NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captures Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
On July 19, something Earth-shattering happened! NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, located in Saturn’s system, captured color images of Earth and our moon, nearly 900 million miles away. So, why is this such big news? Not only was this the first time Cassini’s high-res wide angle camera clearly captured the Earth and the moon, it was also the first time Earth’s citizens were given advanced notice about the picture being taken. More than 20,000 people, from all around the globe waved to Saturn at the same time! Isn’t that just out of this world? Now that you’re in the mood for some of your own space adventures, check out our top five films Science Fiction films adapted from books!
Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902)
Inspired by Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon, Voyage Dans La Lune is considered the first science fiction movie ever! The film is a light-critique of the conservative scientific community of its time. Although it is a silent film, the imaginative technology speaks volumes for the time period. The 14-minute movie was created by Georges Méliès, who is credited as the screenwriter, lead actor, director, set and costume designer, photographer, and producer of the film.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, The Sentinel, 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. Known for its scientific accuracy, special effects, and minimal dialogue, the film includes elements of evolution, technology, artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life. After the film was produced however, Arthur C. Clarke published a novel under the same name of the movie, so make sure you read the short story first.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
In 1916, the first feature film version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was created by Stuart Paton based upon another one of Jules Verne’s works, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. This deep sea adventure proved to be groundbreaking with its underwater photography by the George M. and J. Ernest Williamson brothers. For its time period, the film was quite elaborate, paving the way for countless adaptations of the classic novel.
Minority Report (2002) & Oblivion (2013)
In the world of science fiction films, Tom Cruise has certainly made his mark. In 2002, he portrayed Captain John Anderton in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. This slick neo-noir sci-fi film was based on The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick, who also penned Total Recall. Both the film and story explore the possibility of free-will, questioning if the future has already been shaped/determined in advance. While the short story depicts Anderton as the 50-year old balding, out-of-shape, New York police officer creator of Precrime, Spielberg wanted the film to focus on “fifty percent character and fifty percent very complicated storytelling with layers and layers of murder mystery and plot”. We think casting Tom Cruise in the revamped, younger, journeyman character role was the perfect choice in successfully bringing this story to the big screen.
Oblivion Storyboard by Phillip Norwood. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
We had to add the recent Tom Cruise film Oblivion, co-written, produced, and directed by Joseph Kosinski to our list as an honorable mention. The film is based on Kosinski’s graphic novel of the same name, which follows one of the last drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Jack and his mesmerizing partner, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), are tasked to work as a team in maintaining the autonomous drones that defend the various sea based fusion power stations from those looking to destroy them. While Jack and Victoria have had their memories wiped clean for security purposes years before, Jack’s recurring dreams of worlds past, feed his curiosity of a world that once was. When a pre-invasion American spacecraft crashes, Jack is forced to question his own knowledge of who he is and their purpose on Earth. If you are a fan of 1970s science fiction films, Oblivion is a must-see.
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Written and directed by Michael Radford, Nineteen Eighty-Four is based on George Orwell’s novel of the same name. The story takes place in a dystopian 1984, in a totalitarian superstate called Oceania in London. Orwell’s fictitious world is very well-known and the film received widespread positive critical reaction for it’s cinematic representation of the classic novel.
During the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22nd 1984, Apple Macintosh launched what has been called by many as one of the most influential commercials of all time. From the minds of Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow, Apple’s 1984 embraces George Orwell’s novel, depicting an unnamed heroine sprinting through rows and rows of mindless marching minions, hypnotized by their ruling “Big Brother.” As you can see above, despite the ever-changing world of cinematic special effects, ever the commercial holds up.
If you’ve seen any of these films recently or have a sci-fi adaption that we’ve missed, we’d love to hear about them on our Facebook page.