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March 08 2010

Serenity fifth best sci-fi movie ever. According to an "as voted by you" list on the restyled SFX website.

Apparently "you" (i.e. we) also think 'Star Wars' is the best movie ever, and we're also of the firm opinion that the recent 'Star Trek' is better than 'Wrath of Khan'. Are we right, or are we just weird? "You" decide.

Serenity took the no 1 slot the last time SFX did the poll.
For it to get to #5 is amazing, and considering how popular the films that beat it are, I don't feel cheated either.
The BDM had a Lot lower budget than some of the Movies that it beat. This speaks to a Great Story and Fine acting, IMO.
Serenity had a perfect script, perfect cast and perfect everything. I think Serenity should have the 1st place, because of one thing; Joss Whedon. That's my opinion. Joss Whedon out-plays them all!
They should have a poll about DVD sales and how SERENITY COLLECTOR's EDITION did. Just got mine in the mail today, so really exited!!! With added emphasis. ^^
Really? New Hope is considered better than Empire Strikes Back? I smell a nerd war.....:P
That Star Trekish thingie better than Wrath of Khan? That's just crazy talk!
This list is silly. Lord of the Rings isn't science fiction, and Serenity, while a nice (albeit dour) film, has nothing on, say Metropolis or 2001 or Terminator or, heck, even Highlander (if we're going to include fantasy in our science fiction).
No "The Clangers" ? Epic fail. Unless there's actually no movie of "The Clangers", in which case why not save the energy used compiling this list and dedicate it to a monumental, globe sweeping campaign to have a movie of "The Clangers" produced ?

Either way, I can't help but notice that this list is in numerical order. Hopefully the significance of that isn't lost on anyone here, of all places.
Will.bueche, the beginning clearly states it's a list of both fantasy and science fiction. Though, I'm pretty sure Shaun of the Dead falls in neither category.
Oh. I was just going by the headline. We're expected to read more than headlines now?
Well, I'm a little "eeeyyyehhh . . . ." on some of their choices, but I'll let it slide. So long as "Avatar" isn't anywhere in the top 10 and "Serenity" and "Empire are, I find this poll acceptable.
Thanks GVH, these are always fun.

Since they've obviously including fantasy, I'd put Blade Runner and The Fellowship of the Ring in a dead heat for #1. (Because still .... apples and oranges.) And I'd probably put Serenity at #2, it is pretty much a perfect movie, plus points for not looking at all low budget.
There are a whole lot of films on the list that I'd place before any of the Star Wars epics, which simply haven't aged well, IMO.

Those would be, in no particular order:

> my perennial "why doesn't this movie ever get the respect it deserves, not even on this list": > 12 Monkeys
> Alien
> Aliens
> The Matrix
> 2001: A Space Odyssey
< Star Trek .... Yes, the new one. It's the perfect update for a franchise that's always been more than a little cheesy.
> Avatar .... I know, it's all of a sudden cool to not like it. Phissh, it's twenty different kinds of awesome, not-so-subtle message included.
And as for the Dances With Wolves parallels, I don't buy it. Go back to a John Boorman film, The Emerald Forest (1985) for the real deal of a perfect parallel. And in case no one has noticed, the message is real, it's horrifying and urgent and far more so today than twenty-five years ago, when Boorman first brought it so heartbreakingly to the big screen.

My other favorite that always gets left out is Contact.
And where's Brazil? - especially on a UK site.

"The director would like to thank" is good fun, on a lot of the entries. The "Alternative View" on the other hand, is mostly critics either trying to be cool contrarians, or critics who just don't get SciFi/Fantasy.
Except for the ever entertaining Harlan Ellison's 1980 take on the Star Wars franchise (which I guess in 1980 was just the first three). He even uses "effulgent". :)

EF: typo

[ edited by Shey on 2010-03-09 07:23 ]
Why does the most boring of the LOTR films always get voted highest?
The funniest and oddest element for me so far is that they credit JJ Abrams as the director of The Dark Knight. Also if I were to vote for a Henson movie it would be The Dark Crystal not Labyrinth but that's probably a personal preference. Now that I think about it I like Pan's Labyrinth much more for a similar film.

[ edited by bedukay on 2010-03-09 14:01 ]
Any list that doesn't include Lifeforce is invalid.
Unless it's the "Worst Naked Mathilda May" list because "Lifeforce" simply doesn't qualify on any level (but then that list would be invalid by definition anyway). But yeah, to get back on topic, they should definitely remake it as a stuffed "animal" stop motion TV series with accompanying weird space noises.
Obviously, any list like this will have surprises. Major surprises for me were the fact that Empire sits below Star Wars (which is just crazy) and that the new Trek sits above Kahn (again: people are nuts :)). Then there's my never-ending surprise that everyone always seems to like The Fellowship better than the other two Rings movies, whereas The Two Towers - not the movie theater version, but the extended cut - is without a doubt my favorite. In all fairness though, given the theatrical cuts, I think Fellowship probably is the best one in terms of balance and story, and those theatrical cuts are the ones everyone's seen.

And then there's the movies I'm missing: Contact, 12 monkeys, Pan's Labyrinth, Children of Men and Donnie Darko (!!). But there you go (although, really people, Darko not getting enough votes to be on this list: epic fail :)).

I am very happy, however, that Serenity still came in fifth. Having her pop up in lists like that, means the movie still hasn't been forgotten by anyone and I'd very much love for it to remain a cultural presence in the many years to come, so that somewhere around 2050, people will be saying "w0t, they put [recent movie] above Serenity? That's like a classic! Epic fail [or appropriate different future slang]".
Will.bueche, the beginning clearly states it's a list of both fantasy and science fiction. Though, I'm pretty sure Shaun of the Dead falls in neither category.


People always think of high fantasy when people say fantasy. Anything with fantastical elements (which can include advanced science, magic, mythical creatures, stuff that doesn't exist in our world) can be considered fantasy.
Yeah but zombies are real so it's still not fantasy. Docudrama ?

Epic fail [or appropriate different future slang]"

Oh logoff GVH ! "Epic fail" is totally future proof and fully ratified by all of the internets. And there's nothing less fickle or prone to sudden unfathomable swings than online opinion.

(OK, it's official, "logoff" is just never going to work as Futeslang™)
Shh, ix-nay on the ombies-zay are eal-ray!
Oh Jesus, ombies-zay are eal-ray too ?!?

*commences headless chicken routine*

(we never did pig Latin at my school though I have a smattering of cod German and passable faux French)
You're on a roll today Saje :).

I'd very much love for it to remain a cultural presence in the many years to come, so that somewhere around 2050, people will be saying "w0t, they put [recent movie] above Serenity? That's like a classic! Epic fail [or appropriate different future slang]".

Hee! Love it.
People always think of high fantasy when people say fantasy. Anything with fantastical elements (which can include advanced science, magic, mythical creatures, stuff that doesn't exist in our world) can be considered fantasy.


Although, to be fair, the term fantasy as a genre name does seem to have originated with the high fantasy of Tolkien, zeitgeist. After that it seems we just started broadening the definition to include all kind of stuff. Sometimes even retroactively, with people saying mythology or the bible (and no, despite the current crowd in this comment thread, I'm not looking to do that whole religion debate thing again ;)) are fantasy.

Definitions are hard, even for science fiction and horror, so usually I just take all those 3 and mash them together and use the term 'genre'. But then, that's not perfect either, as people consider westerns genre fiction as well, for instance. I guess there's no winning :).

(OK, it's official, "logoff" is just never going to work as Futeslang™)


As per usual, we agree ;). I could see it working in a retro-cyberpunk novel, though.

Hee! Love it.


Thank you. I'm here all night! (Although, actually, I'm not, as I'm leaving for volleyball practice in abouuut... 20 minutes ;))
Waits twenty minutes to say anything about GVH ;).
Officer thinking zeitgeist. Volley that ball GVH ! Muhahahahah ! Don't worry BTW, i'll edit this out before he gets back. Err, did he say how long practice lasts ?

Definitions are hard, even for science fiction and horror, so usually I just take all those 3 and mash them together and use the term 'genre'.

Yeah, I use 'genre' too but it's somewhat lacking because as you say GVH all genres are, well, genres. SF&F encompasses most of what's on this list but horror still doesn't feel like it quite fits under that umbrella. SF&F&H ? Personally i'm inclined to go with that cos we can choose to pronounce it as sFaFaH and then everyone will think we're cool and sit with us at lunch, even the bullying jock who initially thought we were losers and the popular cheerleader we've been secretly smitten with since Yth grade (or the bullying cheerleader and smitten with jock, swap as appropriate to your gender/sexual preference).

Or we can not bother with genre definitions at all and compare all films to all other films but then we a) would miss out on all this fun discussing the categories and where the lines between them blur together ! Ahem ;) and b) probably wouldn't see 'Serenity' appearing in many top 25 lists (top 25 sci-fi film I can accept, it's a great movie but top 25 film of any kind, ever ? No, I don't think so).

And we're just weird BTW, to answer your initial question ;).

You're on a roll today Saje :).

Heh, work's slackened off a bit for the first time in a couple of weeks (hurray for leaving before 8 pm !). Feels like the first day of summer ;).
I generally like to go with ignoring the idea of genres and just taking a film for what it is. A few years back, I would have said I hated musicals, but then I saw Once More With Feeling, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sweeney Tod, Dr. Horrible...

Using genres is good way of picking and choosing what you like and dislike, but you end up missing out on some great things.

As for the list, it is another internet list that places Star Wars way higher than it really deserves. I loved it as a kid (and probably far to long into my teenage years - ok, pretty much all of them,) but it really isn't one of the greatest cultural achievements. Something like Blade Runner or 2001 is a far better film. They make it worse by putting A New Hope in front of Empire Strikes Back.

New Star Trek above Wraith of Kahn is just insulting to any fan of the series. It was a great start to a new franchise, but it doesn't compare to previous high points of Star Trek verse. I expect it will go to great places, but it hasn't achieved them yet. The main plot and big bad of the film were completely generic too.

Aliens ahead of Alien is wrong too, but a common mistake.

Including fantasy and no mention of Pan's Labyrinth! Now that is disgraceful. No Wall-E is quite bad too.
My list*:
1. Empire Strikes Back
2. 2001
3. Judge Dredd (just kidding, gotta give The Matrix the 3rd slot.)
4. Blade Runner
5. Tron

*general disclaimer: This was just off the top of my head and had no real thought involved
Well, you've got Empire above Star Wars alexreager so you're already less insane than, well, the rest of the voting public.

Using genres is good way of picking and choosing what you like and dislike, but you end up missing out on some great things.

This is a widely held view but it's a misconception IMO which maybe arises because people mistake not drawing distinctions between things for broad-mindedness when to me true broad-mindedness is recognising those distinctions but not seeing some categories as necessarily lesser.

Categorising something is broadly seen to somehow diminish it, we talk of "pigeon-holing" things or putting things in "little boxes" etc. but finding the best category for a work of art only diminishes it if you've either miscategorised it (i.e. not accurately represented what it is) OR prejudged everything else in that category i.e. if you've somehow come to the conclusion that for instance "All Westerns are rubbish" then if you decide something's a Western you may avoid it and miss out. Well, that's not a fault with the existence of the category "Western", that's a fault with you (the big "you") prejudging something based solely on which category it best fits in. It's (well intentioned) closed-mindedness masquerading as its opposite IMO (and I say that as someone who also would've said some years ago that he didn't like musicals. Until, that is, I added up all the musicals I actually like - hint: it's > 0 ;). Tough to do that - and in my case realise my mistake - if you don't know what's a musical and what isn't though).

Categories can enhance an experience as well by fitting a work into its cultural background - science fiction has a world-view and a slew of references, conventions and in-jokes that aren't available to other genres for instance (except insofar as they've crossed into the mainstream) and that enriches science-fiction. The same's true for most genres. And they can aid understanding by providing templates of what's gone before (or, rarely and wonderfully, by showing that what you're seeing doesn't have a template, that it's brand new on the face of the Earth).

The trick is just to recognise that they're shorthand for something complex, references to a thing and not the thing itself.
Officer thinking zeitgeist. Volley that ball GVH ! Muhahahahah ! Don't worry BTW, i'll edit this out before he gets back. Err, did he say how long practice lasts ?


Well, shorter than the time between this post and the previous one, obviously (stayed late though, as I was having a chat with the girls I coach, so the time between posts might not be the most accurate practice-time-indicator ;)).

And agreed re: genres. Not putting things into genres doesn't make much sense, but sometimes I think there should be a three-for-one term for SF+F+H (although I'd probably only want to 'count' horror with supernatural influences, not - let's say - a serial killer story). Some people use 'Speculative Fiction' and then abbreviate it to SF, but that's always just seemed intentionally confusing to me ;)
Well, shorter than the time between this post and the previous one, obviously ...

Dammit, missed the crucial edit by about 20 minutes. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have gone to the cinema between times, that'd be the element of the plan that a fresh pair of eyes might've highlighted as a potential problem.

(particularly since, owing to a scheduling SNAFU, I didn't end up seeing anything. Mate checked the times but, rather importantly as it turns out, not the dates. Luckily there was a pub nearby. Phew, bodyswerve)

...but sometimes I think there should be a three-for-one term for SF+F+H...

SFaHFaH™, SFaHFaH™ ! It's the three-for-one [not actually a] trademark all the cool kids are infringing !

(I sometimes think SF&F is too broad, Speculative Fiction is definitely too broad IMO)
So we're all agreed, then - the new category is: Varioustm.
Hey, that's my early retirement you're messing with there buddy !

*watches helplessly as his SFaHFaH™ money train is derailed*

(though hasn't Various™ already gone ? He's the dude that creates all the tracks on those compilation CDs, right ?)
Actually, they're a duo. Apparently ;)
Heh, love it. The idea of all the complex, multitudinous entities that fall under the umbrella "various" resolving down to two blokes called Adam and Ian is strangely comforting ;).
When I lived in Minneapolis there was a band called 27 Various. Sorry about that money train thingy :\
s'OK. Until they sort out micropayments properly it was more a money handcar anyway (besides, the thought of working until i'm 95 keeps me warm at night ;).
Well, The Shield taught me how well money trains end up anyway.
Well, to be fair, that might only apply to Armenian money trains.
Oh, right, nothing about Scottish ones...

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