Starset's Dustin Bates Picks His Top 5 Sci-Fi Movies
Starset is a rock band from Columbus, Ohio, formed by Dustin Bates, who, as well as being a singer, songwriter, and accomplished musician, also boasts some serious scientific credentials. A PhD candidate in electrical engineering from Ohio University, he has done research for the U.S. Air Force and taught at the International Space University.
In 2013, Bates formed Starset, according to him, after being contacted by an organization called The Starset Society and its President, Dr. Aston Wise. Bates was asked if he was interested in forming a band to promote the organization’s message. At its core, the message is a warning that involves a scientific discovery that is currently being controlled and manipulated by an elite few.
Since Bates actually knows and loves all things scientific, we asked him to pick his Top 5 Sci-Fi Movies for Revolver. Check out his selections below.
Starset’s debut studio album, 'Transmissions,' is out now via Razor & Tie.
1, '2001: A Space Odyssey'
To leave this off the list would be tantamount to nerd heresy. It was the original gold standard of sci-fi. I love how incredibly far this movie reaches, starting with the dawn of man and concluding with a surreal psychological look into something…the meaning of life? Our origins? Our evolution? Until reading Arthur C. Clarke’s book, I had no clue what it was. Still don’t, entirely. All I know is that it made me think and feel, and that is what makes it awesome. It was made in 1968 and it wasn’t until 1977’s 'Star Wars' that anything even came close to looking as good.
There are so many movies that could have made this list. I toiled over a list of about 15 movies, desperately trying to narrow it down to 5. In the end, I picked this one for two reasons. 1) It is gorgeous. I could think of no other movie that has a cleaner, more believable look. It is a fantastic representative of the current state of the art. 2) It made my then-girlfriend cry. That may seem like an odd reason to add it, but the thing is, she didn’t care about sci-fi. I am certain that she secretly loathed when I would suggest we watch anything in the genre, and she rarely found any particularly enjoyable. 'Oblivion' was different. She literally sobbed at the end. Touched by the human element and themes it contained, she left the theater talking about how she wished she could do more to help people in life. That is powerful. (NOTE: She may have been crying because I am not Tom Cruise)
3, 'Blade Runner'
I had a difficult time choosing between this and 'Minority Report,' as both are awesome movies based upon books by the genius Philip K. Dick. But this was the movie that gave him the initial attention that resulted in ten other popular movies made based on his work, like 'Total Recall,' for instance. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t include a Ridley Scott directed movie in this list. 'Blade Runner' is actually one of the few '80s sci-fi movies that isn’t served up with a heaping helping of cheese. Plus, this movie is where Rob Zombie got the phrase “More Human Than Human,” so that is pretty awesome.
This movie hits all of my sci-fi buttons. It is psychological, mind blowing and looks amazing. Sam Rockwell’s acting was fantastic and I’m still not sure it wasn’t actually shot on the moon. Plus, Kevin Spacey surprisingly makes for a great artificial intelligence voice.
5, 'Event Horizon'
I felt compelled to pick a movie from the horror subset of sci-fi, and this one is probably the best of the genre--though I have to give 'Sunshine' an honorable mention. It just doesn’t get much more metal than a spaceship that flies directly into hell.