The Most Influential Science Fiction Films
Science fiction is a very hit and miss genre. There tends to be a greater chance of the film going onto greatness, like Star Wars, or being a total and utter disaster, such as Dune rather than just drifting into middle of the road obscurity. This list celebrates some of the finest examples of the science fiction genre throughout the ages, and in particular showcases films that have influenced the generations of enthralled cinema goers who watched with wide eyed and rapt enthusiasm.
THE STAR WARS SERIES (1977-2005)Perhaps the film series that has most inspired an entire generation. George Lucas tale of the rise, fall and then redemption of Anakin Skywalker, has won a multitude of awards and plaudits. Although it was perhaps Lucas setting up his own special effects production studio, Industrial Light and Magic, that has had the longest and most sustained influence on the sci-fi genre. Quite simply, Lucas and his team of specialist engineers made what was thought of as previously impossible, possible.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)If Sci-fi has an “annus mirabilis” then 1977 is probably a good choice. Not only was the first Star Wars film released but. Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters provided us with an insight into how contact between humans and extra terrestrials could be conceivable in modern day America. Spielberg’s uncanny knack for taking the mundane and making it extraordinary or even frightening, lifts the film well above the usual story of Alien invasion and brave resistance by humankind.
LE VOYAGE DANS LE LUNE (1902)Widely regarded as the first science fiction film ever made, and the image of the smiling face of the moon, with the remnants of a ship embedded into it, are familiar to almost every fan of the genre nowadays. Frenchman Georges Meliers short silent film which embraced the theme of space travel, as well as having a moon inhabited by a variety of alien characters was a relative success upon it’s release and laid the first foundation stones of what was to become the science fiction genre.
METROPOLIS (1927)Fritz Lang’s A masterpiece of early cinema and perhaps the foundation upon which every major science fiction work has since been built. The simple story of workers rebelling against their oppressive employers, love and the obligatory mad scientist was so far ahead of its time that many of the special effects still look impressive even by modern standards. Many modern greats were influenced greatly by Lang’s vision of an ultra capitalist dystopia in the year 2026.
BLADE RUNNER (1982)To my mind, the finest science fiction film ever made. Although on it’s release it was panned by critics and largely shunned by audiences. While a rip roaring story in its own right, the film contains so much and is contextually so rich, that people are still arguing over the many issues it raised. It is pleasing to see the film finally achieving the success it deserves with massive sales and a resurgence of interest in the film following its release on home video and subsequently DVD.
THE TERMINATOR SERIES (1984-PRESENT)James Cameron’s 1984 classic, catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cameron into the realms of mega-stardom. While some of the special effects may now look a little dated, the film spawned a series of films that continues to this present day with a new film planned for 2009. Terminator 2 was perhaps the finest hour. Given the budget to match his ambitions for the film, Cameron went to town, producing a whole host of innovative special effects for the film that set new standards in the industry.
THE ALIEN SERIES (1979 – 1997)Score: 51 No comments Other lists with this entry
2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)A collaboration of Arthur C Clarke and Stanley Kubrick saw them develop 2001. Spielberg cited the film as being the equivalent of the “big bang” in terms of cinematic science fiction. The film also benefited from a wonderful musical score. Exploring themes of spaceflight, evolution, technology and both extra terrestrial and artificial intelligence, the film is not only one of the best sci-fi films ever made, it is simply one of the best films ever made.
E.T (1982)Steven Spielberg’s ET proved to be the big hit of 1982 and was the most successful since Star Wars to bring Science fiction to a younger audience. The story of the alien left stranded on Earth, who befriends a young boy was an instant box office success and Spielberg’s minimal use of special effects for the film, instead relying more on the relationship between E.T and Elliot to drive the film along actually improves the film a great deal.
THE MATRIX SERIES (1999-2003)The dawn of the internet in the mid 1990’s led to the Wachowski brothers Manga inspired “Matrix” series, starring Keanu Reeves as the hero “Neo”. The plot had undertones of the “Neuromancer” cyper-punk literature of William Gibson, but also had influences taken from Japanese cinema as well as the obvious influences from previous science fiction films. Not yet regarded as a masterpiece of Sci-fi, however in twenty years time, it will be.