As Rogue One hits theaters, here are some of the best space movies to watch: Throwback Thursday

Harsh Pareek

Dec 15, 2016 11:34:07 IST

As Star Wars spin-off/prequel Rogue One hits the theatres, there is plenty to be excited about.

After a gap of 15 years, we now have two Star Wars movies in two years. Rogue One, which will be the first in the upcoming three (announces so far) Star Wars anthology films will feature events shortly before the events of the original (1977) movies.

Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, 2014, Monsters, 2010), the film follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a Rebellion soldier and criminal, as she sets out on a dangerous quest to steal the plans for the Death Star.

Spin-offs/prequels are tricky things to pull off. There are high expectations and much fanfare, any wrong move can lead to a full-blown disaster. But going by the trailer, the Rogue One does look promising.

Excited enough? Can't wait for the movie? Feel the urgent need to watch some movies set in space? High blood pressure? Difficulty in breathing? Don't worry, we got you covered.

Here are some of the best movies set in space, unknown planets or galaxies far far away to get you groove for Rogue One:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

One of the cornerstones of space movies, the 1968 classic by Stanley Kubrick continues to inspire directors almost five decades later.

The epic science-fiction follows Dave Bowman and Frank Poole's voyage to Jupiter after humanity discovers a mysterious object buried beneath the Lunar surface. Assisting them in their quest is ship's, now iconic, computer HAL 9000.

Told at a steady pace, the (almost) two and a half hour long movie about evolution contemplates on some of the greatest questions faced by humanity. The movie effortless blends some spectacular special effects with incredible storytelling and philosophy. The first stop for anyone on a space journey through cinema.

Gravity (2013)

In 2013, Alfonso Cuarón brought some of the greatest special effects ever seen on the big screen. But it was far from just a CGI cash grab.

Cuarón combined an emotional roller-coaster of a script with some jaw-dropping direction, the opening scene of the movie itself a 17-minutes single take. The film went to win seven Academy Awards, including best achievement in directing.

The film follows two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) who work together to survive after an accident leaves them alone in space.

If you are in for a visual feast which will keep you at the edge of your seat, Gravity is the one.

Moon (2009)

When it comes to psychological thrillers, Duncan Jones' 2009 Moon is a tough one to beat.

Starring Sam Rockwell (at his best) as a solitary astronaut nearing the end of his three-year stint on the Moon where he works alongside his computer, GERTY (strong HAL vibes, voiced by Kevin Spacey), to back to Earth parcels of a resource that helps the planet's depleting power problems.

But a "personal" encounter soon throws him into an existential crisis and makes him question his reality, alone on a rock floating in space.

The film sets the benchmark for one-actor movies, engaging the viewer so completely, the lack of multiple characters over one and a half hour hardly noticeable.

Apollo 13 (1995)

A space geek's dream come true, Ron Howard's 1995 docudrama follows Nasa's attempt to devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 safely to Earth after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts (Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton) on board in jeopardy.

The veteran cast hits all the right buttons with drama, emotions, action and against-all-odds adventure.

The film, for a change, focuses on the behind-the-scenes logistics of a space mission and the thousands of people who make such expeditions a reality.

Alien (1979), Aliens (1986)

In 1979, Ridley Scott made. Seven years later, James Cameron came out with a sequel. The two makes of for the quintessential s**t-your-pants horror movies set in space.

Featuring Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), one of the most bad ass protagonists to ever grace the silver screen, the films are your worst nightmare come true, and then some.

The first film follows a space merchant vessel which perceives an unknown transmission a distress call, their landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform. Continuing their journey back to Earth with the attacked crew having recovered and the critter deceased, they soon realise that its life cycle has merely begun.

The second film features the moon from Alien, only now it's been colonised. But when the contact is lost from the base of the moon, a rescue team is sent over. This time, the team has is prepared, but soon realises it hardly matter in the face of its adversary.

Both the directors, masters of their crafts, managed to design a truly bone-chilling experience one can only dream of these days.

With practical effects, memorable characters, tense storytelling and direction, these make up for a space adventure you wish you will never have.

The Fifth Element (1997)

This kaleidoscope of a space adventure is over-the-top weird taken to its extremes.

Directed by Luc Besson, the film follows a cab driver (Bruce Willis) who unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon and the defence of Earth against an impending attack.

Also starring Milla Jovovich as Leeloo and Gary Oldman as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, the film has some of the most memorable and visually striking characters of all space movies.

In a striking contrast to movies like the Alien, this colourful reimagination of future and space will either leave you mesmerised or nauseous. Either way, a must watch.

And did we mention the movie also stars Chris Tucker as a talk-show host called Ruby Rhod? Yes.

Prometheus (2012)

Before you scroll down to the comments sections to point out all that is wrong with this cr*pfest of a movie, hear us out.

Yes, this is a poorly executed movie with some plot holes bigger than the Death Star. But at the same time, Ridley Scott plays with some pretty interesting ideas on a grand scale.

Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, the film follows a team of experts looking for the clues to the origin of mankind, journey across the universe and find a structure on a distant moon containing a monolithic statue of a humanoid head and stone cylinders of alien blood. But they soon find they are not alone.

The premise is fascinating and induces a genuine curiosity for answers for the viewer. It's a shame that the execution hardly lived up to it.

But still, the film flaunts some exceptional special effects and Michael Fassbender at the top of his game, playing a humanoid called David.

The film also serves as a prequel to Alien and a sequel is in works which we hope will redeem the first's flaws.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This movie puts the beautiful back in space.

Directed by James Gunn, this Marvel superhero movie is an intergalactic joy ride. The film follows a group of intergalactic criminals — Peter 'Starlord'Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel, voice) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) — who are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe.

The film combines superhero action, humour and a brilliantly imagined spacescape to produce one of the better projects Marvel has come out with in recent memory.

Pratt and Cooper are genuinely funny and the film is backed by one of the best soundtracks you will come across.

Blade Runner (1982)

We saved the best for the last.

The 1982 classic directed (again) by Ridley Scott, follows a special police operative known as 'blade runner' (Harrison Ford) who must pursue and try to terminate four genetically engineered replicants, visually indistinguishable from humans, who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

A cinematic masterpiece, Blade Runner is the sort of movie which gets better with every subsequent viewing.

Based on 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick, the film deeply explores themes of existentialism, morality, human nature, love, self-awareness, our understanding of good and evil, among others.

A truly immersive experience, this film will keep you up at night, thinking about your place in the universe, the meaning of life, the nature of beauty and all those moments which will be lost in time.

And if you do decide to watch this, get the director's cut, its the best.

Honorary mentions:

Sunshine (2007) by Danny Boyle

WALL-E (2008) by Andrew Stanton

Star Trek (2009) by JJ Abrams

Serenity (2005) by Joss Whedon

The Martian (2015) by Ridley Scott

Interstellar (2014) by Christopher Nolan

Updated Date: Dec 15, 2016 11:34:07 IST