I don’t know about you, but given the state of the world lately, I would like nothing better than to escape to outer space and forget just for a minute about everything that’s been going on. I’ve never felt that way before. Usually, I like it down here – I’m afraid of heights for one, and that whole vast nothingness that constitutes a lot of space – but with so many terrible things plaguing the human race, I’m starting to see the appeal.
As I’ve said way too many times on this blog by now, movies are a critically important device that we can use to educate ourselves and expose stories overlooked by the masses. But they can also be an escape, and in between working to make the world a better place, give us a break from everyday life.
So here’s a list of five of my tried and true space movies – they aren’t always cheerful – but they’re a sure way to immerse yourself in an alternate reality:
“Alien” (1979) – Sigourney Weaver doing battle one-on-one with an alien in space despite being the only surviving member of her crew? Yes please. In the original film of the Alien franchise, sci-fi master Ridley Scott introduced us to Ripley, the warrant officer onboard the Nostromos who would become one of the most iconic female sci-fi heroes in movie history.
“Star Wars” (1977) – The first of the franchise to end all franchises (or most of them), Star Wars let us escape to a realm of jedi knights, bounty hunters, robots, and spaceship chase scenes. If there was ever a time for lightspeed, I think it’s 2020. Time to go back and re-watch Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rescue Princess Leia from the clutches of the evil empire.
“Independence Day” (1996) – Aliens arrive on Earth with the intent to exterminate the human race. We’re outmatched technologically and in numbers. How will we survive? Will! Both the will to live and Will Smith! If you don’t get a feeling of satisfaction when he punches that alien in the face, you might not be a person. At least, you’re probably not an American.
“The Martian” (2015) – Based on the novel by Andy Weir, Ridley Scott once again delivered a sci-fi film to remember, with a fantastic performance by Matt Damon at the helm. After a dust storm hits their Mars rover, astronaut Mark Watney is separated from his crew and presumed dead. He must use his wits (and his humor) to stay alive. A true modern sci-fi classic.
“Contact” (1997) – A young girl with a penchant for science grows up listening to frequencies for signs of life in outer space. As an adult, a billionaire industrialist gives her backing to continue her research. One day she receives a signal from a star containing a blueprint of a machine that will hold a single occupant. She believes she must construct this rocket to make contact with the alien lifeforce. Eventually there’s wormholes involved – “Contact” is a double escape method.
Happy watching! And may the force be with you.