Science fiction films have plots revolving around interstellar travel, alien spaceships, extraterrestrial visits, robots, time travel or highly developed mind power. Of course, there is little or no relation to the existing scientific knowledge. It is basically an exploration of possibilities. Film makers chose this genre very early in the history of films. As early as 1902, Georges Melies entertained audiences with A Trip to the Moon. Science fiction movies are often based on books and often comment on politics or actual social conditions within the backdrop of science fiction. Jurassic Park, Inception and Star Trek (2009) are a few of the popular movies that belong to this genre but are treated very differently.
Watching Jurassic Park, you will feel that you have actually gone back to the Jurassic Age when dinosaurs walked the Earth. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie is based on a novel by Michael Crichton. The film starts with a scene with deadly velociraptors that make you drop your jaws. Richard Attenborough plays the role of John Hammond, an eccentric millionaire who has created a vast theme park in Costa Rica where dinosaurs such as brachiosaurs, dilophosaurs, tricerotops, velociraptors, and Tyrannosaurus Rex thrive.
The story of recreating a dinosaur is easy to gulp for the audiences because it is given a scientific base, however feeble and also because of the realistic special effects. The film shows that by retrieving dinosaur DNA from a mosquito that was fossilized in amber, scientists have successfully cloned the monsters that ruled the Jurassic Age. In order to get approval for the reserve to be opened as a theme park, Hammond invites a group of researchers for a preview of the park. The group sets off for a visit to the park, accompanied by Hammond’s grandchildren.
The group is to move about the park in computer controlled cars. Everything seems amazing and it seems for a while that science has managed to match nature. All the same, Dr. Malcolm is not convinced and continues to expound on his pet, the chaos theory which states that it does not take much time for chaos to wreck havoc in a situation that seems to be perfect. When a person working at the park tries to steal dinosaur embryos, electricity fails. Amazement quickly turns to horror when the group realizes that the dinosaurs are let loose and they are trapped amidst the terrible creatures.
Steven Spielberg shows his mastery in maintaining a pace in the dinosaur chase that keeps viewers on the edge. There is not much blood shown on screen but violence and terror are implicit in scenes of animals suddenly disappearing or just legs dangling from the jaws of a dinosaur are chilling. Chemistry between Grant and Sattler sets in early and later Grant, whose heart which is not very keen on children, is moved to make every effort to save the children trapped with them in the park.
In a very classy way, the movie delivers the message that science has not yet built capacity to imitate nature and should behave in a responsible manner. Be ready to tremble with fear and excitement as Jurassic Park throws you in front of a horrible Tyrannosaurus Rex menacing at you.
Once you start watching Inception, a web of suspense will be woven around you that will bind you to the screen till the movie ends. Released in 2010, Inception is a complicated science fiction movie directed by Christopher Nolan. It has some excellent slow motion action sequences.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of Dom Cobb who is a thief who uses his power to enter a person’s subconscious to steal information that is used by companies against competitors. He makes use of dreams and dreams within a dream. A dreamer can get out of his dream only by a heavy jerk or kick or if the person dies in his dream. But, the dream itself collapses if the dreamer actually dies.
A person who enters other person’s dreams keeps a totem with him, which only he can interpret to signify whether he is in a dream or in reality. Cobb uses a top that goes on spinning endlessly if he is in a dream. The latest project on his hand is to extract information from the mind of Saito who is a Japanese business man. Cobb fails in his job due to intervention by projections from his wife Mal who is dead. Saito tells Cobb that he was testing his ability for ‘inception’ as he wanted Cobb to plant the idea of giving up business in the mind of his business competitor’s son’s mind. It is a complicated job but Cobb’s incentive is getting back to a normal life after he is freed from criminal charges laid on him by his wife. A team works on the plan and executes it.
The movie is full of suspense, subplots and twists in this well shot film. The movie is technically very sound and won Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Cinematography awards at Academy Awards.
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek (2009) which is directed by J.J. Abrams is eleventh of a series of science fiction. The main characters in the older series feature in this movie too along with a set of new characters. The movie is set in the year 2233. The movie is about an attack on the United Federation of Planets from a Romulan starship from the future. The movie intertwines the concept of time travel and space travel to weave an interesting story about a space war. Spock and Kirk, played by Zachary Quinto and James T. Kirk respectively, are the fighters who are on a space mission.
Movie fans looking forward to wonderful gadgets that can kill or stun, sophisticated starships, shiny space suits and weird looking aliens with ritual scars, tattoos and funky hairstyles will like the designs. The rocky Vulcan environment, stars and space and the engine room which was actually shot at a power plant are all interesting factors in the movie giving it a realistic look. Combining with innovative lighting set ups and creative camera techniques, the movie is a visual treat. Those who love action will also enjoy the gunfight scenes in the movie. The visuals in combination with great special effects, sound effects and good music give viewers an enjoyable experience.
The good thing about this movie is not only the aesthetics but also the finely chiseled characters that are played very well by the actors. The presence of a good storyline with enough action and humor is the strength of this film. It succeeds in pleasing the old fans as well as new ones.