So many of us spend hours daydreaming of other worlds, unrealistic scenarios, and fantasies. But what if you actually find them? What if, for just a couple of hours, you can live those daydreams?
For as long as can be remembered, mankind has always had a vast imagination and great curiosity. Instead of fearing the unknown, we envision what it might be like, letting our minds wander into things we have no idea about. Space, time travel, aliens, supernatural beings, alternate universes, magic. Some even went as far as living in those visualizations. They would craft cities and places, imagine how people would live, and share their stories. And when they’re done, they’d invite the rest of us to see the world that they’ve built, whether it be a dystopian world, more often than not set in the future (classified as science fiction), or a completely imagined realm where society runs on different rules than we ever could (classified as fantasy).
And while these stories often leave us questioning the future and the world we live in now; they are evidence that the cinematic world of films can offer the perfect escape for when things get a little too tough in our day-to-day lives. So, whether you’re trying to ignore a problem or just simply want to travel to a different universe, sit back and get ready to enter an alternate reality as you become fully invested in these science fiction and fantasy films.
Heist movies always have a specific type of magic. We find ourselves rooting for the criminal mastermind in awe of their superb plan. With the high stake always undoubtedly tied into the job at hand, we become unable to move from the edge of our seats, heart pounding as we pray to anyone listening that the thieves don’t get caught… But what if what was being stolen wasn’t money, priceless artifacts, paintings, or even jewels? What if these thieves were only interested in something that’ll give them the greatest power of all — information? And what if the only way to get such information was by infiltrating people’s subconsciousness, the only place their minds are untouched, or in other words, their dreams. Directed by Christopher Nolan, Inception manages to bring to existence the human subconscious in physical environments. But what happens when these dreams (or realities) start to collapse?
The Matrix (1999)
Imagine waking up one morning and discovering that everything you’ve ever known is a lie. What you thought to be real is, in fact, not. That is exactly what happens to hacker Neo when he’s forced to see his world for what it really is — a simulation. And while this new truth might come with some unexpected benefits, such as the ability to bend the laws of physics and utilize the same code that entrapped Neo to do some pretty cool stuff, it also comes with great responsibility. You see, this hacker was sought out by the rebel group aiming to free humankind from their evil cyber-intelligence slavery. But is he really ‘the one’ that could save humans from destruction? Directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski take inspiration from cyberpunk anime and other great sci-fi films, such as Blade Runner’s noir style, to deliver a never before imagined film that broke the just newly-developed internet.
The Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)
Needing no introduction, Harry Potter has become a worldwide sensation, with fans wishing for nothing more than to join one of Hogwarts’ four houses and be invited to a game of Quidditch. Adapted from the books written by J.K Rowling, the films follow Harry, an orphan, as he discovers that he is no ordinary boy, but in fact, a wizard with magical powers. What’s even better is that he is not alone. There are thousands of others like him. And so, to master this new skill, he heads to wizard school. It’s there that he meets two of the most influential people of his life, and together they set new expectations of what friendship should look like.
But even the greatest of heroes must have enemies. Alas, that’s usually how they become heroes in the first place, by defeating their antagonist. And who is a better or more devious nemesis than one referred to only as, He Who Must Not Be Named? This film series is the perfect fit for those wishing to escape reality for a longer period of time as each one of the seven movies alone runs for two to three hours.
If you thought I could create a list of science fiction and fantasy films and not include one about aliens, then you, my friend, are completely wrong. After 12 UFOs land around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks, portrayed by Amy Adams, is invited onboard one of them in an attempt to try to communicate with the creatures that inhabit the ship. Her task is to understand where they came from, what they want, and most importantly, make sure a global war doesn’t break out. Adapted from the short story Story of Your Life, director Denis Villeneuve delivers a film that explores so much more than the possibility of other lifeforms. Arrival dives into loss, memory, grief, and life choices while making clear how language plays a massive role in how we see the world.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
And last but not least, we have a film that explores a thought that has undoubtedly crossed our minds at some point in our lives. What if we can erase memories, ones that only bring us sorrow and sadness? That is precisely what Dr. Mierzwiak intends to do as he creates his company Lacuna with the promise that his work can erase an ex from your memories and life. And that is precisely what Joel and Clementine decide to do after their break up. But what happens when you change your mind? Will you be able to hold onto those memories? What if we need the bad to remember the good? While this movie might not transport you into a different world, it will certainly make you question the one we live in. Directed by Michel Gondry, this romance of sorts intertwined with science fiction is one you should check out.
Photo: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock
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