Great sci-fi evokes certain emotions in the viewer; often it is the fear of what is to come because of how current events unfold. While a lot of modern sci-fi tends to be less about these themes and more about gargantuan CGI explosions and wisecracking robots, the genre has had staying power.
Lucky for anyone who actually enjoys a good film that has more cultural relevance than the cinematic equivalent of a Chia Pet, here’s a list of sci-fi availible on Netflix today.
The Day The Earth Stood Still
When this film was released in 1951, the world had just recovered from a major world war, and Russia had acquired nuclear weaponry. Humanity seemed to be at a crossroads where it could either wade into destruction or at least hope for peace through mutually assured destruction. I guess what we’re saying is that things were a wee bit tense, and all the scenarios involved nukes. That is why The Day The Earth Stood Still was a brilliant film. In it, an alien lands in Washington, DC and brings with him knowledge to make humanity and the Earth better. Of course, being the panicky creatures that we are, the first thing that happens is that he’s shot at. As he blends into society, he starts to learn more about the strange creatures that we are.
2001: A Space Odyssey
2001 was revolutionary in terms of film making, and propelled Stanley Kubrick’s already successful career to new heights. It’s well deserved, as there are many technologies that are displayed in this film that exist today, showing the large amount of research that went into making it. Beautifully shot, and with great uses of classical music pieces, if you’ve seen any sci-fi in the last 48 years, there has almost certainly been a homage to 2001 in there somewhere. An enduring theme in many sci-fi films, and indeed this one, is the concept of a self-aware artificial intelligence. We’d tell you how that plays into the film, but it’s probably best that you see the film yourself.
Artificial intelligence is one thing, but what makes a human, human? Blade Runner explores that question and the ethical concerns of creating androids in the Ridley Scott classic that has more re-cuts than the entire Star Wars franchise. In the film, androids, which are called Replicants, begin to rebel, thus requiring them to be killed, or in the lexicon of the film “retired” since they’re not considered human. The film explores the concept of humanity, and asks why these androids are not considered human even when they display emotions and reactions that seem human.