Science Fiction has been around for quite a while; it has evolved from simple ideas and words on a page to something more visual and eye-popping, making our already overactive imagination go into overdrive. While the glamor and glitz of Hollywood has managed to transform our dreams into something we can all relate to, there are a few franchises out there that really do the genre proud. I think it's all about legacy and how certain cinematic universes continue to offer us lofty goals and allow us to dream big. After all a well-made movie has a surging impact on our psyche, making the implications hard to ignore.
Star Wars – Quintessential Fairy Tale instead of Magic and Myths
Whether you're a fan or not, you'll have heard of the franchise; at its core, it's an epic battle of good and evil set in a galaxy far, far away. Characters fall and heroes rise; it is the quintessential fairy tale instead of magic and myths we get, science and aliens.
There are many tales to be told in this universe but the six Star Wars movies represent such harrowing life lessons that it's hard not to take note. They may be disguised as nothing but beings with funny faces or individuals with unnatural appendages; however alien the characters may seem to be, if one looks closely enough, there is a message that's just waiting to be learned.
Star Wars is one of the champions of science fiction. Its ground-breaking visuals of starships and space battles were enough to excite a generation into a frenzy of activity, where men, women, and children dreamed of the future, of flying cars and the like.
Star Trek - Holograms, Aliens and Half-breeds, We’re All Equal
This franchise has spawned a multitude of hit TV series and a number of movies to accompany them. Yet that isn't why the universe is special, at least not to me. While spaceships and sexy aliens are great to look at, I think the franchise’s greatest contribution to Sci-Fi is a possible glimpse of our future society.
It is nice to think that hundreds of years from now, no matter where we've come from, we are all equal. Holograms, aliens and half-breeds, it doesn't matter. It's an ideology that the franchise does well, but it does much more too. Like any great science fiction adventure, it allows us to dream of the future. In fact, talk with astrologists or engineers at NASA. They might just say that Star Trek inspired them in their career path. It doesn't stop there either; this series is an inspiration to everyone who’s seen it: As the catch phrase says, "To explore bold new worlds."
If you're interested but just don't know where to start, try the remake that was released back in 2009. Sure, it may be set in an alternate universe but it still takes the same principles of its forebears. It has everything anyone could ever want, spaceships going at each other’s throats, a world ending threat and of course heroes to save the day. As an added bonus, there's a sequel, set to be released this year.
Aliens - The Suspense Can Often Leave Me Shaking in My Seat
With the recent addition of Prometheus to the franchise this is one of those series that will continue to progress over the years. The suspense captured in this series of movies is top notch and can often leave me shaking in my seat. Ridley Scott's version of extra-terrestrial life is something that we never ever want to get up close in personal with.
I think this franchise symbolizes our greatest fear of the unknown; what if many years from now we go exploring and find things that we don't quite understand and that just happen to want to kill us? The future is always full of things we won't understand but we have to be brave enough to find solutions in order to progress.
The Matrix Trilogy - What One Mistake Can Cost Us
The concept of this particular universe is scary. I mean, just think about it for a moment, what if we aren't living our lives but are merely plugged into one giant simulation? Scary thought, isn't it? Let's take that further; what if the machines that we created took over the world? It is one of mankind's fears given form; only supersized to the big screen.
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The tale is as riveting as any on this list but it is hardly what makes it a must watch. It asks us the questions that need to be asked, the implications of what one mistake can cost us. It tells us to be cautious of our advances since they might just come back to bite us in the ass. It features some futuristic technology as well. While the trilogy has plenty of awesome technological devices, my personal favorite is the idea of quick learning, where we might be able to get all the knowledge we want, directly to our brains just with a quick download.
This particular franchise is heavy on the action and is a must watch for anyone who loves kung fu.
Avatar – It Makes Us Think about Things We Wouldn’t Normally Consider
James Cameroons blockbuster hit, which is supposedly a trilogy, features giant blue aliens that are capable of syncing with the planet. It's an interesting concept. What if there is an actual living planet? That's why it's a great example of the genre; it makes us think about things we wouldn't normally consider.
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While it’s unlikely, I'm sure it's enough to make our imaginations go a little wild. Still, I think the devil is in the details, the allure of this movie, at least for me. Is that the idea that the closest star (Alpha Centauri A) to our solar system holds a planet that holds life, and not just any old life but sentient aliens?
I think this is a must watch movie, because it takes the simplest facts of life like greed and makes it the reason for our exploration of a planet light years away. And if that wasn't enough there's a love story and plenty of action to keep practically anyone interested throughout the whole movie.
Push Us towards the Future, Make Us Think and Dream of What is Possible
These are my picks. Some are old, some are new, and some continue to evolve. Yet for all their differences, they share one thing in common: their capacity to push us towards the future, to make us think and dream of what is possible. Hopefully with the passage of time, other great universes of fiction can join the legacy and purpose that sci-fi has brought into our society. It's hard to forget that the things depicted may be awesome and cool but that is only their smallest contribution.