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And best Science Fiction films? January 11, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Here’s a list from Wired of the best Science Fiction films of 1970 to 2019. Not a huge amount of disagreement – not sure Star Trek First Contact deserves to be on the list, I’d have thought the Motion Picture is more SF (or Undiscovered Country) but hey. Primer is great. Children of Men as well. And Tarkovsky is a winner in my book. Missing in action? Well, Dark City could be in there. Predator likewise. And Star Wars too – or better The Empire Strikes Back or Rogue One. Serenity. Galaxy Quest. Source Code. The first Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And if we’re looking at animation, the Girl Who Leapt Through Time from 2006 is a gem. Funny isn’t it, already we’ve twenty odd years of that most futuristic of times (for me at least), the 21st century.

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1. Dermot M O Connor - January 11, 2020

Second Invasion of Body Snatchers. Seemed to predict in a really uncanny manner the conversion of SF into the techbro dystopia that it is today – watch as messy, dirty but creative individuals (even the homeless guy plays the guitar) are replaced, one by one, with replicas who are efficient and emotionless. Yeeeeeeek. Coming soon to a city near you, if not already there.

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2020

I always thought it super creepy.

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2. Robert - January 11, 2020

Lists like this are always arbitrary, and one can always pick holes if one is determined. And I’m determined, so I’ll pick holes and mention a few that deserve to be there; notably Cronocrimines, Silent Running, Dredd, Psycho Pass (the series and film)… I’m sure we could all go on and list twenty more if given the time to ponder.

For the record, I absolutely would not include on that list First Contact, Ex Machina, A Scanner Darkly, Wall-E or Scanners. Really, if Scanners didn’t have the one shot of an exploding head it’d have nothing going for it; Ex Machina was an attempt at profundity that failed miserably; A Scanner Darkly had none of the ambiguity of the book and gave us a standard – albeit pretty – tale. Stopping now lest I start talking about First Contact and my language gets intemperate.

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2020

Heheh, I share your pain. And I’d agree too, re FC, ASD etc,

That’s a great point re Silent Running and Dredd is a fine film.

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Dermot M O Connor - January 12, 2020

Re FIRST CONTACT, if you haven’t seen Plinkett’s 4 part review (takedown) of it, it’s worth a watch. He got first noticed for his epic ‘Phantom Menace’ review, which was as long as the PM itself, and a lot more entertaining. Anyway he’s a huge ST fan as well as having a good eye for what makes a movie work and language of film – another one of those middle america film commentators like the MST3K guys.

His review of ‘Generations’ has some terrific explanations of why the films were so different from the show. Playlist below includes links on sidebar to all of the ST reviews.

If that’s all too long, this link should take you to a really funny side by side, with the ancient artifact from TNG and its appearance in Generations:

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Dermot M O Connor - January 12, 2020

Gah, ignore vid 2 above the direct link to timecode didn’t work – here’s the URL, shuttle to 5m 04s for the part marked LAZY:

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3. NFB - January 12, 2020

Leaving Star Wars off is asinine. A lot of the films on that post ’77 wouldn’t exist without its influence (take Luc Besson’s Fifth Element, listed, as an example, he has directly cited the opening shot of A New Hope as the moment he decided to become a film-maker). Whether you like the franchise or not, its impact on the genre and the medium is so utterly gigantic that ignoring it can only be seen as making some kind of snide dig.

Some random observations
-Saw The Andromeda Strain in the IFI two years ago. Wasn’t impressed: very slow, very dull and doesn’t capture the sense of tension in Michael Crichton’s novel.
-Aliens is better than Alien.
-I’ve always found Blade Runner, and its sequel, to be wonderful visually but just above average in many other respects. The first is the best example going for a film that its creator can’t leave alone.
-Re-watched The Terminator recently. I’ve always loved it, but GF hated it, citing moments of bad visual effects (specifically Arnie’s rubber face), bad romance plot and terrible music.
-First Contact is fine for what it is – sci-fi action movie – but Picard gunning down Borg with a Tommy Gun is a poor representation of what Star Trek is supposed to be. Weirdly, I’d say Insurrection is a better TNG-era representation of that while being a worse movie in its own right.
-I love The Fifth Element, even Chris Tucker.
-I really dislike Contact.
-Re-watched The Matrix recently, and that really does hold-up. Need to give the sequels another shot ahead of the planned continuation.
-I’d have Snowpiercer off there. Dramatically over-rated, butchering a class warfare theme in a ridiculous premise.
-Midnight Special is a good premise that is executed not well.

As for whats missing: Joss Whedon’s Serenity is on my top 5 all time. The Wrath of Khan is TOS era Star Trek doing First Contact right. Dredd nailed its source material. Jurassic Park not being on there is almost as bad as Star Wars. Attack The Block, The Iron Giant, and maybe more recently See You Yesterday are all things I would consider.

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WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2020

Yes, the Fifth Element is a fantastic film. And as you say, if they don’t have SW then they’re missing a huge aspect of this – I think SW-ANH is a very fine film indeed on its own merits.

That’s disappointing about the Andromeda Strain, haven’t seen it in decades and got the DVD earlier in the year but havben’t got around to watching it. I love Terminator but prefer the second. Agree re Blade Runner, far far too self-conscious, but amazing visuals. Contact is meh. The Matrix excellent, the second one sold and the third not great but not awful. I like Aliens but still think the first is a better film (though in fairness they’re in two distinct genres in a way). I think that there’s a studied aspect to some of these lists – simply togenerate controversy.

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