Brittney Slayes loves sci-fi. Like, loves sci-fi. So much so that Abyss, the new LP from her band, Canadian melodic power-metal quartet Unleash the Archers, is a retro sci-fi/fantasy concept album. That being the case, Revolver asked the powerful mezzo-soprano singer to pick the five greatest science fiction movies of all time — and she had plenty to say.
"These are really in no particular order, I think they are all fantastic and have all contributed to the genre in important and amazing ways!" she told us when she returned with her selections. "Get your NASA shirts on and suspend your disbelief because you are about to be taken off-planet and into a whole new world of black holes, omniscient aliens and the grimy streets of a not-so-distant but all-too-possible future."
Her honorable mentions include Star Wars ("obviously!"), 12 Monkeys, District 9, Edge of Tomorrow, Blade Runner 2049 and The Terminator. Check out her top five picks below.
This is the film that put Luc Besson on the map, in my opinion, and was such an original story for its time, but still managed to incorporate blockbuster action and a star-studded lineup with especially memorable performances from Milla Jovovich and Gary Oldman. This movie remains quote-worthy to this day and stands the test of time, both cinematically and visual effects-wise. Not to mention it cemented Gary as one of the best villains of science fiction history despite the fact that he never actually met or confronted the hero in any way, shape or form. Great acting and scriptwriting all around in this one, and 10 out of 10 for entertainment value.
That's right, I am going for the sequel on this one because, although the original was the ground-breaking, poster-child for the science fiction/horror genre mashup we would all come to know and love so well, the second film is the one that turned Sigourney Weaver into the heroine to end all heroines, and to introduce a mother-vs.-mother conflict the likes of which has never been seen since. We all know when baby bears are around that momma bears are the most dangerous creatures on the planet, so why not pit two of these marvelous beasts against one another in a battle on an unforgiving planet with only a freight loader and android for friends? Can't fail to mention Bill Paxton's performance as anxiety-riddled, headache-inducing whiner Hudson — as the scene with the motion sensor beeping away while his voice creeps higher and your shoulders creep ever closer to your ears will remain in my mind as one of the greatest moments of tension-building that James Cameron has ever crafted.
But Brittney, how can you be a fan of the original Alien franchise and the new one? That's sacrilege! Well, I firmly disagree with you on that one because, even though this film did not reveal the de facto origin of the xenomorphs, it did an incredible job of creating the bleak, morally-obtuse world where their creation was inevitable — and one certainly didn't need Ridley Scott to spell it out for you, if you only just allowed yourself to be fully immersed in the craggy, wind-swept atmosphere of the Engineers' outpost. Not to mention, Michael Fassbender's portrayal of the curious but compassionless David was absolutely riveting and his strange affection for Noomi Rapace's character kept me enthralled into the very last moments of the film. Sometimes as viewers, we forget that the movie wasn't made specifically for us, and we have to do our best to step back and appreciate what the director has given us, instead of impressing upon the film our own wishes and expectations ...
Another controversial one, I know, but one cannot call themselves a science fiction fan and leave out the first-ever scientifically accurate visual depiction of a black hole in film! Astrophysicists worked so closely with the visual effects engineers on Interstellar to ensure the calculations were absolutely correct, and afterwards they were actually able to write a technical paper on the gravitational lensing effects caused by the spinning of a black hole that they otherwise never would have discovered without seeing the video. OK, well, maybe not never, but it definitely helped. The fact that love was what propelled Cooper through the black hole was a bit hard to take at first, but on second — and third — watch the conversation with TARS began to make more sense, so if you have only watched this bad boy one time, I definitely recommend giving it another shot. Oh, and don't tell me this isn't one of Hans' best scores, either, because that scene where they have to attach to the airlock of the spinning ship by spinning themselves at the same rate was one of the most exciting things I have ever seen in my life and it was all thanks to the music!
Oh man, only one left ... This is way too hard ... But I think I am going to have to go with Blade Runner, the original. It's grim depiction of the future of our planet has since been often copied but never equaled, aside from maybe it's 2017 sequel, Blade Runner 2049. The oversized digital billboards and rain-soaked, smoke-filled streets would set the bar for science fiction films for years to come and still to this day is influencing filmmakers. We can thank Blade Runner for the gritty ambiance of films like The Matrix, Dark Knight, Ghost in the Shell, and even the upcoming Dune remake will have a taste of it, as director Denis Villeneuve himself said it would take from his experience during the creation of 2049. It's a well-known fact that Blade Runner changed the landscape of science fiction cinema for the better, but the message behind the film is just as important as we battle with being human in a world that constantly puts our humanity to the test. The statement made with the ending of this film echoes loudly in today's political climate, and if you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend that you do.