Science Fiction is designed for catharsis. If your combination of high stakes and great spectacle doesn’t produce fist pumps or wiped tears, then you have done something very wrong. Do it right, however, and you should create something that brings out the backyard make believe in kids of all ages.
Here are my top 5 emotionally moving moments from Science Fiction Movies. I have added the clip from each with a special extended one on the fourth.
- Tears in Rain: Roy Batty’s time to die in Blade Runner. It is the only actual burst of hope in what it is a brutally grim film. After a prolonged rooftop chase across director Ridley Scott’s smog drenched/rain soaked Los Angeles of 2019, Harrison Ford’s Gumshoe/Blade Runner Decker finds himself hanging from a skyscraper with his replicant nemesis Roy Batty watching his final moment dispassionately, until… as Decker falls, Batty’s love of life prevents him from allowing his pursuer’s death. Playing Batty, Rutger Hauer has never been better.
- Down Goes Biff: One punch changes everything in Back to the Future. With his very existence on the line, Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly can only sit helplessly by and watch his (possibly not) future father crumbling under the oppressive grip of bully and potential rapist Biff. But then George McFly (Crispin Glover) finds something deep inside him, drops his tormentor and sets off a series of events that will send Marty hurtling forward to a new destiny.
- When You Wish Upon A Star: Roy Neary begins a grand adventure at the conclusion of Close Encounters of The Third Kind. After spending an entire movie being told he is crazy, Richard Dreyfuss finds all redeemed with an invitation to go where no man has gone before. It doesn’t hurt the moment is underscored by John Williams. Speilberg’s film, which saved Columbia Studios, still hold up thematically and technically almost 40 years later.
- Diving Out of The Sun: The Millennium Falcon saves the day in Star Wars. I was 9 years old, and I didn’t think Luke Skywalker and his outmanned, outgunned compadres had any chance against the monolithic empire and their Death Star. Everyone else was gone, R2 was a casualty, and Vader had just trained his sights, darkly intoning, “I have you now…” I don’t know if anyone else was cheering. I would not have been able to hear them over my own.
- Beginning A Bromance: Bruce Banner drives off with Tony Stark at the end of The Avengers. This is actually a guilty pleasure of mine. I am certain I can name a dozen better crafted moments, but I am just a sucker for people finding friendship in what has been a lonely life. Watching Banner climb into Stark’s car always lifts my spirits, because it suggest that Banner’s isolated existence of intellectual starvation and deprivation of human affection is finally coming to an end.
I could name a dozen honorable mentions (I think Star Trek deserves its own list), but I have a feeling some of those are some of yours.
Would love to hear them…