View Poll Results: Which is THE best sci-fi film?

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  • Blade Runner

    13 24.53%
  • Star Wars: A New Hope

    11 20.75%
  • Alien (original/1979)

    6 11.32%
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    23 43.40%
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    0 0%
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Thread: Which is THE best sci-fi film?

  1. #1
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    Smile Which is THE best sci-fi film?

    Hopefully I'll get this set up right (poll). Here are the choices; your all-time favorite might not be in the list (5 max choices), but please choose which you like best of these 5:

    1. Blade Runner
    2. Star Wars: A New Hope
    3. Alien (original/1979)
    4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    I voted Blade Runner. The older I get the more I appreciate this masterpiece; see/realize something new about the film every viewing (about once a year). Always enjoyable. And I'm glad Vangelis provided the soundtrack.

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  2. #2
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    Well, since it's the only one I've seen in full and I loved it, I'll vote for Star Wars: A New Hope.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
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  3. #3
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    2001, definitely.

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    I enjoyed Star Wars so much I'd be willing to watch it again.

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    2001: Intelligent, intriguing, influential ...

    (as Cole Porter might have put it on a bad day).

  6. #6
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    Well, that's a hard one.

    I love Blade Runner and of course I voted for it. Visually, the movie is strong and beautiful, and philosophically as well. But - in the frame of the question, what is the best Sci-Fi film, I am not sure. Storywise there are gaping plotholes and the science part isn't very pronounced. Science fiction isn't all about the science of course, but more about the "what if?", but in any case the writer has a few things to explain about the replicants.
    When it comes to influential, Star Wars is probably responsible for rebooting science fiction and making it mainstream. But when it comes to hard science and what would be the most iconic representative of Scifi, it's 2001.

    So, well, in the end I voted for my favourite movie. I don't think there's a definitive answer to the question unless you specify what exactly you are looking for.


  7. #7
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    I had to look it up: I hadn't realized the original 1977 Star Wars was renamed Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. I thought perhaps there was an episode I had missed. It will always be just Star Wars to me.

    However, much as I liked all five, my vote went to 2001.

  8. #8
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    Blade Runner. An intelligent story, much like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but with action to keep someone like me interested.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    I voted Blade Runner. The older I get the more I appreciate this masterpiece; see/realize something new about the film every viewing (about once a year). Always enjoyable. And I'm glad Vangelis provided the soundtrack.
    Which of the five-plus versions are you talking about? They're quite different.

    For me it suffers from my reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? before seeing it.
    To me that movie is the boringly unimportant action that were left after they threw out all the interesting bits.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    To me that movie is the boringly unimportant action that were left after they threw out all the interesting bits.
    I haven't read Androids yet, but that's largely how Blade Runner felt to me. It started off as this amazing film with a stunning setting and a fascinating premise, and then somewhere in the middle it got distracted and trailed off into a mire of the usual action movie fare.

    Needless to say I voted for 2001, which has almost no action scenes.

  11. #11
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    For me, 2001 beat those other movies handily.

    1. Blade Runner - Not bad (my runner-up) even if it is the standard robot/android run amok plot.
    2. Star Wars: A New Hope - Fantasy/adventure and not true science fiction.
    3. Alien (original/1979) - Horror movie in space. The first part was marvelous though.
    4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind - Too much goofiness.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    Well, that's a hard one.
    I agree that's tough. I could justify four out of five of them for various reasons (I wouldn't personally rank Close Encounters with the other four).

    2001 is in a lot of ways the best science fiction. And seeing it when first released (as a 10 year old) was unbelievable.

    Star Wars in some ways is more of a fantasy (sword & sorcery), but I've probably seen it more times than the others. I probably saw it more than a dozen times in the first year of its release.

    Blade Runner may be the best movie of the four (as everything else, IMHO) and has a classic film noir style that is beautiful.

    Like Star Wars, in some ways Alien isn't SF, but more a horror movie with a SF look, but again, a great movie.
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  13. #13
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    Alien was the biggest letdown. Up until the thing popped out of the chest it was great, then it was Ten Little Indians in Space (When I am King, all ventilation ducts will be OUTLAWED).

    Star Wars was great fun (I loved it and still do), but it wasn't a great science fiction movie. Rollicking adolescent adventure.

    Blade Runner, like Alien, created a great atmoshpere, then (as Henrik noted) threw away most of what made the Dick story so interesting.

    Close Encounters was very pretty to look at. But I couldn't reconcile the cute, benevolent aliens with randomly brainwashing and kidnapping people.

    2001 looked at the inadequacy of humans against the Universe. It made a significant attempt to get the idea across that real space voyages will be long and for the most part boring. It offered a bit of brain candy in trying to figure out the overall meaning (Is the monolith the White Whale? Is HAL Captain Ahab? Is Bowman Ishmael? Is the Star Child benevolent or malevolent?).

    Going with the last one.

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    The problem I see with a lot of our conceptions of what makes a "great" science fiction movie is that we're being a bit brutal about what qualifies as "science fiction".

    Really, sci-fi is just a filter through which you tell a story. Most science fiction movies and stories are just allegories of more standard plots woven around a little advanced technology.

    To me, Star Wars is more than just a swords and sorcery flick with some flashy sword blades. Taken as a whole (and not immediately shoved out an airlock), its a reasonably able try at building a story around the concept of a tragic hero (Anakin). If Lucas could have dislodged his head from his inner marketing genius's backside, he might have put one in the same ballpark as the story of Hercules or Jason and the Argonauts. He lost sight of the story in an effort to make the series profitable, not the first time someone's done that, won't be the last. Rumor has it that a lot of storytelling scenes from the prequels ended up on the cutting room floor, I'd love to see some seriously extended editions of these that maybe put some of that back into it to see what Lucas was trying to say, rather than what he was trying to sell...

    As for the monoliths, having read the books through 3001, they've been utterly demystified and reduced to a hideous archetype to me. Their actions in 2001 can be distilled down to a bad cross between Colossus from the Forbin Project and Skynet. Arthur's getting a little cynical in his dotage.

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    Actually, Arthur's getting a little composted.

    I was looking at the movie as a separate entity. The screenplay book offered a parallel story/commentary, but isn't needed.

    The sequels, like the sequels to Rendezvous with Rama, weren't needed, either.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike alexander View Post
    Actually, Arthur's getting a little composted.

    I was looking at the movie as a separate entity. The screenplay book offered a parallel story/commentary, but isn't needed.
    I believe I remember that Clarke himself said that the book was his interpretation of the story of the movie, but that it wasn't the only possible interpretation.

    The sequels, like the sequels to Rendezvous with Rama, weren't needed, either.
    I always felt that 2001 (both the movie and the book) should stand alone and should never have had sequels. I did read the first Rama sequel, hated it, and vowed never to read anything else coauthored by Gentry Lee.

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  17. #17
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    I don't see Androids and Blade Runner as even similar stories at all. It helps.


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    I did read the first Rama sequel, hated it, and vowed never to read anything else coauthored by Gentry Lee.
    I was in so much pain I tried going through the text backwards to unread it.

  19. #19
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    Which of the five-plus versions are you talking about? They're quite different.
    The original theatrical release, and 2007's Final Cut. Different final scenes, no narration in 2007 FC.

    For me it suffers from my reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? before seeing it.
    To me that movie is the boringly unimportant action that were left after they threw out all the interesting bits.
    You know, I was going to read that novel this week and then decided against it because I don't want to "see" the movie in a potentially very different light afterwards. I don't want to do that comparison with it (am picky about what movies I do like for starters; why mess with a favorite of mine?). However, I have (yesterday) bought 2 other PKD novels: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (so far so VERY good) and The Man in the High Castle.
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  20. #20
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    I think it won't matter so much when you know they're different stories and treat them as jokergirl suggested.
    I didn't have the advantage of knowing I should do that when I saw it so got very disappointed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler View Post
    The problem I see with a lot of our conceptions of what makes a "great" science fiction movie is that we're being a bit brutal about what qualifies as "science fiction".

    Really, sci-fi is just a filter through which you tell a story. Most science fiction movies and stories are just allegories of more standard plots woven around a little advanced technology.
    Orson Scott Card defined SF, as opposed to fantasy, as being a stylistic kind of thing more than a realism kind of thing. Basically, it's like this.

    If the wizard waves his magic wand and pronounces a spell, and zap--you go back in time in a puff of smoke, it's fantasy.

    If a scientist who is nicknamed "The Wizard" because of his genius, speaks the correct words into a voice authentication system, then uses his pointing stick to push the button to start the time machine, and you are exchanged with a similar volume of matter sometime in the past, and that volume of matter turns out to be smoke, it's SF.

    Card said, it's the "rivets" that make it SF, that it's machinery, not magic.

    Not that SF doesn't get kind of fantastic sometimes....

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdvance View Post
    Orson Scott Card defined SF, as opposed to fantasy, as being a stylistic kind of thing more than a realism kind of thing. Basically, it's like this.

    If the wizard waves his magic wand and pronounces a spell, and zap--you go back in time in a puff of smoke, it's fantasy.

    If a scientist who is nicknamed "The Wizard" because of his genius, speaks the correct words into a voice authentication system, then uses his pointing stick to push the button to start the time machine, and you are exchanged with a similar volume of matter sometime in the past, and that volume of matter turns out to be smoke, it's SF.

    Card said, it's the "rivets" that make it SF, that it's machinery, not magic.

    Not that SF doesn't get kind of fantastic sometimes....
    Interesting. Issac Asimov had a different take on it. IIRC, he said something along the lines of "if you break one law of physics, its science fiction, if you break multiple laws of physics, its fantasy".
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  23. #23
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    Interesting.

    I've always seen SF as a "what if" story more than anything else - the "what if" can be "what if all male humans suddenly vanished off the face of the earth?" as much as it can be "what if books are outlawed?" or "What would we find if humans ventured into space?"

    So it's a broad subject, of which technology is merely a tiny part - it can be magic as much as you want it as long as it's internally consistent and people react to it in a believable way, they don't just go "Oh, you can levitate, cool!" but actually try to use it and see what the limits of it are. The difference to fantasy to me is that most fantasy stories try to emulate a myth - an old story, familiar structures like feudalism, archetypes, etc- and so are more wish fulfillment stories than they are meant to shake you up and make you think.

    Just my two cents on the definition of Scifi.


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    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    I don't see Androids and Blade Runner as even similar stories at all. It helps.

    At the very least, the makers of Blade Runner had the decency to call it by a totally different name from the story it was inspired from.

    Which is more than can be said for I, Robot, which not only totally distorted its original story, but also used the same title as the book. When I purchased a copy of the book, for that matter, there was a picture of Will Smith with the tagline, "One man saw it coming"; something that had nothing to do with the story inside.

    I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that was just ridiculous.

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    It hasn't stopped the publishers of Androids to put the movie poster and title logo on later editions of the book.
    When I bought mine, I took specific care to choose a different edition.


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    Far as I know, don't the characters in Blade Runner at least appear in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in a similar way? I still disagree with it, but the thing about I, Robot is that there is no consistent main character, outside of one female scientist; there is no Will Smith character, and it's mainly a time line of how robots evolve and interact with the world around them (and how the world interacts back), so there is a definite dichotomy going on there.

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    The stories in I, Robot were basically detective mysteries, with a puzzle to solve in each predicated on the three laws of robotics.
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  28. #28
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    Well, the only character that was mostly unaltered is Deckard, and he's (more likely than not) human, married, and has a sheep.
    Most of the others didn't even keep their names in full.


  29. #29
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    And the nature of his marriage was altered quite a lot.
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  30. #30
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    WALL-E
    The Terminator
    Back to the Future

    Actually, I've just listed the most recent scifi movies I've seen. I will absolutely love a good scifi movie around the time I'm watching it, but it's hard to say over the long term, what I prefer more.

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