David Bowie Low

So we lost Lemmy, David Bowie and Alan Rickman in the space of a month, which is monumentally depressing. As is the general outpouring of emotion surrounding each and all of their deaths. Some of it has been heartfelt, some of it poetic, some random and raw – all demonstrating that it’s a mess whichever way you look at it. But it is still a thing and, for this site, it’s a Sci-Fi thing that really should be captured and marked in some cathartic way.

While we could wax lyrical about Bowie’s outsider/otherworldly influence, or Lemmy’s part in The Toxic Avenger series or even Rickman’s voicing of Marvin in the otherwise terrible Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it’s probably best to keep simple. So, in honour of the collective and ‘best in class’ influence these three have had on this site, let’s consider their outputs within the genre.

Chronological order gives us Bowie first in Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976). An extraordinary feature that tempered the experimentation of Roeg’s earlier work, such as Performance (1970), with a much stronger narrative structure. Bowie turns in a convincing performance, although it could be argued that the division between the Thomas Jerome Newton character and his then stage persona didn’t take much of an stretch. That said, the scenes of an ailing alien world pitted against the senseless fear and cruelty of humanity still leaves a unique and uneasy taste. Honourable mention has to also be given to Bowie’s portrayal of Nikola Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige (2006).

Next up Lemmy, although his Sci-Fi filmic work offers little to choose from – that is if you draw a demarcating line through his roles in more than one Troma Entertainment scholck horror. It falls then to his water taxi driver cameo in Richard Stanley’s Hardware (1990) as the best suited Sci-Fi outing for Motorhead’s formidable front man.

Last, but by no means least, Alan Rickman. Surprisingly, for a thespian so associated with the fantastical, his body of work is actually pretty light on pure Sci-Fi. Thankfully, 1999 saw the release of Dean Parisot’s wonderfully crafted Galaxy Quest,. In this, Rickman’s jaded, frustrated Shakespearean actor, AKA science officer Dr Lazarus, is a joyful and poignant thing to witness. It’s a key role that helps bolster this hilarious satire of everything fan culture holds dear, allowing us – the oh so knowing recipients of its barbs – to laugh along and feed proud with it. Which, against the general despondency of losing these three most excellent men, could well be the perfect antidote to the malaise of their departure.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2016 at 07:50 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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