The Matrix (1999)
It’s somewhat ironic The Matrix would be included on this list because it is also exactly of its time. Released in 1999 on the turn of the century, the Wachowskis echoed a real fear that spread across audiences. Despite this, The Matrix is consistently enjoyable film and the use of practical effects have saved the film from the clumsiness of early(ish) CGI. As the series. continues, the second and third entries of the trilogy rely more and more on computer generated imagery, playing a part in why they have not aged as well as the first instalment.
The Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Sarah Conor is transformed from the sheepish waitress in the 1984 film The Terminator and returns as a strong and resilient heroine in James Cameron’s sequel. Even starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton is fearless and unafraid to take control of any situation. Judgement Day’s strong female lead was ahead of its time because even current films in the same genre fall victim to the man saves woman trope.
The earliest film on this list is of course Metropolis. Fritz Lang’s science fiction feature paved the way for the development of the genre. Despite it’s controversy and criticisms, it is undeniable that the Lang’s vision for expressive and expansive cinematography. In Metropolis, we start to see the framed images and establishing shots which has since become an integral part of filmmaking.
Ridley Scott’s Alien introduces us to Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s strong, female heroine. The visual effects are stellar and have aged well. Although technically Alien is a horror film, Scott blends the genres of horror and science fiction together to create a terrifying yet futuristic world. Alien set the bar for dystopian films and Ripley is one of OGs when it comes to strong women in sci-fi.