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September 5, 2014 8:32 AM   Subscribe

How do you say controversial in your Terran language? The top 40 space movies, as decreed by the Telegraph. (Deslided)
posted by Mezentian (141 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
First link goes to the last slide, which ruins the surprise of #1.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:45 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


The deslided version seems to be in a different order too?
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:47 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


The only surprise when I clicked on that was when I momentarily thought they put the #1 choice movie at #40....

The deslided version also shows them completely out of order.
posted by NormieP at 8:49 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


21. Planet of the Apes

wat
posted by duffell at 8:49 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I plead the "not sure how to internet".

Which, since these folks seem to "not sure how to movie" seems okay.
posted by Mezentian at 8:49 AM on September 5


Note that the Deslided list is badly out of order. Here's the actual listing:
  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  2. Aliens
  3. The Empire Strikes Back
  4. Gravity
  5. Star Wars
  6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  7. The Right Stuff
  8. Solaris (2002)
  9. Alien
  10. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  11. Galaxy Quest
  12. Voyage dans la Lune
  13. Dark Star
  14. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  15. WALL-E
  16. Forbidden Planet
  17. Superman (1978)
  18. Starship Troopers
  19. The Fountain
  20. Predators
  21. Guardians of the Galaxy
  22. Space Cowboys
  23. Sunshine
  24. Apollo 13
  25. Silent Running
  26. Moon
  27. Total Recall (1990)
  28. Star Trek (2009)
  29. Dune (1984)
  30. Avatar
  31. Mission to Mars
  32. Serenity
  33. Outland
  34. Screamers
  35. Treasure Planet
  36. Prometheus
  37. Pitch Black
  38. Stargate
  39. Event Horizon
  40. Thor
Now you may all commence arguing properly.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:51 AM on September 5 [16 favorites]


Yeah. Space Cowboys somehow beat out Armageddon? And I believe Space Balls, as one of the formative Sci Fi movies of my youth, should have been in there too.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:52 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Space Cowboys is at 22? Better than Sunshine (23), Moon (26), Serenity (32) and Pitch Black (37)? Space Cowboys isn't even better than watching a two hour film of me dropping keks and producing a moon of my own.

I am impressed that they even remembered Mission to Mars (31), but they seem to have forgotten what a poo pile it is.
posted by biffa at 8:53 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


They listed Dark Star at 13! I forgive them everything.
posted by le_vert_galant at 9:00 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


CTRL-F "contact"

...

Seriously? Prometheus, but not Contact? This is why America fought a revolution. This shit right here.
posted by Etrigan at 9:01 AM on September 5 [38 favorites]


I felt a little better when I saw they had included Forbidden Planet, but I'm not sure where all the other classic Sci-Fi movies of that era went. What about The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, or Invaders from Mars? It's nice they threw that one nod to us 50s nerds, but did we really need to list two different Star Wars movies?

Also, The Black Hole should be on this list.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:02 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Aliens over Alien? Bah.
At least Silent Running made the list, I guess.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:03 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Total Recall is one of the best movies ever made, but a "Space Movie" it is not. Doesn't even take place in space. At least Aliens actually has a scene on a space ship.

Same with Dune (1984).

And how can you leave out Battle Beyond the Stars and Spaceballs(!) ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:03 AM on September 5


The SFX for Forbidden Planet are still better than half the CGI crap out there.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:05 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


Avatar had a giant robot which pulls out a giant knife from its robo-belt.
posted by benzenedream at 9:05 AM on September 5


Mars doesn't count as "space?" Or are we going with the theory that it was all in Ahnold's head, much like that thing he pulled out of his nose?
posted by Panjandrum at 9:06 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


They seem to have picked the wrong Solaris. I mean, yes, the Clooney Solaris is very good, but not as good as Tarkovsky's (in my opinion, anyway).
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:06 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


The fact Silent Running made this list suggests the writer at some point called over the cubicle wall to someone with actual knowledge of the topic.
posted by bassomatic at 9:07 AM on September 5 [11 favorites]


Note that the Deslided list is badly out of order.

Thank Goodness. Cuz if you have a top 5 with Avatar and AbramsTrek in it, there's a problem.
posted by Hoopo at 9:09 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Came for Dark Star. Was not disappointed.
posted by Splunge at 9:09 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Same with Dune (1984).

You know that Galactic Empire they mention?
Has some space.
posted by Mezentian at 9:09 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


This is just a random list of sci fi movies.
posted by gwint at 9:10 AM on September 5 [14 favorites]


Also I saw Galaxy Quest after hearing so many people hype it up and I don't get the love. It's corny.
posted by Hoopo at 9:10 AM on September 5


Mars doesn't count as "space?"

It's not any more "in space" than the Earth is.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:10 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


You know that Galactic Empire they mention?

Yeah, they mention it. But between The Sandworms and the flying fat guy, you never actually see any of it.

Sci-fi ? Sure. Space ? Nah.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:12 AM on September 5


Dune at least has some shots of planets and the Spacing Guild's big old tube ships moving about. And I feel like there are some shots of The Emperor's ships landing during the Attack on Arrakis at the end?
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:13 AM on September 5


- Treasure Planet is an underrated example of Disney at the peak of its and no I can't go on, seriously?

- Yet no Lilo and Stitch? Which had thrilling space battles, aliens that are actually alien and a challenge to understand, a compelling story and great voice acting?

- Mom and Dad save the World was a more nuanced "Outsiders from Earth come to save the primitive natives from the German Army" story than Avatar, and also had better performances from bigger stars.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:13 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I think I would at the very least replace Prometheus (seriously?) with The Ice Pirates.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:13 AM on September 5 [11 favorites]


But the point is well taken; some of these movies are not even very spacey.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:14 AM on September 5


Another missing space movie: Explorers.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:14 AM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Avatar had a giant robot which pulls out a giant knife from its robo-belt.

Leaving the theater with my then girlfriend, she said to me, "I think that movie made be dumber," a sentiment I could not disagree with. We broke up shortly afterwards and, while I can't conclusively say Avatar was the cause, I also can't rule it out as a factor.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:15 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


Another missing space movie: Space Camp. It has space right there in the name.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:16 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Office Space?
posted by bassomatic at 9:20 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Also I saw Galaxy Quest after hearing so many people hype it up and I don't get the love. It's corny.

And some of the scenes are downright laughable.
posted by justkevin at 9:20 AM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Predators? Really?
posted by valkane at 9:21 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


JustKevin... my Galaxy Quest fan film needs a a script.... will you be my scriptwriter?
posted by Mezentian at 9:22 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Fifth Element?
posted by jim in austin at 9:23 AM on September 5 [15 favorites]


If these are films which feature spaceships or space battles then "Life of Brian" should be on the list.

I really really like Dune. I have many different versions of it. I am pretty sure Life of Brian has more spaceships in space time than Dune.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:27 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Mars doesn't count as "space?"

It's not any more "in space" than the Earth is.


OK, fair point, but it's still, like, another planet, man.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:30 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Was quite troubled by their description of Forbidden Planet as "both the first film to depict humans travelling on a spaceship of their own creation and the first film to be set in space, far away from planet Earth."

Surely that can't be correct, can it? I mean if we accept rockets to the moon as "spaceships" then they even cite the vastly earlier Le voyage dans la lune in their own list. But there were more serious films like Destination Moon that would qualify.

And were there really no films that took place outside the solar system prior to Forbidden Planet?
posted by Naberius at 9:30 AM on September 5


Also how come no one loves The Fantastic Planet as much as me
posted by Hoopo at 9:30 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Listen I am with you guys in spirit on Dune, but that might be one of the only movies on the list that contains diagrams, descriptions, and rough coordinates of all the featured planets. This is a bad list, though.
posted by SharkParty at 9:31 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I like a lot of these movies, but trying to rank them or compare and contrast is a exercise in...something that isn't quite fun?

Apollo 13 was good, as was Fifth Element. Yet the two are wildly different in what they were trying to do. So if I'm feeling FUCKYEAHNASA one day, Apollo 13 might win out (even though it got the launch of the Saturn V wrong) ,while Spaceman Spiff Brandon would prefer Fifth Element. Rather than argue, can't we just like all the things?

*stomps off to watch Pacific Rim*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:33 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Avatar is only allowed on a Top 40 Space Movies list if there are only 40 Space Movies.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:39 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


No Last Starfighter or They Live? Can't take it seriously.
posted by jonmc at 10:03 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Seriously? You guys hate Space Cowboys?
I feel compelled to shake my head in a sad, disappointed fashion.

Also, Europa Report is missing from this list.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:09 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I don't get it. Do really poorly thought out listicles now get more clicks? Is that the strategy here?
posted by poe at 10:11 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Ah, Last Starfighter, yes, yes.

It's not hate that I feel for Space Cowboys, it's just... not in my top 40 best space movies of all time.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:15 AM on September 5


Sunshine? It looked great but was dumber than Armageddon and had a third act apparently tacked on from a different movie.
posted by octothorpe at 10:16 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Someday someone will do for Dune what Peter Jackson did for LOTR. Make the perfect film version? No. Make a better film version than I thought I would ever see? Yes.

Who? When?
posted by jfuller at 10:16 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Well, it wasn't the SciFi channel, and apparently not Jodorowsky either.

Let's all take a moment to give thanks that nobody tried to put a Transformers movie on this list.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:26 AM on September 5




They have a very loose definition of space.
posted by brundlefly at 10:28 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Someday someone will do for Dune what Peter Jackson did for LOTR.

Make the prequels into a tiresome shitfest of CGI wankery with magic rabbits?
posted by biffa at 10:29 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


I am pretty sure Life of Brian has more spaceships in space time than Dune.

And each has more than Close Encounters, which has zero. Of course, Spielberg beat Lucas to the punch on reissuing variant editions, so there may well be a version with some shots in space.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:31 AM on September 5


ricochet biscuit: " Of course, Spielberg beat Lucas to the punch on reissuing variant editions, so there may well be a version with some shots in space."

There's an alternate cut where Spielberg digitally replaced all the flying saucers with walkie talkies.
posted by brundlefly at 10:33 AM on September 5


I am pretty sure Life of Brian has more spaceships in space time than Dune.

It does not.
posted by Naberius at 10:37 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but Superman is a space movie like Spiderman is a nature documentary.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:38 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Naberius: I'm not sure what you intended but that link just gives me a site with the logo for DVDactive.
posted by biffa at 10:39 AM on September 5


Huh, that's odd. It gives me a smallish but legible jpeg of a shitton of Atreides spaceships in space, all filing into one of those huge Guild space trucks. Let me see if I can fix it before the edit window times out.

No. I cannot. How about this?

Sorry about that. No idea why it worked for me but not for you.
posted by Naberius at 10:41 AM on September 5


jfuller:
"Someday someone will do for Dune what Peter Jackson did for LOTR."
*shudders*
Dear god, please, no.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:50 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Space Cowboys somehow beat out Armageddon?

Armageddon doesn't rise to the level of actually being a movie. It's more like someone fed Michael Bay a reel of celluloid and a pile of cheap curry and that... thing... is what came out the other end of him. The bum end. Because it's poop, you see.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:51 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Lynch's Dune has a whole scene with a Guild Navigator. It's been a while since I've seen it, but doesn't that take place on a Heighliner? (Or in other words, a spaceship.)
posted by graymouser at 10:56 AM on September 5


Aliens over Alien?

Yes. The first movie certainly has its moments (even aside from the two most notorious ones), but Cameron's movie was the equivalent of your semi-crazy uncle taking the Lego castle that your other, more button-down uncle made, and showing your 5-year-old self that you could take the same parts and rearrange them into a T. rex that shot laser beams out of its ass.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:57 AM on September 5 [13 favorites]


I hate want to ruin the surprise ending, in case you've somehow made it 46 years after its debut without having seen it, but uh... Planet of the Apes is not a space movie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:02 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


> "Someday someone will do for Dune what Peter Jackson did for LOTR."
>
> *shudders*
> Dear god, please, no.
> posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:50 PM on September 5 [1 favorite +] [!]

> Make the prequels into a tiresome shitfest of CGI wankery with magic rabbits?
> posted by biffa at 1:29 PM on September 5 [+] [!]

Back to Ralph Bakshi, both a ya.
posted by jfuller at 11:02 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


If Charlton had never left the Planet he would perhaps have picked up on where he was a bit quicker. Here's your space.
posted by biffa at 11:10 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Avatar had a giant robot which pulls out a giant knife from its robo-belt.

Er, it's not a robot, it's a robotic exoskeleton, so technically the soldier inside the "giant robot" pulled the giant knife. Not saying that the idea that a robot exoskeleton should need to pull a knife from its belt isn't stupid, just pointing out that it's not a robot doing the pulling.

I love Galaxy Quest specifically because it's corny. It's a great sendup of Star Trek and other cheeseball sci-fi movies. However, as meta as it is, I'm a little surprised to see it so high on this list.
posted by me3dia at 11:14 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


As long as the list concurs that Galaxy Quest is the best Trek I can't get too mad.
posted by ckape at 11:15 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the pic Naberius, its probably as I'm outside the US, it usually is.
posted by biffa at 11:19 AM on September 5


I do wish Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan had been listed. I think the battle in the Mutara Nebula is a wonderfully dramatic scene, even if the effects don't hold up so well anymore.
posted by magstheaxe at 11:32 AM on September 5


I do wish Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan had been listed.

It's at #14.
posted by Etrigan at 11:34 AM on September 5


Grrr...scrolled right by it....thanks!
posted by magstheaxe at 11:35 AM on September 5


ROU_Xenophobe: "Armageddon doesn't rise to the level of actually being a movie."

What's really sort of remarkable is that, when you compare it to Bay's more recent work, it's coherent, well made, not actively misanthropic... Entirely watchable.

Comparatively, to be clear. Comparatively.
posted by brundlefly at 11:36 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I realize this comment is a cliche, but: seriously, 40 items and no Contact and no Fifth Element? This is just a random list of somewhat space-related movies, then.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:36 AM on September 5


the battle in the Mutara Nebula is a wonderfully dramatic scene

Kirk's tactical discovery of the Z-axis is requiredreadingattheacademy.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:37 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Halloween Jack: "Yes. The first movie certainly has its moments (even aside from the two most notorious ones), but Cameron's movie was the equivalent of your semi-crazy uncle taking the Lego castle that your other, more button-down uncle made, and showing your 5-year-old self that you could take the same parts and rearrange them into a T. rex that shot laser beams out of its ass."

I love Aliens but the first film will always be better in my eyes, and not out of some puritanical disdain for sequels. I just really love Alien.

That aside, I feel like Alien should have been ranked higher if only because more of it is set in space. Most of Aliens takes place on the surface of LV-426.
But, again, these folks don't seem to understand what space means.
posted by brundlefly at 11:40 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


No Spaceballs. How can anyone take this seriously?
Dark Helmet: "I knew it, I'm surrounded by Assholes. [Closes helmet] Keep firing, Assholes!"
posted by Zack_Replica at 11:47 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I finally had to google Space Cowboys, because I somehow had it in my head that that was a piece of shit starring Clint Eastwood, James Garner, & Tommy Lee Jones embarassing themselves. I must be confusing it with something similarly titled.....?

I actually find it hard to believe this is a real list made by a real human with real feelings about movies.
posted by the bricabrac man at 11:47 AM on September 5


Two words: Flash Gordon
posted by vibrotronica at 11:47 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


This is just a random list of somewhat space-related movies, then.

I have been struggling to discern a theme running through the selections and continue to come up empty handed. Whatever it is, it isn't "films about space", "films that take place in space", or "films where space as a place is a major plot point".

Also, I would place all 39 episodes of Fireball XL-5 on a list of Top 40 Space Movies ahead of Avatar, Prometheus, Outland, Mission to Mars*, Star Trek 2009, or any of the Star Wars movies. That would leave room sufficient for 2001: A Space Odyssey, I suppose.

"I wish I was a spaaace man, the fastest guy alive . . ."

________________
*The first movie to show that it can cost more to make a movie about going to Mars that to actually go to Mars.
posted by Herodios at 11:49 AM on September 5


Ugh, they say this about Forbidden Planet: "the first film to depict humans travelling on a spaceship of their own creation"

That is just wildly, insanely wrong. Like, off by 52 years wrong.
posted by the bricabrac man at 11:59 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


They... they put Star Trek 2009 in this list.

The fools.

That was the final seal.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:05 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Aliens over Alien?

Cameron's is all kinds of awesome and endlessly quotable but Scott's movie is still my favorite. It's just such a perfect creation.
posted by octothorpe at 12:06 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Aliens is a Vietnam film. Alien is a haunted house film, but at least in a spaceship.

Also, whoever invented Deslide, I love you.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:11 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


The most important thing about this list is that it reminds us that there have been so frakking many movies set in/about/related to Outer Space (even if you toss out Planet of the Apes and Superman as 'Not Space Enough') that a list of 40 is WAY inadequate. But Galaxy Quest at #11 and Dark Star at #13 showed that the listmakers weren't taking this too seriously, while Silent Running at #25 showed that they took it (barely) seriously enough. Still, as an Animation Geek, I consider Fantastic Planet to be a near-fatal omission, and, yes, Lilo & Stitch was a better Disney Space Carton than Treasure Planet.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:13 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Slap*Happy: "Yet no Lilo and Stitch? Which had thrilling space battles, aliens that are actually alien and a challenge to understand, a compelling story and great voice acting?"

Aliens using Earth to rebuild the mosquito population--and a canny CIA agent convincing aliens that mosquitos are endangered and that Earth should be left alone as a result--is a fantastic SF idea, and it's a couple of lines, just one great idea out of many in an absolutely superb film.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:19 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I joined this site 10 years ago, but substantially decreased my level of participation years ago. In the past 2 years I have made only 25 comments.

BUT I WILL FIGHT TO THE DEATH OVER THIS FUCKING LIST. Consider this my upward-sleeve rolling, upward-spectacle-pushing combat stance. I am prepared to brandish my nerd credibility like a Nodachi and spill the blood of any infidel who disagrees with me on this.... this blasphemy.

First of all... F-motherfucking-IRST of ALL: Star Wars?! I'm sorry, what movie is that? Was there a movie called Star Wars, ever in the history of the terran race on the 3rd planet orbiting the star Sol? Seems to ME that it was called A New Hope, and that Star Wars was instead the name of the series, hence the title frame to this DAY reading "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope." And before any of you start telling me about what the original prints had, let me remind you that the original screenplay, in which the protagonist was called Luke Starkiller instead of the decidedly milquetoast Skywalker, was called A New Hope, without Star Wars at all, because Lucas in his wisdom had hoped to impart a messge of hope and it was only due to tremendous studio pressure that he had to call it Star Wars for branding and promotional purposes.

Seriously, if you're going to create a list of the top space movies of all time, do some basic research. This is ridiculous. Moving ON, though...

The inclusion of The Right Stuff on this list is an affront to SF (and do not call it Science Fiction in front of me, if you have any respect for the genre at all) in all its stripes, being neither speculative nor especially fictional. And it is not saved by the fact that this list is titled "Top Space Movies" since it spends the overwhelming majority of its screen running time on Earth and not even in space. What utter nonsense.

That both Aliens and Alien are included is right and proper, but placing Cameron's mass-appeal slugfest action film above Randall Scott's terrifying but contemplative meditation shows a striking failure to understand either movie, and indeed film making itself as a form of expression. I must assume that the author(s) have lived in a cave for 40 years and having emerged are now dazzled by the fiery explosions the way deer are said to be stunned into motionlessness by oncoming headlights.

I would say something about Galaxy Quest's prominence on this list if I weren't too busy stuffing a gun into my mouth in order to escape a universe where Galaxy Quest would be put on a list.

At least Serenity is on the list, but it should be in the top 5.

Space Cowboys? Space. COWBOYS?! Excuse me, did someone say this was a list of the top old men complaining about their joints movies?! It's basically The Right Stuff Part 2: The Retirement Years. I'm sorry but just because that has-been Clint Eastwood got tired of making Monkey road movies doesn't mean he gets to represent man's noblest endeavor on film. I'm thrilled he went straight back into obscurity afterward, and good riddance. What's next, the De Palma abortion Mission to Mars? Oh. Oh I see that yes it is. Lovely.

Oh I'm so glad to see that Thor is on there. I'm thrilled. Yes, please let's add as many hyper-colorful rainbows as possible to the list of the best Space Movies. I'm sure that in all of film history, you couldn't find any other movies involving Space that would have been better than Chris Evans in a wig with a cape and a hammer. Surely not Contact. What, did a brony make this list? Vomit.

Oh, and let's just erase the efforts of the Soviet Cosmonaut program from history entirely, shall we? Let's put the Solaris REMAKE on the list, instead of the original! Does the Soviet Union even exist?! We have no way of knowing, according to these mentally deficient listers! Original director Tchaikovsky is rolling in his grave.

All in all, I've seen worse.
posted by shmegegge at 12:38 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


You are a listicle's wet dream, Shmegegge.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:01 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


shmegegge: "The inclusion of The Right Stuff on this list is an affront to SF (and do not call it Science Fiction in front of me, if you have any respect for the genre at all) in all its stripes, being neither speculative nor especially fictional. And it is not saved by the fact that this list is titled "Top Space Movies" since it spends the overwhelming majority of its screen running time on Earth and not even in space. What utter nonsense."

It may not have spent much of its running time in space, but it was about getting into space. I think that more than qualifies it as a space movie, more so than a lot of the movies on this list, even if it is not science fiction.
posted by brundlefly at 1:04 PM on September 5


First of all... F-motherfucking-IRST of ALL: Star Wars?! I'm sorry, what movie is that? Was there a movie called Star Wars, ever in the history of the terran race on the 3rd planet orbiting the star Sol? Seems to ME that it was called A New Hope, and that Star Wars was instead the name of the series, hence the title frame to this DAY reading "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope." And before any of you start telling me about what the original prints had, let me remind you that the original screenplay, in which the protagonist was called Luke Starkiller instead of the decidedly milquetoast Skywalker, was called A New Hope, without Star Wars at all, because Lucas in his wisdom had hoped to impart a messge of hope and it was only due to tremendous studio pressure that he had to call it Star Wars for branding and promotional purposes.

You're joking, right? Even assuming this is all true, the movie is called Star Wars. It was released as Star Wars. Chill, ferchrissake.

I agree with you on Thor, however. That movie was straight-up terrible.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 1:16 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


waait a second wait a second wait a second...

am I seriously the FIRST PERSON here to mention SpaceCamp??
posted by SharkParty at 1:18 PM on September 5


No.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 1:19 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: commence arguing properly.
posted by Fizz at 1:21 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Oh phew! But sorry 'boutcher typo!
posted by SharkParty at 1:21 PM on September 5


Re the Dune / Life of brian comparison, I was more talking about the length of the scenes set in space. I know there are many ships.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:46 PM on September 5


I liked Thor and thought Contact was completely forgettable. The whole "science vs God" theme was kinda silly and it took itself a bit too seriously for my tastes.
posted by Hoopo at 1:50 PM on September 5


Was there a movie called Star Wars, ever in the history of the terran race on the 3rd planet orbiting the star Sol?

There was in 1977 when I saw it. No "Episode 4". No "New Hope". Just Star Wars in its analog splendor.
posted by octothorpe at 2:08 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Oh and do yourself a favor and seek out a copy of "Star Wars: The Despecialized Edition". It's a revelation to see it again without a digital Jabba or those stupid pressure waves when Alderaan and The Death Star blow.
posted by octothorpe at 2:12 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


You're joking, right?

yep.
posted by shmegegge at 2:13 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Oh good.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 2:23 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Independence Day? Anyone?
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:49 PM on September 5


Wow, talk about a list that should have been fifteen films long and not forty.

Yeesh.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:02 PM on September 5


This is a random just a random list of sci-fi movies; surprised Robocop or, given the taste of the post’s author, the remake of Robocop isn’t on the list. That being said i’ve just brewed myself an excellent cup of coffee so let’s have at it.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey: deserves to be number one; if we think of the ‘space film’ as a motion picture that genuinely tries to explore the strangeness of that environment; think of it - we’re the result of millions of years of evolution - we’ve evolved to fit THIS environment - so all of our senses, our intuitions, our ‘thin-slicing’ are gut - these ‘skills’ don’t necessarily work in space and can lend all sorts of drama terror to the situation, (as an example of our senses fooling us take a look at photos of the moon - most folks look at the background behind the astronauts or moon-buggy and think they’re seeing hills not far off - but they’re not hills far off - they can be called mountains or ranges miles away - but there’s no atmosphere that ‘blurs/colours’ objects in the distance that normally gives us a sense of the ‘far way’.

2. Aliens: great film, masterpiece of action but a ’space’ movie? If you’re gonna have an ‘Alien’ picture on the list should be 79’s Alien - for the feeling it conveys of being ‘far away’ - you’re out of touch with everyone - you’re far away from land; would work perfectly set on a massive container ship that is out of radio contact with land; so a better ’space’ picture.

3. The Empire Strikes Back: aren’t these fantasies? belongs on a list with the Lord of the Rings pics or the far superior Excalibur, (superior in the sense that Boorman’s film feels lived in - actually lived in - whereas Lord of the Rings sets look like they were just given ‘last looks’; all pristine and photoshopped. Wish Boorman could have made Rings like he intended but at least we have Excalibur).

4. Gravity: Great visuals on the big screen; terrible, junior-high-school pitched screenplay that doesn’t match the visuals; imagine if they tried doing the dialogue as realistically as the visuals? would be a far more gripping experience.

5. Star Wars: great fantasy film, that shot with the two suns hammers home that we’re not on earth, otherwise just a great western. Shane, come back, Shane!

6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind: should be on a list of ‘Earth Movies’. Has ever a film made you feel more earthbound? We’re all stranded here EXCEPT for Richard Dreyfuss.

7. The Right Stuff: If you’ve got to see one “Sci-Fi” Ed Harris picture shouldn’t that be The Abyss? The film doesn’t work of course but it does have the finest sequences Cameron has ever done, (breathe dammit!), (and don’t get me started - I just recorded a 40-minute monologue on how The Abyss can be recut/relooped to be turned into a masterpiece - Cameron swung for the fences and missed - but oh so close).

8. Solaris (2002): surely the poster of this slideshow is having a laugh with us here. Tarkovsky FTW.

9. Alien: see above.

10. Planet of the Apes (1968): Well, the opener is in Space so that’s something, (and it’s a great scene - pure Rod Serling - with a nod back to that ‘bank robbers escape to the future’ classic ep of the Twilight Zone).

11. Galaxy Quest: Funny - but how much funnier would the R-rated version have been?? “Fuck this.”

12. Voyage dans la Lune: surely should be in the top ten? and where the hell is Frau im Mond??

13. Dark Star: should be in top ten - greatest student film, (along with THX-1138 4EB), ever made??

14. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: belongs on a list with the greatest of Pulp Films; see it with the original D.O.A.

15. WALL-E: like Close Encounters this belongs on a great ‘Earth Films’ list. It makes you nostalgic for the planet we never had.

16. Forbidden Planet: Yes.

17. Superman (1978): No.

18. Starship Troopers: Verhoeven pic that should be included just for it’s conceptual balls to the wall bravery. Let’s make a movie without an actual hero/moral center! Where the protagonists are fascists in a fascist society!, (imagine Robocop with no Murphy - there’s your Startship Troopers).

19. The Fountain: A film I find so profoundly bad, (on the Ed Wood level but with better below-the-line skills), that it ruined a friendship of mine, twice, (basically I’ve argued about this film with the guy who was the best man at my wedding - we’ve argued about for years - almost to the point, i’m ashamed to say, of physical violence).

20. Predators: huh?

21. Guardians of the Galaxy: Most boring film on this list? I mean, it’s got some funny bits in it but it’s so bogged down in that Marvel Universe stuff that it stops and starts like one of those scenes in a medium-talent movie where someone is trying to drive a car and they don’t know stick/manual. Pratt’s very likable and engaging though.

22. Space Cowboys: haven’t seen it. has anyone?

23. Sunshine: you’ve got to be able to suspend your disbelief in the movies. The problem with Sunshine is that in the opening minutes we’re supposed to accept that these people - the people the entire planet is depending on for salvation and who must surely represent the very best we have to offer - have the emotional maturity of that teen slumber party.

24. Apollo 13: Quality middle-brow fare and it actually belongs on the list.

25. Silent Running: Trumball says he deserves the Oscar for 2001 not Kubrick. Well, just compare the way the models were shot in this pic to 2001. Hmmm. Great droids though - maybe the best ever seen in film? They’re heartbreaking.

26. Moon: Good picture and great use of budget.

27. Total Recall (1990). Great picture - not a space film but still. Wonderful action cutting - the scene where the camera dollies along the subway leaving the platform!! And yes, he never went to Mars so shed a little tear for poor Doug Quaid, (just like Tom Cruise in Minority Report was never actually broken out of his mind prison at the end).

28. Star Trek (2009): beautifully produced. But surely another indicator this list was either not thought out at all or designed to drive people like myself CRAZY, (like some sort of Facebook A/B testing experiment).

29. Dune (1984): A big yes to that fantastic Mexican craftsmanship! The woodworking!!! My god. wonderful. Somebody should recut the theatrical and the 4 or 5 hour version, loop some new dialogue etc; these films need to be ‘open sourced’ so they can belong to the world. Disney’s Black Hole would be a good test run for this - it’s got incredible visuals but a terrible, terrible script. Why not write a new script and get new actors to record new dialogue? And in the end the characters exit the Blackhole into their younger selves in other movies; Robert Forrester in Medium Cool for instance.

30. Avatar: at this point this list as defeated me. Though people misjudge Avatar - it shouldn’t be compared to other movies - after seeing it in IMAX 3D the thing it really needs to compared to is the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

31. Mission to Mars: at this point we realize the list maker is a bot that just randomized IMDB films in the ‘science fiction-y’ category.

32. Serenity: see above.

33. Outland: Peter Hyams pictures are really not ones you want to go to to praise. If we must Hymans then let’s use Capricorn One. And wouldn’t that be a witty entry on this list? The space film where they fake going into space?

34. Screamers: Philip K. Dick. Has there ever been a better example of a guy who struggles financially while alive strikes it so rich so quickly after he leaves this little pale blue dot of ours?

35. Treasure Planet: Matt Damon animated in space. It’s like one of those fake trailers you get in front of middling comedies that want to be edgy but they’re made by careerists.

36. Prometheus: Ha hash hah oh man this list kills me.

37. Pitch Black: Fuck it, why not.

38. Stargate

39. Event Horizon: Yes this pic actually gets across the idea that being in space might actually be absolutely terrifying. And it’s like what they say about Frankenheimer’s Manchurian Candidate; nobody above the line in that pic ever reached such heights again - that’s how it feels re: Paul W.S. Anderson - he’ll never again reach such heights.

40. Thor: what an appropriate film for this list to go out on - really shows the thought and care given to it.
posted by jettloe at 3:06 PM on September 5 [11 favorites]


Space Cowboys: haven’t seen it. has anyone?

Yes. Don't.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:42 PM on September 5


yall, we are in space right now. earth is in space. SO WHERE IS 'THE ROOM' ON THIS LIST.
posted by Zerowensboring at 3:44 PM on September 5


For All Mankind
posted by iotic at 4:22 PM on September 5


Fifth Element?

No. Just no. An incoherent cacophony of color in search of a script.
posted by zardoz at 5:01 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


This fucking "gallery"/slide presentation of listicles has got to stop.
posted by batfish at 5:37 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


No. Just no. An incoherent cacophony of color in search of a script.
posted by zardoz


0_o
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:41 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


O_o indeed!



also.... gravity? eww.
posted by Bonzai at 6:02 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Oh, and because I am now a little buzzed, I a) give you and b) find funny...

Metafilter: a tiresome shitfest of CGI wankery with magic rabbits.
posted by Naberius at 6:03 PM on September 5


You must really hate Ewoks if you think "Return of the Jedi" is worse than Thor.
posted by Gary at 6:08 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Er, it's not a robot, it's a robotic exoskeleton, so technically the soldier inside the "giant robot" pulled the giant knife. Not saying that the idea that a robot exoskeleton should need to pull a knife from its belt isn't stupid, just pointing out that it's not a robot doing the pulling.

If technicalities need to be observed here (and I think it's only proper to do so), the correct term likely would be "waldo." The human operator used his waldo to pull the knife off its belt. Heinlein would be pleased. I bet he'd have even grokked the tree.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldo_(short_story)

Also: Just underline a few more ooorahs for Dark Star.
posted by mule98J at 6:16 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


No. Just no. An incoherent cacophony of color in search of a script.
posted by zardoz


That's an eponyfuckme if I've ever seen one.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:31 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Make the prequels into a tiresome shitfest of CGI wankery with magic rabbits?
posted by biffa at 10:29 AM on September 5 [6 favorites +] [!]


The only Dune prequels are those novels by Brian Herbert, right? That would be completely apropos.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:55 PM on September 5


I think the people who made this list didn't watch all the space movies.

Also Barbarella is better than, or at least spacier than, at least half of these.
posted by condour75 at 7:51 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Pfft, Treasure Planet isn't really a "space" movie. Titan A.E., now THAT's a space movie. People can breathe in space in Treasure Planet; in Titan A.E., there's a scene where the MCs have to exhale in order to stop their lungs from bursting.

And jettloe, it's Titan A.E. that has Matt Damon In Space, not Treasure Planet. Treasure Planet has Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Also it was written in part by Joss Whedon, which should count for something 'round these parts.



that cgi in the final shot is just so unfortunate though


also the fact that it ruined Fox Animation

posted by Small Dollar at 8:21 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


no capricorn one? geez

on preview please understand this as me nodding vigorously as I read jettloe's comment just after posting
posted by mwhybark at 8:31 PM on September 5


This list reads like an excuse to get blotto on the company dime.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:15 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Also Barbarella is better than, or at least spacier than, at least half of these.

Holy shit yes, where is Barbarella? Now I'm actually mad about Galaxy Quest on this shit
posted by Hoopo at 9:34 PM on September 5


jettloe, I love you.

some of these movies are not even very spacey

Yeah, why no K-PAX? oic

Anyway, my nominations for films that ought to be on this list for having at least as much actual space travel in them as a bunch of the ones included:

* 2010. Yes, despite the lack of 0g inside the craft, there's some good spacewalk sequences and in many ways it's one of the more realistic (save perhaps its predecessor) depictions of an interplanetary trip.
* Armageddon. My favorite bit of space cheese. I find it has an appeal (casting, dialog, etc.) that is missing from other Bay extravaganzas. As a story it somehow beats Deep Impact which was actually trying to be serious but ended up making the end of the world look a bit dull.
* Countdown. Kind of a silly space horror B-movie in the end, but a bit haunting nonetheless.
* Marooned. A related premise, with good pacing and a thriller sensibility. For my money Capricorn One is a better thriller but of course, less space.
* Leaden as it turned out, Elysium has some actual space travel/orbital mechanics in it, which ought to count for something.

Somebody should recut the theatrical and the 4 or 5 hour version, loop some new dialogue etc

I've previously suggested someone cut together the Lynch and SyFy versions (the latter's art direction having clearly borrowed from the former, it wouldn't be that hard). Conceptually fun if you want a coherent storyline or something in that direction. Obviously Jodorowsky is better if you want visually and conceptually mad, which the story perhaps deserves more.

Mostly, though, this list makes me sad for the fact that here we are in the 21st century and there are still -- despite "sci fi" being safely popular since 1977 and actual space station in orbit -- not all that many movies that take place in space, with helmets and air tanks and everything. These guys couldn't even come up with a safe 40 without padding it with ringers (perhaps deliberately, as these things go).
posted by dhartung at 2:14 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Mostly, though, this list makes me sad for the fact that here we are in the 21st century and there are still -- despite "sci fi" being safely popular since 1977 and actual space station in orbit -- not all that many movies that take place in space, with helmets and air tanks and everything.

Is it really that weird that there aren't that many movies that take place somewhere empty, hostile and largely untouched? Less than 600 people have ever been to space, it's not an environment with a rich history to draw on for inspiration.

Space is, typically, pretty dull unless you fill it with stuff. The clue is in the name. Given the expense of making a film convincingly set in space, and the difficulty of actually making one interesting, I'm neither surprised nor upset that there aren't more such movies.
posted by howfar at 3:37 AM on September 6


I finally had to google Space Cowboys, because I somehow had it in my head that that was a piece of shit starring Clint Eastwood, James Garner, & Tommy Lee Jones embarassing themselves. I must be confusing it with something similarly titled.....?

Son, might I introduce you to Dennis Hopper and Space Truckers? (It also stars Charles Motherfucking Dance, so you pretty much know you are in for a treat).
posted by Mezentian at 9:27 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


You must really hate Ewoks if you think "Return of the Jedi" is worse than Thor.

Quick, I have some straps, a chair and Caravan of Courage on DVD.
And the other one.
But if you want to be really sadistic we'll need someone with the cartoon series.
posted by Mezentian at 9:32 AM on September 6


I finally had to google Space Cowboys, because I somehow had it in my head that that was a piece of shit starring Clint Eastwood, James Garner, & Tommy Lee Jones embarassing themselves. I must be confusing it with something similarly titled.....?

No, this is the one with Clint Eastwood, James Garner, Tommy Lee Jones, & Donald Sutherland being awesome.
posted by Etrigan at 9:46 AM on September 6


To be fair, after Batman, could Tommy Lee Jones shame himself more?
posted by Mezentian at 9:48 AM on September 6


To be fair, after Batman, could Tommy Lee Jones shame himself more?

I see your Space Cowboys and raise you Man of the House.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:06 AM on September 6


I'm just going to mention Mr Mom and Batman.
Because I can.
I'm just not sure why.
posted by Mezentian at 10:15 AM on September 6


Thanks for the correction Small Dollar; have never seen TREASURE PLANET. i'll put it on the list...?
posted by jettloe at 11:34 AM on September 6


Holy crap Mezentian, SPACE TRUCKERS. That's one of those films that seems to have fallen down the memory hole - it is NEVER talked about. EVER. Yet it's directed by Stuart Gordon!, (Re-Animator, From Beyond - and Robot Jox!!, (my favorite film that rejects the myth of redemptive violence!!!)
posted by jettloe at 11:40 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


8. Solaris (2002): surely the poster of this slideshow is having a laugh with us here. Tarkovsky FTW.

You know, I really liked the Cluney / Soderbergh version of Solaris. Never understood the haters personally. And yes, I've seen the Tarkovsky version.
posted by pharm at 11:54 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Where's Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone?
posted by yonega at 11:54 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Nothing wrong with the 2002 SOLARIS; good picture - brilliant shot of the illuminated space craft control panel at the end - Soderbergh, what a great DP.

It's just that the original is one of the masterpieces of cinema, that shows us, and expands, the power of the medium. So if you have to pick one - why not go for the work of great humanism, beauty and soul?
posted by jettloe at 12:06 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


jettloe, your list would be ten times better than the linked one. Yet the linked one is the one we're talking about, for the sole reason that some old media dinosaur presented it. If this was just a list on some guy's blog, would we even care?
posted by JHarris at 2:37 PM on September 6


I saw Solaris back in the '70s and it totally blew me away. Saw it last year on TV and it just didn't do too much for me.
posted by octothorpe at 4:55 PM on September 6


Where is Destination: Moon? This is more of a "space movie" than half the films on this list. "No booze. No broads. No baseball." It was the 50's.
posted by SPrintF at 3:07 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Is it really that weird that there aren't that many movies that take place somewhere empty, hostile and largely untouched?

725 episodes in five Star Trek series. I'm not talking gimbals and greenscreens like Gravity, I'm talking telling stories like Larry Niven, and I'm not picky about it being hard-as-nails sf either. Heck, for all its faults and sourcing to Verne, I have a soft spot for The Black Hole. But I'd love it if we got a Pitch Black every year.

The thing is, too many movies seem to be predicated on the idea of being SFX extravaganzas, and quite a bit of what falls into the "sf" bucket is metaphysical goop bordering on body horror, which I'm sure meets some people's needs, but rarely is "spacey" in the sense we're getting hung up on here. I also think that despite the thousands of great, original sf short stories about space travel, if you brought most of them to Hollywood you'd get a dismissive "A lot like _____________" instead of "What a great new take on the ________". Instead we have to wait years and years for things like Moon to come along, and this is with a clear public acceptance of sf as a genre.

I'm more complaining about Hollywood, you see.
posted by dhartung at 11:46 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


zardoz: "Fifth Element?

No. Just no. An incoherent cacophony of color in search of a script.
"

::glove slap::

Pistols at dawn, sir.
posted by Splunge at 2:09 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Pistols at dawn, sir.

I'll be your second!

Many people don't seem to understand is that Fifth Element is a comedy; it's a riotous romp through the canards of science fiction. I think this may be a mainland Europe vs. Anglo culture difference: when it came out I saw it twice in cinemas in the first week, once in Paris and once in Cambridge. The French audience found the whole film hilarious, whereas the Cantab one sat stone silent throughout the entire film. It was quite weird - when you and your friends are the only ones laughing at a film you feel very exposed!
posted by pharm at 3:35 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


More to the point, it's a parody of European science fiction, the heady, breathless spectacle of Moebius and Alphaville and Showcase 2000, where it's halfway parody to begin with. It's a loving treatment of science fiction as guady social commentary - in the US, science fiction is Serious Business, carefully constructed allegory that always lends itself more to horror than to wonder, or attempts to tap into the Jungian truth at the base of human existence.

Sometimes you just want to see a guy with a picture of a hallway taped to his head do a little dance, and wonder what it would be like if the bad guy from "No Holds Barred" was President of the World.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:43 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


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