Monday, 22 February 2016

10 sci-fi films you need to see... or not.

Dear all, let me apologise, first of all, for not posting in such a long time. In all these months I’ve had lots of ideas but I couldn’t find the will to sit down and write. Fortunately for me and thus for you, in the last month two things happened that pushed me into writing again.

The first thing was attending the presentation of the book Para vos nací. Un mes con Teresa de Jesús by Spanish writer Espido Freire. Everything Miss Freire explained about 16th century’s Spanish writer Teresa de Jesús was so vivid, appealing, interesting, and from such a modern point of view that I felt like she was speaking for and about me. It stirred my emotions and desires so much, that after the conference I approached her and told her: “you’ve made me want to write again”.

The second thing was meeting one of my favourite bloggers/youtubers (not that I follow many, to be fair): La sombra de Nikky Udall, and a friend of hers - now also a friend of mine -  known as Miss Keats. We spent hours talking about books, films, series and so on. When you do that with someone who enjoys those little pleasures even more than yourself, makes you a bit jealous in a good way; and in my case, made me want to definitely bring this blog out of the coma.

So here I am bringing you an update of my old post about films that revolve around the themes of time travel, parallel universes, dystopias, etc. This time, the list is shorter, only 10 films. As usual, I’m giving you a few details about each film but spoiler-free. I hope you find it useful and remember: any comments, suggestions, questions, and/or opinions are very welcome and appreciated, so feel free to post your comment in the box below.

Mr. Nobody (2009)
This is a good film (with a superb Jared Leto leading the cast) but not easy to follow. Nemo Nobody is the last mortal on earth who, before dying, explains his life story to a journalist. However, what he explains is not 1 but 3 different lives. The key to understanding the film is revealed very little by little, mostly in the last 5 minutes. If you have seen Run, Lola, run, you understand what it is about straight away, but if you haven’t... may God have mercy on you, because the scriptwriter didn’t have any. The only thing he did to help you out is to have this poor journalist asking questions who, unfortunately, doesn’t get any straight answer.

Never let me go (2010)
Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, it couldn’t be a bad film, and certainly it doesn’t disappoint. The film follows the life of a girl called Kathy H and her friends Tommy and Ruth while they all live in a British boarding school during the 70s, and also when they leave the school and go to a farm house to live in cottages during the 80s. I’m afraid that if I explain more about the plot, I’ll be spoiling the fun so you’ll have to trust me: although it may seem a bit slow, it’s worth watching. When I first saw this film I thought I was watching some sort of romantic drama… but I couldn’t be any more wrong. Give it a try!

Safety not guaranteed (2012)
This is a film I categorize as one of those “cute little films”: low budget, no special effects AND with that wonderful indie humorous touch. The film is based on a classified ad that John Silveira wrote as a joke in Backwoods Home Magazine that reads as follows:
WANTED: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 322, Oakview, CA 93022. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
The film is about 3 journalists working for a magazine that are sent to find out who wrote this ad and why. It’s a beautiful little story about characters rather than time travelling itself.

Extracted (2012)
[Known as Extraction in the UK] I watched this film without knowing absolutely anything about it, and I think this is exactly how you want to watch it. It’s one of those really good films that very few people have seen because there are no important actors in it, or because the publicity campaign was tiny. If you don’t care about spoilers, proceed: Tom is a scientist who has invented a machine capable of retrieving a person’s subconscious memories. His objective is to use it in people who suffer from amnesia but he is put under pressure to accept money from an anonymous investor who wants to try the machine before it has been proven to be 100% safe. The investor happens to be an official who wants to use the machine to find if an addict called Anthony really killed his girlfriend, as suspected. When Tom enters Anthony’s mind, something goes wrong and he gets trapped there.

Snowpiercer (2013)
I love this film. In my opinion, it is the best film in this list. Snowpiercer is a South Korean film (filmed mostly in English) based on the French graphic novel Transperceneige. It stars a fantastic Chris Evans (I was gladly surprised by his interpretation), Jamie Bell, John Hurt and an unrecognisable Tilda Swinton. As with Extracted, I watched it knowing nothing about its plot, which made the experience more enjoyable and I recommend you to do the same, but if you don’t want to listen to me, read ahead: Set in a post-apocalyptic frozen planet earth, the only surviving humans live on a train called the Snowpiercer, which travels around the planet without stopping and is the only place where a human can live without freezing to death in a few seconds. The main character, Curtis Everett, lives along with other people in the tail section, the section for low-class humans. They know that the closest to the front of the train, the higher the class of the humans living in it and the better the conditions they live in; so Curtis decides to start a revolution to get to the front of the train. The beginning is intense but it gets more and more intense as the film goes on.

Oblivion (2013)
Joseph Kosinski wrote a graphic novel called Oblivion about a post-apocalyptic planet earth destroyed by aliens. It never got published so he decided to make a film. He is really good at making computer graphics and CGI, and you can tell in the film that its makers really care about making good visuals. The problem with this film is the plot. The plot is rubbish. Kosinski and his mates were too ambitious and they failed. If you are a person who goes to the cinema mainly for the visual effects, watch this film because it is visually stunning. But if you care about a good script, go watch something else. I don’t even care about explaining what the film is about.

Project Almanac (2014)
Primer + Jackass = Project Almanac. This film is produced by the MTV, and they made sure there was a lot of music in it without any logical reason why. Jonny Weston (27 when the film was shot) plays a super intelligent 15 year old boy in a high school who, along with two losers friends, builds a time machine and uses it for… everything an American teenager would use it for.
MTV hasn’t done anything good since Daria.

Edge of tomorrow (2014)
Source Code with Tom Cruise + chicken-aliens + an ending à la Jerry Bruckheimer = Edge of tomorrow. The starting idea is interesting because it is based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All you need is kill, but since the film was “Americanised” it ended up being two hours of Tom Cruise showing off. The film is set in the future, when the earth has been invaded by aliens and human armies are fighting to survive and kill these aliens. Bill Cage is an officer, with no combat experience, who is sent to an operation and killed in combat. However, he wakes up and finds out he is in a one-day time loop. He also finds he is not the only one with this ability. Fantastic starting idea, wrongly developed.

Lucy (2014)
If you like this film, please don’t kill me just because I don’t. If you watched /will watch it because it stars Scarlett Johanson, good for you. I watched it because Luc Besson is the director and I was very disappointed. This is the idea: a woman is tricked into working as a drug-mule. She carries the drug in her abdomen but when one of her captors kicks her stomach, the drug is released and gets into her system causing her brain to use more of its capacity, developing abilities in her like telekinesis, super-strength, etc. It sounds really cool, and believe me, it is… but that ending… dear me… I don’t want to spoil you but it’s the most deceiving thing ever.

Transcendence (2014)
Christopher Nolan was the executive producer of this film, and that’s enough to make me want to see it. But… I can’t really tell what I disliked the most about this film. It has Cillian Murphy and Paul Bettany in it, which makes it good straightaway but I´m not sure whether Johnny Depp interprets or not. It seems like he was bored or he didn’t want to be there. It’s so bad, I’m not even going to explain what it is about because I don’t want you to watch it.

So these are the 10 films of the list. Have you seen any of them? What is your opinion? Do you agree with me or not? Are there any other films you want to recommend? Leave a comment.


  1. Great! Por fin!
    I read Never let me go, and after that they made the film... I don't want to see it because it was very traumatic for me xD

    Lucy, in my opinion is.... bloh xD I don't buy it
    but the others... okey, i will give it a chance

    1. I agree with you: Never let me go is traumatic but still amazing; and I don't like Lucy either, as you could read.
      But I'm glad you'll give a try to the other films. Let me know when you see them :)

  2. I just watched "Snowpiercer" like 3 days ago and I feel in completely and absolutely in love with it. I really like the worldbuilding -trying not to spoil the movie here, I'm just gonna mention the Worldview the characters have and how it seems really complex and well-thought. A really nice surprise of a movie, I was not expecting it to be this great. Really looking forward reading some of the ones you mentioned here (mostly the ones that have a good review and I haven't already watched hahahah).

    1. Thanks for your comment, Nemo. Knowing that there's somebody out there who also loves this film is wonderful. I'd love to know your opinion of the other films as well :)