Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rating Game Redux 39: Giving You Space

Yet another little list for our local paper--and oh, the easy irony of it: a little list for a big category: Best Movies About Space. I decided not to choose films that are simply set in outer space, but which use space as a central element. This excludes good movies--Outland, Red Planet, even The Right Stuff--with key sequences set in space. But three is three, so here we go.

(By the way, I took the category to mean "outer space." My wife, however, suggested down-to-Earth movies like Lawrence of Arabia and Gerry and Cast Away that depend on open spaces to tell their stories. What a relief that someone else is clever; I'm happy just plodding along. Thanks, Jill.)

Solaris (1972, 2002)

In both Andrei Tarkovsky’s original film and Steven Soderbergh’s remake, the boundary between earth and space dissolves, leaving human memory to rebuild whatever might remain.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick jump-cuts us to a future in which humanity is wrought by space into infinite shapes, as stately as a waltz, as cold as evolution, an “ultimate trip” that leaves us wide-eyed and expectant.

Sunshine (2007)

The sun is dying, and Danny Boyle plunges us head-first into all that heat and light where space waits–either like a lover or a spider, depending on whom you ask.

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