Ditch your Lightsaber and tell E.T to push off home – it’s time to take a sly peek at the great sci-fi films that time forgot.
The thrills, spills and special effects of sci-fi heavyweights such as the Matrix, Star Wars, Blade Runner, E.T, and Avatar have caused many a film fan to choke on their popcorn in stunned disbelief at the visual and innovative glory such movies boast.
Yet before they are liberally splashed with healthy doses of special effects and sweetened with excessive amounts of CGI for public consumption, all sci-fi films, no matter the budget, need one thing and one thing only to make them work – a good idea.
The sci-fi genre is nothing without its trademark imaginative bombast and fantastical ideas. Ideas which make the impossible possible and document the existence of brave new worlds where the human condition is silhouetted by new horizons and governed by bizarre twists in time and technology. Big ideas can often be found in the smallest films. With this in mind let’s have a look at seven of the best sci-fi films that time forgot.
How do you deal with the problem of overpopulation and the excessive consumption of precious resources? Simple, kill everyone by the time they reach age 30. That’s the basic premise of Michael Anderson’s 1976 film about human civilization in 2274, where people live in a vast city ruled by an insane computer.
When they reach the end of their third decade, all humans are forced to participate in what they believe to be a renewal ritual called the ‘Carrousel,’ which is, in fact, a discreet method of violently vaporizing anyone before their hair turns gray and they get too many wrinkles.
Sci-fi films love to paint a bleak, ravaged future where all signs of mother nature have been nigh on eradicated, and Silent Running is no exception.
The 1972 environmentally aware film was ahead of its time and depicts a future where the only vegetation left in the known universe is on six giant greenhouses floating in space.
The plan is to use the carefully cultivated greenery within the domes for the reforestation of the earth, but big business gets in the way and orders the freighters pulling the domes to destroy them with nuclear charges and return to commercial service.
However, the powers that be don’t reckon on eco-warrior and resident botanist Freeman Lowell who fights like a mad bastard to save the trees.
In the future, population numbers are ridiculously high, food is scarce, and we’re all hungry. So hungry in fact we drink a high energy Plankton product called Soylent Green.
As Richard Fleischer’s 1973 film progresses it leaves a very bad taste in the mouth. Why? Because it transpires that the hugely popular Soylent Green is actually made out of processed dead people. Whoops!
A group of gnarled old pensioners who experience the first flush of youth again courtesy of secret dips in a swimming pool where 10,000-year-old aliens who founded the mythical civilization of Atlantis live in cocoons is a strange premise for any film.
Yet oddly enough, Ron Howard’s 1985 film works as both a sci-fi oddity and an engaging and compelling reflection on man’s mortality and what we’d do if we were offered the choice never to grow old or die.
Children of Men
It’s 2027 and mankind is facing a global crisis without equal. Women can’t have babies! It may sound far-fetched but in the world of sci-fi anything is possible and Alfonso Cuaron’s 2006 film paints a bleak picture of what the world would be like without children and the hope and promise they symbolize.
Fortunately for mankind and the plot, a pregnant woman does at last arrive on the scene and the movie revolves around the desperate struggle to ensure her baby enters this big old barren world, safe and unharmed.
A giant demonic rabbit who talks in a hypnotic voice that sounds like blood dripping onto an open fire is just the tip of the weird iceberg which is director Richard Kelly’s 2001 film.
Time travel, alternative realities, “grandma Death,” a perverted Patrick Swayze and airplanes crashing into teenager’s bedroom all conspire to make Donnie Darko bizarrely unique even in a genre which wallows in the insane.
You never really know what’s going on as you’re dragged by your eyeballs through all 113 minutes of this surreal cult classic, but one thing’s for sure, it’s a hell of a ride, so hold on tight.
When a young Los Angeles punk rocker gets hooked on the thrill of hot-wiring cars, taking drugs, and getting paid for it, you have a bona fide Repo Man on your hands.
Alex Cox’s 1984 film stars Emilio Estevez as the young buck Otto Maddox who gets a job with seasoned repossession agent Harry Dean Stanton, known affectionately as Bud. Things take a turn for the weird when Otto lands a job tracking down a Chevrolet Malibu with four dead aliens in its trunk. Needless to say, things get a little spacey from then on in.
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