future is a wonderful place, or not.

Moon (2009)

You’ve been up here too long man. You’ve lost your marbles.

Sam Rockwell works his magic in Moon, a film by one of the most exciting new directors today, Duncan Jones. A simple elegant depiction of a solitary man, and his struggle with his identity and place, who’s only companion is an A.I., GERTY on a distant lunar mission. An interesting discussion on sanity, identity and personhood with great writing and minimalistic revelations.

The Fountain (2006)

Our bodies are prisons for our souls. Our skin and blood, the iron bars of confinement. But fear not. All flesh decays. Death turns all to ash. And thus, death frees every soul.

Poetic, complex and in need of multiple viewings, Aronofsky‘s most ambitious story is rewarding and goes deep into the meaning of human life. Three stories of three men pursuing eternity with their loves, coming to grips with the frailty of human life, with the vastness of the universe. A great take on time, space and acceptance.

Children Of Men (2006)

The world was stunned today by the death of Diego Ricardo, the youngest person on the planet, the youngest person on earth was 18 years, 4 months, 20 days, 16 hours, and 8 minutes old.

In a flood of dystopian future depictions, Children of Men shone through as a level headed, real, gritty and moving story of a world where the life force of people has faded and people have turned into despair. The prospect of human extinsion, a change that turned the world on to the brink of the apocalypse and the horrifying human behaviour that led from it is at the centre of this quite underrated film.

Pitch Black

They say most of your brain shuts down during cryo-sleep. All but the primitive side, the animal side. No wonder I’m still awake.

I still can’t quite believe that there is a Vin Diesel film on this list, but here goes. The ultimate tale of anti-heroism, Pitch Black works on a multitude of levels for the sci-fi buff, the horror fanatic, the thrill seeker and the action craved. Stuck on an abandonded planet during a solar ecplise (or a couple) the only one that can’t fight off the looming danger is an escaped convinct the crew of Hunter-Graztner is trying to contain.

2001 : A Space Odyssey (1968)

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

The classic of all classics by Kubrick gives us HAL, the champion of all computers ever depicted on screen, and his companionship and struggle with Bowman. Epic in proportion, unforgettable in impact, 2001 is something everyone should see at least once in their life.

Solaris

Please don’t even slightly consider the Clooney remake when you see the word Solaris, OK? Probably the best sci-fi mystery of all time. Every slow second I keep awaiting for the eventual meanings and revelations of intelligence, humanity and the vastness of space. What a job Tarkovskiy does, yet again.

Gattaca

There’s no gene for fate.

Gravely underappreciated, except for NASA that picked it the best sci-fi film of all time, Gattaca deals with genetics like no other film has done before. An interesting story of a not so far out future, where society becomes twisted and divided, yet retains dreams within people.

Primer (2004)

Look, Abe, look, I’m not going to pretend like I know anything, okay, about paradoxes, you know, or what follows them. And, honestly, I really don’t believe in any of that group anyway, you know, kill your mom before you’re born, whatever. It must work itself out, somehow.

This is one tough cookie to swallow. There’s a lot of hate going round for this film. Admittedly I often go against the masses, but in this case I believe they are just plain wrong. Interesting, complicated, difficult, Primer is refreshing in it’s unapologetic way of not feeding you the answers. Four guys create a technology to … well, you’ll just have to see it.

Sunshine

Only dream I ever have… is it the surface of the sun? Everytime I shut my eyes… it’s always the same.

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and proclaim this my favourite Danny Boyle film. WHAT! (I hated Slumdog) If you’d come at me with Trainspotting or Shallow Grave I’ll just make you stare at the sun from a close proximity.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.

You didn’t think I was going to skip this one? I mean, what’s there to say other than if you haven’t seen the original Star Wars trilogy at least three times there’s something wrong with you as a human being. All equally good, Empire deserves its place on this list by being the most mature, sophisticated volume.

The Man From Earth (2007)

You think that’s all religion is about… selling hope and survival?

Jerome Bixby! Jerome Bixby! A smart, even ingenious story of a man who says he’s lived for 14 000 years. If you ever thought you could handle some thinking this is the movie to do it with. Tackling all of life’s deepest philosophical questions, and dwelling into the foundations of truth a great cast in a single room have the most interesting discussion I’ve seen onscreen in years, if not ever.

Equilibrium (2002) + Minority Report (2002)

Mankind united with infinitely greater purpose in pursuit of war than he ever did in pursuit of peace.

There hasn’t been a murder in six years. The system, it is perfect.

Sharing a place on this list that I for some reason decided to cap at 12 is Minority Report and Equilibrium (also known as Cubic). Being the crime buff I am I couldn’t let this future cop stories slip away. Both take interesting angles on how crime can evolve, adapt and change with technology and society.

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18 responses to “My 12 Favourite Sci-Fi Films

  1. Great list! I like the sci-fi genre and agree w/ a lot of your choices, especially Children of Men, Equilibrium, and Minority Report. I’d add District 9 on my list as well, that was such a pleasant surprise.

    • Equilibrium passed by everyone didn’t it ! Such a good film seen by too few.
      I thought District 9 was ok, but I’m not the biggest fan of the ‘alien invasion’ genre, inside that I would say it was quite great.

  2. I ain’t gonna lie. I did not “get” The Fountain.

    Oh, LOVE! I thought I was the only person who ever saw The Man From Earth. I loved it! It’s so smart. I had to pause it several times just to mull over the things discussed.

    • I know, found it randomly at a limited DVD shop in Scotland and haven’t really had a chance to talk to people about it that much. Need to make people watch it!

  3. I think we have a similar taste when it comes to sci-fi, I like nearly all your 12 choices. I might add to this list The Matrix, 12 Monkeys , or even wong kar wai’s 2046 , which I would also put in that “mature sci-fi” category

    • Nice. I’m one of those weird ones that don’t really appreciate The Matrix. I love the idea of it, but there’s something about it that doesn’t really hit it out of the park for me (probably Keanu Reeves’ acting). I FORGOT about 12 monkeys, that totally should’ve been on here, dont really know what I would replace but it is indeed a great sci-fi.

    • I’m with Chris. All and all, I love this list to death (particularly the selections of Primer and Gattaca – yay!) – there’s a few I’ve not seen (Solaris, The Man From Earth, Pitch Black), but only one other that wouldn’t make my list (Equilibrium – good but not great to me). And 12 Monkeys would definitely be on my list, along with The Matrix and…not 2046, but Code 46.

  4. Hieno lista! Multakin menis heittämällä Pitch Black, Moon, Children of Men, Minority Report ja 2001 : A Space Odyssey top kymppiin. Alkuperäinen Star Wars ja Pitch Black jopa ihan parhaita elokuvia mitä olen nähnyt. Scifi on genrenä parhaimmillaan kyllä parasta mitä on olemassa. Harmi että nykyään ei tehdä enempää klassisia scifejä samaan tyyliin kuin esim. Duncan Jones teki Moon:in.

    • Näinpä! Scifin ongelmana onkin varmaan se että se on niin aliarvostettua (huomaa Inceptionin kohtelua jäykissä elokuvaorganisaatioissa) ja tietylle yleisölle tarkoitettua; jengin pitäisi tajuta että sci-fissä on niin paljon muutakin kuin vain tämä ‘tiedepuoli’ eikä sen pitäisi antaa määrätä ennakkoluuloja.

  5. Oh! Nice to see Pitch Black on your list :) Underrated sci-fi IMO and obviously it spanned all these horrible Riddick sequels.

  6. equilibrium is possibly my all time favourite. Sunshine is awesome and I hate the fact that people don’t GET it…Pitch Black is also on my list; weird and beautiful.

      • I get Sunshine just fine and think it’s a wonderful film, until it turns into a horror film 2/3’s of the way through. What a cop-out. I was disappointed because it could’ve been a contender.

        Some of my favorites not mentioned:
        Blade Runner
        Planet of the Apes (original)
        Day the Earth Stood Still (original)
        Aliens
        Matrix

      • Blade Runner is only not on here because I mentioned it as my favourite sci-fi in my 30 Day Film Challenge, that’s for sure number one for me.

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