Prey, the latest offering from Bethesda, is almost upon us. In conjunction with the release of the game, Bethesda has launched the Prey Film Festival featuring films that inspired the game including Moon, Starship Troopers, Total Recall, and The Matrix.
Aboard the space station Talos-1 protagonist Morgan Yu must fight for survival against an alien race known as the Typhon. Morgan struggles to survive against aliens that can morph into everyday objects and discover the secrets behind their enhanced abilities. To prepare for this mindbending game, here are eight other science fiction movies that will throw you for a mental loop.
In 1997, Paul W. S. Anderson gave the world Event Horizon. What follows is over 90 minutes of twisted visuals and a story that encompasses the nature of true evil and mankind exceeding his grasp. Set in 2047, the Event Horizon is an experimental starship that disappeared on its maiden voyage. Returning seven years later, the crew of the Lewis & Clark are dispatched to investigate. What they find is a ship literally warped by breaking the laws of physics and the living host for something unspeakably evil.
At the time of its release, Event Horizon was a flop at the box office. Since then, it has gained a strong cult following. Event Horizon never quite answers the question of exactly what came back with the ship. The unfortunate crews of both the Event Horizon and the Lewis & Clark suffer at the hands of the nameless entity, leaving the viewers to draw their own conclusions as to its origin.
Christopher Nolan's Inception follows Dominick Cobb, who steals information from a target's subconscious through the use of a machine that allows them to share a dream world. Cobb is offered the chance to wipe his criminal record clean by performing a seemingly impossible task -- the implantation of an idea into an individual's mind.
Inception goes deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of shared dreamscapes until both the characters and the viewers are left questioning what's reality and what's not. Cobb's unresolved issues with his dead wife who inhabits his dreamscape add a personal layer to the film's narrative. Inception's famously ambiguous ending has fuelled Internet debates ever since the film was released in 2010.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells the story of Joel and Clementine, two former lovers who have erased their memories of each other and their relationship. The film is told in a non-linear fashion, with events from Joel and Clementine's relationship presented within the framework of Joel's experience of having his memory erased. As Joel has a change of heart after reliving the happier memories of his time with Clementine, he fights to keep a remnant of Clementine hidden in his mind.
The film explores the inevitability of making the same mistakes over and over, and of being doomed to repeat history if you cannot remember it. It also examines the ideal of a relationship, and what happens when the initial novelty of a relationship wears off and both parties have to face the reality of one another.
A deconstruction of the teenage coming-of-age film, Donnie Darko is a cult classic. Revolving around the disturbed title character, Donnie Darko features time travel, prophetic dreams, and a demonic-looking rabbit that makes sure you can never watch the film Harvey in the same way again. Predestination and the notion of alternate universes and timelines are touched on, set against a story of Donnie trying to find his place in the world -- or not.
Donnie Darko launched the career of Jake Gyllenhaal, but the film was initially a box office disaster. The dark tone and complicated story made it difficult to market. However, home video sales and repeated watchings have turned Donnie Darko into one of cinema's "must-watch" films. And it also contains the best dissection of Smurfette's role in The Smurfs ever committed to film.
Primer is a low-budget independent film that follows two engineers who make a working time travel device after accidentally stumbling across the method while working on other projects. The film explores the ethical and philosophical implications of time travel and the nature of causality. In essence, Primer attempts to show the grounded nature of scientific discovery as many of science's greatest inventions and innovations are created not with fanfare but by accident in someone's garage.
The science behind the time travel used in Primer is so complex that there are multiple explanations of how the time travel works floating around the Internet. There are also detailed diagrams to chart the various timelines that the movie follows. Primer is definitely in "hard sci-fi" territory, and repeated viewings are needed to understand the complex interwoven plot.
Darren Aronofsky's ambitious film saw Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz play characters in three separate time periods. In the past, Conquistador Tomás is commissioned by Queen Isabella of Spain to find the fabled Tree of Life in the New World. In the present, Tom struggles to find a cure for the brain tumor that is killing his wife, Izzi. In the future, Tommy travels to the nebula Xibalba in his bubble-like spaceship.
Nothing in the film is straightforward. Are the three versions of Hugh Jackman meant to be the same character? If not, what is their relationship to each other? What is the significance of the Tree of Life? Aronofsky has stated that there is no "correct" answer, and the film can be interpreted in many ways, dependent on the viewer. At the core of the film is a story of love and the acceptance of death.
In the future, a virus has wiped out the majority of humanity. The survivors send a convicted criminal, Cole, to the past to stop the virus before it spreads. Unfortunately, due to the effects of time travel and Cole's behavior, he ends up in a mental institution. Cole struggles to complete his mission while plagued by voices and visions of a foot chase and shooting.
Among the questions raised in 12 Monkeys include whether or not Cole is actually a time traveler or just crazy. Not only is the viewer made to question the narrative, but Cole himself does as well. Director Terry Gilliam weaves red herrings, subjective information, and the issues of predestination vs freedom of choice to create a chaotic narrative. 12 Monkeys< has also been adapted into a television series that greatly expands on the premise of the original film.
Total Recall is one of the classic sci-fi movies to come out of the 1990s, and is definitely a high point in Arnold Schwarzenegger's career. From cool dry action hero one-liners ("Consider that a divorce!" and "See you at the party, Rictor!") to impressive visuals and exciting action sequences, Total Recall is an engaging and fun film. But beneath the surface lies something more, a deeper look into our perceptions of reality.
Douglas Quaid longs for a more exciting life and decides to use a memory implantation service to give himself a mental adventure holiday. What follows is either Quaid finding out that he is sleeper agent for a corrupt corporation, or Quaid living out his fantasy. Opinion is split on what is real and what is not from the moment that Quaid undergoes the procedure, and the film has been described as the "thinking man's action movie."
Prey comes out May 5 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.