Good Sci-Fi doesn't have to be Scary
- Lost in Space
- Buckaroo Bonzai across the 8th Dimension
- Back to the Future (1-3)
- The Iron Giant
- Jurassic Park
- Men in Black
- Flash Gordon
- Total Recall
- The Star Trek Movies
- The Last Starfighter
- Bicentennial Man
- Galaxy Quest
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- Space Cowboys
It seems that Hollywood thinks that Science Fiction is either aliens coming to eat/kill/destroy everyone or future world wars (or both.) They're wrong, of course. Science Fiction can be a simple adventure set in the future or making use of futuristic technology or what-have-you.
The real concept of science fiction is "What if?." That is, what if someone invented a time machine? What if we discovered a fast, easy way to travel between planets? Take these, or any other such question, and focus on one possible aspect of one possible scenario: what if the time machine were invented by an eccentric, disenfranchised scientist who accidentally sends a teenager back in time to meet his parents? What if that travel method were actually invented by aliens who had showed up way in the past, pretending to be Gods, and by activating it, we end up running into them again?
Note: Star Wars (et al) isn't listed because it's really Fantasy, a genre I generally loathe. Star Wars wasn't hardcore fantasy, and was pretty good, but still... Jurassic Park was kinda scary and "they're gonna get you!"-ish, but it was still good. I'm sure I've missed others, and I didn't include Sliders because it's a TV series, and while it fit the category originally, it has lately gotten really stupid with the "run-around-and-fight-the-bad-guys-in-a-multi-universer-uber-war" schtick. I am definitely looking forward to Bicentennial Man and will probably add it to this list as soon as I get a chance to see it.
Also, I'm pissed that of all of Robert Heinlein's wonderful novels and short stories, they picked his only horror story (Puppet Masters) and his only war novel (Starship Troopers). Why not Friday or Door into Summer or something? (And they've not done anything with James P. Hogan's work, the numbnuts.)
Okay, I finally got around to watching Bicentennial Man. It was great. A little sadder than I remember (not exactly what a 5-year-old girl who likes Robots is after) and I have a problem with a slight violation of the first law of robotics, but I will definitely pick this one up on DVD. Definitely recommended.