A night at the movies
I admit this is one of those posts with a slightly exaggerated title. There are, of course, a ton more awesome sci films out there with incredible design in them but to keep my ranting at bay and this post a manageable length I’ve edited it down to my Top 5 and offer this to you with the caveat that I may alter or add to this list as I see fit. Which no doubt I will do.
As you can tell from my post on the Melbourne Film Festival, I’m a bit of a film freak and enjoy movies from practically every genre except torture porn. But, if I had to choose one film genre to commit to if would be sci fi films no contest.
The nature of sci fi films means there’s always a huge emphasis on creating a new world through set and costume design and the films that do this well stand the test of time even if the film itself if lacking in other areas. Movies are fundamentally a visual medium and that’s why the best sci fi films don’t hold back with their production values and why you can watch them on repeat.
Disagree with my list below? I’d love to know what you think the best sci fi films for design are! Hit me up via the blog or on twitter to let me know.
Top 5: The best sci fi films for design
- A Clockwork Orange – no surprises with this entry eh? The costumes and set design are a fabulously eccentric mix of late 60s/early 70s mod fashions, psychedelic modern interiors and a very surrealist take on what aesthetics are in the ‘not too distant future’ where the story unfolds.
- Blade Runner – this future film noir is one of my favourites with a dark moody urban landscape which was apparently created using references as diverse as Milan, Hong Kong and New York and designs from architects including Gaudi and Lloyd Wright. The costumes are a cool blend of 40s fashion with a dark, futuristic twist. For another brilliant, dark, highly detailed sci fi film mis-en-scene see Alien.
- Brazil – I actually haven’t seen Brazil in many years but numerous images have stayed with me since my first viewing because it is such a weird film and the design is really out there. Super retro-futuristic in style, there are lots of wide angled shots and trippy costumes too.
- The Fifth Element – this 90s hit is a visual fest with creator Luc Besson’s love of comics coming to the fore. The sets are a series of magazine shiny designs featuring a ton of colour and neon lighting in their depiction of the future. French fashion designer Jean Paul Gautier did the costumes – almost 1000 in fact – and many have become iconic in status for good reason.
- Inception – because the story largely takes place inside dreams, the sets are hugely varied and switch from large hotels to Parisian street-scapes, snow covered mountains, Japanese club houses and mind bending surreal landscapes with crumbling skyscrapers perched on the edge of a cliff, continuously crashing into the ocean below. A stellar example of what awesome design, tons of money and clever special FX can do.