Let me first start this Cinematical Seven list with a disclaimer -- I love genre movies and sci-fi movies in particular. It's probably because, like many of you, I watched the original Star Wars as a kid and fell in love with the idea of speeding through space, fighting the evil galactic empire, saving the day in the nick of time and getting to kiss the Princess. Of course, in my version of the story, the Princess was not my sister. ...
Sci-fi films are great because they serve to entertain us, thrill us and help us see what the future could be like if we live that long. Plus, you get the fun of all that wrapped up in an attractive and exciting package filled with great special effects, memorable performances and stories that while they entertain us, also manage to teach us a little something about life, ourselves and what it means to be human.
When making my list I tried to think of films that inspired me and helped fuel my love for this genre. Some of these films may be obvious to you and some may be new but I feel they all represent what is best about sci-fi films. I also realize that two of these films feature Charlton Heston. What can I tell you -- the man knows good sci-fi material when he reads it. Plus, I also included two films starring the lovely Catherine Mary Stewart, who I had a serious crush on during my formative years. She sure was cute. And spunky. Much like a certain Princess we all know and love.
Here, then, is my list of the seven sci-fi films you should be watching.
Gattaca (1997) -- Writer/Director Andrew Niccol's dystopian vision of a future where you're bred and selected for your genetic superiority is a compelling indictment of the dangers of technology and social responsibility. Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law star along with the great Alan Arkin as a detective assigned to investigate a murder at the giant corp where Hawke works. In the film, Hawke's character, a supposedly inferior and non-genetically enhanced "in-valid" takes the place of Jude Law's character, an enhanced "valid", in order to pursue his dreams of space travel.
This film is a compelling mix of sci-fi film, detective thriller, murder mystery and romance with many twists and turns. Plus, the Production Design, Cinematography and even Ethan Hawke's performance are first-rate and help you imagine a future where all of these things could exist. Gattaca entertains and makes you think at the same time. Not a bad mix.