10 Favorite Sci-Fi Films

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10 Favorite Sci-Fi Films

Postby MarylandManson » Sun Sep 27, 2009 4:25 pm

PohlSE wrote:This would be an interesting exercise with other genres, too. Comedy, action, sci-fi...


Great idea, PohlSE!

Slade wrote:Rules:

1/ No more than 10 choices.
2/ Include the year. (That tells us more about how you select than anything else.)
3/ Rank them. (None of that "In no particular order...", because order is what we're after. You must commit.)
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Postby PohlSE » Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:08 pm

In reverse order:

10.) THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (2005)
9.) STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997)
8.) PREDATOR (1987)
7.) ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)
6.) THEY LIVE (1988)
5.) TWELVE MONKEYS (1995)
4.) STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (1984)
3.) STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986)
2.) STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)
1.) STAR WARS SAGA (1977 - 2005)

Before anyone bitches about me putting all the STAR WARS flicks together you need to remember that it is ONE entire story arc that spans generations and encompasses hundreds of characters and worlds. Individually none of them are as strong as the entire story arc. So the STAR WARS SAGA gets considered as a whole. Tough ta-ta's if you don't like it.

Two more John Carpenter entries as well...

BTW, I left THE THING and ALIEN off the list because I included them on horror.
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Postby MarylandManson » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:17 pm

01. GATTACA (1997)
02. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)
03. THE TERMINATOR (1984)
04. WALL*E (2008)
05. THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981)
06. BICENTENNIAL MAN (1999)
07. IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953)
08. BLADE RUNNER (1982)
09. METROPOLIS (1927)
10. FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN (2001)
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Postby Wayne R. » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:04 pm

01. Aliens - 1986
02. T2 - 1991
03. Blade Runner - 1982
04. Alien - 1979
05. The Matrix - 1999
06. Robocop - 1987
07. District 9 - 2009
08. Starship Troopers - 1997
09. The Abyss - 1989
10. Deja-Vu - 2006

Looks like I prefer my SF a little more hard-edged and from a small group of directors (Verhoeven, Scott & Cameron). Also, it looks like they just don't make 'em like they used to. only two entries from the 21st Century!
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Postby WaywardSoul » Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:21 pm

1. STAR WARS: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)
2. PLANET OF THE APES (1968)
3. THE TERMINATOR (1984)
4. ALIEN (1979)
5. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)
6. STAR TREK 2: THE WRATH of KHAN (1982)
7. BLADE RUNNER (1982)
8. THE MATRIX (1999)
9. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
10. SILENT RUNNING (1972)
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Postby raasnio » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:37 am


1| Star Wars (1977)

2| The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

3| Aliens (1986)

4| The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

5| District 9 (2009)

6| Alien (1979)

7| Starship Troopers (1997)

8| Serenity (2005)

9| War of the Worlds (1953)

10| Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
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Postby Vcela » Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:01 pm

10. Armageddon - 1998 (its just FUN)
9. Enemy Mine - 1985
8. Pitch Black - 2000
7. The Quiet Earth - 1985
6. Brazil - 1985
5. Time Bandits - 1981
4. The Empire Strikes Back - 1980
3. The Road Warrior - 1981
2. Blade Runner - 1982
1. Alien - 1978
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Postby Slade » Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:27 pm

Vcela,

My top three choices would be the same as yours, and in that order:

1/ ALIEN (1979)
2/ BLADE RUNNER (1982)
3/ THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981)

For #4, I'd cheat a bit by selecting THE FLY (1958) and (1986). Neither film by itself deserves the slot...but what a great plot idea! THE FLY (1958) is one of those movies that can only be judged by having been there when it first came out. If you say, "Heeelp me!" in a squeaky voice to someone of my generation, they get it!

It's like the joke: "What's the definition of an intellectual snob?" Answer: "Someone who hears Tschaikovsky's "1812 Overture" and DOESN'T think of THE LONE RANGER:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM-5tTLz9_E

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Postby MarylandManson » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:10 pm

Slade,

Oddly enough, when I hear the William Tell Overture, I think of the Lone Ranger, even though I never watched the old show with Clayton Moore.

When I hear the 1812 overture, I think of AC/DC's For Those About to Rock, even though I don't own the album and have never listened to it.

And in the late 70s, I saw an episode of MORK AND MINDY in which Robin Williams as Mork caught a fly and said in a high-pitched voice, "Help me, help me!" I got the joke and laughed, instantly thinking of THE FLY (1958), even though to this day I've never seen the film.

Cultural absorption?

As for sci-fi, it's great to see others' lists. I think Stephen King comments in DANSE MACABRE that trying to distinguish among sci-fi, horror, and fantasy is madness. So the following comment is meant only to convey a personal viewpoint and offer a possibly intersting question if anyone wants to nibble:

How is Star Wars sci-fi?

Cheers! MM
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Postby PohlSE » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:14 pm

MarylandManson wrote:How is Star Wars sci-fi?


From Wikipedia:

"Space opera is a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing powerful (and sometimes quite fanciful) technologies and abilities. Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale."


So now that one mystery is solved, let's ask; how can A CLOCKWORK ORANGE be sci-fi?
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Postby Slade » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:49 pm

MM,

No wonder intellectual snobs don't think of the Lone Ranger! I typed in the wrong overture.

Also, I want to change my list:

1/ ALIEN (1979)
2/ BLADE RUNNER (1982)
3/ THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981)
4/ THE TIME MACHINE (1960)
5/ THE FLY (1958) and (1986)
6/ THE THING (1982)
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Postby MarylandManson » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:10 pm

Slade, that's okay--the point was clear either way.

PohlSE, much as I enjoy Wikipedia, that paragrapgh seems vague. Maybe a better way to phrase the question is: "What about Star Wars makes you think of it as sci-fi?"

The thing that strikes me about Star Wars is that you could remove all the "sci-fi" trappings like space and (quasi-) technology and essentially tell the same story using any other fantasy context, like Tolkien. Also, The Force strikes me as magic. So it seems only superficially akin to sci-fi. Also, I think way back when, George Lucas called Star Wars fantasy and not sci-fi, although some may still consider it sci-fi. Cool beans! Whatever works...as always, just curious what others think.

As for A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, it features two components of sci-fi that I look for: it's speculative (or predictive), and it's didactic (or instructive). Although I don't believe it's stated in the movie, it takes place in 1985 (one year after 1984, as explained by Kubrick) and essentially predicts a human society in which youthful gangs run wild, with caution expressed for the attendant mayhem.

Cheers! MM
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Postby PohlSE » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:02 pm

MarylandManson wrote:Maybe a better way to phrase the question is: "What about Star Wars makes you think of it as sci-fi?"


Maybe it's me but that questions seems akin to asking "What about Rocky makes you think of it as a boxing movie?"

The thing that strikes me about Star Wars is that you could remove all the "sci-fi" trappings like space and (quasi-) technology and essentially tell the same story using any other fantasy context, like Tolkien.


...And you could remove the shark from Jaws and still tell the story as a group of dog catchers chasing a rabid Rottweiler. Which seems as strangely surreal as your original question.

Take the sci-fi trappings out of any sci-fi and you could tell it in another genre. Nearly any story can be told in a different genre. (anyone remember Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars, The Warrior and the Sorceress, and Last Man Standing?)

The Terminator could have been an Ogre sent back in time by an evil coven of witches to kill Conan's mother before he can be born and, eventually, defeat the coven. Does that make the real Terminator any less sci-fi?

I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just really don't get what you're after here.




-edited to add:

The more I read this the more asshole-ish it sounds. It's not intentional, I'm just dumbfounded.
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Postby MarylandManson » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:51 am

Funny, PohlSE--I'm in the middle of watching Last Man Standing and noted the Fistful of similarities!

But if the Terminator were about an ogre as described, it would be fantasy to me, not sci-fi. What makes Cameron's movie sci-fi is less the time-travel and robot elements than the cautionary plot point of letting machines have too much control over human life.

One of my favorite quotes from a sci-fi movie that somehow captures what sci-fi means to me is in Jurassic Park, which I generally didn't like too much. But Jeff Goldblum's character nails it when he says, "You guys were so worried about whether or not you could, that you didn't worry about whether or not you should." Or something like that. Never mind that it has cloned dinosaurs in it, that's the sci-fi spirit in a nutshell.

Is King Kong about a big ape, or is it about how beauty humanizes the beast? Happily, either way to look at it works, depending on your viewpoint.

Cheers! MM
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Postby PohlSE » Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:51 am

My point about Terminator was not that it would STILL be sci-fi if it was about ogres but that the REAL sci-fi Terminator wouldn't be any LESS sci-fi if it was retold as a fantasy.

And, I'm sorry, it's the robots and time travel that make it sci-fi.

The message is gravy. It gives depth and layers the sci-fi trappings with meaning.

Take that message:

"cautionary plot point of letting machines have too much control over human life. "

And remove the robots and time travel. What do you have?

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (2007)

...Which isn't sci-fi but contains the same message.





In the Star Wars Saga, faster than light travel is used by everyone, not just the Jedi. FTL travel is a legitimate "sci-fi trapping," is it not?

You didn't question the sci-fi credentials of Star Trek, yet both series use variations on the Buck Rodgers ray gun and both series can, evidently, create their own gravity fields.

The Force was explained in Ep 1 as being generated by "midichlorians" that reside in the cells of all living creatures. This is a variation and extrapolation of the Endosymbiotic theory which is a legitimate scientific theory.

The saga also contains robots, androids, cyborgs, artificial limbs, advanced submarines, cloning, portable missile launchers, and all matter of other technologies both real and speculative.

So based on all that, and applying your statement about the Terminator:

"What makes Cameron's movie sci-fi is less the time-travel and robot elements than the cautionary plot point of letting machines have too much control over human life. "

The only thing 'missing' from the Star Wars Saga that would allow it to qualify as sci-fi is some sort of socially relevant message?


Well thank christ for that! I'm so sick of message movies I can hardly stand going to the theaters anymore.
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