Welcome to the next installment of Tom’s greatest science fiction movies. Last week we talked about the BEST ten. Now let’s delve down a little deeper. I mean we haven’t even gotten to Star Trek or Star Wars, for goodness sake.
At #11 we have a six-way tie
#11 Children of Men – Rating 8.3
This is a dark as heck movie that creeped me out from beginning to end. It isn’t a movie I’d watch very often (despite constantly rewatching other movies) but the concept and execution on this one had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
#11 Handmaid’s Tale – Rating 8.3
NOTE: This is only about the movie, I never watched the
series. This is one of the darkest, foulest movies I’ve ever had to privilege
to watch. If you don’t mind the plug, I found the imagery similar to what I
wrote in “Wayward School.” I did say, wrote (past tense). I wrote it
long before Handmaid’s Tale but only published the book recently.
Enough about my book… This story envisions a future where women who can bear children are suborned as slaves and breeding cows for those of society who can. Definitely a movie you have to watch at least once.
#11 The Martian – Rating 8.3
I have to say I’d all but given up on HARD science fiction that was internally consistent, that wasn’t exaggerated for drama until I saw this movie. I, by temperament, find the things that don’t work rather than those that do. I find the bad, rather than the good. It is rare I see a movie and don’t find a dozen or many more errors, either technical or consistency. However, in The Martian I found only two.
#11 Sucker Punch – Rating 8.3
This visually evocative and emotional movie is both a rollercoaster action flick (with a nice anime crossover) but also a disturbing ride through the emotional troubles of anyone in such a situation. I love the nod to David Carradine as a key player in the dream sequences.
#11 Yesterday – Rating 8.3
Many will question why I make this a science fiction movie but are talking about either alternate history or parallel universes. The basic premise (no spoiler really) is that a down on his luck musician gets injured. When he wakes he finds that the Beatles (and other things) have never existed… yet he remembers them. Great feel-good movie!
#11 Lord of the Rings – Rating 8.3
I’ll be surprised at anyone who hasn’t seen the movies. I will make a horrific admission that I’ve never read any of the books except the Hobbit. I didn’t care for the writing of Tolkein. The world he fashioned is incredible but not his prose (IMHO). The movies are a visual smorgasbord of scifi/fantasy love. The drama is over the top! Gotta love it.
#17 The Stand – Rating 8.2
I love the combination of science, horror, and drama in this movie series. I would say that it is one of the best screen adaptations of a King original novel that I’ve seen. While not a fan of horror, this still brings it home in a way I can accept. Add the twists of the movie and you have a fan favorite!
Our next place has a ten-way tie.
#18 Predestination – Rating 8
One of the grandmasters of science fiction, Robert Heinlein wrote a short story called “All you Zombies.” This is an adaptation of that story. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that it is one of the only adaptations of his works that is worth a flying fuck. Starship Troopers was a joke. Even Puppet Masters didn’t live up to anything worthwhile. This one is a fully-integrated, mind-bending time travel movie that is internally consistent with itself (very rare).
#18 Blade Runner – Rating 8
No greatest scifi list would be complete without this epic work. I, however, will break with the pack and say that my favorite version of this is the one WITH the voice-over. It gives so much depth that the other versions leave on the cutting room floor. I will also say I enjoyed the sequel.
#18 Edge of Tomorrow (aka Live, Die, Repeat) – Rating 8
More action than a basketful of kittens. More time travel fun than a basket of puppies. This future classic just makes one warm all over. The premise is awesome and deserves your attention
#18 Groundhog Day – Rating 8
Honestly the predecessor to Edge of Tomorrow. The scifi portion is never explained, but it is delightful. And with Bill Murray as our protagonist? Drop the mic.
#18 Mad Max – Rating 8
I love (good) post-apocalyptic movies. The original Road Warrior and its sequel must have been made on a shoestring budget but they told an exceptional story of the world going to hell and one man fighting against the tide before becoming swept up in it.
#18 Men in Black – Rating 8
A surprisingly high number on my list. The camp in this movie made it a delightful romp in hilarity. It abused many of our scifi tropes into humor. I will admit I’ve not seen the third movie so I can’t comment.
#18 Resident Evil – Rating 8
I DON’T LIKE ZOMBIE MOVIES! As they are written, most zombie apocs couldn’t have gotten beyond the initial presentation, much less take over the world. That being said, I liked the RE series as an action-adventure.. kind of like the second Alien movie, Aliens, is action-adventure rather than horror. This fills in the same spot. Besides, what isn’t to like about Milla Jovovich kicking ass and taking names.
#18 The Thing (John Carpenter’s version) – Rating 8
One of three movies that actually scared the shit out of me. Granted, Kurt Russell’s acting leaves much to be desired, but the movie played to his strengths, kind of like ST:TNG’s Riker plays to Jonathan Frake’s single strength as an actor. If the movie had enough horror to scare me (the horror rock), then it works! I found the remake a trite piece of trash.
#18 Unbreakable – Rating 8
Think Sixth Sense meets the Dark Knight. A dark superhero movie that doesn’t present as a superhero movie. When I saw it originally I had no idea what it was about but had recommendations to see it. How might a superhero find out he has powers?
#18 Transcendence – Rating 8
High-tech drama with many lovely twists and some good acting by Johnny Depp. Is technology evil? Be careful what you wish for.
Come back next time when I will start from my 28th favorite and continue to dip down. I STILL haven’t gotten to Star Wars or Star Trek.