Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Ten most influential movies?

Poster for one of my top 10 ten influential SF movies
 (Image from Wikipedia)
As a result of the recent publication of Ten Billion Tomorrows, examining the interplay between science and science fiction, I recently did an article with Business Insider on what I consider to be the ten most influential movies.

I'm not going to list them here - you can find out in Business Insider's fun article,  but I did think it worth mentioning the way that I selected them.

It all depends, of course, on what you mean by 'influential.' If, for example, you meant 'shaping the way Hollywood viewed science fiction', then I would have to have included Star Wars, which dragged SF kicking and screaming out of the B movie slot. But instead I was looking at movies that were (or will be - two were from 2015) influential on individuals to take an interest in science or become scientists.

This explains two woeful omissions, if I had been attempting just a 'best science fiction films' list - Metropolis and Blade Runner. Both were extremely impressive visually. Lang's Metropolis set the look of the future for many, and had that early humanoid robot. And Scott's Blade Runner similarly defined a new, gritty look for other future-set films. However neither were the kind of movie that would get a watcher all excited about science - they are both dystopian and present science and technology as something close to evil.

Another film that has had much acclaim that I didn't include was Interstellar.  But I didn't feel I needed to include that, as Contact was the original for much of the science and I felt that Interstellar tried to hard visually, losing the storytelling.

At least one of the films in my list is hard to justify, except that it's one of my favourite films (and it includes some concepts that are rare in science fiction in the movies). I'd also say that there's an element of provocation there. After all, what's the point of a list like this if you don't argue with it.

So feel free to tell me I was wrong...

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