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July 22 2014

Time Out's 100 best sci-fi movies. The magazine polled leading lights in the fields of both science and science fiction (including Guillermo del Toro, George RR Martin and Stephen King) and it's a good list to read. Serenity came 95th, with Time Out describing it as "whip-smart, action-packed and wildly inventive".

I've seen 50 of the movies on this list, and liked considerably fewer of them than that.

I know lists like these are specifically designed to provoke people, but if this list persists in calling Barbarella a better movie than Serenity, I shall have to ask it to step outside.
Probably Barbarella was there because its impact and boldness in its release time. Today it seems silly and slow, but when it gone to the theathres was very important, even that thingy of femeale strong protagonist that we may have heard around here.
I've seen 65. Not bad.

Barbarella has had greater impact and influence over time than Serenity has, though Serenity is definitely my pick for the better movie. Maybe in a decade or two Serenity's overall impact will be greater.

I'm actually more mystified by the inclusion of things like Pacific Rim, whose charms were lost on me.
Pacific Rim has great effect in people who saw Japanese Super Sentai shows, like some Latin America countries.
Aside from Jane Fonda's good looks, I thought Barbarella was quite an awful movie. It was made 30 years too early in terms of the visual effects that were needed for it not to look ridiculous.

I seldom advocate remaking movies ever, but Barbarella is an exception. I suggest Karen Gillan for the title role.
I have no idea how some people can say anything good about Dune or Robocop. But I know there are people who like them for some reason.
But how is Starship Troopers so damn high on that list?
I've seen 45 of them. It's an odd list, and doesn't feel consistent in it's values and reasons, but for a list-by-committee I suppose that's to be expected.

The really odd choice to me was "Three Colors: Red". It's an astonishingly great movie, but it is beyond any reasonable stretch to call it sci-fi or fantasy.

I'm OK with Dune being on the list, simply for the fabulous weirdness it brought to the story, but one the whole, it failed utterly in its attempt to film an unfilmable novel.
Predictable with 2001: A Space Yawn at number 1
@KissingToast, in its day, 2001 was a stunning piece of work, revolutionary both as science fiction and as cinema generally. Kubrick's goal was to make "the proverbial good science fiction movie," and it was the first of its kind. All science fiction movies and television that followed owe that debt.

Also, 2001 achieved the near-impossible by successfully telling an Arthur C. Clarke story. (Based on a short story, "The Sentinel.") Clarke rarely has real villains, which makes his stories difficult to film. Kubrick and Clarke did an incredible job here. There are very few science fiction films that truly achieve that "sense of wonder" that was a key element of golden age science fiction literature.
@MissKittsMon. I understand that, I recognize the monumental achievement of the film. I have seen it in blu-ray and it looks stunning and I can only imagine how great it must look in 70 mm. I do appreciate the craft of the film and the care and attention to detail that Kubrick had. I also know that many films that came after probably would not have happened had it not been for Kubrick and this particular film. And in spite my comment I do like the film, itís just that I enjoy other films on this list better.
Yes, there are films on the list that I like better too, and as I said earlier, the reasoning and valuation of the entire list seem inconsistent. Some are enjoyable, and some achieved milestones at one point or another (2001 isn't the only one).

Since the list judges includes filmmakers and screenwriters, it is probably even harder for them to step around 2001 than it is for us mere mortals.
I've seen 27. I only vaguely remember The Abyss, RoboCop, Superman and 2001, though, so perhaps I shouldn't count them. Well, and Close Encounters - reading the synopsis I found myself thinking "I don't remember that."

Why isn't Avengers on the list? Aliens - hello! Doesn't get much more science-fiction than that. Inter-dimensional travel, gods come to Earth, "enormous green rage monster"s, super-serum-enhanced soldiers...

"2001" bored the socks off me.

Dune, on the other hand, I can watch over and over and never get tired of it. The book was a struggle to get through (never did read any of the others in the series), but I managed to get the movie shown in my psych/soc class in high school. (Despite one of my classmates complaining that it was "three hours of sand.") "And how can this be? For he IS the Kwisatz Haderach!"

Think it's time to pop Ghostbusters into the VCR again...
I think we agree this is a terrible list. Perhaps we should take this in future reference? Just a thought. I know nothing, just trying to figure out how to fry chicken.
urkonn said:
how is Starship Troopers so damn high on that list?

Simple: They blown away Buenos Aires! The big mistake of the movie was to chase the aliens instead of award them for that.

[ edited by Brasilian Chaos Man on 2014-07-22 21:23 ]
Irritates me when I see Gravity on lists like this. Gravity is one of the best 3D movies ever made, but there are no aliens, no cylons, no monsters, no time lords, no AIs, no high tech weapons, etc. It is NOT Sci Fi.

It's like when people call Orange is the New Black a comedy. It's a DRAMA, that just happens to have comedic elements.

[ edited by Angel&Faith on 2014-07-22 21:44 ]
To the extent that "Gravity" plays a bit fast and loose with physics, orbital mechanics, etc. (and I understand that it does), it might as well be science fiction.

I would call "Orphan Black" science fiction, although its central idea could already have happened and we just don't know about it....
No list is complete with Lifeforce. And I actually like Dune a lot.
I watched 74 of those.
The list seems reasonable, with some mistakes like putting Star Wars as Sci Fi, while it is Fantasy. The German Metropolis probably have no living viewers, since the original movie was lost and till today new fragments are allways found. Also, the boringness of 2001 has only match in the pretentious of Under The Skin.
64% for me... interestingly if I restrict it to films that came out after I was born (1977) then it rises to 82%... guess I need to get my black-and-white geek on.
@Brasilian Chaos Man, I understand that they found the original version of Metropolis in Buenos Aires. Granted, the film was in a very bad condition, but I guess the reconstruction they derived from it is as close to the original as it's ever going to get.
Dune is actually one of my favorite movies, despite it's flaws. (One, IMO, being the whole voice over whisper thing and two adding the wierding weapons to make the battle scenes more... more.)
"Why isn't Avengers on the list?"

Because it shouldn't be.
Star Wars isn't Fantasy. Lord of the Rings is Fantasy. Star Wars is Sci Fi
The Force concept is probably what an earlier poster was thinking of as the Fantasy in Star Wars.
"Why isn't Avengers on the list?"

Read the Iron Man entry.
I'm still trying to comprehend "Dune" as directed by David Lynch. Did he even read the book? The SciFi version that came later was much better.

Now, "Lifeforce", that was a movie. Sexy space vampires that cause you to explode afterwards....nothing wrong there!!
Any list that deems Pacific Rim or Flash Gorden better movies than Serenity is shite. My ex and I were rooting for Flash Gordon to die by the middle of the movie.

I've seen 72 & 1/2 of them. Could not get through Pacific Rim.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2014-07-23 07:24 ]
KissingToast, the problem is that every couple of years there is more footage found and the hole movie is never completed. it seems like Doctor Who missing episodes. Even On the Silver Globe is a better case, since the director himself narrates the missing pieces. It would made more sense to use the Japanese animation Metropolis (2001).

The Force, becomes Sci Fi in the SWsequels (or prequels) when the Midclorians were introduced, but SW is Fantasy it has Space ships, robots and lasers, however the entire story is a cape & dagger fantasy with all the elemnts: princess, monsters and bad drama.

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