Star Trek Beyond is out now at the cinema. Have you seen it yet? Either way, celebrate with some fantastic films on the iTunes store!
It’s the 50th anniversary of Star Trek this year and the latest big screen instalment, Star Trek Beyond, hits the cineplexes this month. That’s awesome news for every sci-fi fan out there. Such an iconic series needs an equally emblematic build-up before you watch it, and that’s why we found our seven favourite films that, just like Star Trek, are quintessential in defining the genre.
You can find any of these films on Apple’s movie store right now, so you can pick up your iPad or iPhone and rent them this minute. What are you waiting for? Warp factor 10 to iTunes!
One of the most iconic films of the late 1990s, The Matrix gave us kung-fu fighting crossed with hyperrealist cyberpunk thrills – wrapped up in iconic ‘bullet-time’ special effects. Set in a world where things are not what they seem, hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) discovers that what he knows as reality is just a mind game when he’s contacted by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and his techno-revolutionaries. Mobile phones may have moved on in the last 17 years, but the fight scenes will still raise your blood pressure.
He’s a good guy this time! He did say he would be back, though. Arnie returns in the sequel to James Cameron’s robot-killing-machine thriller. The theme ‘humans versus machines’ is a classic science fiction trope, and the Terminator franchise is the big screen epitome of this. Along with Ripley from Alien, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is one of the great female action movie heroes.
The story that introduced us to Yoda, Boba Fett and AT-ATs, this gloomier second instalment in George Lucas’s series has become many people’s favourite Star Wars flick. From the icy slopes of Hoth to the, um, beige lounges of Cloud City, The Empire Strikes Back has possibly the best twist in all of sci-fi. Spoilers: Darth Vader is Luke’s father, Leia loves Han (don’t worry, he knows). We can’t believe you don’t already own this in every possible format, but if for some reason your education is lacking you should click on this right now in the iTunes store.
With gross-out body horror mixed with claustrophobic cat-and-mouse scenes, this original by Ridley Scott spawned a franchise that endures to this day. After encountering eggs on an alien planet, the crew of the USCSS Nostromo unwittingly bring aboard a parasite that grows into a predatory xenomorph. Stand-out performances from the likes of Sigourney Weaver are the cherry on top of a very creepy cake.
If you were able to design your own genetic code, free of any flaws and tailored to success in every aspect of your life, how much would you change of yourself? Gattaca (starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law) is about the moral risks and implications of genetic engineering, and it’s a speculation on how a society constructed around this idea would work. Inspired by books like Brave New World, Gattaca is a must-see rental for those who like their science fiction measured and thoughtful.
Based on Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the noirish Blade Runner sees Harrison Ford as Deckard, a bounty hunter whose mission is to eliminate artificial people – replicants - living among us in a dirty near-future LA. Like all of Dick’s best work it raises questions of identity, memory and perception. Rutger Hauer turns in a career-defining performance as the replicant leader Batty.
It was hugely influential on the last of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek movies and it’s the best of the original Star Trek films... and arguably one of the best sci-fi war films ever. Even if you’ve lived all your life under a rock, you can still appreciate the themes of age, responsibility and death. Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) must come to terms with accepting the mistakes of his past as he reaches middle age. Spoilers: Spock dies, Kirk hollers “Khaaaaan!” dementedly. The two big battle scenes between the submarine-like starships are unbearably tense even 24 years later.