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  1. Dr Jeremy Kingston permalink
    1 Aug, 2012 4:59 pm

    I really enjoyed the recent film, Prometheus. Came out earlier this year.

    • 1 Aug, 2012 5:10 pm

      Interesting choice – particularly with criticisms about dodgy science levelled at it (we’ve another blog post about this coming up shortly). You weren’t put off by some of the less believable aspects of the plot?

      • 2 Aug, 2012 2:08 pm

        Erk, not sure if this is serious, but Prometheus was dreadful. Especially in the representation of the “scientists”, the tools of science and yeah actually pretty much all of it (the plot, the dialogue, the acting and I could go on). Except the production design and cinematography, that was great.

        But getting up and running after your abdominal muscles have been sliced open? The engineers being a “perfect DNA match”? The scientist who thinks that choosing to believe is more important than following the evidence? It was painfully bad.

  2. becci caswell permalink
    1 Aug, 2012 5:18 pm

    Has to be Ken Brannagh’s ‘Frankenstein’ Great story by Mary Shelley, love the whole Victorian fascination with science/creating life – love this film as it is shot like a play. Who would have thought Robert De Niro could bring such sensitivity and pathos to the monster…….

  3. Michael Tomlinson permalink
    1 Aug, 2012 6:20 pm

    Contact was an interesting mainstream film that took the ‘science v religion’ debate to the masses and particularly middle America. Not the best film ever made but was good to see this debate featured so heavily and made some interesting points. It was interesting how it documented the way that institutions whom originally deny your funding, often take the kudos for your work.

  4. Jose permalink
    1 Aug, 2012 11:18 pm

    “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” The Fly. A stereotypical science-gone-mad film (s), but great suspense. There are so many films to choose from …. I vividly remember the Kafkaesque settings of Vincenzo Natali’s Cube, a surreal plot with no real answers.

  5. Katie Boyce permalink
    2 Aug, 2012 7:54 am

    I thought Sunshine was so terrible that I really don’t remember anything about it! I can think of far more sci-fi films that I loved and very few more than The Matrix. I just remember the jaw-dropping special effects coupled with a storyline that was as thought-provoking as any film I’ve ever seen. But my guilty pleasure is Ghostbusters.

    • 2 Aug, 2012 12:00 pm

      +1 for Ghostbusters. Sure, the science wasn’t legit, but I like the idea of scientists going commercial with their research and saving the world.

  6. Meredith Thomas permalink
    2 Aug, 2012 11:33 am

    I have always loved Children of Men. The film is set in a dystopian near future. With a single problem, global infertility. It plays on a lot of Western fears about decreasing birthrates and indulges in a mass interesting political and social commentary throughout the film.

    It is also utterly gripping with the longest single-shot action sequence in film history. Science has a really strange place in the film, with a mysterious (possible mythical) group of researchers promising deliverance for the protagonists from the war-torn, violent streets of Britain. For me, it’s one of those films you can keep coming back to again and again.

  7. 2 Aug, 2012 12:21 pm

    I’ve only seen the first half so far, but I quite like Contact. It gives some insight into how science works as a process and the human stories behind blue-skies research.

  8. 2 Aug, 2012 12:22 pm

    I quite like Contact, for its insights into how science works & the human stories behind research.

  9. Marianne Dear permalink
    2 Aug, 2012 12:55 pm

    I have a warm and fuzzy memory of Mask, Peter Bogdanovich’s film about Rocky Dennis, a young man with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia (a disfiguring enlargement of the bones in the head). It’s an intimate story of his turbulent relationship with his tough but helpless mother, a glimpse of first love and a war he’s fighting with his own body. Bogdanovich takes a true story about a boy with a rare disease and elevates it from ‘weepy of the week’ to something inspiring and courageous. Watch the 2004 DVD version to hear Bruce Springsteen splashed all over a remastered soundtrack.

  10. Linda permalink
    2 Aug, 2012 1:40 pm

    Minority Report, because a lot of the technology that seemed amazing in 2002 is already here. Which must be the fastest transition from screen to hand ever.
    Touch screen technology, dragging and dropping applications, iris recognition tools. Even tailored adverts to the individual – used in London recently by technology that could define the gender of a passer by and display appropriate material.
    And then there’s pre-arresting of people who are going to commit murder which is scarily reminiscent of recent attempts to identify and categorize infants or even foetuses as future trouble makers with accompanying government intervention.

  11. Sarah permalink
    2 Aug, 2012 1:54 pm

    ‘Shutter Island’ is the one of the many for me. The whole notion of treatments, the duplicity and untrustworthy notions of the mind and the darkness of that further reflected within the lighting and effects of the production – truly chilling. Contagion is also another film that made me think about transmission of disease and the reality of all the organisations that go into such a task – science in reality!

  12. 2 Aug, 2012 1:55 pm

    Got to be Jurassic Park, surely? Absolute classic and loads of totally *rock solid* science content. Apparently some Australian billionaire is going to try and create his own dinosaur using the Jurassic Park method Can’t fail.

  13. 2 Aug, 2012 1:57 pm

    With needles and injections in mind there’s a two-way tie between Flash Gordon and The Tall Guy, with The Cannonball Run in third. Were I to momentarily lower my high-brow standards then The Cider House Rules evokes and provokes around the medicalisation of pregnancy and adoption.

    • 2 Aug, 2012 2:29 pm

      Error. I forgot Weird Science.

  14. 2 Aug, 2012 2:28 pm

    I’m not qualified to comment on its accuaracy, but Almodóvar’s ‘The Skin I Live In’ was mind-bendingly brutal in the way it dealt with plastic surgery, gender and the way we relate to our own bodies.

    Awesome film all round.

  15. Al McCartney permalink
    2 Aug, 2012 3:11 pm

    George A. Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead – the desperate attempts of the remaining few to survive a global pandemic. More shots to the head than (vaccines) to the arm, but just about relevant enough for this and a big favourite of mine.

  16. 2 Aug, 2012 3:58 pm

    With my bacteriologist hat on, I have fond memories of the 1971 film The Andromeda Strain. In general? Back to the Future 1 and 2 (not 3, it’s rubbish).

    • 3 Aug, 2012 10:32 am

      3 is not rubbish. In fact, it’s sort of steampunk, no?

      • 3 Aug, 2012 11:54 am

        That’s no redeeming quality.

  17. 2 Aug, 2012 4:22 pm

    I’m a fan of Danny Boyle’s 2007 film Sunshine, about a fading sun that needs a re-boot. The spaceship they send up to try this has to consider all facets of the crew’s life and health; such as growing food, metal stability and lots of other fascinating things. Well worth it:

    I also like the apocalyptic films of The Road (a faithful version of the amazing book) and the classic Soylent Green, about an overpopulated planet…

  18. Binny Sharma permalink
    2 Aug, 2012 4:38 pm

    For me the best science inspired film has to be Danny Boyle’s sunshine. It should be terrible, it should be awful but it just isn’t. I love the loneliness and pschological issues of space travel that it deals with. Awesome.

  19. 2 Aug, 2012 10:26 pm

    For medical ethics the Constant Gardner is pretty gripping, for science ethics featuring alien prawns District 9 is a winner, but for my favourite movie with a medical slant I have to join Sir Attenborough and go old school.

    ‘Harvey’ is a 1950s film that explores the nature of reality and our desire to “cure” people who behave in a socially inappropriate way. It features a 6ft 3.5inch rabbit that can stop time and James Stewart. Win. Favourite quote: “In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”

    As for the worst science film, it has to be 2012 for the line “The neutrinos have mutated”. In the words of Dara O’Briain: “these are fundamental particles. It’s like going, “The electrons are angry”. EPIC science fail.

  20. Tom Ziessen permalink
    3 Aug, 2012 10:55 am

    Organ transplantation has been an incredible advance in medicine, and has inspired a number of great films. I enjoyed Coma (1978), The Island (2005), which whilst much-ridiculed has a great story at it’s heart, and Never Let Me Go (2010), which to me is the most sinister. This is organ donation to the point of death where the willing donors have been mentally reduced to livestock…

  21. Nenyi Arkaah permalink
    3 Aug, 2012 12:27 pm

    I am stuck between a few films. My first love will always be the Andromeda strain which taught me the importance of not touching or sniffing things from outer space.

    Then there is the obvious Gattaca that shows that despite having the privileges offered from selective breeding success is still not guaranteed. And I think my final

    Finally Primer (2004) a low tech time travel film which shows how psychologically destructive and isolating it can be to bounce around in time.

  22. Soraya permalink
    3 Aug, 2012 12:42 pm

    I have lots of favourite sci-fi, medical type films, some already mentioned above, but I find films about disease, virus and contagion interesting to watch. I’m sorry but I have to mention ‘I am legend’ (2007) – it’s NOT one of my favourite films, ok? You have all the unavoidable cliches (last man standing, only one who can save mankind, zombie chases but hero escapes and gets home just in time to watch Shrek etc.). But it has some interesting elements, like the dialogue at the beginning of the film, in the TV show, with Emma Thompson’s character saying:

    ‘Well, the premise is quite simple – um, take something designed by nature and reprogram it to make it work for the body rather than against it.’… What to think? Scary, I think…

    Also, 28 Days Later (2002)- very gross in places, but also portraying science intervention with negative results and tragic consequences. Fiction, of course, but could there be a glimpse of reality? Contagion (2011) already mentioned, was interesting in terms of picturing what the CDC’s procedures are when a suspected contagion is on the rampage.

  23. 6 Aug, 2012 1:11 pm

    Taking a far longer time perspective than other correspondents, Korda’s 1936 Things to Come, based on H G Wells’ novel, has to be the best sci-fi film of all time (with the added attracation of not being American).

    Actually, I would say that it is in many ways not really ‘sci fi’ at all but based on what at the time was a thoroughly plausible scenario of the future.

    Nowadays people sometimes denigrate it because the special effects (and to some extent the acting) are ‘clunky’ – but they do so with the dubious privilege of hindsight.

    There are some wonderful vignettes, such as Ralph Richardson as the ‘Boss’ in a world after the ravages of war and disease – in an economy totally devoid of petrol – but still riding in a Rolls-Royce – pulled by a horse!

    More recently, Deep Impact (1998) had a very good exploration of the dilemmas faced by those who are aware of an impending (in this case, cosmic) disaster about whether or when to reveal this to the media and therefore the general public.

  24. 9 Aug, 2012 3:32 am

    Overall, I would say Blade Runner for its cinematography, score and dystopian vision of the future. However, I saw Never Let Me Go in the last week, where the science is a subtle linchpin for a human drama. I had a lump in my throat by the closing monologue and it’s been a while since any film did that to me.


  1. Where are the real scientists in good sci-fi films? « Wellcome Trust Blog

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