Lack of good SciFi movies

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  • #26
alxm
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Sorry, did you just call Logan's Run and Soylent Green "crap"?
Yup. (To begin with: Charlton Heston and Michael York are horrible actors IMO)

These are films that left an indelible impression on a generation. They are classics.
You could say the same about "Animal House", but I still wouldn't consider it a cinematic masterpiece.
 
  • #27
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It would be fascinating to see some of Clarke's other and arguably better works as movies, like "Rendezvous with Rama".
Actually Morgan Freeman was going to be led cast in this movie in 2008-9, but due to lack of organization or perhaps motivation, but I guess it will never happen

In the early 2000s, actor Morgan Freeman expressed his desire to produce a film based on Rendezvous with Rama. After a drawn-out development process — which Freeman attributed to difficulties in procuring funding — it appeared in 2003 this would indeed be happening.[2] IMDb at one point upgraded the status of the project to "announced" with an estimated release date in 2009.

In late 2008, David Fincher stated the movie is unlikely to be made. "It looks like it's not going to happen. There's no script and as you know, Morgan Freeman's not in the best of health right now. We've been trying to do it but it's probably not going to happen."[5] The IMDb page for the project has been removed.

In fact, the screen writers can draw a plethora of ideas from hundreds of good scifi novels by great authors. But it rarely happens.
 
  • #28
Ivan Seeking
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But Star Wars isn't sci-fi; it's Space Fantasy. It's not meant to speculate, it's meant to tell a traditional story.
In fact, it is a classic fairy tale of the struggle between good and evil.

Brazil was awesome! (Though ultimately depressing.)
It was certainly a dark movie, but I was amazed that they were able to successfully satirize subjects like terrorism. Also, the retro-futuristic setting was one of the most unique ideas that I've ever seen used. It was interesting that they never tried to explain this.

It must have taken place in a Galaxy far, far away.
 
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  • #29
Janus
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  • #31
It was certainly a dark movie, but I was amazed that they were able to successfully satirize subjects like terrorism. Also, the retro-futuristic setting was one of the most unique ideas that I've ever seen used. It was interesting that they never tried to explain this.

It must have taken place in a Galaxy far, far away.
I always wondered at the title until the other day I heard a folklorist on Coast to Coast mention Hy-Brazil. Seems to me that it is a kafka style satirization with the utopia the government is shooting for becoming a dystopia. I think it may actually supposed to be a future London. London is currently still run through with out dated electrical and plumbing(not all of it ofcourse but some of it). So we step into the future and London has updated its technology but it is still incredibly outdated.
 
  • #32
russ_watters
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If you're not concerned with scientific accuracy Bladerunner is one of the best scifi films. It delves into what it means to be human and what makes us human. I'm not sure if the message comes accross so clear in the movie though, I remember the book far better.
I tried to explain to a friend of mine the concept of scientific accuracy in movies and failed miserably. He didn't accept why some movies were allowed to violate scientific law and some weren't. It's an odd thing:

-If a movie tries to seem realistic (based in the present or near future, in a world that looks a lot like the one we live in), it should follow science ("The Core" - yikes!).
-If a movie embraces fantasy, then it is ok that it isn't accurate (Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner).
-Comic book movies can do whatever they want.
-Yes, James Bond really can do that!
 
  • #33
russ_watters
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The ending perhaps went overboard.
Yes, that's what I was talking about. I think if it had ended 10 minutes earlier, it would be on my top 10 list instead of somewhere around 20th (guess).
 
  • #34
russ_watters
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For me, movies like Star Wars are more fantasy than Sci-Fi.
True - based on the rules I posted above for scientific accuracy, you could simply say that those movies that are "required" to be somewhat scientifically accurate are sci-fi and the ones that can do whatever they want are fantasy.
 
  • #35
russ_watters
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The Matrix comes to mind as fulfilling your sci fi criteria, besides, perhaps, the hard science. When I first watched it, it blew my mind. I didn't care that much about the special effects, I thought the story and thought provoking ideas were great enough on their own.
Like the OP's perception of 2001, think The Matrix transcends the genre. By my criteria, it is one of the best sci-fi's ever (maybe the best) and when you throw in the philosophy of a good drama, it is in my top 5 best movies of any kind.

I would also recommend Gattaca, very subtle sci-fi, I liked it.
Nothing too crazy or that profound there, but a good movie nonetheless.
 
  • #36
russ_watters
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Slient Running
Short Circuit
Terminator
Alien
Aliens
Predator
Metropolis
Donnie Darko
Back to the Future
The Thing
E.T.
The Truman Show
Young Frankenstein
Planet of the Apes
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Day the Earth Stood Still
A Man From Earth
Twelve Monkeys
Blade Runner
Road Warrior
Gattaca
Minority Report
Contact
Dr Strangelove
Forbidden Planet
A Clockwork Orange
Brazil
The Fly
The Abyss
My opinion:

Slient Running - didn't see it
Short Circuit - lol, ok...the comedy/sci-fi mix was a cheezy '80s fad
Terminator - yes (uh... T-2?)
Alien - yes
Aliens - yes, yes
Predator - meh
Metropolis - didn't see it
Donnie Darko- didn't see it - keep forgetting to get it on netflix [click, click]
Back to the Future - yes - a rare good comedy/sci-fi combo
The Thing - didn't see it
E.T. - yes
The Truman Show - great movie - not sci-fi
Young Frankenstein - meh, part of the '80s comedy/sci-fi fad, but pretty good
Planet of the Apes - which one? (yes)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers - didn't see it
Day the Earth Stood Still - didn't see either
A Man From Earth - didn't see it
Twelve Monkeys - yes
Blade Runner - yes
Road Warrior - for some reason seeing the Truman Show on your list made me think of this....there's no advanced tech in it: it's fiction, but not science fiction. great movie, though.
Gattaca - yes
Minority Report - yes
Contact - yes
Dr Strangelove - again, not really sci fi, but great movie
Forbidden Planet - didn't see it
A Clockwork Orange - ugh, no. Kubrick made some good movies and in some movies, he just wanted you to know how insane he is...
Brazil - didn't see it
The Fly - yes. how old is Jeff Goldblum?!
The Abyss - Oh yes.
 
  • #37
russ_watters
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I never liked 2001 that much, even when it first came out. Way over hyped and over reviewed in my opinion. The pace was very slow. The scenes took way too long, especially where some special effect for a scene, like the expanding light bars near the end (what was that, like 10+ minutes of just one special effect?) 2010 wasn't that much better. Neither 2001 or 2010 had much of a storyline. Some of the "special effects", like the carousel based scene were too obvious, remember the Fred Astaire ceiling dance scene from a 1951 movie?
Janus said:
That was the intent. Kubrick was trying to make the movie a "visual experience", rather than the "filming of a story". He was trying to "think outside the box" of normal movie making.
I get that that was the intent, but I wasn't very impressed with it either. It almost seemed pretentious to me.
Jeff said:
The only movie slower than 2001 was probably THX 1138, especially the first 2 "segments". The modified Lola T70 used in the tunnel scenes was cool though.
Dunno, I really liked it, but don't remember the pace.
I was most impressed by the first Star Wars (episode IV) movie. I saw it before it received any hype. I was expecting another "B" movie like Buck Rodgers in the 21st century, but realised it was going to be good just based on the opening scene.
I'm too young to have experienced that, but I recognize that as the source of the movie's greatness. No one had ever seen anything like it. It must have been something to experience being blown away like that.
There were some cliche's, like the Falcon, the equivalent of a souped up hot rod that didn't look so hot, the seedy bar...
I have to disagree with you there. The junky hot rod is certainly cliche, but applying it to a sci-fi movie was groundbreaking. Lucas invented the concept and called it the "used future". Prior to that, most everything you saw in sci-fi movies was pristine. The "used future" concept was a key part of making you believe the movie could be a reality.
 
  • #38
russ_watters
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Hang on. You're talking apples & oranges (or at least, I think you should be).

Good sci-fi pushes the envelope of human sensibilities, exploring human nature. That's what all good speculative fiction (which id the super-set of sci-fi) does.

But Star Wars isn't sci-fi; it's Space Fantasy. It's not meant to speculate, it's meant to tell a traditional story.
I disagree because to me what you discribe doesn't provide any way to differentiate between what makes a good sci-fi and what makes a good drama. I think you (and the OP) are unnecessarily combining the genres (requiring them to be combined when IMO it is ok but not required to combine them). Ivan distinguished between sci-fi and fantasy, but maybe there is a 3rd and 4th subgenre, which fuses each of those with drama.
2001 is ground-breaking both in Fx but also in story, whereas Star Wars is really only ground-breaking in FX.
Well, that's why I was disappointed with 2001 - I didn't consider the story groundbreaking. Good sci-fi, disappointing drama.
 
  • #39
russ_watters
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Did I make enough posts...?
 
  • #40
You guys have some good points but I am particularly dismayed with the lack of hard spaced based sci-fi, most of those are just soap operas or drama shows that just happen to be set in space. The other stuff, social sci-fi and what not I don't know too much about.
My friend told me about a tv series called Space Above and Beyond that is apparently rather realistic. From his description it is similar in concept to Starship Troopers though much grittier and more realistic than the film adaptation.

I tried to explain to a friend of mine the concept of scientific accuracy in movies and failed miserably. He didn't accept why some movies were allowed to violate scientific law and some weren't. It's an odd thing:

-If a movie tries to seem realistic (based in the present or near future, in a world that looks a lot like the one we live in), it should follow science ("The Core" - yikes!).
-If a movie embraces fantasy, then it is ok that it isn't accurate (Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner).
-Comic book movies can do whatever they want.
-Yes, James Bond really can do that!
We can invoke Clarke... "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."




There was a rather interesting battle scene in a Greg Bear novel. It depicted a covert military strike on a space station. The battle took place in a voided airlock docking bay. They used laser rifles with silent invisible beams. So he describes this rather intense battle where fuel drums are being blown up and people are being cut down but the whole time there is an eerie silence broken only by transmitions on their radio headsets and there's no way to tell where the laser fire is being directed or is coming from. Described in the book its very exciting but I have the feeling that if such a scene were translated to film it would lose its intensity.
 
  • #41
Danger
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One thing that I should point out here, as a life-long Science Fiction fan, is that using the term 'Sci-Fi' for a good SF story is equivalent to calling a man's wife a whore. It's an incredibly offensive term. Something like 'The Core' is Sci-Fi. 'Star Wars' is Science Fantasy, which is perfectly acceptable in that genre. 'Salvage One' was Science Comedy, also acceptable. Something based upon true science is SF; something based upon psuedoscience or pure stupidity is Sci-Fi; something made for pure enjoyment with no regard to true science is Science Fantasy or Science Comedy. For instance, I loved 'Galaxy Quest', but it sure as hell isn't SF.
 
  • #42
jtbell
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I was most impressed by the first Star Wars (episode IV) movie.
I still vividly remember my first viewing of it. While I was in grad school, I worked one summer on an experiment at Stanford, and when my stint was done, I spent a couple of weeks in San Francisco, sightseeing etc. This was when the first Star Wars was still in a limited first-run showing in major cities only, in theaters that had a special "high end" sound system. The opening sequence just about flattened me into my seat.

Oddly enough, I don't think I've seen it all the way through since then. I never got around to buying any of the VHS or DVD versions. I'm now waiting for the first Blu-ray release so I can see it again in good picture and sound.
 
  • #43
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It's not really hard sci-fi, but Idiocracy was great.
 
  • #44
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Look everyone, the 60's gave us only 1 good (but not great) sci-fi and that's 2001: A Space Odyssey. But in the last decade there have been sci-fi films which are more thought provoking and deep. Examples are:

The Matrix
Artificial Intelligence
Gattacca
Terminator series
Serenity
I, Robot
Impostor
Thirteenth Floor
Contact
Minority Report
The Abyss

All these films have vastly expanded on the subject of Artificial intelligence and it's implication and consequence on Human society in detail, where as 2001 merely touched upon those issues.
 
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  • #45
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2001 was made in the 60's
 
  • #46
Ivan Seeking
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2001 was made in the 60's
You don't consider that a fairly recent movie? :uhh:
 
  • #47
Ivan Seeking
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Am I the only one who didn't like The Matrix?

I liked it better the first time when Descartes did it.
 
  • #48
alxm
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I haven't seen it, but I suspect the 1959 Swedish/American film http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Invasion_of_Lapland" [Broken] may be the best Sci-Fi film ever. Or at least the best title ever.

They've come to abduct our reindeer!
 
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  • #49
Ivan Seeking
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Last night we watched The Coneheads - one of the best Science Fiction comedies of all time! They sure got a lot of mileage from the original skit on SNL.

It is a bit like the movie Airplane. You have to watch closely as there is a good deal of humor subtly embedded in the background. But then other times the comedy is so in your face that it makes you cringe; like the scene where her water breaks, :rofl: and the scene where she is giving birth.

Have you ever been grabbed at the base of your snarklies?

Mmmmmmm, there is nothing like mammal flesh charred in a fire pit.
 
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