Sarasota Magazine Editors Favorite Sci-Fi Movies

The fifth Element

I have a lot of favorite sci-fi movies (2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, The Children of Men, Arrival), but if I want sparkling fun, I still choose The fifth Element. Bruce Willis (Korben Dallas) is a super cool and cynical space taxi driver from the 23e century and Milla Jojovich (Leeloo) is a magnificent supreme being, who has been sent to save the Earth and accidentally falls from the sky in his taxi. What follows is a sumptuous visual adventure – the bizarre costumes and sets alone are worth the two hours of the movie – as Willis accompanies Jojovich, an orange-haired nymph clad only in well-placed suspenders who doesn’t stop say, “big bada boom”, to a lavish space station to fight the forces of evil. The plot is crazy and fast-paced and is fueled by villainous Gary Oldham (Zorg) who works for the dark force Ultimate Evil, annoying radio host Chris Tucker (Ruby Rhod) and Ian Holm (father Vito Cornelius), who knows why. Leeloo is humanity’s only hope. The movie won’t change your life, but it’s a refreshing comedic break from the dystopian futures of most sci-fi movies. –Susan Burns, Editor-in-Chief


I’m a little hesitant to call it my favorite sci-fi movie, but the one that definitely left a lasting impression on me was the Ridley Scott original from 1979. Extraterrestrial, with Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright. If you’ve seen it you know what I mean … there’s a certain stomach churning scene, maybe 35 minutes later, where Hurt’s character has a most painful interaction with a small but horrible creature that escapes to grow up and become a really big alien. Definitely a shock. Extraterrestrial is as much a sci-fi horror movie I guess, but it often is, right? —Kay Kipling, Editor-in-Chief

Children of men

A sci-fi movie that haunts me is Children of men, Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 film that depicts a world struck by an unexplained plague of infertility. As the hero, played by Clive Owen, is enlisted in an underground movement that works to save and protect the first pregnant woman in 18 years, he goes through a militaristic and apocalyptic dystopia in which immigrants and refugees are herded together and brutalized. and violence becomes an occasional, random and daily event. As in all of the best sci-fi movies, the film’s warped universe makes us think about our own. –Cooper Levey-Baker, Editor-in-Chief / Food Editor

guardians of the galaxy

One of the most unique offerings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, my comic book illustrator husband first urged me to watch this – and I quickly fell in love with it. It features a motley cast of misfits, including a Talking Tree, a Raccoon, three people from other planets, and Chris Pratt, who ends up leading them all in an intergalactic chase to stop an evil overlord from getting his hands on a powerful gem (which Marvel fans know is part of the MCU’s greatest history). Directed by James Gunn, whose previous work includes writing and directing the new Suicide squad, write the remake of Dawn of the dead and direct the critically acclaimed horror comedy To glide-it’s not your typical superhero game, and it’s also funny and full of heart. Pro tip: Don’t miss the scene immediately after the end credits, which is possibly the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. –Megan McDonald, digital editor

Ex Machina

As artificial intelligence becomes more and more sophisticated and becomes part of our daily life, scenarios like Ex Machina‘s seem too realistic. To me, these are uplifting stories, and I can’t help but expect scenarios like this to play out in the news and in our lives someday. Am I paranoid? May be. But most of the time I am wildly entertained by this movie. A programmer wins a competition to participate in an experiment. He travels to a distant resort in the mountains to test the synthetic intelligence of a beautiful android named Ava. He is tasked with interacting with her for a week to test her humanity and consciousness. He doesn’t know it, the creator shaped it based on the physical preferences of the programmers, and he falls in love with it. But soon its creator and the programmer see his initial childish qualities turn into something more devious. She does indeed pass the test and is “human enough” – Ava just wants her freedom. —Kim Doleatto, associate editor

the Back to the future Trilogy

This classic series, starring Marty McFly and Doc Brown, is always a favorite of mine. The couple travel back in time to meet McFly’s father in the 1950s and into the future to meet their future selves and other characters, including the main villain, high school bully Biff Tannen. The hoverboard, flux capacitor, plutonium and other “high-tech” gadgets remind us of what filmmakers thought the future would look like in a fantasy universe. –Allison Forsyth, Associate Editor

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