Go to infinity and beyond with these movies about space
If space is the final frontier, then movies about space are basically representations of humanity pushing against the universe’s boundaries. It’s us, the human race, against the vast unknown. Movies about space inspire us to go further, to persevere . . . and they usually feature mind-blowing visuals, which are always welcome.
Here at Film Daily, we are big fans of the space movie genre. Allow us to share some of our favorites with you.
We can always count on the space program to provide exciting and nerve-racking stories. Such is the tale of the 1970 Apollo 13 mission, America’s fifth crewed trip to the Moon. On the way to the satellite, an onboard explosion depleted most of the spacecraft’s oxygen supply and electrical power. This forced the crew to abort the Moon landing and instead try to make it back home safely.
Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton as Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise – the astronauts trapped in the spacecraft. The film is currently streaming on Peacock & Canopy.
There are standard, meat-and-potatoes movies about space like Apollo 13, and then there are trippy sci-fi movies about space like Claire Denis’s High Life. The film follows a group of criminals forced to take part in a bizarre space mission, traveling toward a black hole while scientists experiment on them. Libido, sex, and human reproduction seem to be key focus points in the scientific study.
High Life is certainly not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a space movie that’s a little more off the beaten path and on the artsier side of things, this one might be just what you need. The film stars Juliette Binoche as the head scientist and Robert Pattinson as the main criminal. The film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Speaking of being on the artsier side of things, Brad Pitt’s most recent space movie was mismarketed as an action thriller. In reality. Ad Astra was more of a quiet meditation on the bond between parents and children, punctuated with the occasional spectacular action set piece. Audiences didn’t take well to the misdirection and it bombed at the box office.
Directed by James Gray, Ad Astra is worth giving a second chance. The film follows Pitt’s character as he travels across the galaxy in search of his father – played by Tommy Lee Jones – who’s believed to be responsible for a serious threat to planet Earth. Pitt’s journey forces him to confront his feelings about Jones, as well as his own failings. You can stream Ad Astra on the Cinemax app.
Few people can mix spectacle and intellectual endeavors like Christopher Nolan. Sure, he’s in the doghouse right now, but let’s not forget he made plenty of awesome movies before he bombed with Tenet. Interstellar is Nolan’s big space opera – his 2001: A Space Odyssey, if you will – in which a crew of astronauts travel through a wormhole looking for a new home for mankind.
Matthew McConaughey & Anne Hathaway lead the team searching for humanity’s salvation, while Jessica Chastain & Michael Caine rally the troops in the decaying Earth. Oh, and there’s a surprise cameo from . . . well, we’re not going to spoil that for you, but it’s pretty cool, trust us. You can stream Interstellar on FXNow.
While all movies about space generally benefit the most out of the giant-screen surround-sound theatrical experience, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity pretty much demands to be seen on IMAX 3D. Of course, that’s not as easy now as it was when the film first opened, so just use the biggest TV you have at home. You want to be able to truly experience the terror of being adrift in outer space.
Gravity stars Sandra Bullock & George Clooney as two astronauts stranded in space after their space shuttle is destroyed by a cloud of space debris. The entire movie is a rollercoaster ride pitting Bullock & Clooney against deadly conditions as they try to figure out a way to return to Earth. Unfortunately, Gravity isn’t streaming for free anywhere, but you can rent it on most streaming services.
Let’s close this list by going back to where we started. Unlike the story of the Apollo 13 mission, however, Moon is about someone who’s actually made it to Earth’s satellite. In fact, Duncan Jones’s sci-fi movie is about a man who’s at the tail-end of a lonely three-year stint on the Moon. Three years alone in a lunar station will drive anyone a little nuts, even if they have a fancy robot keeping them company.
Sam Rockwell stars in Moon, and the film follows his attempts at dealing with sudden hallucinations and an overall rocky mental state while he investigates what’s really going on in his lunar workplace. As if the movie wasn’t creepy enough, Kevin Spacey provides the voice for GERTY, Rockwell’s robot companion. You can stream Moon on Fandor.
Do you have any favorite movies about space that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!