I could actually only think of twenty one films at all. The Cell (2000) is the one that didn't make the grade. I think it is a better film than, say, Serenity but that film was the only example of a space opera I could think of that wasn't total shit. And I've abandoned the informal "one book per author" rule, Mamoru Oshii gets three picks.
Note big gap covering whole of the first half of the Nineties. Wasn't
there anything good at all?
Total Recall? Jurassic Park? I would probably have Terminator 2 in there.
The Abyss? Not Aliens (which would be my choice) or Terminator 2? Also, The Butterfly Effect? I mean, it's a hell of a lot better than it has any right being, but I'd certainly dump it in favor of The Cell.
OK, just answered my own question - Aliens is from 1986. But I still might choose Terminator 2 over The Abyss.
I've not actually seen WALL-E...
S'OK, it still belongs there.
On the other hand, what is the matter with you? Get thee to a movie theatre and/or DVD rental store!
I was all set to argue with this list, but it's got all my favourite SF films of the last 20 years on it. Cunning.
I'm pleased to see Gattaca, Strange Days, Twelve Monkeys, Children of Men and Dark City there (very tempted by the new Director's Cut of the latter). There are several films on this list I own but haven't watched yet -- Pi, Primer, A Scanner Darkly -- and a couple I haven't actually heard of -- Avalon, Natural City.
Possibly The Incredibles (2004) is an omission if that counts as SF, but then you open the can of worms that is superheroes being SF. Other possible omissions: Donnie Darko (2001), The Iron Giant (1999), Delicatessen (1991), Minority Report (2002), Galaxy Quest (1999), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004).
I might have been sneakingly tempted to put Cube (1997) and Pitch Black (2000) on there, despite them being dumb, but not in preference to the films you've got.
In my heart of hearts I'm not sure Serenity is important enough to be on that list, love it tho' I do.
Second The Incredibles (though I guess you would have to choose between it and Wall-E, and I'd probably lean towards the latter), Donnie Darko, The Iron Giant (though see again re: Wall-E) and Galaxy Quest.
Let's crowdsource this! The top 50 sci-fi films from imdb minus stuff too old or already mentioned:
V for Vendetta
The Man from Earth
Howl's Moving Castle
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Truman Show
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
The Iron Giant
Abre los ojos
Hmm. Well, how strict do you want to be about SFness?
Argh! Are superheroes SF? If so I should definitely include this.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Never heard of this.
This film doesn't exist because I wasn't allowed to see it.
The Iron Giant
I didn't love this as much as everyone else but still tempting.
I know I may be the only person on the planet to think this, but I'm Not There is a Science Fiction film, its an explicit alternate history which is incredibly rare in film (unless you count Hollywood's the Americans did everything of note during the war approach) and a great film. It has to be on the list.
Also a very different take on the end of the world scenario, Don McKellar's Last Night.
I'd go with 'Pitch Black' and 'The Core' over a few of the aforementioned. Both have questionable plots, but IMO the acting is decent and are *fun* science fiction.
'The Core' actually has characters allowed to be [however improbably] intelligent and the 'villains' are also allowed to be intelligent [albeit unethical]. My least favorite thing is when villains are made stupid for no good reason.
Interestingly, I was just thinking of The Abyss earlier today, and what sentimental aliens they were.
I haven't seen Avalon, Natural City, The Butterfly Effect, or Primer...so cannot comment on those.
Some other comments: I believe Akira was 1988. Also, your view of the Solaris remake? Also, if those anime films are included, what about Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke? Does the Blade Runner remake deserve inclusion? Also, Pan's Labyrinth excluded on fantastical grounds?
Glad none of the Star Wars films make the cut. :-)
EDIT: Oh, and if a technological element is required, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence did a very nice job of narrating multiple philosophical questions about humanity, identity, and robot empathy.
Edited at 2008-09-04 02:40 am (UTC)
If I were going to include The Abyss it would be the Special Edition, despite having been disowned by James Cameron, because it's a much more coherent film i.e. the ending makes sense.
Given that the equivalent book lists separated Fantasy into its own category, I'd have a hard time arguing that Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke or Pan's Labyrinth are SF. I'd tend to argue against Howl's Moving Castle too: it does at least have some SF elements (the multi-dimensional portal, the mechanical castle, the abuse of technology), but unlike, say, Nausicaä (which is too old to include) it feels more Fantasy than SF.
Including Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence in addition to Ghost in the Shell feels like overkill -- one or the other would probably suffice (though I haven't actually seen Innocence).
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Strange Days (1995)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Dark City (1998)
The Iron Giant (1999)
The Matrix (1999)
Battle Royale (2000)
Natural City (2003)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Children Of Men (2006)
I'm still umming and arring about the SFness of The Prestige and The Incredibles. I should probably drop one of the Oshiis for balance. And it is a shame not to have an space opera.
2008-09-05 06:50 am (UTC)
Re: Second Draft
I approve of this list, including Delicatessen's inclusion. But, umm, Battle Royale? SFnal? Arguably a different class of The Running Man is all.