I love films. Comedy, Musicals, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Foreign, Animated. . .you name it, I love it. My sister, Susie, once said that I could be entertained by anything on the silver screen. She didn’t mean it as a compliment (in other words, she felt I had no discrimination) and perhaps she was right. I can find something to appreciate in every movie. After all, someone loved the concept enough to put hours and hours of labor – their own and a lot of other people’s too –into the creation of the project. All that being said, I’m going to spend the next several weeks presenting my favorite films in all the above genres and why I love them. It was very difficult but I limited my selections to my top five (5). I hope you will enjoy this series and let me know what your favorites are. I’m always looking for new things to watch!
Science Fiction favorites (in order of release):
Forbidden Planet (1956) This is a classic film that still stands up to all the current special effects. The Krell are a fantastic lost race that has left behind a technology beyond anything humanity has developed. This technology utilizes the deepest aspects of the Id which creates some truly terrifying “monsters”- these are felt but never seen which adds to the mystery. Leslie Nielson is splendid as the leading man, a far cry from his roles in Airplane and more modern comedic films. I love this film because it satisfies on a deep level. The character of Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) is wonderfully complex and conflicted. And there is some great humor also.
2001-A Space Odyssey (1968) When 2001first appeared on the scene, it was universally panned. The reviewers found it boring and slow. Which just goes to show that reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt. This is one of the greatest films of the genre. The sound track is fantastic. The Strauss waltz played as the ship docks with the space station is a classic touch. Stanley Kubrick weaves a story that takes you from a primordial earth to a fantastic future world. You are drawn into the characters and feel their terror and confusion as the HAL computer breaks down. Dave’s life takes an incredible turn and reflects an intriguing future for humanity.
Alien (1979) Alien ranks as one of the scariest, most innovative movies imaginable. The characters are quirky and engaging but the Alien steals the show from beginning to end. The fact that we don’t even see it fully for the majority of the film adds to the thrill factor. Sigourney Weaver is fantastic as Ripley and when she takes command we all feel a surge of hope. Surprise after surprise sends us screaming with terror right up to the point that Ash is revealed as an android. Wow! Did you see that coming?
Blade Runner (1982) Gritty and dark this is one of the finest examples of Science Fiction meets Film Noir. Ridley Scott brings a number of signature elements to the film including a hazy atmosphere that I noticed in his first film, The Duelists. Harrison Ford shines as Dekard and Rutger Hauer is a fantastic counterpoint as Roy. Every minute our attention is riveted to the screen as we watch the Replicants attempt to find their place in a society that rejects them. Dekard’s evolution brings in a very human element that touches something primordial in our psyche.
Terminator (1984) This is a classic Science Fiction film that surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. There’s so much here with time travel, a serious chase and a number of plot twists. The Terminator is actually a very engaging bad guy that takes a lickin’ and keeps on chasing. When Sarah finally terminates the Terminator we are all ready to stand up and cheer. I like the strength of character found in Sarah’s character as she drives off into Mexico looking for a safe place to raise her child. This movie really keeps you in your seat.