Do you like rankings? What do you say when people ask you what is your favorite movie? If you’re anything like me you’ll probably reply: «F*** You!» I have several favorite movies. It depends when I’ve seen the movie, and what is happening in my life, at least. A recent movie probably doesn’t have the same chance than a movie I idolatrize because I’ve seen it long ago. And every movie has a message that may resonate or not with what I’m going through. And the experience I had with it. Cuarón’s GRAVITY, for instance, was the first movie I saw in 3D and it was the perfect movie to see in 3D. I just loved it. For a few days it was my favorite movie of the century. What’s today favorite movie of the century, you ask? Well, f*** you. But it’s probably Iñarritu’s THE REVENANT.
Anyhow, in recent weeks I’ve been asked in several groups on Facebook what are my Top 5 movies, or what are my Top 5 Scifi movies. I don’t like rankings, but it was fun to think about this for a few minutes. I’m not sure what’re my Top 5 movies, nor do I have definitive list of anything, but let me today talk about 5 brilliant Scifi movies I like, in no particular order.
1.2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY – It’s safe to say most movie-loving-individuals would agree Stanley Kubrick was an absolute genius. And 2001 is probably in most people’s Top 5 Scifi movies. It’s is brilliant! I watched it for the first time when I was 13 and hated it, of course. It’s a slow, difficult to understand movie, with strange scenes and an enigmatic ending. But then I watched it again when I was 16 or 17, and it became immediately one of my favorite movies. Kubrick has a particular hygienic, almost cold way to direct. The movie seems very clean and well organized. In fact, it breaks most of the rules of scriptwriting. It doesn’t have a protagonist, or an antagonist, or a cohesive narrative. In fact, it is a united collection of four stories, all of them different, but all of them leading one to another. It was filmed before the man arrived to the moon, but still, its portrait of the moon bases, of the space stations, of ships and astronauts became the standard for decades to come. And Dave’s confrontation with HAL 9000 is a classic in its own right. It’s a brilliant scene toping a brilliant conflict.
2. THE MATRIX – I was fortunate enough to watch this movie in rare circumstances. I had been in reclusion, studying for exams, and I knew nothing about it when I went to see it. And it blew my mind. Not only because I’m a fan of Kung Fu, Manga and Animé, and mind games, and action movies and many many other references THE MATRIX leans on, but because I’m a fan of Philosophy and Psychology. And of movies. THE MATRIX is sound and intelligent. In my view, it portraits Lacanian psychoanalysis. The schizophrenic stance of Neo, that can only act on reality when he is in fantasy and only acts on fantasy when he’s in reality is brilliant and profound. I would talk to you about it for hours if I had a chance in hell that you’d listen to me. One of the best things of this trilogy is the fact that it lends itself to wild speculation and much of what I think of it may be wrong. But it is certainly stimulating. As all the other movies in this list except probably 2001, this is a Conscience-Themed movie. I adore the theme of Consciousness, which is one of the most common in Scifi, nowadays, where it’s all about the way a person views reality and how fragile our point of view really is. Is it all in our head? Some philosophers say that it’s actually more likely that we are in a matrix of some kind than in a real reality: because in a Universe where there is a race that can build matrixes, there will probably exist thousands of these per Universe. Go figure…
3. BLADE RUNNER – I’ve spoken of this movie before here. The best thing I like in this movie is the style. The film noire, hard boiled, Mike Hammer meets Dashiel Hammet and Philip Marlowe type of story, mixed with the powerful Scifi storyline and the clever futuristic environment. I think it’s probably Ridley Scott’s best picture and Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer are brilliant in it. Another Conscience-Themed movie, based on the master of the genre, Philip K. Dick.
4. INCEPTION – By far, in my view, Nolan’s best movie. I never watched PAPRIKA, Satoshi Kon’s animated picture some say is the inspiration for this, so I don’t know what I’m missing, but I find INCEPTION to be absolutely brilliant. The performances by DiCaprio, Cotillard, Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, are all very strong. Most of the characters are complex and human and the love story is perfect. I think the movie is very clever and brilliantly brings the Theme of Conscience to another level, forcing us to absorb several realities and timelines at the same time and always be in doubt. I love it.
5. DARK CITY – This 1998 movie by Alex Proyas is an undervalued gem. Rufus Sewell lives in a dark city where at night everything is changed. And then there’s a murder. Again, here we see the Theme of Consciousness, but also the film noire style I enjoy so much. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It will probably surprise you. It’s brilliantly made, and it’s a journey to a different kind of thinking.
All of these movies have maybe some things in common. A grand way of looking at reality and movie making, but also a clever way of intersecting several genres and images. This is something that I like a lot. But, as any of my lists, I can’t say for sure these are my favorite Scifi movies. Not a Top 5 or anything. Tomorrow the list may be completely different. And I haven’t spoken of other movies I like as ARRIVAL, OBLIVION, EDGE OF TOMORROW, etc. These are just 5 brilliant movies I thought I’d mention this week. Hope you enjoyed it. See you next week.