On this Top Five Stand Alone Sci-Fi Movies Countdown I worked in collaboration with fellow blogger Shaun Anderson from the excellent blog The Celluloid Highway. We decided to do this countdown and include our top five choices for best stand alone sci-fi movie. What this means is, we left out all sci-fi films that are part of a saga (like Star Wars or Star Trek) and we left out all those that have sequels, which is the ONLY reason why I left out my favorite science fiction film ever: 2001: A Space Odyssey.
It was really tough for me to come up with a top five best stand alone sci-fi's because there are a lot of good ones. It would have been easier to do a top 10, but that would take forever so we stuck with a top five. What we will do with this countdown is Shaun and I will give our choices for top five, one every day of the week starting today, so today we will present you guys with our #5, tomorrow our #4 until we reach our #1 choices on Friday. So stick around, follow our countdown and comment!
Dont forget to visit Shaun's blog The Celluloid Highway, its one of the best written blogs on the blogosphere, according to me. So without further ado, I present to you my dear readers our #5 starting with:
The Celluloid Highway's pick for #5 is: DUNE (David Lynch, USA, 1984)
Cult director David Lynch suddenly found himself legitimized with Oscar nominations after his weird Victorian fable of acceptance and tolerance The Elephant Man (1980). Few would have predicted that three years later he would be helming a science-fiction monstrosity filmed on several continents with a team of hundreds of technicians, actors and studio representatives. Frank Herbert’s novel Dune (the first book in a long series) had proved too challenging a task for Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, and despite his failure to get the project off the ground (which should have been a warning to anyone else) Italian super producer Dino De Laurentis and his daughter Raffaella were still willing to raise the $45,000,000 the film would cost. The result was a film doomed to commercial failure (few films would have recouped such a huge budget) and critical indifference bordering on utter confusion. Years later without the baggage of its production, promotion and eventual reception Dune emerges as a daring and thoughtful film that regularly drifts into the dark avant-garde territory explored in Lynch’s excellent debut feature Eraserhead (1977). Lynch still manages to convey a sense of urban and industrial alienation through the weirdly organic production designs of Anthony Masters and shows he is also adept at handling the conventions and expectations of the generic structure he found himself within. With a cast that includes Francesca Annis, Brad Dourif, Freddie Jones, Kyle MacLachlan (making his film debut and looking quite nervous), Virginia Madsen, Jurgen Prochnow, Max Von Sydow and a semi naked Sting, with a soundtrack by Toto (remember the hit song ‘Africa’?) and Brian Eno Dune is a truly trans-global production that has suffered continual misinterpretation. The film abounds with political allegories, thematic depth, and obscure symbolism. But ultimately it was unable to live up to the rich tapestry of imagery and epic breadth of Herbert’s source novel.
The Film Connoisseurs pick for #5 is - A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (Steven Spielberg, USA, 2001)
This Spielberg film was one that Stanley Kubrick had been wanting to make for the longest time. Kubrick had been planning it and planning it for years and years, at times getting close to filming the thing, but then not. Other projects seem to always get in the way. Sadly, time went by and Kubrick passed away. As a way to honor this legendary director, Steven Spielberg decided to take all of Kubricks pre-production plans for A.I. and finally direct Kubrick's dream project. I think Kubrick would have been proud! This movie is epic. It plays with many of the themes that Kubrick loved to play with in his movies, like for example the dynamics between humans and computers. Will technology ever replace or outlive human beings? This film presents us with a world populated with androids. They pretty much look and act as human beings would. The world is divided between those humans that welcome artificial intelligence into their lives, and those who condemn it. Some see artificial intelligence as a threat to humanity and everything humans stand for. Haley Joel Osment plays David, a boy android that is brought into a family of humans to fill the void made by the hospitalization of their human son Martin, who is in a coma and looks as if he will stay that way for a while. David looks and acts like a real little boy, and the parents are happy. Problem comes when their real son suddenly wakes up from the coma and ends up returning home. Martin cannot get along with David. After a series of problems between the two boys, the mother decides to set David free into the world, so she abandons him in the middle of nowhere. From here on in, the movie is all about David searching for his creator, searching for the truth of it all. I love the symbolisms in this movie. A.I. is one of those movies that covers the life span of a character from birth to death, the only thing is that David doesn’t die. He is a robot, and as long as his battery lasts, he will continue functioning for eons. I like the fact that he is always on the search for his creator, symbolizing that search for God that we all end up going through at one point or another in our lives. In this sense, the film has elements from another one of my all time favorite science fiction films: Blade Runner. A.I. also has elements from Pinocchio, because David is looking for a way to become a real boy. Will David ever meet his God? What is the truth behind it all? Visually, this film is stunning! It has some gloriously beautiful moments and it is also touching and emotional journey, thanks to Spielberg who has always loved dwelling on the emotional resonance of things.
Well, thats it for today. Dont forget to check back tomorrow for our #4 choice for Stand Alone Sci-Fi films. Hope you are enjoying the countdown!