Friday, April 23, 2010

Space: The Jan Brady of Earth Day

Oh Earth Day huh? Guess what-I LIVE on the earth. Every day.

What about Mars? Jupiter? Naboo? Or those shiny high-tech ships floating in between? 

In honor of all those masses of matter not acknowledged by 24 hours in spring, I give you a few choice options for genre films not bound to the third planet from the...


Danny Boyle’s true masterpiece, a polarizing mashup of 2001 and Halloween, is a visual vacation that poses rich questions about science, faith, morality, and just how powerful a fantastic musical score can be. Straight sci-fi fans typically rip on the Event Horizon-ish final act, but it’s a natural extension of the sun-as-false-god themes that begin the opening scene. Then again, since the main plot surrounds saving a certain water-based planet, perhaps this film doesn’t belong on the list at all.

Starship Troopers

There aren't really enough words in the English language that properly express the joy that can be found in Paul Verhoeven's original 1997 satirical sci-fi thriller, so it's fitting that most of the film takes place in another galaxy (where I'm sure another mother tongue can add to the vocabulary). Based on this series (originally envisioned by controversial-lite Robert Heinlein) of great gore, 90210esque romance, and cutting satire, Earth may be a far prettier planet than what’s found in the outer ring, but it’s also filled with fascism, genocidal militarism, and Denise Richards. I’ll take the bug planet.

Jason X

Fans of the franchise are deeply divided over the tenth outing of Mr. Voorhess, set 450 years in the future and filmed on the cheap in Canada (not quite as exotic as space, but with better pancakes). Personally, I can't get enough of a face-dunk into liquid nitrogen, a David Cronenberg cameo, tight-in-all-the-wrong-places space uniforms (for the ladies only, natch) and the general spirit of low rent cheese dripping off every bargain priced reel. 


The grandfather (well, more appropriately, grandmother) of modern sci-fi horror, the first two films from this franchise make a fine case for moving off-planet, if only to experience better movies.

Event Horizon

This surprisingly atmospheric debut of Paul “Not Thomas” Anderson, Event Horizon mixed the cold space castaway mood of Alien with a good old fashioned Nightmare on Elm Street dreamy slasher batter. Infamously edited by a baffled studio, Event Horizon has survived twelve years as a mini-fan favorite, a bloody sci-fi that plays with wormholes, hell, and gravity. Memorable moments include Jack Noseworthy’s nose worthy nosebleed and glimpses of carnal orgies not quite touched upon in Apollo 13. Ever wonder why you didn’t get that Oscar, Ron Howard?


Much like Sunshine, Duncan Bowie’s 2009 film doesn’t really have a home base in any strict genre. As a scientific premise mixed with horrific possibilities and striking moral drama, Moon tells the tale of an astronaut (played insanely well by Sam Rockwell) living alone 239,592 miles from earth (who needs it). To say more borders on immediate spoiler territory, but for lunar cinema that disturbs on an intelligent (and very human) level, head to the Moon

Leprechaun 4: In Space

Somewhat inevitable and sadly disappointing, this fourth entry into the Leprechaun saga never quite finds its inner chest burster. Still, you can’t go totally wrong with the spirit of Warwick Davis being transferred through urine and er, other bodily fluids, especially when light sabers are involved. 

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