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Topic: Psychological science fiction films and their ilk

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Subject: Psychological science fiction films and their ilk
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 3:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Over the past several months I've been fortunate enough to take in a handful of psychological sci-fi films and I thought I'd see where a topic on the subject might go. 

The first of these was Sunshine, a suspense thriller about a crew sent off to check on an earlier mission to restart a dying sun.  It reminded me of Event Horizon, but without the B-movie horror vibe.  I felt the film really captured the concept of the "space crazies" rather well, even if the source may or may not have been a supernatural impetus. 

The second, Moon starring the ever-surprising Sam Rockwell, was just pure genius.  Not only did it touch upon the effects of solitude in an extraterrestrial environment, but the film was brilliantly mellow as a counter-balance to a plot that was increasingly disturbing (mostly to the main character).  The acting in that film was an excellent example of independent film in general. 

Third, I finally managed to catch Solaris on IFC yesterday.  While I've heard the original was superior, even in the eyes of the author of the source material, I still found the film captivating and entrancing in a way.  There was so many opportunities to turn the plot into yet another story of space terror, but instead it remained firmly rooted in analysis and expression of humanity.  It was reminiscent in this aspect of The Fountain, which I suppose I should include as a fourth in the list.  When asked about the film, Aronofsky said "It's a post-Matrix, metaphysical Sci-Fi movie, and it's very different to anything you've seen. I call it post-Matrix because Matrix reinvented sci-fi in the same way Star Wars did, or 2001. I'm in a new environment, I'm trying to figure out what type of film would play to an audience now, and I think we came up with something really cool."

Having enjoyed all of these films thoroughly, and having already added Solaris to my Wish List, are there any other films or books like these?  Has anyone else seen any of them?  What did you think? 

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
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I've read Solaris but haven't seen the movie.  If they managed to focus on the humanity part  in the movie -I'm impressed.   It was a very thought provoking book.  I have heard the original movie is supposed to be excellent.  I haven't seen any of the others you mentioned (except matrix)  but surely Solaris can't be defined as a post-matrix movie.  The old Solaris was probably at least as   "post matrix"  than the newer version simply becaue of the material they are dealing with. .  Ah what do I know --my favorite sci fi movie is The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. 

 

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 6:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
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Killer Tomatoes is AWESOME!!!  I have very vivid recollections of watching it repeatedly as a child, usually as part of marathons involving the Toxic Avenger as well lol.  Interesting trivia: the guy who sang Puberty Love in Killer Tomatoes grew up to become the current drummer for Pearl Jam.

The post-Matrix comment is Aronofsky's regarding The Fountain.  After seeing the Matrix, he wondered what kind of science fiction one could possibly be made in a post-Matrix world.  His answer was The Fountain, which I think harkens to some of the low-tech speculative fiction of earlier eras.  I like the respect he gives to the Matrix series as a game changing event in the genre.  My friend did not agree, but I enjoyed the story in The Fountain enough to get misty on more than one occasion. 

It was Lem himself who said the 2002 version of Solaris focused more on the humanity of the original story, though he cited this as a flaw.  He felt that the recent version was little more than a remake of the original film, which one would presume he liked a great deal more.  I've a solid romantic streak, so anytime a story can tug at those heart strings it's bound to get my approval.  Each of the movies I cited managed to do that in one way or another, while at the same time exploring the psychology of such emotional circumstances.  Whether it's desperation or loneliness or longing, that sort of depth of character is oftentimes neglected in lieu of violence and chaos on epic scales.  The movies that play heavily to the spiritual or psychological are much more profound viewing experiences, and I would assume the same would be true had I any examples of similar literature.  I'm sure I've read a book or two that would compare, but I can't recall any off the top of my head. 

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2009
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Not sure if this is really what you are looking for, but it reminds me of the movies Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor, and The Prestige.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 455
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 10:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/20/2010 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
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The only thing I really liked about the Fountain was the soundtrack. Best I've heard in YEARS!!!

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/7/2008
Posts: 323
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a kind of a psychological science fiction book I read is Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg, about a telepath who starts to lose his powers, and how that affects him....I'll come back with a link.

here is a recent edition: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/0684130831

http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/browser.php?s_type=b&k=Dying+Inside&ti=&a=&g1=&b%5B%5D=Paperback&b%5B%5D=Hardcover&b%5B%5D=Audio+CD&b%5B%5D=Audio+Cassette&pd_type=e&pd=&r=n&sby=&oby=ASC&ts=&saved_name=



Last Edited on: 2/25/10 4:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/25/2010 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
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Melanie, that sounds absolutely PERFECT!!  There was only one other person in line for it, so threw it on my WL.  Thanks!!

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/7/2008
Posts: 323
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you're welcome!

actually I guess that link is to an early edition, but good luck in getting a copy of the book!



Last Edited on: 2/25/10 9:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/25/2010 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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I prefer my sci-fi to be older editions, so that's part of why it's so perfect.  Apparently this book is considered to be Silverberg's finest, and the plot seems really intriguing.  On top of the hardcover to which you linked, I found some older paperback editions with no one wishing; I'm first in line for a few of those as well.

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/7/2008
Posts: 323
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great! I like the early editions too. I just wanted to correct myself when I said the link was to a recent edition :) .