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Old 21-May-2004, 13:06   #1
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Top 10 Sf Films?

Possibly a starter for a series of these. List your top 10 SF films and a justification for why they are so goddamned great? Here's the ones I did in work (no real order except for Alien being number one).

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Alien
What can I say that I haven’t already gushed in the past? Ridley Scott’s Alien did for SF what The Shining did for general horror; made it fresh, contemporary, believable and gripping. The tension is palpable all the way through the movie, from the Nostromo landing sequence on LV426, through “airlock” scene when Kane is brought back to the Nostromo, the birthing, the chase around the ship, Dallas’ sweep of the air ducts, the panic to board the Narcissus and the fiery climax, I was on my toes the whole time. It also made me arachnophobic (but that’s what you get for watching horror movies at age four). Brilliantly acted, brilliantly filmed and Giger’s work was quite exceptional, not only on the xenomorph in it’s three life stages but also on the biomechanoid work in the hive ship, and the ship itself.

Aliens
If Alien was the thriller, then this is the action movie. Essentially Vietnam in space, Ripley returns to the scene of the crime from Alien with a crowd of over-confident and under-intelligent Colonial Marines to “rescue some colonists’ daughters from their virginity”. Another exceptional ensemble cast from James Cameron and a few familiar Cameron faces - Michael Biehn [who our own Nicole has worked with], Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Lance Henriksen. As expected, it all goes horribly wrong and one by one our heroes evaporate or play host to incubating nasties. The extended edition has 17 minutes extra that makes all the difference between this being a great movie and an exceptional one, particularly the Hadley’s Hope (LV426 Colony) footage with the great JT Walsh, the bit where Newt’s dad gets infected by a facehugger, and the sentry gun sequence (never has a number countdown been so tense; makes bomb timers look tame in comparison). Weaver is her usual exceptional self, bringing vibrancy and humanity to a potentially very one dimensional character. Henriksen’s performance is also unusually good (especially as he’s playing an android) and the brilliant child Carrie Henn plays Newt (who grew up to be an infant school teacher … aww, how sweet!).

Blade Runner
Yes, it’s Scott again and yes I’m in love with nearly everything he has made. Stunning visually, the acting lies somewhere between professional and nonchalant but it’s perfect for what is essentially a film noir in the future. Harrison Ford plays Deckard, a “Blade Runner” a nickname for a cop that hunts androids on the run. In this case, four particularly nasty androids are on their way to Earth in an attempt to extend their limited life-span ... somehow, by returning to their makers; the Tyrell Corporation. Based on Phillip K Dick’s “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?” it asks all the right philosophical questions about the nature of existence and the value of life, as well as being a damn good private dic flick. Sean Young is gorgeous (but doesn’t get to do much acting), Ford is an excellent world-weary cop (and the twist makes a lot of sense), Rutger Hauer plays a suitably psychotic but oddly charming Roy Batty and Daryl Hannah is unnervingly menacing Pris. The cityscapes in particular are magnificent and the intro suggests a world of stories which have yet to be explored.

Starship Troopers
Paul Verhoeven’s satirical approach to Robert Heinlein’s book of the same name lies somewhere between a mockery of Heinlein’s views on earning citizenship via federal service, Verhoeven’s experiences of Nazi occupation of Holland and a plain old “guns and critters” movie. Much like Aliens in many ways, particularly dystopian views on technology and natural killers’ ability to overcome technology and firepower (i.e. we aren’t the masters of our destiny like we believe, and even “bugs” can give us a run for our money). A fairly unknown cast, including Jake Busey and Clancy Brown (this guy is brilliant) as well as Michael Ironside as the teacher (and later Lieutenant) Mr Rasczak. Very tongue in cheek and quite gory, even in the light of movies like the Alien series.

The Terminator
James Cameron’s breakthrough movie, a science fiction manhunt (okay, a person-hunt) with a twist. Arnie is a cyborg from the future, sent by a mastermind computer to foil its’ demise … by assassinating John Connor (the rebellion leader) ’s mother, Sarah before John is born. John sends back a lone soldier to protect his mother in the grim past of 1980’s LA. Stan Winston is the real star of this movie, his Industrial Light and Magic workshop went blitzkrieg on this one and the Terminator effects, although now somewhat dated, have stood the test of time until the advent of the latest iterations of CGI. I particularly like Reese’s (Michael Biehn again) future flashbacks, giving a view of a world subjugated by machines (hmmm, future dystopia … I see a trend emerging). Linda Hamilton was a bit of a screaming extra in this one but made it up admirably in the otherwise tepid and uninspiring sequel. Arnie said a grand total of 72 words, which makes this his second best film (after Conan the Barbarian of course). By the sacred jockstrap of Robert E Howard!

2001: A Space Oddysey
Have yet to read the book but I know that Clarke worked very closely with Kubrick in making this and was particularly happy with the psychedelic representation of Bowman’s journey of discovery and interaction with the “monolith”. Poetically filmed, inspired direction, typical Kubrick work; the sequence where the ape-man throws his bone club into the air and it turns into a spaceship has been duplicated many times, as has the orbital docking sequence, simply the best use of classical music in film EVER. It’s a remarkably quiet movie, and is all the more tense because of it; also, the interaction between astronauts and HAL, the ship’s Artificial Intelligence is oddly compulsive. There was a follow up, although not having read the sequel I don’t know how it compares.

Ghost In The Shell
Masamune Shirow’s exploration of artificial and real intelligence (Ghosts) combined in android or possessed human forms (Shells) is nothing short of breathtaking; fans of cyberpunk will be familiar with a lot of references here, particularly cyber-jacking and prosthetics. GitS is the first part of the pursuit of a mysterious anarchist AI known as the “Puppet Master” by Major Motoko Kusanagi and her comrades Bateau and Togusa, of the secret agency Section 9. IT’s breathtakingly directed by Mamoru Oshii, a star of the Anime genre and is produced by Production IG, the same team as some other excellent examples of anime, such as Blood: the Last Vampire, Jin-Roh: The wolf Brigade and the animation sequence in Kill Bill. The translation’s pretty good, unusually, and this is a great entrance to Anime in general, although like much of this genre asks more questions than it answers. There’s a sequel in the works and an excellent spinoff series called Stand Alone Complex (Stand Alone episodes are what they sound like; Complex episodes deal with further pursuit of the Puppet Master and a mysterious entity known as the “Laughing Man”). The SAC series is only available over here on Fansubs at the minute but hopefully Production IG will soon complete negotiation for European airtime.

Akira
“Neo- Tokyo is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E …” a fairly accurate tagline. Genetic experiments following a nuclear war uncover the ability to create children with incredible telepathic powers. One child is so powerful that he almost destroys Tokyo (again) and is killed and dissected to unlock the secrets of his power. Decades later, a scientist helps one of these subjects, who remain children eternally, escape from the experimentation labs. A chance encounter with a gang of delinquents leads to one of them (Tetsuo) being captured by the science team; remarkably, he appears to be an ideal candidate for the Akira treatment. The experiments proceed … with predictable violent consequences … Tetsuo’s friend and adoptive big brother Kaneda must stop his friend before he wipes out the city, and is helped on the way by the previous test subjects and a revolutionary faction. Jaw-dropping visuals, particularly the bike sequences (this film is mostly remembered for Kaneda’s bike) and a stunning soundtrack. This was recently redubbed for DVD release and is much better for it.

Minority Report
Yeah, it’s unpopular and yeah I don’t care; Cruise has proven in this (and later in The Last Samurai) that he’s really a highly talented actor. Spielberg’s take on another book by Phillip K Dick is about John, Anderton (Cruise) a pre-crime cop, who makes use of a trio of telepaths to detect serious crimes before they happen. He is being hunted by his own team after being pre-detected for the murder of the paedophile who molested and killed his child. Max Von Sydow plays Burgess, the man who created the pre-crime system and is somehow involved on Anderton’s situation. Colin Farrell is an interesting third party but Samantha Morton steals the screen every time she’s on it, playing Agatha, one of the telepaths, and the only one whose precognition differs from the other two, creating the “minority report” that Anderton is banking on to clear his name. Again, stunning visuals and the car chase sequence is pretty mental, as is the fight in the Lexus factory.

Event Horizon
Lawrence Fishburne plays a SAR ship captain on the search for a ship called the Event Horizon, that disappeared in mysterious circumstances eight years before. Sam Neill is the crisis-laden scientist out to recover his baby and a fairly entertaining supporting cast includes Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy!) and the hilarious Sean Pertwee. Essentially, the Event Horizon uses dimension jump technology, but unfortunately seems to have passed through some very nasty dimension before our heroes get on board. One by one our friends succumb to the evil presence. Disappointing ending but offers so much promise; I’d love to see what happened on board and where all the crew went, just as much as I’d love to see the last stand at Hadley’s Hope in Aliens. Extremely creepy, especially when they decode the computer memory and see the warning from the previous crew.

Equilibrium
Kurt Wimmer’s Matrix before the Matrix was made, this is a film about John Preston (played by Christian Bale),a Grammaton Cleric, sort of a ninja-cop-gunfighter charged with enforcing emotion control in a pacified city state. One day he misses his does of Librium, and begins to see the world, and his job, in a different light. This is part 1984, part gun-fu and all great; don’t expect to require your brain in anything other than consideration of the premise that emotion leads to violence … but also is responsible for our greatest achievements and the beauty of life, so at what cost should peace come? “Gun kata” is an innovative approach to martial arts and very, very cool on screen. Sean Bean makes a small appearance and so does Sean Pertwee as “Father”, the mysterious architect of this emotionless state. Angus McFayden is an interesting foil as Council Elder DuPont.
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Old 21-May-2004, 13:10   #2
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Equilibrium was made before the Matrix?

Why didnt they release it before it?
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Old 21-May-2004, 13:16   #3
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Equilibrium was made before the Matrix?

Why didnt they release it before it?
correction: WRITTEN before the Matrix was made. sorry.
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Old 21-May-2004, 13:32   #4
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For me it'll have to be:

The Fifth Element
Luc Besson rocks. Hard to describe why it is my number 1, it is just soooo good.
Total Recall
Blue Sky on Mars, is it or isn't it etc... Classic and fun to watch.
Independence Day
Alien Invasion, White House being blown up, fun to watch. BIG spaceships in a V stylee only with a bigger budget, great stuff
Silent Running
Seminal space film which preceded a whole host of films, for the first time space modelling was done properly and the story wasn't about Alien invasion, still makes me cry...
Star Wars
Nuff said.
The Matrix
Two crap sequels but the original concept was great and amazing to watch, sure everyone and their dog does bullet time now, but the Matrix made it popular.
Alien
Another seminal film, there are things out there we might not want to meet!
Predator
Again with the sucky sequels but the original is a great concept and is well executed.
Terminator
Great tension, a real good thriller, the tension is spoilt now by the fact I have seen it so many times but still worthy of a top ten place.
Aliens
There isn't really much new here but it is a well crafted film, it is also a sequel that doesn't suck ass! Not many of them about.


Common denominators are that they are all fun to watch and you could watch them again and again.
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Old 21-May-2004, 13:34   #5
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C.H.U.D. II: BUD THE CHUD <- WIN!!!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097001/
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Old 21-May-2004, 13:39   #6
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Originally Posted by Q-Target
C.H.U.D. II: BUD THE CHUD <- WIN!!!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097001/

Also from IMDB

User Comments: Make the hurting stop!!

User Rating: 2.1/10

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Old 21-May-2004, 13:42   #7
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Quite a find - could scarcely believe the title let alone the plot
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Old 21-May-2004, 13:51   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burundi
Silent Running
Seminal space film which preceded a whole host of films, for the first time space modelling was done properly and the story wasn't about Alien invasion, still makes me cry...
Same here! Think I first saw it when I was 13 or so, and sooo remember the ending.
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Old 21-May-2004, 13:55   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-Target
C.H.U.D. II: BUD THE CHUD <- WIN!!!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097001/
that film was hi-larious!
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Old 21-May-2004, 13:59   #10
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short circuit 1+2

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091949/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096101/

jonny 5 is alive!
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Old 21-May-2004, 14:20   #11
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In no particular order..

Aliens
Probably not as good a film as the original, I enjoyed it more though. I still want one of those dropships and a smartgun.
The Thing
John Carpenters finest effort I reckon.
The Matrix
Whatever your oopinion of the sequels, the first one rocked.
"Guns...lots of guns.."
Star Wars
It's Star Wars! Phantom Arse was a bit rubbish though.
Terminator 1 + 2
I prefer the original but I remember being pretty impressed by the second. Shame the third part was a giant pile of arse really.
Equilibrium
Just because. Switch brain off and enjoy ninjas, cruelty to puppies, cartoonish bad men and insane gunfights.
Starship Troopers
"They sucked his brains out!!!"
Dark Star
Space hippies and talking bombs rock.
Predator
Total Recall

Honorable mentions to Blade Runner and Event Horizon as well.

Eek, Arnie is in three of my choices, how did that happen?
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Old 21-May-2004, 14:24   #12
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maybe after a week or so we could count votes or summat; a forumgoer's guide to the 1337est and sh337est SF movies?
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Old 21-May-2004, 14:29   #13
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How would you count votes for, say, the StarWars trilogy though? 1 vote? counts as vote for all three?
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Old 21-May-2004, 14:31   #14
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well, they have to lose, obviously. in the discussion we have in work, SW is banned
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Old 21-May-2004, 14:34   #15
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terminator
prefer the 2nd as i didnt like the good future guy

terminator 2
amzing effects

predator
tense action

total recall
classic action again

minority report
very well done with a brillian twist

the matrix
looked cool and was a big breakthrough

fifth element
looked good and had gary oldman in it \o/

event horizon
cool space horror with sam neil as good as ever

evolution
organisms from outta space evolve
very quicky, just found it really funny

short circuit
robot comes alive and runs amok \o/

am i the only person who thought blade runner was very very VERY boring?
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Old 21-May-2004, 14:37   #16
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I bought the directors cut about three years ago and I think it's still in the plastic wrapping.

/goes to check

Nope, it's been opened but I certainly haven't watched it for years.
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Old 21-May-2004, 14:37   #17
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I'd agree with some of those choices and just laugh at the others. Here's mine:

1. BladeRunner: Directors Cut - blatantly the greatest, deepest SF movie of all time. Great examination of humanity. Fantastic visuals and musical score

2. John Carpenter's 'The Thing' - SF and horror are natural bedfellows and this movie proves it. Great examination of the human dynamic, brave storyline, top SFX. IMO superior to 'Alien' as the Thing really is alien rather than an anthropomorphic humanoid.

3. The Abyss: Directors Cut - visually stunning, great characterisation and fantastic take on first contact with alien race. Close run thing between this film and 'Close Encounters'.

4. The Day The Earth Stood Still - it may be B&W and SFX-lite but it is still astonishingly relevant. Unforgettable film.

5. T2: Directors Cut - intricate plotting and attention to detail (unlike the cinema release). Good performances. All round great take on time travel. Harlan Ellison deserved every cent that he wrung from James Cameron in his famous lawsuit over the intellectual property rights.

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey - one of the very few big budget Hollywood space movies which correctly visualises zero gravity (unlike, say 'Alien' or 'Starship Troopers'). Slow, ponderous, confusing but still very good even by today's SFX standards.

7. The Matrix - as a stand alone film this is the best visualisation of the cyberpunk ideal. It works as a thinking flick and as an action flick - red pill or blue pill? Ignore the sequels.

8. Forbidden Planet - come see the movie upon which 'Alien' was based! In the era of flying saucers, ray guns and bug eyed monsters someone took a brave stance and produced an intelligent movie with dark undertones. The monster animation has dated but otherwise this is a landmark SF flick for many, many reasons. Reverse the polarity!

9. Them! - by todays standards the SFX are pretty poor but this B&W B-movie pot boiler stands as a fine example of the pulp SF 'giant radioactive monster' subgenre. IMO this movie obviously influenced many modern flicks such as 'Aliens' and 'Starship Troopers'. Guilermo Del Toro should have watched this before making 'Mimic' to see how it should be done.

10. The Omega Man - it was a toss up between this flick, 'Logans Run' and 'Ultimate Warrior' but as this is a movie version of an all-time SF classic novel it gets the nod. Despite some of the 60's/70's cheesy reworkings this is one of the best post-apocalypse movies and, for my money, Heston is better in this than in 'Planet Of The Apes'.
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Old 21-May-2004, 14:44   #18
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Omega Man was based on "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson. Splendid book, highly recommended.

There was talk of filming it but apparently the idea of a film with almost no dialogue for the first hour wasn't popular with studio bosses.
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Old 21-May-2004, 15:21   #19
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My top ten in no particular order:

Aliens
The alien one of the best monsters there is, ruthless and intelligent. Great action, atmosphere, acting, tension and scares. But why did Sgt. Apone have to die so early?

Predator
One of my favourite films. Great action, atmosphere, tension and scares.

They Live
I watched this film one night when it was on at about 12.00am (I had to get up at 7.00) when I was younger and I could not stop watching it until it finished. Great film with a good basic premise and a great fight scene over a pair of sun glasses.

The Thing
Great acting, tension and scared the shit of me. Some of the animation looks at bit crap now but everything else about the film is fantastic.

Quatermass and the Pit
I watched this when I was about 9 with my dad (one of his most favourite films alone with War of The Worlds) and it scared the crap out of me. Nice dark film with classic British acting when we produced great films other then London Gangster files and romantic comedies (the worst genre of film ever).

Fifth Element
I missed this in the cinema but when I saw it on video I though it was a fantasic film with great design, acting, action and humour.

The Matrix
I though this was amazing when I saw it at the cinema with its live action anime effects. I enjoyed the second part but I did not enjoy the final part because the fight scenes where on a huge scale; whereas I preferred the smaller scale fights.

Terminator
I saw this when I was about 13 but did not really appreciate until I saw it again on TV (uncut).

Ghost In The Shell
Fantastic animation and character designs and one of the finest examples of animation you can find. The film is very serious compared the manga. I found the ending to be a bit of an anti-climax as I was expecting a huge amount of action. Still it is the only anime I have ever watched in the cinema.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (197
Very scary and intelligent film with a bastard of an ending.
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Old 21-May-2004, 16:09   #20
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The Omega Man kicked so much arse... it was crap sci-fi at its very best
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Old 21-May-2004, 16:29   #21
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What, no Flash Gordon?
Great movie, great soundtrack!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080745/
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Old 21-May-2004, 17:33   #22
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the lack of mention of the first robocop film astounds me
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Old 21-May-2004, 18:54   #23
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Re: Top 10 Sf Films?

Mine (Star Wars is my favorite but I grudingly agree its a fantasy western)

Alien
Aliens
Blade Runner
Dark City
The Fifth Element
Minority Report
Silent Running
Starship Troopers
The Terminator
Total Recall
2001: A Space Oddysey


However generally I tend to go for mindless straight to video tripe with hot space chicks in spandex, leather and back combed hair.

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Old 21-May-2004, 19:01   #24
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Dark City? Would that be the city floating in space, and the manipulation of the inhabitants, with Ed Harris as a cop? "How do you get to the beach (or something)" ?

I forget

Alien
Aliens
Blade Runner
Robocop
Back To The Future ()
Return of the Jedi
Terminator
Terminator 2
The Matrix
Predator
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Old 21-May-2004, 19:10   #25
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oohh Dark City is that the one where the city keeps altering every night?

cool film
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Old 21-May-2004, 19:37   #26
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In no order

Blade Runner (directors cut)
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: A new home
The Fifth Element
Starship Troopers
2001 (OMG nobody else listed this yet!!!!!)
The Matrix
Terminator
Spaceballs
Flight of the Navigator (ok, and oldie, but I like it)
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Old 21-May-2004, 22:24   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark One
2001 (OMG nobody else listed this yet!!!!!)
Three people. Although maybe we confused you by calling it by its full title.
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Old 21-May-2004, 22:37   #28
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in no order:

TRON
The Fifth Element
Terminator
Robocop
The Matrix
Total Recall
The Abyss
Alien
Star Wars - A New Hope
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
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Old 22-May-2004, 03:31   #29
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Bladerunner:directors cut

As many have said, simply the finest sci fi film ever committed to celluloid in my sincere opinion. A story about morality, death and ultimately life. A film I did a thesis on (distinction )which only helped me to love the film more.
Visuals that are simply awe inspiring to this day, attention to detail in every scen of the film is mind blowing, acting that is spot on by all concerned for what is needed, and a truly haunting soundtrack. A film with more hidden meaning and depth than the Matrix trilogy could only wish to have.

A dark, destroyed, dsytopian future with a true heart at it's core.


The Terminator

When i was 9, at a family christmas party, my cousin told me the synopsis of a film he had recently watched, he told me in enough detail of the great film he had watched, that when I saw it myself a few years later I had deja vu of certain scenes.

The Terminator is a rare beast these days, a film that sets it's premise from the outset, and doesn't let up on the tension for one minute, it possitively crackles as the tension cranks up to almost eye bleeding proportions, a relentless machine built and programmed for one purpose only. A truly great idea and spin on possible future's and time travel elements. Arnie was perfectly cast in his role of the cyborg, Hamillton, just the right side of vunerable (the payoff at the end when ordering Reese on his feet is perfect) and Biehn as the "nemesis" to Arnie in a role that's perfectly juxtaposed to the cyborg, in essence two sides of the same coin.


The Day The Earth Stood Still

Simply put, this film deserves to be in most peoples dvd collection. Robert Wise's movie was of it's time, yet by the same token, years ahead of anything else, at a time when sci fi movies carelessly disguised there alien themes as an attack on communism and the red peril, TDTESS addressed humanities fears of the burgeoning nuclear threat, a vastly superior cautionary tale of where we were heading, and possibly still are.


Alien

Apart from having a great simple story that had been reworked a thousand times prior and since, Alien is catapulted to greatness by the same thing that Cameron did later with The Terminator, pacing and tension. A crew of essentially working class joe's in the arse end of space who are stuck in their jobs just trying to get by. That is until they pick up an unwanted guest, once it bursts from Kane's chest, it's a race for survival and when you first saw the film, one of the scariest movies made. A perfect antidote to the "clean, antiseptic" vision of space we are often greeted with.


2001: A Space Odyssey

Visually stunning, and one of the very few films to get "space" right, the transition from ape bone to floating space station will always be regarded as one of the seminal moments in film, and rightly so.


Starman

Arguably, next to "the dude", Jeff bridge's finest hour. John Carpenters tale of what it may be like for an alien life form confronted with a world such as ours, might be like. A little over sentimental, but a great premise that is acted perfectly by bridges in the naive, childlike, title role.


Minority Report

Spielberg went to great lengths to get the future world to look ostensibly what it will look like, speaking to several noted "futurists" and colating their opinions, which shows, very clever visuals. Ripped from a P.K.Dick short story, it's pretty much standard fare, but with a good central theme.


Time After Time

A diffrent spin on H.G.Well's Time Machine novel, that does work surprisingly well, transposing earth in the distant future and Morlocks and Eloi for late 70's San Fransisco and Jack the Ripper, sounds cheesier than a bag of wotsits, but some nice little effects and a decent reworking with decent acting help it get in my top 10.


Predator

Just an all out balls and bullets kick ass romp, nothing too taxing on the brain, but a great flick to watch with head in neutral. You ever need a forest clearing call in these guys and their weaponry.


Silent Running

One of the first films I remember seeing, let alone sci fi, at the age of about 5. Rewatched many times down the years, and still gives me a lump in the throat when watching it. No aliens, no terrorising mutants or cyborgs intent on destroying us, simply man's greed and will to power.
Bruce Dern is great in this film, the vunerable hippy farmer just trying to care for the last remaning plant life that we hadn't managed to destroy. Yet.
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Old 22-May-2004, 03:49   #30
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