As I was skimming Wikipedia’s list of science fiction films from 2010-now, I began to notice that there have actually been a lot of quality genre films just in the past 5 years. Instead of trying to limit my choices, and by extension recommendations, I decided to split this article into two distinct categories. Today’s will feature the mainstream choices, while tomorrow’s entry will feature the independent selections.
Starting things off with the most recent film to hit theaters, Interstellar comes from big budget boss, Christopher Nolan. The creative force behind the beloved Dark Knight trilogy decided to tackle some much heavier subjects in his second major experience in science fiction. While Inception was a fun (if headache inducing) affair, Interstellar took a much more human approach. It takes place in a future where we have run out of growable food. The answer to this issue lies somewhere in the far reaches of space, as our main protagonists leave everything behind to try and save humanity from extinction. While the film is in no way perfect, it has enough visual zest and big ideas to keep people talking for hours on end.
My personal favorite on this list has to be Her. After getting so sick of evil artificial intelligence whose only goal is to wipe us off the Earth, Her was a pleasant change of pace. It presents a world with AI, but one that is not terribly different from our current state. A lonely, heartbroken man begins a relationship with his operating system. This leads to one of the most beautiful and tender films about love, science, and life. Her may not be for everyone, but viewers willing to buy into its premise will be rewarded with one of the most thoughtful and original films in years.
Like Interstellar, which it’s constantly compared with, Gravity has its fair share of issues. Some people wished for more ambiguity, some wished Bullock was less panicky, some just wished the movie was better in general. Personally, I think Gravity is one of the most raw and fascinating entries into the genre in some time. From the opening 17-minute take to the hard earned ending, Gravity brings you into space in a way very few movies have.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
For the most part, this list includes drama heavy affair. It seemed only right that I threw in at least one film that was a pure shot of entertainment. I was admittedly skeptical about this film at first. No particular reason why, something about it just didn’t seem like it would click properly. Boy, was I ever happy to be proven wrong. Guardians turned out to be one of the finest blockbusters of 2014 and one of the funniest science fiction films in years. If any film on this list deserves, or even needs a sequel, this is it.
(Rise/Dawn) of the Planet of the Apes (2011/2014)
The 1998 reboot of Planet of Apes from Tim Burton has been all but forgotten. Except, of course, when talking reasons to NOT remake classic series. Lucky for us, that movie didn’t stop the producers of these two damn fine entries into a legendary series. Rise of the Planet of the Apes proved just how good a reboot could be when handled with grace and care. Then Dawn took it even further by not only improving on its predecessor, but by giving us an exciting set up for a third film. If, for some reason, you never gave these films a chance, now is the perfect time to take the leap!
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