Here’s a list of some of the best biotechnology movies to enjoy how cool science is and laugh at the idea of biotech some filmmakers have.
It’s summer time! Perfect to grab your snack of your choice and watch a movie. With the help of the whole team, I’ve put together a list of movies that are related to biotech. It’s been difficult to bring variety and find movies beyond the typical sci-fi dystopian future where everything is messed up because of science, but I think I’ve managed to gather a range of films from different genres to cater all tastes. If you’re left wanting more, check also out our previous list for more great titles, and enjoy watching!
Creation takes us back to 19th-century England, where, after his famous voyage on the Beagle, Charles Darwin is putting together the theory of evolution. As he works in the book that would change the basis of biology forever, Darwin struggles with the implications of his theory, which conflicts with the religious beliefs of his wife and puts their relationship at risk. For the fans of Sherlock, the movie casts Benedict Cumberbatch as botanist Joseph Hooker, Darwin’s best friend, who encouraged the publication of On the Origin of Species.
The German movie Blueprint imagines the life of the first cloned human being. A famous musician learns that she has an incurable illness. To preserve her art, she clones herself. The movie explores the relationship between the musician and her clone, who’s both her daughter and genetic twin.
The Andromeda strain (1971)
Old but gold, The Andromeda strain is a sci-fi thriller in which scientists work under the clock to identify an alien form of life that arrives on Earth. Watch the scientists perform a series of experiments to characterize the strain and find a treatment, while the sample keeps evolving and challenging their work. The scientific method as you’ve never experienced it before.
In Splice, two scientists decide to ignore the ban on research using human embryos and try to illegally create a hybrid creature with the ultimate goal of achieving fame. Somehow, the scientists manage to make experiments with human embryos without any funding and while still being required to do the research they’re paid to do. And, obviously, things do not go particularly well.
Black Sheep (2006)
In what cannot be considered a genre other than humor, Black Sheep presents us with genetically modified sheep in New Zealand that turn carnivorous and start attacking humans. A story that might haunt the nightmares of New Zealanders, where sheep outnumber people, but is just plain hilarious everywhere else.
The Boys from Brazil (1978)
What if after WWII, Nazis took samples from Hitler’s remains and cloned him 94 times? In The Boys from Brazil, an American journalist encounters the plot and tries to work out what’s really happening. For a 70s movie, it’s really interesting to see how it shows it’s not only genetics what defines a person, but also the environment they grow in.
Elysium imagines life in the year 2154. Biotechnology allows to cure every disease, but only the wealthy, who live on a space station, have access to it. Meanwhile, people on an overpopulated Earth suffer poverty and famine. An American embarks on an epic mission to bring equality to the world divided by access to scientific developments. Matt Damon saves the world again.
Based on the real story of the development of levodopa treatments for neurological diseases, Awakenings stars Robin Williams as a doctor that tests a new treatment in catatonic patients that cannot move at all but, as he discovers, are still conscious inside their frozen bodies. Although the name is changed in the movie, the character is based on the real-life experience of famous neuroscientist Oliver Sacks.
In Contagion, the world faces a deadly viral infection that’s rapidly spreading. With no treatment available, the CDC gathers a team of doctors to identify ways of avoiding contagion while looking for a cure. Meanwhile, chaos rules the world as death claims the lives of millions. This time, instead of being the hero, Matt Damon plays a citizen without much power to stop the massive outbreak decimating Earth.
The X-Men all have genetic mutations that give them extraordinary abilities, and Spiderman gets his powers from a genetically engineered spider. The scientific rigor of these movies is often questionable, but some people get serious discussing complex theories by which some of these powers could actually be based on genetics. In Deadpool, a funny, morally ambiguous superhero uses its healing powers to fight his enemies. I know it sounds like a stretch, but healing is an important area of research, often performed in animal models with real-life healing superpowers like axolotls and cnidarian worms.
Images via Stock-Asso / Shutterstock; IMDB; Kino.de