Karl Urban’s Five Favorite Dystopian Sci-Fi Movies

I recently spoke with Karl Urban about the new Dredd for MSN Movies. During our chat, I quizzed him about his five favorite dystopian sci-fi films. Despite being really jet lagged and about to fly to San Diego Comic Con right after our meeting, Urban was game to share his picks. His insights into each movie were particularly interesting.

Karl Urban, sci-fi aficionado
and rising genre icon.
(Photo ©2012 by Bryan Reesman;
taken by Jodie Magid.)

BLADE RUNNER — “I love everything about it. I love the fact that it is set in a world where humanity is largely abandoned. I love the fact that it’s essentially a noir film — that’s a genre that I really love. I love the art direction and the style. It still hasn’t been topped. I’ll tell you what, I like the [original, now deleted] voiceover because it’s noir. You look at [Robert] Mitchum’s Farewell My Lovely or any of the Golden-Era Hollywood movies, and you have your beaten up detective giving his monologue. That being said, I vastly appreciate the director’s cut and the final cut. I like the darker, ambiguous ending for sure. I didn’t like the original ending of the original theatrical release so much. I like a film that leaves you thinking, and that is certainly a film that leaves you thinking.”

MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR — “Just from the very opening on, there’s an economy about the way that the story is being told that I like. With that engine — Rrrrrrr! It’s horrifying, isn’t it? There’s an economy there that I like and a stoicism — he just wants his gas. I just love the simplicity.”

CHILDREN OF MEN — “I really like that. It presented an updated version of society that you could believe with technology that we can get there. It seemed like a real, natural evolution a few years in the future. There’s the young son sitting there at the beginning of the movie completely in his own world — like our kids would be texting, but really what he was doing was being interfaced with a computer and sitting there in his own world. You look at your kids on the computer or on the Internet nowadays, and you can see it’s the next step forward. I just love the director. He makes some really interesting choices. Here he has one of the most iconic actors in Michael Caine telling us a monologue story, and he’s in the background slightly out-of-focus. All the time you’re on Clive Owen.”

Urban is a badass Judge Dredd.
(Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Films.)

ALIEN — “I love Alien. The thing I like about it is that the characters in that film are so relatable. They’re blue-collar working men and women who are in space and doing a job. They’re not part of some flashy spaceship. The technology doesn’t always work right, and the great reveal about Ash being a robot is amazing. [Ridley] Scott was wonderfully economical about how he would reveal that alien, which is not easy to do when essentially it’s a guy in a suit, but he did such a great job of making that the suspense in that film. It’s incredible. I love it.”

ROBOCOP — “It’s a guilty pleasure. Judge Dredd was obviously the inspiration for Robocop. There’s a violent reality to it. There are wonderful little vignettes [offering] commentary about that society, little things like, ‘I’ll buy that for a dollar.’ The TV commercials show how everything has become corporatized, which is also a theme that is in Blade Runner and Alien.”

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