Looking to the Future with Films

By Ashley Choudry

As a former film student, I find that film is a great way to escape reality and delve into new worlds. However, they are also a device that enables you to dream of possible futures. I cannot think of a time when the need to escape or look to the future has been so pertinent than throughout the current pandemic.

Though we may hopefully be on our way out of this devastating period, worry still looms for the future of this nation and the world, but could an escape into film be the perfect immediate solution to those worries? The cinemas may only just be getting back on their feet after a while away, but never fear, The Library is here! To solve all of your movie needs with its ever growing collection of DVDs.

What better films with which to look the future, then Science-Fiction films. I know a lot of you may think that the ‘fiction’ part of this genre means that all films under this banner are simply make believe but a growing number in the last decade are at least in part based around real science and distinctly possible futures. I would like to draw your attention to four particular science-fiction films which I think are perfect in some ways for looking to the future.

Firstly, many of you probably know that May is seen as the month of Star Wars (May The 4th Be with You etc.) in the science-fiction world. While the Star Wars franchise (1977-present) may be extremely popular, almost as popular is its older rival the Star Trek franchise (1966-present). Another advantage Star Trek has on its greatest rival is that more of its technology and knowledge is based on scientific facts and possibilities rather than pure fiction, especially with what has been and can be achieved in the current age. From the Holodeck, the Communicators, Sensors and Tricorders; to the U.S.S. Enterprises (the main space vessel and setting of the series) computer system, Cloaking devices and Phasers. These concepts either already exist now or could certainly come to exist in the not too distant future.

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Within the Library’s collection we have the first entry in the reboot (2009) of the long-running franchise, which if you like Action-comedy’s, Suspense thrillers and Alien films is perfect for you. It’s also a film with a lot of heart, and while fans of The Original Series may not find it quite so loveable, it is the perfect film to introduce new fans to the franchise and get you hooked on a succession of TV series and films that will fill up countless hours of your spare time should you so wish. Get a glimpse of that action yourself by viewing the trailer in the link below.

Next up we have Christopher Nolan’s space exploration epic Interstellar (2014). Now while quite a long entry (clocking in at 2hr 49 mins), it is certainly more than worth the watch. The Award-winning stunning imagery alone is enticing enough to draw you in but once again it also represents real science and a possible future for space exploration and colonising of new worlds.

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Even though the story is still a little downbeat at times, there is still plenty of light at the end (as there hopefully is for us here in reality too). Overall, it depicts a powerful tale surrounding both the future and past; of Earth, Family and Time & Space. And if you are yet to be intrigued by the sheer sound of it, take a look at the clip in the link below, which take places relatively at the start of the main characters journey into the unknown.

Now if you find you’re not a fan of modern Sci-Fi films, why not try a classic such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)?

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Stanley Kubrick’s epic is widely regarded as the original and first great Sci-Fi film and lauded for its scientific accuracy and effects (of its time that is), winning an Academy Award (Best Visual Effects) and several BAFTA’s (including Best British Cinematography). Though it’s visual effects may be a little old it is still seen as the quintessential Sci-Fi film by many and its influence is still being felt decades later in films such as Contact (1997), Arrival (2016) and even Interstellar itself. It may feature a homicidal artificial intelligence as the primary antagonist (although the clip below shows HAL 9000 in his more mundane period in the film), however even that can/has become a reality in scientific breakthroughs although devoid of any violent tendencies. If you’re a lover of Science-Fiction, this film is a must-see or if you’re merely a beginner in the genre this is the perfect film to start you off. 

The final film I want to bring to your attention, is also the most recent yet probably the most realistic in the current age of space travel, Ridley Scott’s (also known for directing Alien, 1979) The Martian (2015).

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Starring the excellent Matt Damon (as well as an incredible supporting cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels and Sean Bean) The Martian is an endearing story of a man accidently left behind on Mars by his crew and his mission to survive until a rescue arrives. Even though it’s based on a novel by Andy Weir and set in the year 2035, both it’s imagery and it’s technology is extremely similar to the present day. NASA themselves were heavily involved in the production and script writing in order to achieve maximum scientific accuracy. It’s not just the dazzling special effects and iconic imagery that make this film so watchable however, the touching story at the heart of the film is just as if not more important, as this slightly humouros clip from the middle of the film shows: 

The message the film sends out is a particularly poignant one in the current climate, there’s always hope of a rescue in the gravest of times, making it a powerful watch now more than ever.

Overall, these films are some of the best you can watch to build your excitement for the return of big-screen Cinema or to give you hope and a sense of wonder for the future ahead as we continue to exit a most uncertain period in our history. So, why not check them out in the Library’s DVD section ASAP or simply anytime you feel in the mood for a good film!

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