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Top Ten Sci-Fi Films

 
 
edgarblythe
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 06:06 am
Forbidden Planet - Walter Pigeon, I think Leslie Nielson. The film that introduced Robbie the Robot. An expedition to learn what happened to the crew of a ship that landed on the planet discovers an unstoppable menace, remnants of an extinct civilization, the professor and his daughter being the lone survivors.

When Worlds Collide - I was a kid when I saw this - don't recall the cast at all. A planet bearing down on Earth will replace it in orbit. Tale of the building of a craft to take a few people to colonize the new planet. Life on Earth will be destroyed.
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Grand Duke
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 06:41 am
Cheers Edgar. Now that you've described it, I think I saw Forbidden Planet many years ago. I'll keep an eye on the cable sci-fi channels for repeat showings as they both sound like good films.
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Paaskynen
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 07:57 am
Grand Duke wrote:
Dark City - fairly unknown Kiefer Sutherland film from early 90's. V good,
Phase IV - 70's film about super-clever ants in the desert.
The Andromeda Strain - Based on a Michael Crichton book. Killer virus escapes in secret underground research lab. Another 70's film.


I don't remember much from Dark City, too tired when I watched it.

But I remember Phase 4 and The Andromeda strain very vividly, have seen them both more than once. I can't believe I forgot to mention them! Phase 4 impressed with the excellent use of live ants (impossible to train) in action and giving the impression that they are acting intelligently.

The Andromeda Strain is the mother of all alien infection movies. It focuses very much on the scientific battle to overcome the threat, which makes it to me so much better than later virus scare products like Outbreak. (Incidentally, the infective agent in The Andromeda Strain was a crystalline entity, not a virus).

When talking about Michael Crichton's books, I guess Jurassic Park also qualifies as a Sci-fi film, because futuristic pseudo science is used to clone dinosaurs. I thoroughly enjoyed it even though in the movie the scientific explanations take a back seat to the action.

I wonder if anyone has an opinion about Zero Population Growth and THX 1138?
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Grand Duke
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 08:35 am
Paaskymen - Thanks for the correction. I remember the part in The Andromeda Strain where the female scientist has an epiletic fit from the flashing alarm lights, and misses checking the test which had been sucessful in defeating the virus (was it alkaline?). Like you, I like the way it avoids the "this virus must be really bad, look at all these dead bodies" methods which are prevalent in Outbreak and others of that type.

I must confess to be ignorant of Zero Population Growth and THX 1138. What era are they from?

Paaskmen has made an intersting point I think about how Science Fiction, as a genre of literature and film, should be defined. The Jurassic Park films are a good example, and the Back To The Future films might also be classed as Sci-Fi perhaps? How about Men In Black?

Does the use of fictional science define a Science Fiction film? Or some other criteria?
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 09:54 am
Possibly the thread could cover fantasy -- there's even a magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction. Of course, this would open it up to flicks like LOTR. There is kind of a reverse of future history sci-fi and in LOTR in that Tolkien was very convincing that his world could have existed 10,000 years ago.

"When Worlds Collide" was also directed by George Pal ("War of the Worlds").

"Forbidden Planet" should be lauded for its breakthrough of special effects, courtesy of Disney. "Fantastic Voyage" is in era and also amazing special effects, both films being pre-"2001" which still stands up even with CGI effects dominating today's films.

The original "The Time Machine," also a George Pal effort, has to be on a list of at least the 20 best sci-fi films.

In the realm of what might be called science fantasy (the LA fan groups was called the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society) would be "Hellboy," which I just saw on DVD and it was quite good in that genre of comics brought to the screen.

So what could be concluded is three categories of fantastic fiction:

1. Science Fiction (Sci-Fi, thanks to Forry Ackerman)

2. Science Fantasy (the science is usually bent on the twisting of science towards the unbelievable)

2. Fantasy (not really much science and often in a time travel mode for the viewer like "Quest For Fire," which should be way up on the list).
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 09:57 am
(Extrapolated visions of the past being fictional and not at all necessarily accurate, especially if it envisions Raquel Welch as a cave woman).
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cavfancier
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 09:57 am
Grand Duke wrote:
PS. Hopefully you're cool with me using your reading of my future as a signature? They do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...


I don't recall which thread it was, but I did show true appreciation for being quoted in a tagline. :wink:
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Grand Duke
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 10:02 am
Gypsy Cavfancier's Caravan of Mystery

:wink:
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cavfancier
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 10:04 am
Oh, I remember where the quote came from, just not the thread where I mentioned how honoured I was to be a tagline. Smile
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 10:09 am
To be fair, you could say "armchair pundits" 'cause nobody would actually elect most of the poiltical geeks on this forum.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 10:11 am
And as far as politics, "1984," the final film for Richard Burton version was dynamite.
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Eccles
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 10:42 am
Dune (the movie) ?!?! (shudder) The books were much, much better.

"Bladerunner" is my favourite sci-fi movie, Philip K Dick rocks, and even if he had absolutely no respect for or understanding of women, he could tell a bloody good story.

Soylent Green? I've heard it's a good movie, but I read the book it was based on (Make room, make room, i think) when i was a kid and it was the most boring and daft book i've ever read.

1984 is an excellent novel , but as i've never seen the movie, I'll go direct my uninformed and daft opinion to somethiing else.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 10:53 am
There's three versions of "1984" -- even the first film with Edmund O'Brien, I believe, was a good flick. I also saw the taped early TV version on Playhouse 90. Anyway, here's the history of "1984" on film and TV:

http://www.imdb.com/find?tt=on;mx=20;q=1984

I found the production design of "Dune" was great and if one has read the novels it's not a bad film. The Sci-Fi Channels "Children of Dune" is the best evocation of Frank Herbert. Now if they would only make such films as Herbert's "Ice World," "Under Pressure," "Sataroga Barrier." Not to mention Hal Clement's "Mission of Gravity."
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fbaezer
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 11:23 am
My personal list:

1.Blade Runner
2.Time after Time
3.Solaris (1972)
4.The Terminator
5.Metropolis
6.The Truman Show
7.Total Recall
8.Alien
9.Planet of the Apes
10.Slaughter-House Five
11.Artificial Intelligence
12.Abre los Ojos
13.War Games
14.Vanilla Sky
15.Tron
16.Solaris (2002)
17.Back to the Future
18.Liquid Sky
19.A Clockwork Orange
20.2001, a Space Odysee
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Eccles
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 12:44 pm
The novel "a clockwork orange" is fascinating, but i can't get over that scene in the movie where they rape the woman (or begin to, it got turned off immediately). Stanley Kubrick's films often leave me with the sense that i need to have a bath to get the dirty feeling off me.
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Eccles
 
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Reply Fri 27 Aug, 2004 12:46 pm
The novel "a clockwork orange" is fascinating, but i can't get over that scene in the movie where they rape the woman (or begin to, it got turned off immediately). Stanley Kubrick's films often leave me with the sense that i need to have a bath to get the dirty feeling off me.
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Paaskynen
 
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Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 04:33 am
Grand Duke wrote:
Paaskymen - Thanks for the correction. I remember the part in The Andromeda Strain where the female scientist has an epiletic fit from the flashing alarm lights, and misses checking the test which had been sucessful in defeating the virus (was it alkaline?). Like you, I like the way it avoids the "this virus must be really bad, look at all these dead bodies" methods which are prevalent in Outbreak and others of that type.


Quite, and it was refreshing that this woman scientist is not a babe (Raquel Welch would absolutely not have convinced in such a role. I remember her in The Fantastic Voyage wandering around miniaturised in the body and brain of a comatose scientist!). How many films exist in which scientists are heroes in their role as scientists (and not so much as action heroes whose only claim to being a scientist is the Dr. in front of their name)? Contact?

Grand Duke wrote:
I must confess to be ignorant of Zero Population Growth and THX 1138. What era are they from?


Both are seventies dystopia films (the 1970s were a time when the disiilusionement of the 1960s bore fruit, I think). Zero Population Growth features a young Geraldine Chaplin living in an age when the government has declared a ban on new births in an attempt to stop overpopulation of the remaining habitable areas of the planet (after nuclear war naturally). Dolls are produced to sooth the morthely feelings of childless women. Chaplin defies the ban and becomes pregnant leading to huge problems for the young couple. The film has the conspiracy theory atmosphere (who can you trust?) of the times.
THX 1138 grew out of a film school project of George Lucas. It present a completely dehumaniased future in which humans are numbers and emotional relations between humans (especially involving sex) were banned. Emotions are controlled with drugs and spiritual guidance is provided by video screens of Jezus speaking soothing texts. THX 1138 is the code of the protagonist who by accident or intent stops taking drugs and falls in love with a woman LUH (don't remember the number), which lands both of them in jail where LUH is destroyed (because pregnant). THX 1138 then stages an escape attempt with a few other prisoners. The film though technically imperfect had some original sides to it. In my opinion it beats Star Wars as a story, but of course it does not have the popular appeal.

Grand Duke wrote:
Does the use of fictional science define a Science Fiction film? Or some other criteria?


The definition I was taught way back in high school is that science fiction is fiction in which science makes or has made the (yet) impossible possible and the story is based on that motive. Fantasy was not defined as a genre at the time Confused
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 09:11 am
The distinction of science fiction, science fantasy and fantasy was something discussed in length at meetings in the 50's at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (I don't believe they ever changed their name, either). Ray Bradbury often showed up at those meetings as well as Richard Matheson. I would say both write more science fantasy -- Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" has the air breathable on Mars! Still a great book.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2004 09:20 am
BTW, Merriam-Webster does have a defintion for science fiction:

Fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.

Of course, it's hard to pin down to details. Some of future history fiction does not dwell on the science but on the society and the place of the individual in that society. Their primary purpose is extrapolation on the human condition in the future rather than the technology. "1984" and "Brave New World" are good examples. Alfred Bester's "The Demolished Man" is primarilly a murder mystery where the detectives just happened to be able to read minds on different levels of success.
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Paaskynen
 
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Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2004 09:00 am
Hi LW,

Of course Fantasy existed long before I went to school, but when I said that Fantasy was not recognised as a genre at the time, I meant that it hadn't made it into our schoolbooks yet. (We used to have those old fashioned lit classes in which anything after the year 1900 was suspect and after 1945 simply wasn't in the book). So there was lots of Kalevala (actually a great source of inspiration for Fantasy novels), Shakespeare, Strindberg and Kivi and none of the more "popular" stuff.

When will anyone start filming the novels of James H. Schmitz? I particularly liked The Demon Breed (a.k.a. the Tuvela).

Rgrds, P.
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