Monday, 30 August 2010

The Alternative Factor: 5 alternate Sci-Fi classics

I had to get a Star Trek reference in there somewhere!
Whenever people do their definitive 5 sci-fi movies, guaranteed Star Wars, The Matrix, Blade Runner & Tron would be on there. Hell, even I place them in my top 5. But, I also have an alternate top 5, which includes what I think are classics, and were, and still are, groundbreaking (well, apart from one, anyway), even today.

5: Fantastic Voyage (20th Century Fox, 1966)

Taking a different route to other sci-fi movies, Fantastic Voyage was the first movie to be set within the human body, and sees a team of scientists (including Stephen Boyd, Donald Pleasence and Raquel Welch) being shrunk down in size in their submersible, The Proteus, and injected into the body of a scientist who had defected after an assassination attempt in order to remove the tumor in his brain. Directed by Richard Fleischer (who also directed Conan the Destroyer), the film throws up another twist in the form of a saboteur on board the very same submarine. It also provided an idea for the following movie....

4: Innerspace (Warner Bros., 1987)

Starring Dennis Quaid, Martin Short & Meg Ryan, Innerspace tells the story of Tuck Pendleton (Quaid), who volunteers to be shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the body of Bugs, the lab's rabbit, but is instead injected into the body of Hypochondriac Safeway clerk Jack Putter (Short), in an effort to hide him from Scrimshaw (Kevin MacCarthy), who is after the microchip in the craft inside Putter that allows miniaturization. Action packed, and very funny, Innerspace is a comedy homage to Fantastic Voyage (sharing the same idea of a miniature craft inside the human body)., with some great special effects. It just shows, from these two movies, you don't need CGI to tell a great story.

3: Life Force (Cannon Films, 1985)
(What the hell has the first poster got to do with Space Vampires? It does look pretty cool, though)

It might be cheesy, it might have Steve Railsback over acting (and shouting a lot), and it might turn into a kind of zombie movie at the second half, but it's still a lot of fun, with the added bonus of knockers wobbling about a bit. 3 deep slumbering humanoids are discovered aboard an alien spacecraft in the corona of Hailey's Comet, and are brought to Earth, where they go an a life force-sucking....erm...rampage (???). Expect Peter Firth to act all moody, Matilda May to be very naked, and a woman who's had her life forced sucked to explode into dust on a table. Yes, it's also completely bonkers, but that's half the appeal. Well, what do you expect from the writers of ALIEN?

2: The Day The Earth Stood Still (20th Century Fox, 1951)

The film that inspired many alien invasion movies from the 50's and 60's, TDTEST is just as powerful, and thought-provoking, as it was 59 years ago. Aptly directed by Robert Wise (Star Trek: The Motion Picture), and starring Michael Rennie as Klaatu, the film is about an alien who visits Earth with his robot companion GORT, with a message and an ultimatum: cease all violent acts and live in peace with one another, or we will destroy ourselves (and possibly the Earth along with it). The message is still relevant, even in todays volatile climate, with Nuclear weapons and terrorism rife in the world.

1: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (Nelson Communications, 1988)

Originally filmed in 1986, and being left on the shelf for a couple of years, the first Bill & Ted adventure sees them going through history, to collect 'persons of historical importance', in order to help them pass their history report, otherwise they will fail, Ted will be sent to Alaska to the Military Academy, and Wyld Stallions will be no more. Starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, Bill & Ted was one of the ultimate time-travel adventures (including Back to the Future, of course) made at the time, and was very funny with it (tempting Ghengis Khan with a Twinkie, anyone?). Plus, who ever thought of using a Phone Booth as a time machine was a stroke of genius.

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