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The purpose of this blog is to provide my thoughts, feelings and insights into the top 100 Science Fiction movies of all time. The idea for this project actually got its start when I set up a blog to read and review the top 100 Sci-Fi books of all time. While Deckard is hunting the rogue replicants, the replicants are actually searching for Tyrell, the man who designed and created them. Blade Runner Review: Few films evoke a sense of claustrophobia and existential dread as well as Blade Runner does. What is there to say about Star Wars that hasn’t already been said a million times by a million different people? While most fans know the story and plot details inside and out, not very many of them know about its origins and the influences that George Lucas used when writing it.
On a personal level, I should probably also acknowledge the impact that the Star Wars movies had on me as a young kid (and by extension me as an adult).
Alien Summary: The crew of the mining transport vehicle the Nostromo are in stasis on their way home to Earth with their latest haul when they are awakened out of cold sleep and asked to investigate the source of an unknown transmission. The rest of the movie mostly involves the remaining crew members fighting for their life as the (now) full-grown Alien starts to pick them off one by one.
Warrant Officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) leads the charge as most of the crew are either killed outright by the creature or disappear completely (we find out what happens to those in a shocking scene near the end).
Alien Review: Alien is often cited as one of the first examples of Science Fiction in film that portray the future as bleak and dirty. Because of its lasting influence on both Science Fiction and movie making in general, it’s often hard to remember a time before The Matrix.
Apparently it’s actually the year 2199 and the earth is controlled by sentient machines (presumably of our own making).
While the reality of humanity’s situation is most definitely a bummer, the advantage of knowing that the Matrix is a simulation and that with the right equipment you can be and do almost anything is full of awesome.
Cut to millions of years in the future as we follow a spaceship as it docks with a space station orbiting Earth, all while Strauss’ The Blue Danube Waltz plays serenely in the background. Along the way to Jupiter, we experience a situation that serves to emphasize the dangers of artificial intelligence.
While some people have criticized this film for being too slow or not having enough dialog, I tend to disagree with that assessment. Riding the high from Bach's excellent series, I turned back to my bookshelves to see what other space stories I could dive into. These science fiction novels feel so alive compared to the likes of Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein.
Now I'm letting Leckie's excellent Ancillary Justice tear my brain to pieces and I've never been happier. You don't have to constantly hit the refresh button to make sure you're getting the latest posts, updates and random musings from the ladies of Stellar Four. While my love of all things Sci-Fi may have emerged relatively late in life, I’ve been catching up pretty fast. And while I’m still not done reading and reviewing all of the books on that list, I thought that it only seemed natural to start a companion blog about Science Fiction movies. Seen almost exclusively at night (and with a constant light rain dampening everything), the city is a mass of brightly lit skyscrapers, flame spewing industrial refineries and a constant barrage of corporate marketing. The test involves asking a series of questions (mostly relating to hurting animals) and then judging the subject’s empathic responses.
Since the replicants were designed with a predetermined lifespan (sort of a planned obsolescence), the escaped robots (played by Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah and Joanna Cassidy) are trying to reach their creator in order to try to extend their life. From the opening shots of the city lit up by the flames of industry to the cold, harsh reality of humans living in the shadows of giant corporations and megalithic buildings, the film seems to depict a world that has somehow forgotten its humanity. I’ll just say that the first three films in the series (actually the 4th, 5th and 6th chronologically) deal with a group of rebels as they struggle to fight against the rule of the mighty Galactic empire. Although I was born one year after the original movie was released, by the time I was old enough to watch them I fell in love. After landing on the planet and exploring the wreckage of what appears to be an alien spaceship, a crew member named Kane (John Hurt) discovers a room filled with slimy eggs. Both phallic and vaginal looking, and dripping in slime, the creature is something out of your worst nightmares. After the Captain dies, Ripley discovers a message from their employers on Earth that the main directive of the mission is now to return the creature to Earth, even if it means the death of the crew. With an ingenious mix of highly choreographed action sequences, mind-blowing special effects and a premise that literally questions the nature of reality, The Matrix was both a critical and commercial success, spawning two sequels, a series of animated shorts and a host of action movie imitators.
After receiving cryptic messages through his computer about something called the Matrix, he meets a fellow hacker named Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) who takes him to see a man named Morpheus.
With the sun blotted out by fallout from the first war with the machines, they needed to find an alternative energy source.
Just by loading up a computer program, Neo is able to learn Karate or how to fly a helicopter. From its iconic music to the imposing black monolith to the sentient computer HAL 9000, the individual elements of the film are so well known that they could almost exist outside of the film itself.
The first part, titled The Dawn of Man, opens on a loosely formed group of prehistoric humans on the African savanna foraging for plants and vegetation millions of years in the past. When HAL reports that one of the ships antennas has malfunctioned and the astronauts go to investigate, it becomes clear that the computer is at fault in its diagnosis. The second time I watched it I started to appreciate some of the larger implications of what the film was trying to say – that each of the different parts of the film were actually related to one another not just stand alone stories in a greater narrative. I remember watching it five or six times in the theater, all while I was in Los Angeles visiting my grandparents. Being open to new types of books can be surprisingly hard but I've tried to keep an open mind. I've often bought a book and let it gather dust on my shelf until years later when I'm somehow ready for it and it becomes a new favorite. Bach's Paradox trilogy was just the massive kick in the ass I needed to launch me fully into science fiction. Dick, director Ridley Scott’s film is a complex, thought-provoking meditation on what it means to be human. In order to test the process, Deckard travels to the Tyrell corporation headquarters where he performs the test on a beautiful assistant named Rachael (Sean Young).


Yes, it’s a masterpiece of storytelling and vision that brims with energy, passion and heart. Led by the evil Lord Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones), the Empire is in the midst of building a terrifyingly powerful space station, known as the Death Star, in order to help destroy the remaining rebels in the galaxy. Coined by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, the Hero’s journey is based in part on the work of psychiatrist Carl Jung who noticed that stories and fables from a variety of cultures all seemed to include some of the same basic elements. What got me hooked was the way it took me out of my ordinary life and catapulted me into a world that was so foreign and unusual, yet at the same time so familiar and comforting. When one of them opens and a creature attaches itself to his face, the crew are forced to return to the Nostromo in order to save him. She also discovers that the Chief Science Officer is actually in on the decision to sacrifice the crew in order to preserve the Alien for some unidentified military purpose. In order to meet their insatiable need for electricity, the machines have resorted to using the bioelectrical energy produced by humans. For me, however, the story of humanity’s enslavement by the machines and the horrifying arrangement that the surviving humans must face is what truly sets this movie apart from other mindless action films. Attacks from a roaming leopard as well as a rival band of men show how vulnerable they really are. Sensing that the crew are about to try to turn him off, HAL orchestrates an elaborate plan to prevent the astronauts from deactivating him – a plan that goes so far as to kill one of the crew members. That last fact is important because, if you’ve watched the movie, you know that LA gets destroyed in the most awe-inspiring way imaginable. I've discovered romance novels I love after years of looking down my stupid nose at the genre. I have no idea why dragons and sorcerers make more sense to me than space ships and aliens but I've never been able to keep myself afloat in science fiction. I was heartbroken when she finished the series and put her in in my mental list of "authors to buy no matter what". I begged my Twitter feed for suggestions and soon I was reading nothing but the very best science fiction had to offer. Bach, Corey and authors like Ann Leckie, Andy Weir and Alastair Reynolds feel fresh and exciting and their stories feel so human despite taking place in the most far-flung corners of the universe.
I started this blog to give other people a place to start when trying to dive into this amazing world. I hope you enjoy my reviews and analysis and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favorites.
With its striking visual imagery, moody soundtrack and advanced special-effects, Blade Runner is that rare Science Fiction movie that spends as much time setting a mood as it does discussing its big ideas. The eventual showdown between Deckard and the last remaining replicants (I won’t say who) in an abandoned apartment building is one of the most nerve-wracking climaxes in cinema history. By leaving those implications open to interpretation, Ridley Scott has created a film whose themes and meaning will be debated for years to  come. Yes, it features special effects and film making techniques that still feel fresh and exciting over 30 years later.
The rebel alliance knows that if the Death Star is allowed to become fully functional, it will mean the end of their rebellion. And while Alien does have Science Fiction elements (it is a movie about an Alien life form trying to kill the crew of a spaceship after all), it definitely has more in common with a monster movie or slasher flick than it does with a space adventure – which is fine.
Geiger, the Alien is a frightening mix of biological and mechanical looking elements, all in a vaguely humanoid shape. When he is eventually revealed to be a robot, Ripley decides that the only way out is to set the self-destruct mechanism in the ship and get away using one of the ships escape pods.
To go along with that, the main characters in the movie are just average Joes doing a tough job under harsh conditions. Borrowing elements from religious and philosophical texts, as well as Japanese Anime films, Philip K.
The giant electrical structure that Neo and the other humans were connected to was really a giant piece of harvesting equipment meant to sap the energy for their own use. All of us at one time or another have questioned whether or not this world that we live in is real or just simulation (ok, maybe it’s just me). After awaking one day to find a large black monolith standing in front of them, they begin to exhibit strange characteristics.
We learn through his reports that the monolith looks to have been buried over 4 million years ago and is unknown in origin.
When the remaining crew member is able to finally deactivate HAL, he is presented with a video that explains the true nature of the expedition to Jupiter.
In reality it’s nothing less than a meditation on the true purpose of humanity and our role in the universe.
I've found amazing works of non-fiction that keep me on the very edge of my seat like the best suspenseful mystery. With a growing passion in sci-fi cultivated by years of Doctor Who, Star Wars and Firefly, I recently felt ready to dive into the genre again. I didn't care if she wrote a book about the joys of watching paint dry, I just love the way she writes and would follow her to the ends of the earth.
They write riveting novels that make even the most convoluted of long science digressions absolutely thrilling. And while it may not be as exciting or revolutionary as more action-oriented movies like Star Wars or The Matrix, its cerebral nature and thematic ambiguity is what has made it a cult classic and landed it atop many critics lists of the top Science Fiction movies of all time. Tyrell explains that she is an experimental replicant, implanted with false memories and designed to have no knowledge of the fact that she is a robot. And yes, it has captured the imaginations of countless children and adults alike, helping to make it one of the most beloved movies in cinema history. Because of this, the alliance knows that the destruction of the Death Star is their only means of survival. Obviously it puts its own unique spin on the myth, but just the fact that it is based on a story that everyone can relate to is one of the main reasons I think it has become such a widely love and respected piece of entertainment. And a movie that brought me so much excitement and joy while growing up that it would be hard to point to anything else as a bigger reason for my lifelong love of Sci-Fi.
Things relax a bit, however, when they find that the alien has removed itself from the crew member, leaving him apparently unhurt. They aren’t space heroes trying to save the galaxy, just regular workers trying to collect a paycheck and return home to their families.


Dick and cyberpunk novels, The Matrix is a movie that is teeming with big ideas and profound concepts.
In order to keep the humans docile and content in their pods, the machines created the Matrix to act as a simulated reality to keep them happy while their energy is being drained (sounds a bit like reality television don’t it?).
Philosophers have wondered for centuries whether our world is but an illusion, a trick played on our brains by the senses. One of the man-apes slowly realizes that he can use an old bone as both a weapon and a tool. When a team of scientists travel to see the monolith, a strange piercing noise is emitted from the structure. The final chapter of the movie deals with what they find when they finally reach the transmission point. Knowing this definitely sheds light on what happens at the end and how this final stage in the evolutionary process is revealed. I dove into the early years of fantasy novels and came away with an appreciation of what became the foundation of all the current series I love. Even John Scalzi's brilliant Old Man's War took me longer than I'd like to admit to finish just because I couldn't truly get into the world. Lucky me, because we're heading into what I believe will be a brave new golden age of space stories.
When she announced that her next series would be a sci-fi trilogy under the name Rachel Bach I was both conflicted and intrigued. Corey I realized that these new science fiction novels were nothing like their forefathers.
I probably don't need to know how to grow crops on Mars or how water recycling works in a space suit, but it's fascinating to read when done right.
When Rachael confronts Deckard later at his apartment about the results of her test, he ends up telling her the truth: that the memories she has are actually those of another person.
But more importantly, it also helped the entertainment industry realize the vast economic and creative potential of the Science Fiction genre. Thrust into the middle of this galactic struggle is a young farmboy named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who gets caught up in the alliance after helping rescue the Princess Leia (Carrie Fischer) from the clutches of Darth Vader, with help from Han Solo (Harrison Ford) of course.
By taking something old and making it new again, the creators of Star Wars helped spawn a generation of fans who grew up always comparing the latest action adventure film to this seminal film. And while it may not do more than hint at some of the larger issues that Sci-Fi often deals with, that doesn’t make it any less of an effective movie. In addition to that, the fact that the lead role is a woman (and a kick-ass woman at that) was also a change of pace for the action adventure movies of the time. Except that as the camera pans out, you see that his pod is just one of thousands (if not millions) of pods attached to the same structure. The Matrix was able to tap into that fear and anxiety is a way that few movies ever have (or ever even tried). Clarke, and adapted into a novel of the same name, 2001 is that rare movie that you can watch again and again and still discover new things.
When he uses the bone to beat and kill a member of the rival band, helping to secure a watering hole for his tribe and food to eat, it becomes clear that this discovery is a monumental turning point in the history of man. We then cut again, this time to a spaceship en route to Jupiter carrying five crew members (2 of which are not in stasis) and a sentient computer named HAL 9000. But if you enjoy a movie that is visually stunning and thought-provoking, you be hard pressed to find a movie as completely satisfying and original as 2001: A Space Odyssey. So many of my favorite books owe so much to the likes of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Elric of Melnibone and the Books of Amber.
Despite all the aliens, weird planets and improbable technology these new science fiction books are just purely amazing. Every Sci-Fi movie that came after it owes a debt to the impact it had on popular culture and the way that Science Fiction was viewed by mainstream America. And while the new Star Wars Trilogy may have somewhat sullied the reputation of the franchise, its still hard to watch the original movies without experiencing the same sense of wonder and excitement that I felt the first time. All of this, combined with the incredible set design and special effects work, contribute to making Alien one of the most striking and original pieces of Science Fiction ever produced. After Neo is rescued from his pod by Morpheus, Trinity and the other free humans, Morpheus explains to Neo what the hell is going on. And that, along with crazy Kung Fu and bullet dodging, are what make it one of the best science fiction movies ever created. The notion that somehow this black monolith had something to do with helping the man-apes develop tools and weapons is not explicitly stated – but it is strongly implied. Apparently the radio signal given off by the monolith pointed in the direction of Jupiter and the team has been sent to explore the source of the signal. Nothing can persuade me from thinking this is the new golden age of science fiction storytelling. For that, if nothing else, Star Wars deserves to be near the top of any list of the top Science Fiction movies of all time.
And the fact that it is still as powerfully scary today as it was over 30 years ago only reinforces how groundbreaking this movie really was at the time. That this simple discovery helps start the evolutionary process of man is also hinted at by one of the most famous jump-cuts in all of cinema.
After killing the leader of the rival tribe, the man ape throws the bone in the air as the camera follows it upwards. Well, after recovering from the alien induced coma, Kane is sitting down to enjoy some food with the rest of the crew when he starts to shake and convulse violently. At its highest point, the film cuts directly to a similarly sized spaceship gently floating through space.
The next thing we know a small Alien baby has popped out of his chest and makes a break for it. I reviewed the first book in the series, Fortune's Pawn, on SF Signal (the other two reviews are forthcoming) and I couldn't hide how much the series just blew me away.



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