Published By: Jayati

Hop on a spaceship for a ride to - the 5 greatest astronaut movies!

In these films, space is both fascinating and harrowing!

If you're looking to indulge your inner child with lofty dreams, there's a wealth of astronaut-themed movies available. While they may not fully replicate the real experience, they provide a glimpse into life in space. Perhaps you'll glean some insights, or maybe they'll instill a newfound appreciation for abandoning your astronautical ambitions. So, let's dive in, shall we?

' 2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968)

Stanley Kubrick, celebrated as one of the greatest directors in cinematic history, achieved unmatched grandeur with 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film follows a group of astronauts embarking on a voyage to Jupiter to unravel the origins of a puzzling artefact discovered beneath the moon's surface. Accompanied by the ship's supercomputer, HAL, they confront enigmatic challenges. 2001: A Space Odyssey demands multiple viewings to fully grasp its profound meaning, particularly its cryptic ending, which often leaves viewers perplexed. Beyond its conclusion, the film's enduring appeal lies in its exploration of the perilous unknowns of space juxtaposed with the hazards closer to home. With its eerie atmosphere, technological marvels, and thematic depth, this masterpiece remains essential viewing for any science fiction aficionado.

'Gravity' (2013)

In Gravity, astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) faces a harrowing ordeal when she becomes stranded in space after her shuttle is destroyed by debris. As she struggles for survival, viewers are immersed in her anxiety and desperation, with each fleeting chance of escape thwarted by the relentless threat of space debris. The film's emotional intensity is matched by its breathtaking visuals, despite its familiar setting just above Earth. Gravity ingeniously transforms the familiar into a hostile and unforgiving environment, crafting a compelling and visually stunning cinematic experience.

'Interstellar' (2014)

Interstellar unfolds in a future where Earth faces imminent demise, prompting NASA to dispatch a team of astronauts on an interstellar journey to find a new habitable planet. This visually stunning film probes into mind-bending concepts and presents alien worlds that challenge the laws of physics. Yet, its emotional core shines through, particularly as protagonist Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) grapples with the passage of time and separation from his daughter. While not Christopher Nolan's magnum opus, Interstellar remains a captivating cinematic achievement, sparking discussions even a decade after its release. It emphasises humanity's smallness in the expansive cosmos and the fascination with discovering unexplored realms. Whether you are a sci-fi enthusiast or an aspiring astronaut, this movie promises a mesmerising experience.

'Sputnik' (2020)

Sputnik is a Russian sci-fi horror gem and remains underrated despite its director Egor Abrakmenko's impressive debut. The film is expertly crafted, matching the quality of Hollywood blockbusters. Centering on a Soviet-era cosmonaut who unwittingly brings an alien life form to Earth, Sputnik's chilling premise unfolds as the parasite-like creature feeds off human life, lurking within its host undetected. While grounded on Earth, the film's scares are just as potent as if set in space, making it a standout horror and sci-fi hybrid.

'Ad Astra' (2019)

A sci-fi thriller starring Brad Pitt, Ad Astra explores the unsettling notion of an unknown threat lurking in the vast expanse of space, capable of upending life on Earth without humanity's awareness. Pitt portrays a space explorer on a quest to uncover the truth behind his father's mysterious disappearance during intergalactic missions. Director James Grey aimed for a realistic portrayal of space travel, though opinions on its accuracy vary. Nevertheless, the film captivates with its gripping narrative, employing twists and tension to keep audiences on edge. It prompts existential questions about humanity's place in the universe, tapping into the universal fascination with the unknown. While answers may remain elusive, Ad Astra offers a compelling exploration of these enigmas.

Whether or not these films challenged your notion of space travel, one thing is for certain: the technology available today can simulate the near-perfect experience of being there. So, which planet would you like to venture to?