Many children of several generations often dream of being astronauts. With space epics such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and guardians of the galaxy filling movie screens since the 1960s, it’s no wonder why.
Many find the science of astronomy and deep space exploration fascinating. However, there are many dangers that many do not take into account. Fortunately, some filmmakers are well aware of the risk and choose to relay this message in their films… and more.
Gravity is an amazing space survival story starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney like two astronauts who find themselves stranded when a flying cloud of debris destroys their space shuttle. The film details the struggle experienced trying to get home while stuck in weightlessness and an endless void.
This film made it very clear that space is a terrifying place. Not only are your needs like food and water limited, but so is oxygen. And you can’t rely on all of your senses, because when disaster strikes, you have no way of hearing it – being stuck in a vast expanse of nothingness while being completely alone with limited options is horrifying.
This film and each of its many sequels are perfect arguments against deep space exploration. The slogan of the first film illustrates this perfectly: “In space, no one can hear you scream”. When a spaceship crew finds themselves the victim of a predatory alien species known as Xenomorphs, there’s really nowhere to hide.
On the one hand, the Xenomorph is the apex predator, difficult to track or fight. On top of that, any attempt to call for help or assistance is virtually useless. The space is simply too big and it is unclear whether help will arrive in time. They could make an emergency landing on a nearby planet, but there’s no guarantee that said planet would be suitable for humans or provide respite. They are completely isolated with no way to ensure their survival, which can also be said for actual space expeditions in the future. Of course, the chances of encountering an extraterrestrial life form on board a modern satellite are quite slim, but they are never zero.
“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most unique sci-fi films ever made. This is partly due to the brilliant mind of the director Stanley Kubrick and the fact that the film’s practical effects were extremely advanced for its time. The film focuses on a small group of explorers who venture into space with the SuperComputer HAL 9000 (Douglas Rain).
Searching for a potential origin from a mysterious man-made relic discovered beneath the moon’s surface, the film begins as a simple expedition to Jupiter. Unfortunately, HAL the SuperComputer has a personality, and it’s not very pleasant. While other space movies focus on the outer dangers that come with the unknown, whether it’s alien life or hostile planets, this movie takes a different spin and shows what happens when even your own equipment is trying to kill you.
When Earth is subjected to a series of dust storms that render it uninhabitable, former NASA pilot Dr. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is among the few selected to venture into space and secure a new world suitable for habitation. Even though Cooper has his crew with him and is far from alone, space is still portrayed as spooky.
For one thing, many of the planets they arrive on are hostile environments, and the flow of time experienced by travelers is different from that on Earth. While Cooper only ages a few days, his daughter’s entire life unfolds while he’s gone. Additionally, the crew becomes subject to other dangerous events in space, including a black hole. This puts into perspective how tiny Earth is compared to the rest of the universe.
“The Martian” (2015)
The vast majority of The Martian does not actually take place in space, but rather on the planet Mars. After a dust storm prompts a team of searchers to quickly evacuate, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is wrongly presumed dead. The rest of the crew leaves him on the Red Planet, where he wakes up completely alone.
Even though the movie doesn’t show much of outer space itself, it still serves as an example of how other worlds can be isolated, even if it’s a world right next to it. of whoever you call home. It’s also another film that depicts how dangerous things are in space and how quickly disaster can strike at any time due to natural phenomena.
“High Life” (2018)
high life is an underrated masterpiece from the director Claire Dennis which explores the terrifying nature of black holes – large, empty entities that suck in everything around them, including light. In this sci-fi/horror hybrid film, a group of criminals are forcibly sent into space to extract matter from a black hole, which proves to be every bit as dangerous and scary as it sounds.
Although other unspeakable horrors occur on the spacecraft, the nature of black holes comes into full view, with a phenomenon known as “spaghettification” appearing on screen, which is anything but pretty. Besides the dangers aboard the ship, this is another film that shows just how dangerous space is.
Abandoned is such a terrifying movie because it’s utterly plausible. During a seven-month experimental mission, a shuttle carrying three astronauts suddenly breaks down. Her engines fail, and ground control determines that the three men on board have no way to return to the atmosphere with the ship in its current state.
NASA chooses to send a rescue shuttle, although there is one major problem – a hurricane blows over Cape Canaveral, making a shuttle launch impossible. This effectively leaves the three men stranded in space, with only two days of oxygen remaining. It’s the definitive worst nightmare for any astronaut (and many non-astronauts).
‘Apollo 18’ (2011)
The premise of the cinematic dumpster fire known as Apollo 18 is that NASA’s Apollo 17 mission was not, in fact, its last mission to the moon and there was an eighteenth that went horribly wrong resulting in the erasure of all the evidence thereof.
A little like The Martian, Apollo 18 doesn’t so much happen in space as it does somewhere other than Earth – in this case, the Moon. The moon is arguably much scarier than Mars because it appears in a constant state of darkness. When the astronauts’ equipment begins to malfunction and hamper their journey home, a place where it’s constantly dark is not a place no one wants to be – especially if said place may or may not be inhabited by aliens.
Life is a seemingly innocent film on the surface but ultimately becomes much more sinister. In Life, a group of scientists recover soil samples containing a form of bacterial life found on Mars. The sample is brought back to Earth and is adorably named “Calvin” by American school children.
Calvin starts out as a simple test subject, but it doesn’t take long before he turns hostile. It seems to have a parasitic nature, devouring any small lifeforms that stand in its way, which allows it to grow in size. The film warns that bringing alien life forms back to Earth may not be the best idea, especially if you’re unaware of the exact nature of the organism.
‘Ad Astra’ (2019)
When a doomed expedition to an alien solar system causes the disappearance of a young man’s father, he decides to become an astronaut as he grows older to find out the truth about what happened. Although the premise of the film is quite innocent, it does show how little humanity knows about the universe.
The solar system in question is extremely hostile, and not only that, it contains a threat that could literally end the entire universe if left out of control. The thought that something could be out there in the depths of space with this amount of destructive power completely unknown to mankind is deeply terrifying.
KEEP READING: Movies Like The Martian for More Action-Packed Exploration