Thursday, June 21, 2007

Have you seen it??? R.T's Sci Films - pt 4

Read - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Well here we are kids, the final section of running down Rotten Tomatoes 100 Best Reviewed Sci Fi Films and I think, we've finally made a breakthrough. If like me you are having a tough time understanding why and how some films have made it here, or how some films like Blade Runner, The Abyss, or The Thing can be ranked so embarrassingly low. It's come to light that the R.T. crew really do have a method to their madness. You can read more about their formula in the comments section. And from reading it, yes I have to admit the logic seems solid.

What I think the real problem with this list though is that it doesn't take a films context into account. Sure many kinds of films can be reviewed well, but I put a Star Trek film into a totally different context than Blade Runner. I don't expect as much from it, and so it meets those expectations easier. Yes both films might get a 9 out of 10 from me, but that 9 does not have the same real value. And the same goes for historical context. The special effects of John Carpenter's The Thing were groundbreaking and startling, they were unlike anything ever seen at the time. But even though they look pale in comparison to what we get in our horror these days, it should also be a real consideration for this list.

Anyhow, despite any misgivings, the show must go on, And so here for your reading enjoyment, are Rotten Tomatoes top 25 best reviewed sci fi films.

#24 - Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
I kind of feel like the original version is still more interesting than this.

#23 - Sleeper (1973)
The sci-fi satire SLEEPER is often hailed as the best of Woody Allen's early comedies, which relied mostly on slapstick and quick verbal asides, but still had more than their share of comic intelligence. SLEEPER tells the tale of Miles Monroe (Allen), who is accidentally cryogenically frozen following a minor operation. Released 200 years later, in 2173, Miles blunders his way through a bizarre future, featuring plenty of props and situations for Allen to mine for laughs. Eventually he meets vapid, hedonistic "poet" Luna Schlosser (Diane Keaton), with whom he eventually joins a rebel group opposed to the oppressive government. As in his earlier BANANAS and LOVE AND DEATH, Allen's character stumbles into a revolutionary plot, revealing the anti-authoritarianism that will appear again and again in his films.

I have an aversion to old Woody Allen. I know its stupid. The man has made some great films. I just find his personality so grating, and almost never funny. I will say his more recent efforts are much more to much tastes though. One day I know I'll have to make myself sit down and watch his old films. And honestly I'll probably like them when I do.

#22 - Back to the Future (1985)
Definitely one of the most watchable films ever. I could seriously watch this 1000 times and not get bored. a real classic.

#21 - Repo Man (1984)
Not really a good movie, but a fun one. I put it in the same league as The Warriors.

#20 - Mad Max (1979)
The original. Really a pretty decent film. Much more real world than its sequels, I always enjoyed this film.

#19 - Frankenstein (1931)
A masterpiece of cinema. Still holds up very well.

#18 - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Was never really my cup of tea. Maybe I'd learn to appreciate it, if I watched it like 10-15 more times; but I think I would go crazy if I had to do that...

#17 - Solaris (1972)
SOLARIS, director Andrei Tarkovsky's science fiction cult classic, presents an uncompromisingly unique and poetic meditation on space travel and its physical and existential ramifications. When a long-standing Russian space station hovering above the planet Solaris begins to report strange phenomena, Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis), an eager and intrepid cosmonaut, departs for the station in order to investigate. Warned by former Solaris specialists that the planet presents incomprehensible obstacles, Kelvin is nevertheless secure in his mission. However, the minute he steps foot onto the haunted and desolate space station, everything changes. Kelvin learns that of the three members left on board, one has killed himself and the remaining two have seemingly become schizophrenic recluses. When Kelvin's dead ex-wife appears out of the shadows, the reports that Solaris is a thinking being capable of reading human minds and materializing their desires and memories are proven true. As Kelvin joins the rest of the crew in a seemingly life-or-death struggle to understand this phenomena, Tarkovsky crafts a mind-altering earthbound space odyssey. Filled with visions of humanity versus itself, SOLARIS takes the philosophical investigations of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY to extravagant lengths and offers no answers except this: The only frontier humanity has yet to conquer is that of its own existence.

Somehow I've never seen this. Sounds pretty darn interesting.

#16 - Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
A great film all around. Fascinating and scary.

#15 - The Terminator (1984)
What can you say, it's just a really awesome film. Michael Biehn ius the Man.

#14 - Brazil (1985)
Up there with Blade Runner, this should be in the top 5. Utterly mesmerizing.

#13 - Galaxy Quest (1999)
See what I was saying about people not rating things by the same scale? I mean Galaxy Quest is a totally solid and funny film, but come on... it doesn't hold a candle to Brazil. It's not even in the same league. And that's fine. It's not trying to be something its not. Galaxy Quest is great, but this list is totally screwed up.

#12 - The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Yup, I agree. This is a really great film.

#11 - The Road Warrior (1981)
Definitely the best of the Mad Max films.

#10 - Aliens (1986)
You can't argue with greatness... This is one of the first movies to totally blow my mind as a child.

#9 - Star Wars (1977)
Really? only #9? Anyhow, it is such an important film what can you say that hasn't been said before. Personally this film really helped make me who I am today.

#8 - The Host (2007)
Gang-du (SONG Kang-ho) works at a food-stand on the banks of the Han River. Dozing on the job, he is awakened by his daughter, Hyun-seo ( KO A-sung), who is angry with him for missing a teacher-parent meeting at school. As Gang-du walks out to the riverbank with a delivery, he notices that a large crowd of people has gathered, taking pictures and talking about something hanging from the Han River Bridge. The otherwise idyllic landscape turns suddenly to bedlam when a terrifying creature climbs up onto the riverbank and begins to crush and eat people. Gang-du and his daughter run for their lives but suddenly the thing grabs Hyun-seo and disappears back into the river. The government announces that the thing apparently is the Host of an unidentified virus. Having feared the worst, Gang-du receives a phone call from his daughter who is frightened, but very much alive. Gang-du makes plans to infiltrate the forbidden zone near the Han River to rescue his daughter from the clutches of the horrifying Host...

This film is better than Aliens and Star Wars??? WTF? I haven't seen it. And really it sounds pretty cool; but this list is just so totally fucked up it's getting on my nerves.

#7 - Children of Men (2006)
CHILDREN OF MEN is not a popcorn movie. With its almost relentlessly bleak perspective on the future, Alfonso Cuaron's film doesn't make for pleasant viewing. But it's an exhilarating experience because the picture is an amazing dystopian drama that lacks all the typical trappings of the genre. Set uncomfortably close to the present, it paints a frighteningly realistic picture of the future. In 2027, every woman on earth is infertile. With the loss of the ability to have children, the world has also lost hope. Clive Owen (CLOSER) plays Theo, an Englishman attempting to make a life in a hellish world. His estranged wife (Julianne Moore) convinces him to help transport a young woman to safety. When Theo learns that the woman is pregnant, their journey takes on a significance--and a danger--he never imagined.

I have this dvd sitting beside my player. I will watch it very soon. Looks fantastic.

#6 - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Easily the best of the Star Wars films.

#5 - Minority Reoprt (2002)
Good film, but #5 it should not be...

#4 - Alien (1979)
A great film. Maybe a bit more horror than sci fi, I really love this flick.

#3 - Metropolis (1926)
Another excellent film that I'm sure makes most people's top 10 sci fi, and often would be #1 ... but if this is here then what on earth could be next? Well...

#2 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Yup. exactly. Eternal sunshine... sittin pretty at number 2. Well, I definitely agree it is a great film. Is it better, than Metropolis? Not even close. This is a film that should be at the most somewhere in the 30s. I mean don't get me wrong its a wonderful film. Please go check it out if you haven't seen it, but I think its debatable if its even Jim Carrey's best film, and it shouldn't even be in a discussion of the greatest science fiction films. argh. Frustrating...

So what you ask will be number 1... Killer Klowns From Outer Space? Maybe Universal Soldier: The Return? No nothing so controversial, but still a film I don't think belongs in the top spot. The number 1 film in Rotten Tomatoes 100 Best Reviewed Sci Films is...

#1 - E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL is Steven Spielberg's warmhearted classic delight for both children and adults. It tells the story of an alien creature, E.T., mistakenly left behind on Earth. When a young boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas), finds E.T. and hides him in his home, both their worlds are changed forever. E.T. teaches Elliott and his two siblings (Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton), whose parents have recently separated, about caring and love while the children protect E.T. from the malevolent world of grown-ups. Elliott and E.T. become so close that they share emotions; as E.T. becomes ill, so does Elliott. The children end up going on a fabulous adventure trying to help E.T. find a way back to his home planet. The movie was originally going to be based on a story idea by director John Sayles, but after he removed himself from the project, screenwriter Melissa Mathison (Harrison Ford's wife) took over the script and made it her own. John Williams's beautiful soundtrack became forever linked to E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL.

Now don't get me wrong. I have a heart. I love E.T. I even went and saw it on the big screen when it was digitally remastered a few years back. E.T. is a beautiful story, which is expertly told. If somehow it falls onto your list of films your embarrassed to have never seen please take the time and check it out. Great film all around. Now does it deserve to be in the top spot here? In my opinion no.

Sigh... I'm glad I'm done with this list. As you might've noticed it was really getting frustrating by the end... I generally do enjoy these kind of top lists. And for my money I had assumed that following popular opinion would work well. I guess I was wrong though. I wonder would the results be any different if we looked at say the best rated sci fi films on IMDB? Or what about the most searched sci fi films on Google? Or maybe the most page impressions on Wikipedia? I don't think that any of these ideas would work. There's always some miscellaneous factor at work skewing the results, like with Rotten Tomatoes and their damn equation. Besides the fact that you still have to consider the demographics of the user base. Not just what kind of opinion are you getting, but what is it actually based on?

Maybe there just isn't any way to rate "the best" films. And really what is "Best"? I mean, it's all subjective anyways. Maybe what we should be doing is saying these are My Favorite films, and that's all. Even if we could get a legitimate group consensus, we would have to lower the standards to the lowest common denominator. And mob mentality never is not something that really encourages interesting art. How else do you explain the popularity of Michael Bay...

So thanks for taking this journey with me. And thanks to Rotten Tomatoes for their list. Despite the fact that I really didn't like it very much they did serve a purpose in the end by making me realize what bullshit this whole thing really is.

Until next time, have a good one peeps :)


1 comment:

waveman said...

I totally agree - the top spots are taken by unlikely candidates. ET, Eternal Sunshine, wtf?! And what happened to the likes of Chronicles of Riddick? Stupid list.

Thanks for assembling it all in three nice posts - the Rotten Tomatoe site makes you click through one movie at a time. Here's another short list of everything.