Science fiction can be many things. It can be serious or absurd. It can be grim and violent or bright and idealistic. A science fiction story can be funny, or dramatic, or even terrifying. In the end, the only thing that brings a particular story under the broad category of science fiction amounts to little more than its basis on some manner of hypothetical vision of the future. It needs some hypothetical science and technology.
But the sheer number of different forms that such a story could take is almost bewildering, if you take a step back and give it some serious thought. Even apart from the tone of an individual story, there are so many possible sub-genres that fall under this single broad category that you can get lost trying to sort them out. Or, alternatively, you could simply not worry about any of that and just enjoy the stories that are being told. That works, too.
I have listed five examples of the forms that these stories could take. Five short films which each fall under that single broad category, but which all manage to be very different from each other.
In the distant future, an untested rookie soldier is strapped into a drop-pod, ready to take part in his first drop as he, and his squad, are sent to the alien planet below. He's nervous, sure, but he's also wholly committed to the mission. His squad seem set on giving the rookie a hard time. And the pilot, a young woman, is adamant that the exact nature of their relationship be kept secret. With a set-up like this, though, it seems inevitable that something is about to go wrong.
Using the staging device of an investigator viewing recorded footage after the fact, Mis-drop is able to effectively hide its budget constraints while still giving viewers an impressive sense of scale. For much of the film, all we are permitted to see is a close-up of the inexperienced rookie's face, and whatever happens to be reflected in the glass of his helmet. Ultimately, that is more than enough. The film manages to be genuinely tense and exciting as we watch the rookie's reaction and catch glimpses of the action reflected in glass.
You can watch Mis-drop by following this link.
Sometime in the far future, an eccentric space traveler is forced to crash land on a burned out and dead planet Earth. Before he can take off again, he will need replacement parts for his ship. Unfortunately, he's not likely to find what he needs in the wastelands of a dead planet. Fortunately, though, he just so happens to possess a device which allows him to open 'time bubbles' to various points in Earth's history—allowing him to take what he needs from whoever he happens to come across.
Time Trap is a creative and colorful film, filled with a strange humor that I found very appealing. It's a great looking film that manages to tell its story with almost no dialogue.
You can watch Time Trap by following this link.
Interview With a Time Traveler
After being sent a series of packages containing newspaper and magazine articles about news a few days before it actually happens, a young journalist agrees to meet a mysterious stranger in a hotel room. The curious young journalist is skeptical, though, when the mysterious stranger claims to be a time traveler from the distant future.
Interview With a Time Traveler is yet another textbook example of the fact that, sometimes, you just don't need elaborate sets, or big budget special effects to tell a good story. The entirety of the film may simply be two men talking in a hotel room, but the performances given by the short films two leads do a great job of convincing the audience to go along for the ride.
You can watch Interview With a Time Traveler by following this link.
The Most Beautiful Day
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a lone survivor picks through the ruined remains of civilization, looking for anything that he can salvage. Things start to look up for the traveler when he finds his way to what appears to be an abandoned Soviet-style military bunker. The traveler heads down to explore, only for his life to take another drastic turn as he finds himself trapped inside. Not only that, but he soon begins hearing things which suggest that he is not actually alone. It seems that some sort of alien creature currently shares this abandoned bunker with him.
The basic premise of The Most Beautiful Day may suggest some manner of science-fiction tinged horror film—though it never quite reaches that point. Instead, much of the film's running time is devoted to establishing a sombre sense of loss, and giving us hints at the broader state of the world that this young traveler is forced to inhabit. In the end, it definitely feels like there is plenty of room for more stories here.
You can watch The Most Beautiful Day by following this link.
Terrence is a hacker hired to do a job. Kali is his mysterious employer. Working together, the two intend to break into a government facility devoted to experimenting on people with psychic abilities and rescue the last surviving test subject.
The Japanese anime influence is obvious in this cyberpunk-tinged action film. Not just in terms of its visual style either; it is also seen in terms of its content. With it's scenes of futuristic hacking, and the potent and kind of terrifying psychic powers on display, PostHuman almost feels like a blending of the well known anime classics Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Of course, while the film may borrow familiar elements, it is still able to turn them into something fascinating and new. There's also clear indication of a much larger story at work here too—to such an extent that I could easily see this as the prequel to some larger project that may come at some point in the future. But that shouldn't hinder your ability to enjoy PostHuman on its own.
Unlike the other short films on this list, this final entry definitely should come with a content warning, though. There is a fair amount of violence, and even a bit of nudity here. That being said, though, if you are a fan of the more violent brand of Japanese anime that this film was trying to emulate, then there is nothing here you haven't seen before.
You can watch PostHuman by following this link.
© 2019 Dallas Matier