Best SF Movies Ever?

Over at AMC, John Scalzi points out that AFI has released a top ten list of films from the SF and Fantasy genre, and he’s written a new Top Ten List featuring films made since 1991:

“One interesting thing about the list, however, is that it stops 17 years ago; the latest film to be included on the list is Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which hit screens in 1991. On one hand, this makes perfect sense, because it really does take time to find out which films are influential and which ones aren’t…On the other hand, there have been a fair number of genuinely excellent science fiction films since Arnold had his Terminator self dipped in hot metal, and it seems a shame to not give a shout out to them.”

Fifth Element seems to have a lot of the popular vote, as does the Matrix, but what do Futurismic readers think? Which movies would you add to or remove from that list?

One of the interesting aspects of written word SF is its ability to take up social problems in an SFnal context.  But the same ideas don’t translate well to the big screen, and what we end up with are inaccurate disaster thrillers like The Day After Tomorrow.  Are there any SF movies that take up ideas and social problems without forsaking the spectacle and CGI that run amok in a lot of SF?  

11 thoughts on “Best SF Movies Ever?”

  1. Forbidden Planet is one of the best SF films of all time. It should be on any of the top-10 lists. It sure beats the pants off of E.T., anyway.

  2. Primer and Pi get my vote. They don’t have any spaceships, though, which might be why they lack the popular vote…

  3. Meet the Robinsons. Seriously. For three reasons:
    1) Design by William Joyce.
    2) Color by Robh Ruppel.
    3) While watching it, my daughter exclaimed “If that’s the future, I want to live there!” That pretty much sums up everything good I remember about science fiction.

  4. I’d like to throw in Mamoru Oshii’s work into the mix. The original Ghost In The Shell was a pretty faithful adaptation of the manga and probably almost as influential as Blade Runner in some circles.

    The sequel was more polished, more thoughtful and all around better, but it didn’t qhite reach the lofty heights of its predecessor in terms of novelty, so I’d have to rank in lower in that regard.

    Another quite interesting movie by him, and this time live action and thus more palatable to be included in traditional lists, is Avalon. It’s an excellent movie which I recommend to anyone interested in SF/Cyberpunk/MMORPGs 🙂

    And I’d also like to throw in another vote for Gattaca, it’s one of the more thoughtful SF movies out there. Oh, and Strange Days was pretty good as well, probably the closest Hollywood has ever come to ‘getting’ cyberpunk.

  5. I think 5th Element‘s appeal is primarily visual; it’s not the greatest story ever told, but it’s coherent imagery and look is one of the closest approximations of words-on-a-page sensawunda that I can think of. Same applies to the Dune movie; mangled story, but it looked fantastic.

  6. I’d say Gattaca is the best SF film that blatantly deals with a social conundrum.

    For sheer entertainment, I’d have to add to 5th Element. I was a teen when it came out, and my taste in movies was different then. I think seeing it for the first time now, I might not like it. But I get all nostalgic when it’s on.

    I’d also like to add Cowboy Bebop: the movie, since no one else has put it forward. The series is better, but since we’re on movies here… I mean seriously, spaceship-based broke bounty hunters set to various music genres, that’s awesome!

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