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Top Ten Sci-Fi Films

 
 
Lightwizard
 
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Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2004 09:12 am
You must have gone to different schools that I did where fantasy was emobied in "The Faerie Queen" and "Beowolf." There was no pulp fiction covered which most of sci-fi and fantasy was categorized as because of the magazines. I think that was unfair as "Astounding," "Galaxy" and "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" were on a much higher plane. "Brave New World" and "1984" were both covered in my American literature classes. H. G. Wells was covered in my English literature classes. Today, I believe one would find Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov in classes of American literature.
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The Mighty Celestial
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 07:48 pm
I am a huge fan of Sci-Fi. Probably my favorite genre. So, here are mine:


10. Terminator 2 - James Cameron, you are a god.
However, I've got a question: What is it that inspired the future sentient computer-technology that takes over the Earth, to put out a line of mean-looking humanoid hunter-killer robots, only to program the entire series with an English language that is weighed down with a heavy-ass Austrian accent?

9. Matrix: Reloaded - After this movie came out, could you feel it? Could you feel the idea & use of special effects in the entire sci-fi genre take a major step forward? I know I did.

8. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - Great story, fun energy & for my money, the best of the ST series. Also, the interaction between the the crew members in this film is the most integrated. You can really get a sense of family that this group of people ( whom we've come to know after so many years) have grown into.

7. 2001: A space Odyssey - The very 1st. incredibly realistic portrayal of a sci-fi story. Great visuals back when this stuff was incredible difficult to create ( without the help of computers). Also, a suspence thriller plotline that is masterfully & almost quietly delivered.
Plus, if you're not on drugs whilst viewing this film, by the time you get to the ending, you will you feel as though you are.

6. Equilibrium - Holee f#ck! Are you kiddin' me? The action sequences in this damn thing......whoa, dude.
Quite stunning & stylish to look at also.

5. Abyss (Director's Cut) - Close Encounters Of The Under-Water Kind. Personally, I think this is James Cameron's masterpiece, after Titanic. It's actually two stories in one. The alien storyline crossed over with the tension that builds with the crew & the SEAL team. And both plots are very well executed. This movie suffered from the edited version that Cameron was pressured into releasing, which is sad, because the uncut version is what truly reveals just how great this movie really is. IMO, at least.

4. E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial - There's nothing that I can add that to this film that hasn't already been said. Lemme just say, after several years of this movie collecting dust on my video collection, I watched it with my 6 yr. old niece a couple of months ago, & I'll be honest with you: I don't know which one of us left sitting there with more childlike awe & wonder on our faces.

3. The Empire Strikes Back - For the movie itself, again, what can I say that hasn't blah blah blah.
Instead, I'll just relay my opinion on the experience of this film.
This was back when movies would stay in theatres, not for weeks at a time, but for months.
I think that, on the majority, audiences today have been so desensitized from so-so blockbusters being released every other week-end, that they will never get 2 experience the feeling a big movie-event like Star Wars. The year of Empire was one of my fave summers ever as a kid. It was really cool knowing that I could hop on the city bus at any point during the season & go watch TESB. And every time that I did, the other audience members were just as excited 2 be seeing this film at the end of the summer as they were at the beginning. Every year that one of the 3 original films was released, you could not only feel the power of the "Force" within the air, but also, you could feel it in the air all season long.

2. Aliens - This movie has everything that I look forward to in a sci-fi adventure. Suspenseful action, solid story, distinct characters (with great chemistry) , great visuals, kick-ass aliens, a turning plot-twist ( we all thought for sure, that Bishop couldn't be trusted), & of course, a catch-phrase that made the entire theatre roar (" Get away from her, you bitch!").

Mannnn.... I wish I had acid for blood.

1. Close Encounters Of The 3rd. Kind - For me, the most realistic handling of a story of aliens ( inspiring films like Contact & Signs which tried admirably to emulate), that it made it almost believable for me that extra-terrestrials do exist. Also, it was done with such a sense of awe-inspiring hope & elegant beauty, that it almost made me wish that they did indeed exist( & maybe aliens do, but that's an entirely different website, altogether).

Mannnn.... I wish a UFO would come down & fly me away into the limitless potential of space.
Sans anal-probes, of course.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 09:43 am
A good list but right off, I would insert "The Day the Earth Stood Still" as the earliest American film qualifying as legitimately serious sci-fi. "The Thing From Another World" was released the same year but was bent more towards a horror film when the original story by the Astounding (Analog) Science Fiction magazine editor John W. Campbell, Jr. was more of a psychological storyline with political metaphors. It's rather difficult to go back to the classic pre-Kubrick films and appreciate them for their storytelling as legitimate sci-fi and not merely the monster movies being churned out of Hollywood (although as a kid, I liked them, even while realizing they were the pulp of movie making). The Brian De Palma version of "The Thing" more closely followed the original story and, like "Blade Runner," has taken some time to move up the critical scale. Of course, "Blade Runner" missing from a top ten list has to be a puzzlement.

It's rather dismaying to realize the American film makers were pre-empted by such films as "Things to Come," and even earlier by "Metropolis," but even that's about it for foreign sci-fi of any note. The best Hollywood could do was a distinctly unfunny and mediocre musical comedy "Just Imagine" and the rather wan "TransAtlantic Tunnel," although actually a British/American film. The quality of the special effects, now considered an essential element of sci-fi, is going to shade any list of top sci-fi films, but when considering the time those early efforts were made, the special effects were amazing. I realize one could include "King Kong" as sci-fi but I think it's obvious the motivation was to make a monster movie and display the latest available animation skills.

Following "The Day the Earth Stood" a whopping six years later was "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," also heavy on political metaphors, which really didn't have to lean much on special effects expect for the depiction of the pods, then basically a significantly huge gap as Hollywood also realized exploiting sci-fi for box office pulpy monster movies had bled out and Kubrick really stuck out his neck with MGM in "2001."

Well, finally, "The Matrix Unloaded" over the original "The Matrix?"
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 11:48 am
Lightwizard wrote:
It's rather dismaying to realize the American film makers were pre-empted by such films as "Things to Come," and even earlier by "Metropolis," but even that's about it for foreign sci-fi of any note.

http://metamedia.stanford.edu/imagebin/Voyage-dans-la-Lune.jpg
Le voyage dans la lune (1902)
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 12:37 pm
Laughing Okay, that was a film landmark but just no comparison to the other films and it's French. I view it as a curiosity instead of serious sci-fi and I once saw the hand-colored version but can't recall if it's still around and been shown or on DVD.

It's included in the release earlier this year of the Melies five disc set but don't know if the hand-colored version of "Luna" is the one on the disc.

A Trip to the Moon
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 01:12 pm
Well, Hollywood didn't completely ignore the sci-fi genre during its "golden age." There were, after all, the "Flash Gordon" and "Buck Rogers" serials starring Buster Crabbe, which were very popular. But you're right that there were no sci-fi feature films, certainly not on the scale of Things to Come or Metropolis (or Frau im Mond, another Fritz Lang film). Why Hollywood didn't build on the popularity of sci-fi serials by making a sci-fi feature is a mystery, although I'd imagine that the studio bosses thought that the serials, based on newspaper comic strips, were just "kids stuff" (that may also explain why there were superhero serials but no superhero features during the same era).
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 06:58 pm
The sci-fi serials were aimed at the Saturday Matinee audience, with klunky special effects, ridiculous dialogue -- truly comic books in motion. I thought the Buck Rogers serial had better production design (when it wasn't called production design). Considering the first issue of Amazing Stories was April 1926, it can only be that the movie executive really didn't want to gamble on the cost of the special effects, for instance, to produce a film like "The War of the Worlds."

It took until August 1950 for a major motion picture to hit the screens, "Destination Moon," over five years after the end of WWII and fourteen years after the Britain/Denmark "Things to Come." I don't know what would have happened without a George Pal, as it's possible Robert Wise may never have seen the money to direct "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (he was really anxious to film it). There were friends at the time who didn't believe "Destination Moon" was anything but impossible and I told them that we would be landing on the moon before the end of the 70's.
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VaneEnglish
 
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Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2008 01:42 pm
Lightwizard wrote:
Laughing Okay, that was a film landmark but just no comparison to the other films and it's French. I view it as a curiosity instead of serious sci-fi and I once saw the hand-colored version but can't recall if it's still around and been shown or on DVD.

It's included in the release earlier this year of the Melies five disc set but don't know if the hand-colored version of "Luna" is the one on the disc.

A Trip to the Moon

that movie sets the beginning of sci-fi films, but also of the entire art of filmmaking, it was one of the first movies ever made that truely reflects the magic that hides behind animated motion pictures
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2008 06:57 pm
The discussion was regarding how long it took Hollywood to produce any sci-fi films of any noteworthiness. Melies could easily be the most important pioneer of filmmaking and although "A Trip to the Moon" is considered sci-fi, despite the tongue-in-cheek humor, it was over thirty years before any serious sci-fi films were produced in America, excepting, of course, Harry Hoyt's "The Lost World" and "King Kong." It didn't help fuel any fire when sci-fi was still considered in the area of cult fiction until the 1960's, despite a handful of classics like "The War of the Worlds" and "Things to Come" which was the first Wells sci-fi to be made into a film.
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