QUICK CUTS- Favorite Science Fiction Movie
With Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Nick Cato, Mark Onspaugh and Garrett Cook
With the recent release of PROMETHEUS (2012), audiences got to watch a big release science fiction movie—the first in a while.
Today our panel of Cinema Knife Fighters is asked: What’s your favorite science fiction movie of all-time?
Several films jump out at me right away. Three of my all-time favorite science fiction movies are from the 1950s: THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953), INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956), and THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951), with THE THING probably my favorite of the three.
From the 1960s it’s PLANET OF THE APES (1968), from the 70s it’s ALIEN (1979), and that’s about it. I realize these are pretty standard picks, but they happen to be the ones I like the most.
My favorite of all time? I’d probably go with PLANET OF THE APES. I actually saw it at the movies when I was four years old! So, it’s been in my consciousness for a long, long time!”
My favorite sci-fi movie of all time is FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956). It retells Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in the space age, and deals with the destructive power of repression and anger. Anne Francis is stunning, Walter Pidgeon is anguished and Leslie Nielsen is a surprisingly effective space hero.
Great monster too.
This was VERY hard, but I think I’ve got it!
While not a special effects extravaganza or action-packed offering, FAHRENHEIT 451 (1966), a UK-lensed adaptation of the classic 1953 Ray Bradbury novel, has haunted me since the first time I saw it as a young teenager.
I was captivated with “Fireman” Guy Montag’s struggle to not burn books (as per his totalitarian government’s orders) and his eventual decision to join the rebels who are secretly committing books to memory. The film’s themes of censorship and freedom are timeless, and few sci-fi films offer as much food for thought. The ending has also stuck with me almost as intensely as the conclusion to the original PLANET OF THE APES (1968), despite it not being as shocking.
I have several:
Best All-Around SF: BLADE RUNNER (1982)—Where do I start. It’s just wonderful.
Best SF Comedy: BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985) —So funny, such a perfect script,
and everyone gives such a great performance—Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Crispin Glover—never better.
Best SF Horror: ALIEN (1979), ALIENS (1986) and THE THING (1982, the John Carpenter version with special effect by Rob Bottin)
Runners-up: INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (’56 and ’78) and THE FLY
(1986, the Cronenberg version)
Best SF Romance: SOMEWHERE IN TIME (1980) —So great, from the story by
Richard Freaking Matheson to Chris Reeve and Jane Seymour as time-crossed lovers.
This one is actually kind of easy. My favorite science fiction movie, and my favorite movie, are one in the same. A little flick called A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) by director Stanley Kubrick. Watching it for the first time, I sat there convinced that I had seen the closest I would ever find to cinematic perfection. The acting, the storyline, the visuals, the music, it all clicked with me. Plus some of it is downright disturbing.
For those who don’t know, it’s the tale of Alex (Malcolm McDowell in an amazing performance), a teenager in a not-so-distant future London where teen gangs dress up in costumes and go around perpetrating the most horrific crimes, seemingly without repercussions—that is, until Alex is arrested and sent to prison, where he volunteers for a new kind of “therapy” that tries to implant within him a severe aversion to violence. Does the process work? See the movie and find out. (Based on the novel by Anthony Burgess, which also deserves some attention)
Needless to say, Kubrick made another science fiction masterpiece, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968), which has its own list of merits to recommend it, but A CLOCKWORK ORANGE always seemed more human to me. More visceral.
Another big favorite of mine is A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975), directed by L.Q. Jones and based on the classic novella by Harlan Ellison. This time we’re brought to another future where the world has been rocked by nuclear war, and for some reason more teenage gangs survive the big drumroll. A young Don Johnson plays Vic, who survives on his wits, and the help of his telepathic dog, Blood.
RUNNERS UP would include: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968, which I already mentioned above), BLADE RUNNER (1982, probably the best Philip K. Dick adaptation to date), the original ALIEN (1979 – no matter how much I enjoyed PROMETHEUS, it didn’t even come close to Ridely Scott’s ALIEN), and of course 1968′s PLANET OF THE APES, which is just brilliant.