Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tempting Top Ten: Science fiction nerds rule!

This was by far the easiest post for me to put together for the A-Z challenge - I am a science fiction nerd and proud of it. Here's my top ten favorite science fiction movies.

10. BladeRunner (1982)
"All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain."

I thought this movie was more stunning for its visual effects (and Harrison Ford adds some great eye candy, too) than for its words, but nevertheless one quote has always stuck with me. The main antagonist, a ruthless replicant, has a chance to kill Deckard (Ford) but, realizing he's running out of time before his pre-programmed death, actually saves Deckard instead. The quote is from Roy just after he saves Deckard, as he's reflecting on his memories moments before he dies. A powerful scene. (And, totally unrelated, but the implications of the unicorn... fascinating)

9. Avatar (2009)
"Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world, and in here is the dream."

Like BladeRunner, I loved this movie more for its stunning visuals (flying on the dragons - okay yeah technically they are Ikran but jeez didn't they remind you of dragons?) (and OMG the neon forest and the spinning lizards, so cool!) than for its concept or script. But Jake Sully's comment above, about being sucked into his life as an avatar, was a memorable one for me.

8. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
"I know now why you cry. But it's something I can never do."

This was my favorite movie for years. I loved the twist: your worst enemy comes back to save you. The scene where Sara Connor sees the Terminator for the first time and backpedals in terror - and then she sees her son run out from behind him - one of those scenes you never forget. The quote is from the end where the terminator machine shows human compassion but at the same time admits he can never be human.

7. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
"There's a whole section on tax law down here that we can burn."

Proof that there is always a silver lining, even in the clouds that are harbinger of massive climatic disaster. Most memorable (and ironic) scene from this movie: thousands of Americans illegally crossing into Mexico across the Rio Grande river.

6. Contact (1997)
"You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other."

This film embodies the belief that science and religion can co-exist rather than being opposing camps.  Jodie Foster was perfect for this movie, and I also loved it for all the cool SF touches (anyone ever notice that the waves on the alien beach move out from shore instead of in? - and you've got to watch it to see the simple but oh-so-cool trick required to interpret the aliens' message/blueprints).  The quote is from the person who might have been an alien, or might have been Ellie's own subconscious reconstructing her long-lost father - the ending remains purposefully ambiguous, like the next one on the list (Inception). Such endings are frustrating but thought-provoking - definitely memorable.

5. Inception (2010)
"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."

 This is the most mind-bending film I've ever seen; I had to watch it three times almost back to back to figure it all out and I'm sure I'm still missing tons of nuances. The concepts of dreams within dreams and how that effects our perception of time is fascinating. The quote is from Eames as he joins Arthur in a gunfight (within a dream) and ups the ante by pulling out a grenade launcher.

4. Armageddon (1998)
"If anybody's anybody, I'm Han and you''re Chewbacca"

Bruce Willis' oil drilling roughneck crew turned save-the-world astronauts is still the best collection of buddy characters ever put together, in my opinion. The scene where the crew bargain with top NASA officials for "no more taxes, ever" and "say, do you guys know who killed Kennedy" and "bring back eight-track tapes" is a favorite, though the scenes were they are being evaluated for physical and psychological fitness are close seconds. The quote  is AJ arguing with Oscar over which members of the crew match up with Star Wars characters. (Bonus points when a SF movie includes references to ANOTHER SF movie. Nerd love!)

3. Deja Vu (2006)
"I'll speak slow, so those of you with Ph.D.'s in the room can understand."

Denzel Washington is one my favorite actors, and when he finally got brave enough to go SF I knew it was going to be a treat (especially because I love time-twists). The ultimate appeal of this movie, in a post-9/11 world, is the idea that there could be a way to go back in time to prevent terrible disasters from happening. The above quote is agent Doug Carlin (Denzel) trying to get the time-technology geeks out of their theoretical ivory towers and into the serious reality of the situation. This movie has a chase scene that takes place simultaneously in the present and the past - whoa!

2 and 1. All the Star Wars and Star Trek movies. 
I couldn't pick one over the other. So many great quotes that they have literally become part of the vocabulary of modern culture.

"Make it so" - Jean Luc Picard
"These aren't the droids you're looking for" - Obi Wan Kenobi
"Beam me up, Scotty" - James Kirk
"I suggest a new strategy: let the Wookee win." - C3PO
"Are you out of your Vulcan mind?" - Bones
"Boring conversation anyway. Luke, we’re gonna have company." - Han Solo
"I would cite regulation, but I know you will simply ignore it." - Spock

What's your favorite science fiction movie?
(Bonus to any of you who know me well enough to figure out this was a repost from last year)

Update: thanks to your comments, I have to include several runner-ups:  the Firefly series and its companion movie, Serenity; the Island (Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannsen), I, Robot (Will Smith),  the Matrix (Keanu Reeves) and Minority Report (Tom Cruise) - thanks for reminding me of these great movies!

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