I’ve recently dived into doing ”best of’ lists, so as I’ve explained, I’ve decided to do my top 20 SF films. This is my personal list, so feel free to disagree with it and of course, you’ll be horribly wrong.
Previously at # 20, The Matrix, 19, Seconds, 18, A Boy and His Dog, 17, Sunshine, 16, Dark Star, 15, Rollerball, 14 Altered States, 13, Close Encounters of the Third Kind ,12, Forbidden Planet, 11, The Star Wars Trilogy, 10. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, 9, Dark City, 8, 12 Monkeys, 7, Starship Troopers, 6, The Day the Earth Stood Still and 5, Videodrome.
At number four it’s what many consider not just one of the greatest Sf films ever made, but one of the finest films ever made. It’s Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
For year’s this was to me a perfect SF film. It’s thoughtful, smart and it doesn’t attempt to speak down to the viewer at all in any way which even back in the 1960’s was amazing, but now it’s astonishing. Though this is as much Arthur C. Clarke’s vision as Kubrick’s, not to mention the army of people involved with making this classic.
When I was growing up this was always proclaimed in magazines I’d read that this was the best of the best, so when I finally saw it one wet summers day in a now long gone cinema in Glasgow’s Renfield Street during one of it’s many re-releases during the 1970’s I was blown away. The images in it were, and are amazing. They still are even in an age of digital effects because they feel real, and ok, the film is cold and detached. Some of it has even dated badly in places, but it’s superior to 99% of film SF produced since it because it’s dealing with massive ideas in a way few films want to because the audience don’t have the patience to deal with it anymore. This is after all, a film where not a word of dialogue is spoken for the first 30 minutes or so of the film.
I should also say that if you do get the chance to see this on a big cinema screen then do so. It’s a film that loses something on a TV screen, even a giant one so if you can get to see it where it was meant to be seen as there’s so much detail, not to mention impact lost. That said, it’s a film that if you’ve not seen then you really bloody well should as it really is one of the best films of any genre ever made.
2001: A Space Odyssey is a hopeful, positive film about the future of humanity that says we’re capable of more, and better things. Don’t get many films like that in today’s cynical times.
Next time, in space, nobody can hear anything actually because sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum…..