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March 12 2007

What is the best Sci-fi movie ever? Is the question posed in an online poll at SFX. Serenity is one of the 10 films available to choose from.

Love Serenity.

Gotta go with Forbidden Planet.
There's just no love for Solaris and Ice Pirates.
I personally have no love for Solaris. The book or the movie.

I consider Alien more of a horror movie than a sci-fi movie. And I always liked the "science fantasy" label for Star Wars.
The original 'Solaris' Simon ? Maybe none of them could stay awake to the end. The Clooney one was OK, you have to admire the intent if nothing else but it's never the best of all time IMO.

That's a very strange top 10 IMO. No 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' or 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' but 'Back to the Future' makes it on ?

Pretty hard to vote for any of them really, one best film of all time, even of a single genre is nigh impossible to pick for me. And it'd only change tomorrow.
I love Blade Runner but decided I had no trouble voting for Serenity. I might have found it harder if they had listed Brazil or Galaxy Quest. Personally it easy to not vote for Star Wars because I'm afraid the prequels kind of watered down the love I used to feel.
I voted for The Matrix. 'cause, pie. No, wait..
It was either Blade Runner or Serenity for me, and I went with the latter largely because of the epic nature of the story, which didn't seem likely to be epic at all at first.

Yes, Saje, some highly dubious omissions, indeed.
I voted for Serenity. Would have been better if it was more catergorized by type, such as comedy, suspense, special effects, etc. Favorite overall for me was Serenity, but Galaxy Quest would have won for comedy, Blade Runner for spec effects and atmosphere.
I voted for Serenity because it's my 18th favourite film ever made and the others are either between 30-100 or not on my list at all

[ edited by sarah1980 on 2007-03-12 21:41 ]
Such heartache. I almost went Star Wars, but the Matrix is my favorite film, so it stands to reason it should also be my favorite sci-fi movie. Good thing too, as it's getting no love... The remake of Solaris is lovely but I'm not shocked it's not on the list. But howzabout "Metropolis"? Come on, people...
The Core needs more love.

Edit: my girlfriend wrote this. I know nobody will believe me. But, take a serious moment to consider this point: The Core was recently on a Best Sci-Fi Movie Ever Poll we saw on TV. It came #1. I vomited, she died (and then came back as my rainbow haired ghost friend). It was a tough time.

[ edited by gossi on 2007-03-12 22:24 ]
Tough choice between Star Wars, Matrix, and Serenity (with Blade Runner falling slightly behind). So I picked the one I've re-watched most as of late: Serentiy. :D

Edit: glad to hear I'm not the only one with love for the Solaris remake. :D

[ edited by Trek_Girl42 on 2007-03-12 22:26 ]
Is the Solaris remake really worth watching? As stated above, the original movie and the book were such a nightmare for me to get through (in a college sci-fi lit class) that I've never had any interest in watching it. Of course, I still have Blade Runner, Metropolis, Forbidden Planet, and The Core to watch first anyway.

Clearly, I need to catch up on my movie viewing before I can take a stab at naming the best sci-fi film of all time. But my current favorite is still Dark City.
It has to be Forbidden Planet.

And as Saje noted, The Day the Earth Stood Still should be on there.
Hey, Trek_Girl42: I got a HD-DVD player recently so I could watch Serenity. It's impressive because I'm poor (and manly because I boast about it). You can even see a Chinese guy in the distance when they land in BeaumontBeaumonde. The movie's not bad, but it's a little lame near the end -- there's a space battle without lasers, and Buffy totally didn't kill the space vampires. Nathan Fillion was great in it, though.

Solaris: It's kinda pretty, but lacked emotional connection for me. Cloonies a talent, though -- actual and whole.
Ah, Space Vampire... the greatest sci-fi book of all time. And clearly the inspiration for most of Mr. Whedon's work.
Okay, the ass-muching tacked-on ending aside, don't be messing with "The Core". Me and mine have watched that one a few times. End of the world, center of the earth, Tucci's rug -- this is good times.
O dear, I've never seen Metropolis. Must remedy this shortly, or I might lose all my Scifi-geek cred.
Holy crap, what is a vampire doing with two children in a Microwave?
O dear, I've never seen Metropolis. Must remedy this shortly, or I might lose all my Scifi-geek cred.

Was thinking the exact same thing. ;)
Are the dinosaurs in The Core?

Maybe monkeys?
I have the deepest respect for Joss' opinion possible, but I hate to say it: I HAVE seen Metropolis, too many times. It has it's moments but it is really looonnngg, it seriously needed an editor.
(now I must hide my face for disagreeing with The Master)
But seriously, if you can't rewatch the film then it doesn't rate, Serenity definitely holds up to viewing over and over again.
Is the Solaris remake really worth watching?

Apart from being one of the dullest films I've seen in recent years, yes. George Clooney looks great in it.

Ah, Space Vampire... the greatest sci-fi book of all time.

You should watch Lifeforce. You won't be disappointed. You will feel many things when watching it. Sheer disbelief yes, but disappointment no. I defy anyone to find a more ludricious sci fi flick of the last 20 odd years.
Oh man, I don't want to say this on a thread that Joss is actually reading, but as much as I love Serenity, I couldn't possibly imagine voting it ahead of movies like Blade Runner, Star Wars or 2001. Those are complete classics; some of the best films of all time.
That list, except for Serenity (which is seminal for this age, right now, absolutely), is a rather weak showing of all the sci-fi movies ever made, for a top ten list? I wouldn't even pick the seminal favorites of my generation (or maybe just me, I don't know): Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, and 2001. I love the original Solaris, not many seem to. I think Starship Troopers is an absolute gas and remains a favorite. EDIT - Robert Preston in The Last Starfighter - huge fun. The Core ? Heck, let's throw Steve Railsback's space vampire movie on the barbie, I mean list too (I never remember the name so I just call it that). Somehow, in these lists, I always feel guilty picking a best. Inevitably, I change my mind or remember a better one in about 15 minutes. Yes, yes, call me Ms. Vacillator!

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-03-12 23:24 ]
Starship Troopers?

I'd rather pick lint from someone else's toes for two hours (wow that's a lot of lint!) then watch that again. ;)
What can I say? It's about the only Verhoeven film I can watch without wincing. In this genre, he gets things pretty right. I will take ST any day over say, Enemy Mine. Oh, the humanity.
Holy crap, what is a vampire doing with two children in a Microwave?

See, that's how you know it's fantasy not sci-fi. You could never fit a vampire and two children in a real microwave.

It has it's moments but it is really looonnngg, it seriously needed an editor.

Bad embers, bad ! ;)

(seriously, the cut I saw was less than 2 hours, not long at all by today's post LOTR standards and at least 'Metropolis' only has one ending)

I'd say 'Metropolis' is essential viewing in the same way that Shakespeare is essential reading cos I can remember the first time I read 'Hamlet' thinking "Wow, so that's where that phrase comes from", like, a lot. In the same way 'Metropolis' is at the root of a lot of today's science fiction (trust me, you may never see C3PO the same way again ;).

Okay, the ass-muching tacked-on ending aside, don't be messing with "The Core".

This, however, makes me doubt everything I thought I knew about everything I thought I knew about. Was Joss just crowned King of wrong on planet Wrongonia ? Is up now down ?

You should watch Lifeforce. You won't be disappointed. You will feel many things when watching it. Sheer disbelief yes, but disappointment no. I defy anyone to find a more ludricious sci fi flick of the last 20 odd years.

Two words. Mathilda. May.

(and no, teenage me was not disappointed in any way ;)
As much as I love the Serenity, The Matrix got my vote. I was totally blown away by it when it first came out. I had seen any spoilers ahead of time so I was taken by surprise when Neo woke up in the pod. I did not see that coming.
I loved being surprised by movies.
Now if I just could forget about 2 & 3...
I loved me some Starship Troopers. Although I do use the name Barbie and Ken Goto Space for it affectionately.

Was Joss just crowned King of wrong on planet Wrongonia?

Well, I can't respond to The Core stuff without being British, and so very sarcastic. Which might seem rude.

phred - you are me. The first Matrix film was so incredibly layered, it said lots, it looked beyond great, it spoke to me in ways I'd not seen before... I do not have enough praise. It's a sci-fi action film that's personal to me. See also: Serenity.

[ edited by gossi on 2007-03-12 23:41 ]
But seriously, if you can't rewatch the film then it doesn't rate, Serenity definitely holds up to viewing over and over again.

I agree.

See, that's how you know it's fantasy not sci-fi. You could never fit a vampire and two children in a real microwave.

You can if you chop them into little pieces and put them in a blender first.
Can't you people see the buttons on the inside? That's NOT a microwave. It's clearly an elevator to the sun. And the vampire is obviously trying to pass himself off as one of the zombies from Thriller in order to get young Mal and Zoe to let down their guard.

Silly cover aside, Space Vampire had some pretty gruesome illustrations inside. They scared the Bee Gees out of me when I was seven or eight.

Starship Troopers was hysterical. I remember I watched it with my dad and we were both in hysterics. I can't believe Denise Richards had a career after that movie.
The Core was the best comedy the year it came out. Everytime I saw a trailer for it, I laughed until tears rolled down my face and I couldn't breathe. Audiences turned to glare at me, but I couldn't help it. My friends paid for us to go, so they could watch me watching the film. It was not as good as the trailer, but still, pretty darn funny. Good times.

It was a hard choice to make, but, I voted. I wish voting for politcal candidates was that hard. It would mean that if any of them won I'd still be okay with the outcome.
'Starship Troopers' frickin' rocked. Total piss-take from start to finish but with added evil bug-aliens and Neil Patrick Harris. What, I ask you, is not to like ?

(still haven't read the book after a friend said something like "You know everything the film's taking the piss out of ? Heinlein means it". Probably give it a shot eventually though)

And yeah 'The Matrix' was also very cool. To me it's kind of like the film version of 'Heroes' in that it's not original and it's saying nothing new (or certainly nothing new to sci-fi fans) but, boy, it's the way it says it. Totally brilliant, seamless implementation. It probably still is but if not for the extremely poor sequels (*fingers in ears* la la la, there is no Highlander 2 Reloaded or Revolutions, la la la) it'd be the 'Star Wars' of its generation.

Can't you people see the buttons on the inside? That's NOT a microwave. It's clearly an elevator to the sun.

I just assumed it was a microwave for very depressed chickens.

You can if you chop them into little pieces and put them in a blender first.

See, that's horror. It's a tricky thing this genre categorisation but my rule of thumb is "If it has blenders and it's not a cookery programme then it's horror" (anything with Jamie Oliver is a special case)
Well, there can only be one for me: Blade Runner. The rooftop scene with Rutger Hauer nearly at the end of the movie made such an incredible impact on me when I first saw as a young boy, and although I haven't seen it for a while now I can still remember every detail to this day. Now if only the long awaited Special Edition DVD would come out this year. The Matrix would have to be a close second though, saw it again couple of weeks ago, and it's still as good as ever. Also recently saw Event Horizon, for some reason I'd never seen that one before, enjoyed it too. An underrated movie if you ask me, no top 10 sci-fi movies material of course, but still very good.
Space Balls.
Need I say more?
I love The Matrix and think it's a great film. But I also think that Dark City is a better film in most areas (FX/fight scenes excluded.) The two are actually quite similar, but I think Dark City has a tighter story. That's almost always going to be what seals the deal for me.

(I can't believe I just went and bought myself another copy of Space Vampire on eBay.)
'Dark City' is great and as well as an arguably tighter story it probably has fewer inconsistencies and better performances (especially from the lead) but ... it just doesn't have the visceral excitement of 'The Matrix'. It's a huge, beautiful jigsaw puzzle compared to a roller-coaster with some puzzle elements (not easy to do, trust me, the corner pieces won't stay still when you go around corners).

The end of 'Dark City' has that incredible 'surprising inevitability' where you realise what the hero's going to do almost before he does it and it's definitely emotionally and intellectually satisfying. It's just not the *clenched fist* "Yesss!" moment that Neo staying to fight Smith is.

Maybe i'm shallow but though John Murdoch is a great, well rounded, emotionally complex protagonist, he just doesn't 'know Kung-Fu' ;).
That French scifi film 'Immortal' is worth checking out if you fancy something different.
Saje, I wish I had had your copy of Metropolis, the version I had was 2 hours 55 minutes long and it was fascinating in a dream like way the first time I saw it, but subsequent viewings were like some kind of water torture. My only comment on The Matrix is that I think you have to take all three into account when voting for it, just as I feel it is only right to count all six Star Wars.
I am surprised nobody mentioned Strange Days with Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett.

I loved it.
Metropolis? - Brilliant... for it's time. But seriously in need of editing.

"The Cube" was interesting and fun.

I voted for "Blade Runner". In moments of hyper-geekness I can quote Roy's final lines. But then again, who can't?
Joss said
"Okay, the ass-muching tacked-on ending aside, don't be messing with "The Core". Me and mine have watched that one a few times. End of the world, center of the earth, Tucci's rug -- this is good times. "

His royal Joss-ness likes The Core, does that mean I'm not allowed to mock my sister for going on about how fantastic it was anymore?
No, I think it means your potential mocking targets just doubled in number (and you can now combine it with treason against the crown ;).

I am surprised nobody mentioned Strange Days with Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett.

By strange coincidence my DVD of this just arrived in the post this morning (already got it on video, i'm just a sucker for commentaries). It's a great film but for me, not in the top 10 of all time.

Always seen 'Cube' as more horror but if 'Alien' made it then I guess 'Cube' could get on there.
I hated Starship Troopers - but then I had read the book in my teens and, yes, Heinlein really did mean it. I had to reread Enders's Game and The Forever War after I was dragged to see the film...

I was torn between Alien, The Matrix (#1 only - saw #2 and hated it, haven't seen #3) and Serenity.

Galaxy Quest should have been on that list. A wonderful spoof that's all about the redemption..
Hmm. Star Wars was listed, but not "The Empire Strikes Back"? As much fun as SW is, it does NOT compare to TESB. Classic, yes it is. Forbidden Planet, classic, Blade Runner, also classic, Alien is more horror than sci-fi, Aliens is an equal if not greater than the original. 2001 great but not a classic, Serenity does hold a special place in my heart. Planet of the Apes does not belong on this "Best of" list. Terminator (meh), Terminator 2 was much better than 1. The movie to vote for (in this list anyway), is The Matrix.
Seen 'Immortal' a while back, still trying to figure out what's it about. The only images that come back to me are: pyramids, blue, and something crashing. Enki Bilal you silly goose.
Saje: See, to me, the climax of Dark City WAS a *clenched fist* "Yesss!" moment for me, slightly moreso than Neo facing off with Agent Smith. Maybe because the former was an awesomely definitive solution to a seemingly hopeless battle while the latter was totally kickass but clearly another exercise in futility, given the ability of the Agents to switch bodies. The "definitive solution" in Neo's case, where Trinity's love gives him magic cyber powers, just wasn't as satisfying for me. That last sentence sounds kind of dirty.

Badass mental powers top kung-fu any day of the week.
I have to admit The Matrix leaves me a bit cold. The question though, is best sci-fi film "ever." Ever is a long time containing films that haven't been made yet, so how do we really know what the answer is? For this list, I'm going to say Blade Runner up to this point in film history. For best opening scene of a sci-fi film up to this point, it's hands down Serenity.

Re Blade Runner, what do you think? Better without the voiceover or with?
Serenity by more than 2-1 over SW at the moment.
I voted Serenity. Alien is seminal, but Aliens is the far better film imo.
Much in all as I love Serenity, had this poll included the new Danny Boyle film 'Sunshine' I would've had to have had many more thoughts about which way to vote. It's truly brilliant. When it comes out where you live, see it!

And The Core?? Well in terms of purely brilliant awfulness it's socks are knocked of by Deep Core ;)
It's funny that I looked earlier and Serenity was trailing Star Wars. Now it's shot out in front unable to be reached by any of the others. Muahahahaha!
I loved Metropolis. I saw it first with the Moroder sound track and thought it fit perfectly. Saw the original later and loved it. 2001 though, is a classic. It has influenced so much since then. I haven't seen it in years but it stays with me. As I think Serenity might but then I am emotionally involved with Serenity.
The first Matrix, the one true Matrix, is the love of my heart, but Serenity runs a very close second... I'm a huge TDTESS fan, and would have definitely included it (or Men in Black or THX 1138 or Alphaville) before I ever put Back to the Future on the list...

Heinlein made into movies - I'm so ambivalent about it... but I would dearly love to see what Tim Minear made of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

"I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid... afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you." The Matrix, Larry and Andy Wachowski
I love Metropolis, but not with the latter soundtrack. Funny how Madonna totally ripped it off for one of her videos.

More I think about it, Serenity is definitely the choice among the films on the list.

Saw 2001 when it came out...was 13, I think. Didn't get it at all...saw it years later, and still didn't get it.
For the combination of great film-making and re-watchability, I'd have to go with The Day the Earth Stood Still, but for sheer entertainment, the only modern movie I can watch over and over without wincing at the clunkers is The Fifth Element (sorry, Mr. Whedon!). So I voted for Serenity -- which had over 42% of the vote at the time.
I worship Joss...
but I've never understood the Matrix...
I mean I understand it... I get it...
I just don't think its very profound....
It said nothing new to me
And if I'm going to judged these sci-fi pickins' by that..
Serenity... no contest...
It was deeply profound in ways that the other movies simply don't quite touch...

When I think of similar movies or books that dealt with similar themes (is man inherently wicked? what happens to man WITHOUT civilization? How does man BECOME evil), I think of Clockwork Orange, Heart of Darkness, Lord of the Flies. And those movies/books all had the same negative, anti-human take...we are inherently corrupt and BAD... OR we shouldn't try to change "human nature" because it's unnatural or bad to force bad people to be "good"....These films were terribly traditional takes, and horribly anti-humanist..

Joss...fucking genius... took these tropes/themes... and did something marvelous.

Instead of making Reavers the "logical" conclusion of "men without civilization" because we're so "inherently evil" (as traditional Christians would have us believe), he took the idea and did something else completely.....It is our own sheer will to "perfection", that has the potential to make us evil.
It is our own sick drive to be "better" than we are as humans, that makes us do evil things.

....Think of celibacy, has brought nothing but misery to

....Think of eugenics.....etc..etc..pick your ideology of "perfection"...

Here's something weird...hbojorquez is approaching Serenity from a rather different perspective than I am, and yet we come to rather similar conclusions about the's hubristic attempt to out-do God (or whatever), in the name of becoming something god-like, results in a horrific I posted a few years ago, Joss took the oldest story of humankind and recast and retold it in ways that still take my breath away.

The vainglorious "will to perfection" can be found in the Garden of Eden, and continues to this day, with, as hbojorquez notes, ironically the result that "makes us do evil things."

That's the "epic" stuff I mentioned way earlier in this thread. I think Joss really figured out a grand, compelling story in a wonderfully compelling and memorable fashion.
Chris inVirginia, but did you see 2001 stoned? Because if you were stoned then I think you would have totally 'gotten' it. The movie may be a classic, but I always thought it was over-rated.
It just hit me that whoever made the list is not a fan of one of our greatest filmmakers, Steven Spielberg. Close Encounters , A.I., and Minority Report are not films to sniff at. I can't pick a favorite among them, but they all have very interesting things to say about humanity. I can't include War of the Worlds because I just don't think it's his best and the ending for me is a cop-out. Plus he's got the chipmunk as his lead actor who was tolerable in M.R. but has since blossomed into the realm of insufferable.
Nope, not stoned, embers. Guess that was the problem!

I saw it about 8 or so years ago on cable, and decided to give it a real shot, and, damned if it didn't just drag and drag and drag and never really make any sense.

Loved Dr. Strangelove, though. Not sci-fi, of course, but wonderful!
Interesting. (IF you're a huge geek, and guess what?)

Starship Troopers: probably evil, but the best war movie of the decade, plus of course Neal. And time now for a shout-out to DINA MEYER -- she gave an actually compelling human performance in that film (as she did in Johnny Mnemonic AND Point pleasant) and raised it above sheer parody. Underrated gal.

Day the Earth Stood Still: Am I the only one who thought that movie had a completely fascistic message? "Behave or we'll kill you?" It's CREEPY. Klaatu Barada No-thanks.

Event Horizon: Yet another believer. Nice. You know they have an awesome funky special edition box in England. Yeah, I picked one up...

Serenity: Nice film. No, kick-ass. Honestly, shouldn't be on the list.

Lifeforce: I love the structure of that film. you really never know what movie you're in, who the hero is... it's daring and histrionic and kind of spellbinding. And dear Ms May...

2001: A seminal work, very important. Doesn't make sense of any kind and never will no matter how many times people explain the book or use 'film theory' to explain it. It's like a great poem: it makes you feel something you can't put into words. But seriously, what the where now?

The Core: Yeah, you can laugh, but then you don't get to be on board with my small crew who are plunging into the center of the earth, so hope it's a good long laugh.

Tuck Everlasting: never saw it.
Okay! 2001 is a great poem, kind of like Howl, but without the homoeroticism!!

Or with it, or whatever...c'mon, that movie just sucks!

Seriously, my wife and I kind of rate movies and plays and such on how long they stay with us and how long we discuss various aspects of them after having seen them...Serenity it still a topic of discussion. And presumably will be, for a long time.

[ edited by Chris inVirginia on 2007-03-13 04:42 ]
The only film that I would include in a top ten that is NOT on the list is A.I.
I am not an atheist...just a very liberal Vatican II Catholic... but I trust A.I.'s anti-religious sentiments more than most religious allegories...and I trust Joss' atheistic existentialism much more because it is so "pro-human" and so damned optimistic. His completely optimistic take on existentialist themes (Sisyphus...etc) are overwhemlmingly meaningful to me.

I remember watching Buffy and Angel, and thinking OMG there is no telos here...Everything hangs adrift...meaningless... untethered to some grand scheme...yet they all toil on.

How beautifully optimistic....
Close Encounters , A.I., and Minority Report

Now there should definitly be a Spielberg on there- probably Close Encounters. (never seen A.I.) Though I wouldn't vote it the winner.
Ahh... Starship Troopers, god bless Denise Richards... seriously.
I loved all three Matrices.

That is all.
2001 DOES make a lot more sense when you've read the book. All the mindbendingly weird stuff in the movie may not be outright explained in the novel, persay, but it's sure a lot clearer how everything ties into the big picture. If the film is a great poem, it's like a sonnet missing the final couplet. It doesn't necessarily ruin it, but it leaves it open to a wider range of interpretation than most people can deal with. Unless they're stoned.

Honestly, If you want a comprehensible movie based on a Clarke novel about the process of humanity evolving to the next level of existance, go with Childhood's End.
Tuck Everlasting - looks like I dodged a big bullet on that one. But the cast! 2002 must have been the "year of supplementing my income" for some of them.

And I'm still trying to figure out if Cronos can really be categorized as sci-fi or if it is just a hybrid of horror, fantasy and sci-fi. But it's a wonderful hybrid if that's the general consensus. And what general made this consensus, I'd like to know. All I know is thank God for Guillermo del Toro, who like you, Joss, continues to get his mojo on with what he wants to do.
Day the Earth Stood Still: Am I the only one who thought that movie had a completely fascistic message? "Behave or we'll kill you?" It's CREEPY. Klaatu Barada No-thanks.
Come to think of it, Joss, you're ot the only one. It's an attitude some Americans like to inflict on the world sometimes. Then again, this is a Cold-War era movie, so maybe it's an expected message for that time, since the U-S felt threatened by the Russians and the H-Bomb, and whether they'll be another war.
By the way, you're too modest about "Serenity." We don't have to be, though.
hmm.. how about Horror... anyone have a top 5..
I've been too much of a horror movie slut to be too discriminating.. although the past few year's choices have been way too much of a downer for me to enjoy horror movies..and also for me.. I'd have to break up into decades...but all in all...

1. Silence of the Lambs for creepiness
2. Rosemary's Baby for how well crafted it was
3. Psycho-- classic
4. Dracula & Frankenstein- come in as a tie... it's old school but they rocked
5 Alien & the Shining come in as a tie for me
"But it's a wonderful hybrid if that's the general consensus. And what general made this consensus, I'd like to know."

Tonya, you channel Groucho Marx very well. LOL!
Dealing with actual reality; never a strong suit of mine. Thus, I voted for Star Wars despite a) my visceral hatred of the last three flicks and b) The Matrix, Blade Runner, and Serenity being better movies. As are The Empire Strikes Back, Terminator 2, and Aliens. But of all these movies, I liked Empire best ("I love you." "I know.") and, despite my gender (female) but probably because of my age, I've spent 31 years quoting Star Wars ("Let the Wookie win." "I care.") so that explains my vote. It was rash and impulsive and, now that I can think rationally--I wish I'd accepted the limitations of the list and voted accordingly. Thus, I'd vote for Matrix, then Serenity, then Blade Runner.

Although, also in Star Wars favor is the Star Wars-related dialogue in Clerks. No Star Wars = no Randal musing about the ethical ramification of blowing up Death Star electricians!

And, am I the only one who's seen Santa Claus Saves the Martians? Why isn't that on the list? ;)

Oh, and Joss, sir; Adam Baldwin's been a crude badass Marine in Full Metal Jacket and a crude badass in outer space--it would make this girl's heart beat faster (and be really kick-ass!) if you could write and cast him as a Badass Outer-Space Marine. Sort of like Vasquez in Aliens--although not even Baldwin could out macho Vasquez!

[ edited by narnia on 2007-03-13 06:03 ]

[ edited by narnia on 2007-03-13 06:04 ]
I just re-read the script for TDTESS, which I haven't seen in a million years - and I do see what Joss is saying. However, as a kid first seeing it, it felt profoundly positive - it was about our continual war-waging, the need for world peace, and it introduced me to the exciting notion of other worlds viewing us... plus, ya know, the robot, the diamonds and the secret language...

Here's Arthur Clarke's top 12 sci-fi films (

Metropolis (1927)
Things to Come (1936)
Frankenstein (1931)
King Kong (original version) (1933)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
The Thing from Another World (original version) (1951)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Star Wars (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (CE3K) revised version (Special Edition) (1980)
Alien (1979)
Blade Runner (1982)

narnia, we watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians every year, but can only endure this (Holy Pia Zadora!) with the help of MSt3K and the Satellite of Love. Hooray for Santy Claus!

(Apropos of nothing, am watching The Riches with Eddie Izzard and it rocks so far...)
lady brick: There's a movie based on Childhood's End? I didn't know - must check it out. Being a Clarke fan 'n' all. Would like to see "City and the Stars" modernised and movied.

2001: "Doesn't make sense of any kind and never will" Really, Joss? Can't agree there. Used to be my fave movie of all time and now, it just isn't. But it's still a beautiful work.

Someone mentioned "Brazil" early on. Yep - great movie. I love storylines that totally mindwarp. Looking for it on DVD in Oz. No luck so far.

A.I. - forgot about that one. Really liked it. Was based on a story I read as a youngster but I can't remember what it was. I just recognised it when I saw it. Bit of a lame "we can re-create someone from their DNA (along with all their memories) but they don't last long" at the end - but still, good story.

Close Encounters was so incredibly illogical that it totally annoyed me. Minority report's a good tale well told.

My fave Blade Runner: Has to be the "no voice over" version. I hate being spoon fed. Well, unless it's by this gorgeous.. oh.. sorry. Joss, you don't have Blade Runner in your list. I'd be interested in your thoughts. About Blade Runner.
Osmium: Actually, there isn't yet, though supposedly there's a script floating around Hollywood. I meant more in terms of making a movie rather than watching. There definitely SHOULD be a movie. Somebody get cracking.

I really need to see Blade Runner. What's with the voice over/no voice over version thing?

I have to agree with the fans who mute the opening VO monologue in Dark City. It's not necessary and it really gives too much away too early. Sorry, Keifer Sutherland. One minor nitpick in a great movie, though. Hmm, now I'm thinking I'd like to see Proyas tackle Childhood's End.
The original theatrical release of Blade Runner had a some voice over "explanatory comments" and an extended "resolved" ending. A "director's cut" version was released some years later on DVD. No voice over. Nice subtle ending. And an additional scene (or two?) - which still sparks controversy. I won't spoil it.
QuoterGal, I forgot the Martians were the bad guys (I'm so embarassed)--could be because I watched it oh so-many-years-ago (college) while drunk on rum and coke. Re: The Riches. To save $, I cancelled half my cable stations when Deadwood went off the air (not Sci Fi, of course; can't miss BSG. I do miss BBC America.) But if I'd known Eddie Izzard would be showing up weekly, I probably wouldn't have done it. Have you seen "Dressed to Kill" on HBO? Just genius.

Osmium, excellent summation of Minority Report. I tend to think of A.I. as a brilliant failure. It was full of beautiful moments, was ambitious in its breadth and depth, but ultimately just didn't gel. That said, I would rather watch a brilliant failure than a mediocre success.
Too bad Contact or Dune weren't included. And if Back to the Future would have been specifically Back to the Future II, I think I would have voted for that. Now it was a easy choice for Serenity.
And let's not forget the following:

Invaders from Mars
Things To Come
This Island Earth
The Day The Earth Caught Fire
The Quatermass Xperiment

Classics the lot of them.
Groosalugg .... yes!!! Contact, and Dune. I just read this entire thread & until I got to your post, I thought I would be the first to bring up those two glaring ommisions. I haven't voted, can't bring myself to choose. If they'd included those two, it would be even harder. Also if the'd put up Aliens instead of the first Alien. As great as it is, it's basically a horror movie in space.
But how do I choose between Serenity, The Matrix, 2001 & Blade Runner (I'm just assuming the directors cut, no voice over). Made me realize something though .... Joss loyalty aside, Serenity *is* on my very short list.
I also agree that 2001 is easier to understand if you read the book first, but I would have loved it even if I hadn't.
Metropolis? Only as an exercise in trying not to fall asleep while lecturing myself about "this is the well from which all SciFi sprung".
I need to vote, but I'm so conflicted .....
I'd have to give some love to Logan's Run ("run, Sandman, run!"), Journey to the Center of the Earth (the 1959 version) and Aliens (Ripley was so badass). Gremlins, Armageddon, Fifth Element, Tron and War of the Worlds (1953 version) would be in there somewhere, too.

As for others that have been mentioned that didn't make the SFX list, Starship Troopers, Galaxy Quest, Contact and Dune would probably make my top 20 but not my top 10. And I liked the Core but it would never have made any of my lists. Sorry, Joss.
Metropolis? Only as an exercise in trying not to fall asleep while lecturing myself about "this is the well from which all SciFi sprung".

I might argue Melies' Trip to the Moon of 1902 was the well from which all sci-fi film sprung. But I have similar feelings about Metropolis.

I rather like Arthur Clarke's list, although I would omit CE3K from my favorites. I enjoyed it the first time, but it just doesn't stand up to repeat viewings for me. And I agree with all that the non-VO Blade Runner is better. I thought Matrix was entertaining, but it wouldn't make my list of favorites. I loved Galaxy Quest, but, since it's a parody, I'm not certain that it belongs on the list. TDTESS is one of my favorites (really the first sci-fi film I ever saw as a child). I, too, can see Joss's point, but that doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the film. Serenity, of course, makes my list of favorites -- perhaps not at the top, but somewhere close.
Day the Earth Stood Still: Am I the only one who thought that movie had a completely fascistic message? "Behave or we'll kill you?" It's CREEPY. Klaatu Barada No-thanks.

Hello, pot/kettle shade differential ? Dude, you're the King of an entire planet ! People of Wrongonia, rise up, Klaatu barada nix-him !

(need to watch it again but TDTESS always struck me more as basically the UN but with teeth, big scary teeth. In that sense Klaatu's threat is definitely authoritarian but because he represents a collection of spacefaring 'nations' it lacks the autocracy necessary for fascism - and there's no evidence of the suppression of free speech, democracy, sovereignty etc. IIRC doesn't he pretty much say "You can kill yourselves if you want but if it looks like you're gonna kill us ol' Gort here's gonna come down and bust a whole buncha caps in your collective asses, capisce ?". Sounds reasonable to me - though giving a race of robots complete authority over yourselves ? Yep, that'll end well ;)

The Day The Earth Caught Fire

Man, i'd forgotten about that one. Good call Simon.

Saw 'Event Horizon' at the pictures and thought very little of it, bit of a muddled mess IMO though it looked good. Apparently there's a director's cut that's meant to be better, might check it out sometime.

And an additional scene (or two?) - which still sparks controversy. I won't spoil it.

Well, it's possible to fan-wank around the added scenes (and I do ;) but Ridley Scott's 'definitive' statement in interviews etc. just has to be ignored for the sake of the emotional resonance of the film IMO.

Maybe because the former was an awesomely definitive solution to a seemingly hopeless battle while the latter was totally kickass but clearly another exercise in futility, given the ability of the Agents to switch bodies.

Ah Lady Brick but surely it's not the fact it's the act ? Both scenes share the idea of self-realisation and Neo choosing to fight Smith is a declaration of intent. He's saying a) I believe this can be fixed and b) I believe i'm the one to fix it. In his own small, finger waggling way he's saying to the combined forces enslaving humanity, all the Smiths, everywhere, "Bring it. The Fuck. On". Also, fight ! ;). I'm quibbling over details a bit though, your points are totally valid (and have definitely made me want to dig out my 'Dark City' DVD for re-viewing, 'bout time there was a special edition released I reckon).
2001. And I really don't see what the book does to make the movie clearer. It's been a while, but I've more seen it as liner notes that explains the surface but not the magic.

Great to see Serentiy getting some love. But yes, 2001, without a doubt.

And I didn't find Metropolis boring.

Utterly love A.C. Clarke's list. Man has good taste.

I guess I should add some other favourites not mentioned (well, I haven't read all the comments). But Gattaca is, I think, a wonderful movie about the triumph of the human spirit. And there's Donnie Darko which is sort of like a stranger version of something like Buffy, with its sci-fi/fantasy interpretation of teenage apocalyptic angst. If you want to count the slightly-near-future films like Eternal Sunshine and Dr. Strangelove, then there are those as well.

Plus there's A Clockwork Orange (I obviously have a Kubrick thing), and all the Spielberg movies mentioned. E.T. and Close Encounters are extremely seminal. A.I. is good but it is a little too murky; Minority Report is better.

If we're including short films, then have to go with La jetee, which 12 Monkeys (also worthwhile!) is based on.

Honestly it's been a long time since I've seen most of my fave sci-fi movies (I've only seen Blade Runner once, and that wasn't even the director's cut!).

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2007-03-13 11:14 ]
I was just about to say Gattaca and Twelve Monkeys when WtB got there first. And Delicatessen.
Almost forgot...add to my list above Futureworld. Yul Brynner was downright creepy as the robot.

[ edited by zengrrl on 2007-03-13 11:36 ]
Bladerunner whispered to me but I went with Serenity because like the Boss says, Kick Ass.
I have huge, unforgiving love for Contact. I remember seeing it when I was, like, 14 (feel old yet, people?) and I was just blown away by the sheer scale of the issues it addressed. Jodie owned me with her performance, also.

[ edited by gossi on 2007-03-13 13:49 ]
That's cos Jodie owns the world (or would if there was any justice).

Decent film but for me, like a lot of those mentioned (and not a few on the list) it's just not top 10.

And, hey, you're only as old as your knees. Trust me in about 10 years that'll make a lot of sense.
It has to be Forbidden Planet.

Looks like it's just you and me, Dino.
I may be a little late to hop on this bus here, but I absolutely love Solaris(Clooney). It's one of those movies that I watch every few months just 'cus. Both the book and the movie, though they're so different you can almost count them as 2 entirely seperate entities.
Sad to see Wrath of Khan didn't make the short list. Meyer nailed the perfect balance between character, ideas, and drama in that flick. JJ Abrams take note....

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2007-03-13 16:50 ]
Star Wars fans seem to have discovered the SFX poll (they are voting like mad), and I'm really happy someone besides me is feeling the 'Brazil' love (Osmium do you have an all region player? Because there is a nice region 1 version of Brazil out with lots of commentary).
But the good one wasn't 'Futureworld', it was 'Westworld' when Yul Brynner first appeared and blew us all away (literally).
There are some movies that belong on that list (and Back to the Future should definitely be off of it): I'm glad someone mentioned '12 Monkeys'! I also really loved 'Outland' with Sean Connery.

[ edited by embers on 2007-03-13 15:38 ]
Brazil has a special place in my heart. My Master's thesis adviser assigned me to watch it in lieu of her giving me actual comments on my first draft. Worked like a charm. I got the shiny commentary-stuffed DVD for Christmas, but as that professor recently passed away, I haven't been able to watch it yet. Might be a while.

Seconding the love for Logan's Run, The Fifth Element, and Gattaca.
Three more to add I think are top sci-fi: Silent Running, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Hidden (see? A day later ...)

My top science fiction guilty pleasures:

Night of the Comet
Circuitry Man
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
Screamers (no coinkidink Peter Weller is in this too)
Total Recall
They Live
Critters (original)
The Omega Man
Soylent Green
Hunh. I actually like the message in The Day the Earth Stood Still: Do whatever you want on your own little planet -- just don't export your violence and shortsightedness to the stars.
'Gattacca' I really liked though it just felt like it was missing something, not sure what (it does have a truly fantastic score though and that makes up for a lot IMO). "Logan's Run", great fun, good cast, daft aspects working in perfect sync with good aspects all check. 'Fifth Element' I never got on with and i'm the only person I know that doesn't like it (even I have to admit it's visually amazing though - at the time people were saying of the cityscape "It's like 'Bladerunner' in daylight" and I don't think that's too far off the mark).

'Silent Running' made me cry. Stupid 'Silent Running' ;).

Guilty pleasures, ooh, good thinking, hmmm:

A Boy and his Dog (actually, not that much to be guilty about in this one, it's just good)
Doom (I know, I know but have a few beers and get a crowd round, it's hilarious)
Total Recall ('Considah dis a divoace' - how not love ?)
Morons from Outer Space
Buckaroo Banzai
Flash Gordon
Battle Beyond the Stars (John-Boy and sp-cow-ship with boobs together at last !)
Well...much as I loved the other films on the list, I had to go with Serenity. Lots of message about human nature and free will without needing really "big" or complex ideas that take most of a or several movies to really explain.

Though I wanna know where the Robot Jox love is? Cuz damn if that didn't blow my mind when I first saw it about how something done so simply (and in so many ways;D) could be so brilliant. It was Harryhausen meets ILM;D
Starship Troopers is a gas, great flick. Enemy Mine also holds a special place with me, Quaid's bad facial hair notwithstanding. I love how Louis Gossett conveyed so much emotion through that rigid makeup - by turns menacing, then eventually understanding, even tender. I love "we have to pull together to survive even though I hate you" movies. Plus, kid rescue at the end-ish. Always cool.

Wrath of Khan devastated me. Cried for days at Spock's brave sacrifice. Close Encounters was/is amazing.

And what's wrong with you guys? No love for K-Pax? *kidding!*
Gotta agree with the love for Contact, that movie blew me away and I've been meaning to watch it again some time. Gattaca would definitely make a top 20 list, same with Eternal Sunshine.

As for a few recent films, I have to declare my undying love for The Fountain, and Children of Men.
For me, all the lovein' goes to THEM. How can you not love a movie about freaking giant ants?
I Married a Monster from Outer Space, though really that's more of a relationship movie.
The Last Starfighter.
Hmm, I don't think anyone mentioned any animated films. The Iron Giant deserves some love. And I have a soft spot for Lilo & Stitch.
Even though the comment is a long way up (even above my previous post) and no one else has followed up on the horror front, I've got to second hbojorquez love for Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. It's my all time favourite horror movie, and actually one of my favourite movies alltogheter. Every moment of that film is just perfect.
What about Titan A.E. and Alien: Resurrection?
If the horror genre ever comes up somehow, I'm ready. I don't want to make the effort to list any now because any fun to be had will be gone as soon as this thread falls off the page, soonish. But there's always to talk more about sci-fi and whatnot.

Edit - Oh, and under the category of "What was I not thinking when I was in my right mind, i.e. When My Mind Was Younger":

John Carpenter's The Thing. Sorry, Mr. C.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-03-13 19:12 ]
Yul Brynner. sigh.
Ahem, I have a real soft spot in my heart for Close Encounters because of the rampant rumours that the government had asked that the film be made to get us used to the idea that aliens were nice. You see they had been in secret contact with aliens for a few years by that point and once we were properly disposed towards them, we would get to meet them.
With what other SF movie do you get 2 tales for the price of one?
And that little boy saying goodbye at the end was so cute!
Really wasn't much of a decision to vote for Star Wars. If it was, say, Star Wars vs Firefly, that would have been tough, but for all its awesomeness, I don't think Serenity ranks up there with Blade Runner, Star Wars, Metropolis, or something like that.
I think it's all relative. I'm pretty sure Serenity will go down as one of the best sci-fi films of the 21st century and that's saying something. We all, and I know I do, get stuck on certain films that happened in a certain generation and think "no one can do better than that," the way some other cinephiles think Altman's films still bitch-slap the hell out of any other contemporary filmmaker and did, up until his death, still experimenting with and tweaking genres as only he could (and in a way they do - a maverick like: See Joss Whedon). Yep, that Joss Whedon, he's a good'un. He'll be doing his thing til he drops, I expect.

ETA: I expect it's understood but since you all don't know me that well, I would never say Serenity was any good just because Joss did it. And I'm not the only one who thinks the opening scene with the Operative is one of the best done in sci-fi. I have a couple of very opinionated and published critic friends and they both thought so.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-03-13 22:23 ]
I love this thread! Must say the 'Forbidden Planet' as well. Second must go with 'Lifeforce'. That movie was just plain scary. I jumped out of my seat.... 3 times.

An honorary mention to John Carpenter's 'The Thing'. That was brilliant as well. However, has anyone watched "Silent Running"? A very touching and heartbreaking show. Give it a watch if you haven't.
Making my choice from the list, I would also have to go with 'Forbidden Planet'.

My own personal favourite sci-fi film is 'It Came From Outer Space', although I certainly don't claim it to be the "best" sci-fi film of all time. Actually, I also have a soft spot for 'Coneheads', but perhaps I should keep that to myself.

Madhatter, good call - 'Silent Running' is a very affecting film.
John Carpenter gets another mention with...They Live!!!

Not the best movie but it does get honorable mention for the best 2-man fight scene in the history of cinema (imho).
It was a tough choice between Bladerunner and Serenity. Love both movies for different reasons. I love the dirty look of the future in Bladerunner. And I love the mission in Serenity. But Joss is my master so I went for Serenity. It is my very favorite movie now of all time.

But all these votes for Forbidden Planet, not one for Fantastic Planet. It may be animated but it was very eerie and I loved it.
best 2-man fight scene in the history of cinema

Mm, it was good, but... I'm saying Quiet Man.
2001: A seminal work, very important. Doesn't make sense of any kind and never will no matter how many times people explain the book or use 'film theory' to explain it. It's like a great poem: it makes you feel something you can't put into words. But seriously, what the where now?

I explained it EXACTLY that way to Keir Dullea the other day...
Double damn, double post .... sorry! sorry2

[ edited by Shey on 2007-03-14 10:03 ]
Nevermind, I edited *both* posts out of exixtence. Mainly wanted to say how much I can't believe I forgot 12 Monkeys, glad to see I'm not the only one who liked Solaris (Clooney/Soderberg)& that while I think Brazil is utterly brilliant, it scares the hell out of me. 'Cause we're too close to being there, kiddies. And you can bet your contraband duct tape that I'm deadfuckingserious. Anyone taken on a Federal Government agency lately? I wouldn't recommend it, if you value your sanity & your grip on reality.
And for those who have never seen A trip to the Moon.
The things that captured me about 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' was A: the music (I'm a big fan of Bernard Herrmann) and B: that it was a pretty well done re-telling of the Jesus saga. Dude comes to Earth, tells people to be nice to each other and gets killed for it, comes back and says the earth is doomed if people don't learn to get along, and then he flies away... But then again, I'm not a big fan of the impact the original seems to have had on the world.

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