Though the Space Race has long since come and gone, people are still fascinated by what lies beyond the sky. We gaze in wonder at the stars, admire beautiful photos of distant planets and galaxies, and dream up alien creatures (and hope they're of the "E.T." variety). It's amazing that a vacuum of empty space can so vividly fill our imaginations.
Of course, movies play a huge role in creating memorable images of space. Now, Ridley Scott's "Prometheus," the mysterious "Alien" semi-prequel, hopes to enter the pantheon of iconic intergalactic adventures, which includes these five classics.
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
To spend only a small paragraph talking about Stanley Kubrick's iconic space epic seems almost like an insult. What do I talk about? Should I talk time to discuss the strangely hypnotic opening third featuring ape-men discovering an ominous black monolith, and perhaps the first signs of evolution? Or perhaps the famous middle section, the haunting astronaut thriller that would still be considered intelligent beyond its years if it was released tomorrow? The fact that "2001: A Space Odyssey" offers all of those elements (and I haven't even mentioned HAL, the space baby or the legendary music) should speak to how incredible this masterpiece is.
Popping in a DVD of Ridley Scott's "Alien" today, it's kind of amazing to think that the film was made over 30 years ago. The sets still look grandiose, especially the discovery of a dead alien in a massive chair, and H.R. Giger's design of the title character is easily one of the most memorable and terrifying images of extraterrestrial life. But as audiences learned in "Snow White and the Huntsman," looking good can only get a movie so far. Luckily, "Alien" is still packed with surprises, enduring characters and truly horrifying sequences. Three words: John Hurt chestburster. It's scenes like those that explain why people are so excited about Scott's return to the series.
"Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back"
I would love to put all three of the original films in this countdown. The classic sci-fi trilogy, combined with "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and Legos, defined my childhood. Unfortunately, this is a top five article, so I'll have to choose my favorite of the three, "The Empire Strikes Back." The movie is just packed with unforgettable moments and visuals, such as the opening battle on Hoth and the dark, twist-filled ending. Just like "Alien," the movie was made before CGI became the default setting for filmmakers, so the effects look and move authentically. It's certainly more real than anything in the new trilogy, but then again, the only thing real in Episodes I through III was the audience's disappointment.
There comes a time in every child's life when he wants to be an astronaut. Then he sees 1995's "Apollo 13" and decides that maybe the heroic profession is just a bit too terrifyingly stressful for him. Director Ron Howard, who would later win Best Director and Best Picture for "A Beautiful Mind, terrifically balances the emotional elements of the story and creates a great tribute to the men who dangerously journeyed where most never will. Their story didn't need slimy aliens or a soullessly maniacal computer; space itself is a breathtaking horror. The only thing more horrifying? The fact that, less than a decade later, Howard directed "The Dilemma," a movie that humanity has completely forgotten.
In my last countdown article, I stated that any movie starring David Bowie is a cinematic classic. But what about a movie directed by his son? There may not be much to go on yet (his only other film is last year's "Source Code"), but Duncan Jones' 2009 debut "Moon" is certainly a sign of good things to come. The sci-fi existential indie drama stars Sam Rockwell as the lone worker on a lunar facility who, on a buggy trip, discovers an injured co-worker: himself. "Moon" isn't flawless, but it is an engrossing movie that, like it or not, you should see to stay relevant in film discussions. Plus, it was made for less than one-tenth of what it cost George Lucas to ruin "Star Wars."
Boozehound, I was going to say Sunshine should be on this list, but you beat me to it.
Explorers with a young River Phoenix. Look it up. Fantastic space film from the 80's.
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by OnMilwaukee.com Staff Writers
Published Feb. 22, 2017
Whether you're a soccer player, sports fan or community advocate looking for a fun way to give back, all are welcome to come together and improve the quality of life of Milwaukee's children in the 2017 SCORES CUP Charity Indoor Soccer Tournament.
Published Feb. 21, 2017
Roger Waters, one of the key original members of Pink Floyd, will bring his solo "Us + Them" tour to Milwaukee's BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday, July 29.
Published Feb. 19, 2017
When it comes to bars, Milwaukee dominates, offering everything from comfy taverns to posh clubs. Once again, OnMilwaukee will celebrate the city's hearty and diverse drinking culture with Bar Month, including your chance to vote for your favorites in the 2017 Best Bars poll.
Published Feb. 18, 2017
You may look at National Drink Wine Day as just another day, but for us it is an opportunity to partake in some great pours and more. Sip away at these options in this edition of the OnMilwaukee WeWant.
Published Feb. 18, 2017
When I Will Not Die Young co-founder Muhibb Dyer learned that his organization had received $25,000 from Milwaukee-born Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, he thought it was a prank, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service reports.
Published Feb. 17, 2017
With a variety of restaurants located conveniently near ski hills, snowmobile trails and more, winter is the perfect time for a warm Wisconsin-style meal. Here are five snowy Wisconsin supper club hot spots.
Published Feb. 16, 2017
February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, and it couldn't come at a better time for the country, because anytime is a great time to be kind. If you're looking for a special occasion to do something particularly nice, now is your opportunity, Milwaukee.
Published Feb. 13, 2017
Cupids and chocolates are fine, but to spread the local and cheesy love send one of these free Brew City Valentines to your sweetheart.
Published Feb. 12, 2017
Milwaukee-raised jazz singer Al Jarreau died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 76. No official cause of death has been reported, but Jarreau had struggled with respiratory problems and last week cancelled all his tour dates due to exhaustion.
Published Feb. 12, 2017
Oh, you've lost that lovin' feeling this Valentine's Day? Don't worry ... in this edition of #WeWant we have you covered with some of the best therapy inducing products and ideas on this day of love.