Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: My Favourite Sci-Fi Films

I touched briefly on my favourite sci-fi films in my introduction post, but I’d like to go into a little more detail this time. To start with, I have to admit that apart from the occasional film, most of my science fiction film viewing has been of more recent releases. I’m more than happy to take recommendations of any classics I may have missed. You’re more than welcome to join in and I’ve added an InLinkz widget at the bottom of the post, where you can share your own favourites! Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.
And now, in no particular order, my top ten sci-fi films, plus some honourable mentions – because I’m rubbish at deciding…

“The space vessel Nostromo and its crew receive a distress call from an alien planet. After searching for survivors, they head back home only to realize that a deadly alien life form has joined them.”

1. Alien – I would be completely amazed if any of you have never heard of this one! It’s a science fiction classic and inspired the ‘survival film’ genre. The entire film is set on the Nostromo, making the viewer feel very claustrophobic at times – especially when the alien is loose on the ship. With a whole bevy of shocks, including the infamous chest-burster scene, this is one film never to be forgotten.

“A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.”

2. Prometheus – the divisive prequel to the Alien movies, released last year, I absolutely loved this one despite its cheesiness and rather stupid characters (RUN TO THE SIDE YOU SILLY WOMAN!). The presentation of the film is brilliant – dark and mysterious, with flashes of blue and silver finishing up the colour scheme, and the original score by Marc Streitenfeld is perfect. Not to mention that Michael Fassbender does a fantastic job as David. I read in this month’s Empire magazine that there will be a Prometheus 2, so I’m pretty pumped for that!

“A paraplegic Marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.”

3. Avatar – if you haven’t heard of James Cameron’s Avatar, then you must have been living under a rock for the past couple of years. When it was released there was a lot of fuss over it, as it was shot through motion capture for the majority, came out in 3D (first 3D film I saw in the cinema) and used many new cinematic advances. When I first saw it I completely fell in love with Pandora – anyone want to move there with me? Whilst the story is a bit hit and miss in places, I don’t care because whilst watching it I just sit there soaking in the beautiful sights and sounds (thank you Mr. James Horner for the soundtrack).

“As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.”

4. War of the Worlds – yes, I actually like the 2005 adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic! I love the book, and think this puts quite a nice modern spin on it, transporting the action from London to the US (I forget where it starts but I know it ends in Boston). The utter helplessness of the human race against the tripods is both terrifying and fascinating, and the sounds that the tripods make in this film could haunt my nightmares!

“In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.”

5. Looper – two words: time travel. The explanation for time travel in this film is passed over, to make way for the consequences of altering the past, and how even small decisions can change the path you take, and somehow the explanation doesn’t really seem necessary. I thought this film was really clever, and it’s not particularly a ‘big scale’ science fiction film – as in the only futuristic technology we really see is the aspect of time travel, although telekinesis does come into it. It’s very gritty and delves more into character development than you might expect.

“A team of astronauts are sent to re-ignite the dying sun 50 years into the future.”

6. Sunshine – a highly underrated film that I absolutely love. Maybe there’s something wrong with me that I enjoy all these ‘survival’ type films so much: anywhere where small groups of people trapped in an enclosed are threatened by some sort of alien/mysterious force. There’s also a Doctor Who episode that really reminds me of this film – 42. So if you enjoyed that episode, give this wonderful film a shot!

“During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.”

7. Jurassic Park – I’m trying to work out when I first saw this film: it was released when I was three, and I think I must have been six or seven when I saw it. And ever since then, it has remained one of my favourites (one of my big ‘childhood three’ which also includes Jumanji and Mrs Doubtfire). I was one of those kids who loved dinosaurs and I collected gemstones and fossils, I even wanted to be a paleontologist for a while. I think this is what  lead me onto a love for history, and eventually archaeology, even though archaeology and paleontology are very different fields – don’t ever ask an archaeologist what dinosaurs we’ve dug up recently. Ever. There have been three films in the series so far, and they’re currently working on number four, for release in 2015. And if you haven’t read the book by Michael Crichton – do it.

“A man goes on the run after he discovers that he is actually a “harvestable being”, and is being kept as a source of replacement parts, along with others, in a utopian facility.”

8. The Island – okay, so it wasn’t received to great critical acclaim, and it’s a Michael Bay movie which means that anything that can explode explodes. And anything that can’t. Actually everything explodes. But still, I really enjoy this film and think it’s good fun, especially with Sean Bean playing the villain (of course). I first saw it in year 10 biology class, where we were studying cloning! It may not be a masterpiece but I have a soft spot for this film.

“In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of mutants with superhuman abilities to stop a malicious dictator who is determined to start World War III.”

9. X-Men: First Class – firstly, I am sorry for covering your lovely face, Mr McAvoy. This is my favourite of the X-Men films, and as I discussed yesterday I’m really excited for the sequel next year. This one focuses a lot on the relationship between Erik and Charles, so ends up being a lot more centered on character development than the previous films. It also has a pretty great 1960s themed soundtrack, and plays cleverly on real events.

“Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete.”
10. The Hunger Games – I sped my way through all three books in this series, was so excited for the film when it came out and was not disappointed. The source material is quite violent, and I think they did really well at portraying that without making it an 18/R-rated film. I’m excited for the second film, Catching Fire, which looks to be even darker and greatly build upon the world of Panem.
What do you mean I haven’t included Star Wars?? Well, I wanted to but I think I will nominate that as my favourite science fiction film series. I love them all, minus Attack of the Clones which was just boring. Yes, even The Phantom Menace – that was the first one I saw in the cinema and it brings back warm, fuzzy memories. I remember my dad borrowing the original films on VHS from one of our neighbours, then sitting me and my sisters down to watch them all when I was about seven or eight years old. 
Honourable mentions also go to TRON: Legacy – although I think it’s a visually stunning film with a brilliant soundtrack it does tend to drag a bit, and Blade Runner – great film, but I actually preferred the book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

What are your favourite science fiction films? Do you have any recommendations for me?



26 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Month: My Favourite Sci-Fi Films”

  1. A really good top 10! Some I haven’t seen I have to admit (Looper, Hunger Games, X-Men, The Island, War of the Worlds). Prometheus I felt was excellent, but there were some annoying loopholes, and some unhappy (opposed to a wow kind of one) “wtf” moments – but visually, and generally a great film! And I too echo your calls for “RUN TO THE SIDE YOU IDIOT WOMAN!”. Alien is awesomeee, still proper creepy. Sunshine features in my top 5 – as you say a much underrated film. Avatar again was beautiful (saw it in the cinema multiple times – first film I saw in 3D) – but personally I felt that the story was a little weak, but there were some great original ideas!Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars. I’m glad this is featuring elsewhere :)Bladerunner is still on my imminent to watch list!Great stuff :)Kirsty

    1. Then you should DEFINITELY watch them 😉 Pahaha Prometheus certainly did have some questionable moments but it’s just one of those films that gives me the warm fuzzies (in a weird way, considering what it’s actually about…).Yep, I couldn’t forget SW but I sort of felt that I couldn’t lump it in as one, or pick just one of them, and I didn’t want to take up five spots (as Attack of the Clones doesn’t make it…), so it’s definitely my fave film series =)

  2. Oh and I forgot to mention Jurassic Park!! Dinosaurs. Richard Attenborough. Stephen Spielberg. Jeff Goldblum. Pure brilliance, and the graphics still hold up fairly well these days! Love it 🙂

    1. It’s one of my ‘comfort films’. Which again makes little sense, as with Prometheus, seeing as it mostly involves bad things happening to people. But it’s such a good film!

  3. Damn you, I can’t resist a good list when I see one and now I’m making my own :)Out of these I’ve seen Alien(s), Prometheus, Looper, X-Men movies, Sunshine. Two of those will probably be on my list too (how can you decide on 10 only, right?) Prometheus was visually great, but maan, it was so holy (=full of holes) at times that I had hard time taking it completely seriously in the end. Sunshine had many interesting qualities, X-Men are my fav “comic superhero” movies.

    1. Teeheehee, yay!I don’t really take Prometheus completely seriously, as there were quite a few unanswered questions, but it’s a fun film for sure. And pretty in that metallic, sci-fi way 😉

  4. Wow, I haven’t even heard of a few of these!! Gonna look for them on Netflix. I watched Prometheus but was too annoyed by some of the giant plot holes to enjoy it fully, lol.(By the way, I saw Gravity last night and it was incredible.)

  5. I’ve seen all of these and enjoyed them but my list is somewhat different. I think I need to rewatch Looper and Sunshine. X-Men: First Class is in many ways better than any of the other X-Men movies but I have quite mixed feelings about. Magneto and Xavier were great and were the best parts of the movie.

  6. I really enjoy the Island too, and it’ll be part of my post next week. Gattaca is probably what I would consider my favorite sci-fi film. Also LOVE Tron: Legacy! I still need to see some of the others you mentioned!

    1. I look forward to that one then! I’ve not seen Gattaca, but I’ve heard it mentioned several times throughout the event, so perhaps I should give it a try.

  7. Great list! Here would be mine, at least for the moment:Original Star Wars trilogyMoonOblivionStar Trek (2009)SerenityCity of Lost ChildrenMatrixEquilibriumThe IslandJohn CarterI could certainly consider Sunshine competing closely with several of these. That is a good film.

    1. Ah, another person recommending Moon! I still haven’t watched Serenity, I’ve had the DVD for ages and I love Firefly – yet still haven’t seen it. Perhaps that can be my plan for tonight?

  8. I really want to see The Island, but I keep forgetting to watch it! As for my recommendations… there’s always Resident Evil (really more sci fi than horror) — the first is very good, but the series slowly degenerates in plot quality after that. Also, onthe other end of the spectrum there’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Very good speculative science.

    1. I’m kind of squeamish which is why I’ve always avoided Resident Evil… total wimp here 😉

      I love Eternal Sunshine though, I didn’t even think of that!

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