Students are not limited to books and online academic papers when it comes to learning; they also have films to bring to life the aspects of time and space. Science fiction makes use of as much science as possible with a good dose of fiction to make matters more interesting.
Over the years, directors have become increasingly creative when piercing ideas on movies, a fact we can partly attribute to scientific advancement, the rest is purely left to the imagination. We put together seven of the most popular science movie options you any science student will happily pay to watch.
The year is 1970 and three men are aboard a spaceship headed to the moon for what NASA was hoping to make its third landing. They do everything right but an explosion messed with the oxygen tank, depriving the crew of oxygen they obviously needed.
Having launched on April 11 at the Kennedy Space Center, the three men on bard expected to be in space for a while, but after the explosion, NASA embarked on a mission to bring them home safely, a feat they achieved on April 17. Though the movie has enough fiction to make it even more interesting than it actually was, its adaptation from real-life issues makes it believable and a favorite to many. Apollo 13 – the film – may have been released in 1995, but it’s still relevant when teaching science.
The Manhattan Project
Dr. John Mathewson is a genius who has been able to refine plutonium to purity levels of 99.997, and so the government does what it should; funds his research by equipping a lab in New York for his work. He searches for an apartment in the area and in a bid to win the affections of his new landlady invites her son, Paul, to his lab. Mathewson is the only one aware of the research happening there, but Paul finds a five-leaf clover on the floor that captures the attention of his razor-sharp brain.
He uncovers the extent of the good doctor’s research and breaks into the lab to steal some plutonium for his own project – a nuclear bomb that he intends to enter into a science fair in New York with the help of his aspiring girlfriend. They are later discovered and the pace of the movie accelerates. In the end, no one dies and Paul walks free.
Andy Weir put together a novel in 2011 that told all and sundry the dangers of getting stuck on Mars, and the film adaptation did not disappoint one bit. The year is 2035 and an assorted crew is on Mars where their plans to explore are nullified by some defects in their vehicle. Just after the mission has been aborted and they are to get back home, the Mars Ascent Vehicle develops some glitches that lead to one of the astronauts, Mark Watney, being stuck in debris. He is presumed dead and the rest of the surviving crew leaves.
Watney goes back to base, sews his wounds, and starts a diary to try and get the attention of the team on Earth so he can be rescued. Though the film is good enough to capture the attention of anyone remotely interested in space, including a high school kid, the fiction is a bit much.
Edge of Tomorrow
An asteroid brings aliens to Germany where they quickly take charge and conquer the continent. They, “Mimics,” become a real threat that must be defeated, and nothing but a newly formed global group, United Defense Force – UDF, is good enough. After defeating the Mimics, UDF enters France to battle the mimics there, but the mission fails and there are a few casualties. As they get attacked and battle heats up even more, one of the UDF members, Cage, learns he has a new superpower to loop time that he tries to use to his advantage. This movie is fast-paced from the beginning till the end.
The Space Shuttle Explorer is on earth for the first and Dr. Ryan Stone is on board it for her first mission. The mission is on and the crew ready when they discover some elements that may make their mission impossible. Russians have shot a defunct spy satellite, leaving behind a cloud of debris that leads to an aborted mission. They are to return to earth immediately but the Shuttle hits some debris and everyone dies but Dr. Stone and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, who commanded the mission.
What ensues is a mission to survive the riskiest operation, and at that point, the two have little to no communication with Earth. After Kowalski detaches himself to save Stone, she loses the will to keep going but finds her way to eventually plunge in the ocean and swim to shore. She is rescued in a triumphant ending.
Blade Runner 2049
It’s 2049 and there are a bunch of bioengineered humans known as replicants held as slaves. An authority at the LAPD, known as K, is tasked with finding these captives and ‘retiring’ – killing – them. During his quest, K finds the remains of a replicant that suggests she died during a cesarean section. These new findings show that replicants can reproduce naturally, something that was initially thought to be impossible. It is believed to start a conflict between humans and replicants if this information comes out and so the authorities order K to find and kill the applicant’s child.
The movie takes several unexpected turns as the child fights for her life, running from the most powerful forces in her world.
The year is 2054 and a special police force has three humans – Precogs – that can “previsualize” acts of a crime even before the person intending to commit it has moved. Though they have helped so much that the number of violent crimes has significantly gone down, they are unable to detect “crimes of passion.” After a former policeman is involved in a crime that rocks Washington, the taskforce changes direction and tries to fix some of the shortcomings of Precogs in their ability to premeditate non-violent crimes. This Steven Spielberg production was the most-watched film of 2002 and it won several awards.
Make Science Fun
This list shows good science movies for the classroom and opens the minds of students to more that can be done through science. Of course, all that fiction doesn’t hurt.
Stephany Miller is an accomplished editor who has worked with several online magazines and publications. She has worked as a project manager at various mass media agencies and tabloids. She now mentors and tutors paper writers on Sci-Fi writing at papersowl.com. Stephany Miller still writes papers on the topic and enjoys reviewing movies on Science Fiction.