Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Top Ten Science Fiction Movies

I heard a vicious rumor that top-10 or top-100 lists draw the most hits on blogs, so I figured I should test this theory out. It has been funny to see how, in a writing blog, it is not the posts on writing that generally draw the most views and comments, but rather unrelated posts, such as my one last week about food. Perhaps I need to find a way to write more entertaining posts about writing.

Anyhow, I thought I would start my top-10 experiment with an easy one -- my choices for the top ten science fiction movies of all time. You will notice that there are few old ones here, as my taste is rather limited in regards to older films. There are also some I won't list that I see on other top lists, because I don't consider them to be sci-fi.

1. Blade Runner -- Hands-down the best science fiction movie of all time, in my opinion. The soundtrack by Vangelis is the most beautiful soundtrack I have ever encountered. There has been a lot of fighting amongst fans over which versions of this film are the 'good' versions, primarily because some fans hate the Harrison Ford voice-over that was added to the theatrical release. I have to say that I enjoy all the versions. I love the movie without the narration, but I also think it is really good with it. The hard-bitten, world-weary sound of Ford's voice only adds to the noirish quality of the movie, at least for me. Each and every scene in this movie resonates deeply with me, and I cannot imagine any greater beauty ever being brought to the screen.

2. and 3. Alien and Aliens -- What a duo of fantastic sci-fi movies, and each so different from the other! Alien (directed by Ridley Scott, who also did Blade Runner) provides a realistic-seeming take on a deep-space ship stopping at a planet due to a distress signal. This movie is the very essence of tension and suspense. Aliens gave us heart-thumping action as space marines return to the lost colony to try to reclaim it. Supposedly they are there to rescue any survivors, but in reality they are there for very different reasons...

 4. Serenity - Truth be told, I prefer the television series Firefly, as it goes into far more depth with the characters and story lines. However, a movie has limits on how long it can be, and they still did a fine job of bringing some terrific space-cowboy action. I recommend checking out this film, and then running as fast as you can to your PC to order Firefly!

5. The Road Warrior - Mel Gibson is perfect as Max in this post-Apocalyptic film that sort of but not really follows the not-so-great Mad Max movie. Maybe it's a male thing, but I always enjoy well-done survival of the fittest movies like this. Having to scrounge amongst the waste just to survive wouldn't be fun in real life, but it sure is in a movie.

6. and 7. Star Wars episodes V and IV - No need to link to these, as everyone has seen them, right? Episode V, called The Empire Strikes Back, was the best written of all these films, while episode IV was the original that started it all, and it does still have that magic. There's not a whole lot to say about these, as everyone knows them too well!

8. Back to the Future - I suppose this one is only borderline sci-fi, though it certainly has the right elements mixed in with the more contemporary stuff. This movie is simply a lot of fun, and very cleverly done. The cast couldn't have been chosen any better. The follow up movies were not nearly as good, but still fun.

9. ET - I won't link this one either. Who hasn't seen it? Steven Spielberg has a deft touch for these types of movies. He adds loads of realistic little touches and details to his films that really make them work. As a kid, I loved the D&D parts and also the Halloween stuff. Young Drew Barrymore stole the movie, in my opinion, with her adorably funny scenes.

10. Hardware - I couldn't resist putting this little known movie here. It is a very well done Australian low-budget flick that is a little like a scarier version of The Terminator, only funner. A scavenger in a post-Apocalyptic world picks up the remnants of a destroyed machine out in the war zone, thinking the scraps might make his artist girlfriend happy. She loves it and begins using the parts in one of her metal sculptures. However, the scrap turns out to have been an advanced type of new war machine, and once it can get access to electricity, it can piece itself back together. And it sees everyone as a threat. I love the dirty pig of a next door neighbor!

I couldn't end things without naming some others I really like: Brazil, The Matrix, The Terminator (1 and 2), Children of Men. I didn't bother with cartoons, or I might have added Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and I also left off zombie films and such, as they don't seem like sci-fi to me.

What favorites of yours did I leave off?


  1. Some that might be worth considering: 2001, Jurassic Park, Clockwork Orange, Total Recall, Sleeper, Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (joke! obviously the original).


  2. I've seen all of those except Sleeper. I like Jurassic Park okay, though it doesn't feel like sci-fi to me, despite some sci-fi elements. I got bored with 2001 and Clockwork. Total recall was sort of fun, but not great. The ape men just looked too silly to me to enjoy that last movie.

  3. I fall asleep during Blade Runner every time I try to watch it.

    I wall add my vote for the original Planet of the Apes and also throw The Fifth Element into the mix.

  4. Loved Alien/Aliens and Road Warrior is one of my favorite movies, but I have never seen Blade Runner. *hangs head in shame*

  5. no Enemy Mine or Mars Attacks?

  6. never seen quite a few of these.

    i bet the hits thing has a lot to do with people searching specific movies or actors or things like that... i don't know. it will be an interesting experiment.

    i love firefly and serenity so much!!! and back to the future!!! i had such a crush on christopher lloyd back in the day! :)

  7. Oooh, Serenity. Possibly my all-time favorite. *sigh* And Alien/Aliens. Classic. And Blade Runner, *of course*.

    I'm also partial to Pitch Black, The Matrix, District 9, and the Resident Evil films. Plus the older B&W classics like The Day the Earth Stood Still.

    Geez, my list would probably have to be 100 movies long.

  8. Ooh, and John Carpenter's The Thing. That would definitely go in my top 10.


  9. Aliens is by far my favorite. ET...always. That's what got me hooked on sci-fi. Enemy Mine is a wonderful movie. I liked Mad Max, not so happy with Back to the Future. It got silly. I'll counter that with Time Cop or Time Line. Time Travel is always exciting. Star Wars is a yes. You mentioned Matrix. I always considered that more of a fantasy because of the improbability that we are all living in a dream world, unless you're using metaphysics to explain it. Regardless, it was a great movie. Thanks for sharing. If you ever do fantasy movies, I'll have a ton for you.

  10. Galaxy Quest. Best Star Trek rip-off ever. And on that subject, Nemesis, where Data gets killed. Not because he dies, but because it's a great movie.

  11. @Martin Willoughby

    I hated it when they killed Data. He was the best character. He was almost human. We were stuck with the Mickey Mouse brand after that. Yes it alludes to the fact that he will become like Data, but we were left hanging.

  12. Yeah, as Moody said, Jurassic Park. Also Avatar and Inception I think should be in the list somewhere. What about Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Raiders of the Lost Ark? The Matrix?

  13. Aliens hits number one for me every time. Hardware was... different. Even saw it in the theater.

  14. I would definitley add The Thing and District 9 to that list.

  15. I pretty much have to agree with Blade Runner as number one. But yeah, 5th Element and Enemy Mine might hit top, depending on my mood. Who wouldn't love ET?

    Can't say I consider Planet of the Apes sic-fi either - just cuz it started out in a space ship. More of an alternative reality. Or given its debute era, experimental. Still a good movie.

    All good stuff Ted.

    PS: I love your writing posts :) And the travel centered ones too. OK; I like your blog.


  16. Sorry, everyone! I tried responding last night, but Google wasn't letting me log in.

    Joseph, I like 5th Element, but it doesn't beat out the others on the list for me. I didn't get into Planet of the Apes; the ape costumes were just so bad.

    L.G., you've got to try Blade Runner someday when you can relax, lay back and let that amazing music flow over you. It's not for everyone, but for those who like it, it is the best.

    Budd, I like Mars Attacks, but not enough for my top ten. I haven't seen Enemy Mine (I don't think).

    Margo, I should have mentioned Pitch Black in my honorable mention. I thought District 9 was so-so. I don't consider Resident Evil to be sci-fi, though I like the original quite a bit. I don't consider any zombie flicks sci-fi for the most part.

    mooderino, I LOVE The Thing, but it is horror to me.

    Laila, guess I must check out Enemy Mine. I didn't like Timeline much and it was closer to fantasy to me, even with the time travel elements. It just felt too low budget. Haven't seen Time Cop.

    Martin, I never could get into Star Trek or its spin-offs. If forced to watch, I can like it okay, but it just doesn't feel like a realistic future to me.

    Michael, I know I am one of the only ones, but I didn't like Inception. Avatar was brilliant eye-candy (I watched it in 3D in London!) but the story was lamely written. Close Encounters I like, but not in my top ten. Raiders is not sci-fi to me; it's adventure! I listed The Matrix in my honorable mentions.

    mshatch, I love The Thing, but it is horror to me. District 9 was okay, IMO.

    Donna, I really need to check out Enemy Mine!

  17. Oh, how could I forget Moon.