Does anyone have any recommendations for ‘hard sci-fi’ movies? I’ve been really craving a good ‘hard sci-fi.’
I’ve recently watched:
2001: A Space Odyssey
I’m looking for anything similar. I know I still need to watch ‘Solaris.’ Basically I want anything reminiscent ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’
Please! Thank you!
Primer comes to mind, and then if you’re in for more of the same, Timecrimes, but those may not be exactly “hard sci-fi.” Since you’re going to watch Solaris, you might as well watch Stalker (by the same director, Tarkovsky), that has some sci-fi elements. Perhaps you would find Sunshine enjoyable (it’s my favourite film by Danny Boyle), and maybe Logan’s Run? I’m not entirely clear on what you’re definition of “hard sci-fi” is, so I’m just throwing out some possibilities.
Here’s some others (not all of them are great):
GattacaPredatorForbidden PlanetContacteXistenZStarship TroopersThe Day the Earth Stood Still (the original, let’s just forget the remake ever happened)The Fifth Element
I think it’s easier to find ahrd sci-fi novels than films, but it seems that what is mentioned so far covers it pretty well
Yeah, I’m a little confused by what you mean by “hard sci-fi”… if you can explain that I’d be happy to throw out a ton of suggestions.
EDIT: Okay, except Deckard can apparently read my mind and mentioned probably half of what I would have already. Hah. So maybe not a /ton/.
What is remotely hard sci-fi about Blade Runner?
Hard Sci-Fi is a more technical Sci-Fi, less Space Opera. 2001, 2010 are good example. I agree Sunshine is, Logan’s Run the film is not, the book more so is.
Matrix is a great example of hard sci-fi.
Cyberpunk work is more hard sci-fi
Yeah, some of those I threw out there are questionably “hard.” My understanding of the term, is realistic and/or theoretically possible science fiction (Rudy Rucker’s work comes to mind). So, I suppose we could even add Minority Report to the list and Arthur C. Clarke is considered by most to dabble in “hard sci-fi,” so there’s a few more. A Boy and his Dog maybe as well?
I think Dick’s work is mainly considered hard.
You all know what I mean, stop giggling.
harlen ellison was a big spectulative fiction guy, which is a school of hard sci-fi
Dick’s work is typically more magical realism than science fiction.
Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo!
Can’t forget A Trip to the Moon, La Jetée (and since you’re seeing this you can also watch 12 Monkeys), Ghost in the Shell, and I don’t know if Holy Mountain and Dr. Strangelove are sci-fi…
I don’t know what you mean from saying hard science fiction. If you mean science fiction with meaning, you can watch Solaris, Stalker (NOT really science fiction, but anyway), La Jeteé… There are lots of other films in my head right now, but I don’t really know if they fall in the same category as you want.
What isn’t science fiction about Stalker? A “stalker” who guides clients through a surreal, ambiguous area called “the Zone” and a boy who can move glasses by psychokinesis? Sounds rather science fiction to me.
@Deckard: In that case, yes it is. But I’d rather call it genre-less. Stalker is a piece of art. You can’t easily fit it in the same room as other films which are called science fiction. Solaris, on the other hand, is more science fiction to me.
It does defy genre conventions, but you’re kind of implying that science fiction is less ‘important’ than other works of art. I think it’s a very valuable and (at it’s best) very enlightening genre. The best works of art are “genre-less” but we can still approximate what genre they’re closest to.
Im not implying science fiction is less important that other works of art; Im just saying that Stalker is far more spiritual than being science fiction. Yes, in your point of view its more science fiction, but I don’t think of it that way.
Something I need to mention now, is that I have recommended it to Benjamin, so yes, I think it’s a bit science fiction too, but not as other films which totally fall in the genre.
I remembered once I read some interview from Tarkovsky, in which he said he counts Solaris as an artistic failure because it’s science fiction and bound to its genre, and he did what he wanted in Stalker and made it genre-less.
I will bookmark and continue reading your blog in the future! Thanks alot for the informative post!
@ Benjamin I don’t know if this film would be considered a fantasy film but how about Sean Connery in Zardoz? I haven’t seen it in a really long time. It was directed by John Boorman. Planet of the Apes is worth checking out. I don’t know if I’m helping you, but those suggestions came to mind.
I think there’s a lot of confusion here about “hard sci-fi.”
As in: I am confused about what the definition of “hard sci-fi” is, but can tell that every posters’ definition thus far in the thread is also different from mine and each others’.
Anyways, OUTLAND probably comes closest to what I think of. Like ALIEN, but without any speculation about the existence of aliens. Even 2001 ends with a sequence I would not consider “hard sci-fi”, though the everything till the stargate sequence is textbook hard sci-fi.
BENJAMIN, any further info you can provide?
So … what’s your definition?
My impression was that it was sci-fi in which the speculative aspects boiled down exclusively to a detailed focus on the science of space travel and colonization. Human drama unfolded within that context in the novel. But there were not alien races nor were there fantastical, magical elements to the future. So, 2001 is quintessential in that regard until the final act, at which point it gets “a little weird”, I imagine, in the eyes of a hard sci-fi author (of course, Clarke WAS considered one in some of his works…but the novel’s culmination is certainly harder than the movie’s, if I recall).
All that said and done, it’s sub-categorization I’ve never been totally clear on, and one I’ve read even less on or of. Give me far-out sci-fi any day.
By hard science fiction I mean anything that emphasizes the scientific or technical aspects of the genre. It’s usually more realistic. I’m looking for sci-fi films that use the genre as a source of commentary as opposed to exploitative action/sci-fi like Predator.
Man! You guys have been a terrific help. I wasn’t expecting anyone to respond to the post. Thanks for helping me out!
I’m surprised to see Fifth Element mentioned. That’s one I’d consider the opposite of hard scifi.
I’d consider Battlestar Galactica ‘Hard scifi’, if you will accept TV series. Some divinity comes into play more and more toward the end, but in general the only major violation of hypothetically possible science is faster than light travel. It’s heavily influenced by Blade Runner.
Children of Men is some good hard sci-fi, except it doesn’t involve space travel.
How about The Quiet Earth or Silent Running
Another couple hard Sci-Fi films.
The Clone Returns Home
Never Let Me Go
I think that the difference between soft and hard sci-fi is easier to determine in books than films, but I would consider Never Let Me Go to be very much soft sci-fi.
I personally much prefer soft sci-fi.
So you consider Blade Runner or Alien as serious movies?
Yes, how dare we not apply the default label of ‘frivolous’ to any adventure story. WE IS PHILISTINISTS!