Eight films to watch before the UAE’s historic first trip into space
Ramp up your excitement for Hazza Al Mansouri’s space journey with these movies
The UAE will send its first astronaut into space on Wednesday, September 25. Hazza Al Mansouri will board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan before launching into space. He will spend eight days at the International Space Station where he will carry out scientific experiments and — all the while etching his name in the history books of the UAE. To commemorate the occasion, we have put together a list of the best space films of all time.
'2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968)
Although 2001: A Space Odyssey is the oldest film on this list, it is undoubtedly the best of the bunch. Stanley Kubrick’s perfectly executed venture into space happened a year before the Apollo 11 mission. The fact that the film gave audiences a real sense of flying and floating in space fuelled conspiracy theories that suggested Stanley Kubrick was the man behind the US “faking” the moon landing. The film explores the relationship between man and machine, years before artificial intelligence is a reality. While it ventures into deeply philosophical and abstract areas, it remains one of the most important films in cinema history, and a very enjoyable space film at that.
'The Right Stuff' (1983)
From the director of Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes a larger than life film about the people who worked tirelessly and put their lives on the line to enhance America’s efforts for their first space mission. Centred on the story of the American test pilots who were chosen as America’s first ever astronauts, and who took part in Project Mercury. The film clocks in at 3 hours and 12 minutes, but if you’re an avid fan of space and aeronautics history, you’ll enjoy every minute of it. The film often screens on 70mm and that would probably be the best way to see it.
'For All Mankind' (1989)
The only documentary on the list, For All Mankind is a beautiful and informative film directed by journalist Al Reinart. With a moving soundtrack composed by Brian Eno, the film gives a unique experience of Nasa's Apollo programme.
'Apollo 13' (1995)
Another great film about survival in space, but this time based on a real-life story. The story of the Apollo 13 mission and its crew’s attempts to return to Earth safely after a series of malfunctions is one that is gripping on its own. Directed by Ron Howard and starring the always-memorable Tom Hanks,
Apollo 13 takes us on a nail biting real-life journey that is definitely worth watching.
Adapted from a book by famed scientist and TV personality Carl Sagan, Contact touches more on the human relationships we have than the alien encounters that might one day happen. Starring Jodie Foster and directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump), Contact is a meticulously crafted work of art that is incredibly shot and that makes you ponder about the state of humanity.
Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron creates perhaps the scariest film about space travel that keeps you on the edge of your seat, without involving any scary aliens, and starring the wonderful Sandra Bullock. The computer-generated effects achieved in the film transforms the setting into a floating state, and you don't come down to Earth till the very end. While stressful at times, the cinematography by Emanuel Lubezki makes watching the film a joy to the eyes.
Interstellar has a lot going for it, and most notably all the scientific data the film abides by in the storytelling. Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne worked on the film as a consultant to achieve a realistic view of the future of space travel. There are many breathtaking scenes in this film, so it is best to watch it on the largest screen possible, with the best kind of sound system.
'The Martian' (2015)
Adapted from the popular book by Andy Weir, The Martian follows the story of astronaut Mark Watney as he tries to survive on the red planet after getting accidentally abandoned by his crew. Matt Damon delivers an exceptional performance as Watney, and keeps us hoping he’ll survive and make it back to Earth. What makes the film truly great is seeing all the things Mark Watney does to survive on his own on an uninhabitable planet.
Updated: September 23, 2019 06:36 PM