Besides engineering and astronomy, one thing that’s in the public domain due to Elon Musk’s love of Twitter is his interest in movies. The tech entrepreneur has spoken about movies several times on the microblogging site, the recent one being his ruthless review on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power streaming on Amazon Prime Video. In his recent tweet, Musk endorsed a list of Hollywood films listed by an artificial intelligence (AI) expert, the majority of which were in the science fiction genre.
Movies I’ve seen more than 5 times but am willing to keep watching: Interstellar, Gladiator, Contact, Good Will Hunting, The Matrix, LotR 1/2/3, HP 1, Avatar, The Fifth Element, The Independence Day, Rush Hour, Armageddon, Stargate, Anchorman, Mean Girls, Terminator 2, more =? 🙂
—Andrej Karpathy (@karpathy) October 16, 2022
Directed by legendary filmmaker Christopher Nolan, Interstellar has become synonymous with science fiction films, particularly in the area of planetary exploration. The film was released in 2014 and stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway embarking on a deep space journey to find a new home for humans, an alternative to Earth, basically. One of the reasons for Musk’s preference for this film is certainly his own ambition to make humans a space civilization, which is why he created SpaceX two decades ago.
(A photo by Matthew McConaughey from the movie Interstellar; Picture: Paramount Pictures)
Again starring McConaughey, the film Contact was released in 1997 and is based on the novel of the same name by one of the most beloved astrophysicists, Carl Sagan. The film also stars Jodie Foster in the lead role, and its plot revolves around Foster’s character, Ellie Arroway, finding evidence of extraterrestrial life through radio messages. This image seems a perfect homage to Sagan who helped design The golden recordwhich was equipped on the two Voyager probes with messages intended to say “hello” to the extraterrestrials.
(Matthew McConaughey and Jodie Foster in Contact; Image Warner Bros)
One of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters in terms of profit, The matrix tells the story of a dystopian society as humans are trapped in a simulation. Starring big names such as Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne and Carrie Ann-Moss, the film’s plot lines up with Musk’s beliefs that we’re actually living in a simulation! During a 2.5-hour chat with Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2018, Musk said “we’re most likely in a simulation,” a theory that many scientists find compelling.
(Carrie Ann-Moss and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix; Image: Warner Bros)
Based on the alien world named Pandora in Alpha Centauri, the film stars Sam Worthington as paraplegic Marine Jake Sully. Avatar is one of the highest-grossing films of all time (over $2.7 billion) and the plot revolves around Sully mentally taking control of Avatars of creatures that might survive in Pandora’s toxic atmosphere.
(Zoe Saldaña and Sam Worthington from the movie Avatar; Image: 20th Century Fox)
Starring action star Bruce Willis who is accompanied by Ben Affleck and Owen Wilson, the film is based on a threat that even NASA is now taking seriously. Released in 1998, Armageddon is about a team of NASA astronauts who take it upon themselves to protect Earth from an approaching asteroid by bombarding space rock. The timing of the film’s suggestion is perfect as NASA recently desecrated an asteroid by intentionally ramming a spacecraft into it as part of the DART mission.
(An image from the film Armageddon; Image: Warner Bros)
It’s hard to ignore the terminator series when it comes to sci-fi movies that get your adrenaline pumping. Starring the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film attempts to give us a glimpse into the world that many AI experts fear: robots turning against humans. As a humanoid robot turns against humans in this thrilling film, Schwarzenegger returns to the rescue of mother-son duo John and Sarah Connor.
(Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong in Terminator 2; Image: Carolco Pictures)