Science Fiction and Fantasy…”501 Must See Films” So Far

I’m growing increasingly anxious to get back to working at my goal of watching each
and every one of the “501 Must See” movies.  As such, I’m going to provide an abbreviated recap of the movies that I’ve seen from the remaining two sections.  That way I can still get everyone caught up and get back to the movie watching more quickly.  I’ll be providing
the basics for each (year, director, cast, awards, my rating) and highlighting a few from the section with a bit more depth.

First up, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Seen to date: 23 out of 50

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner

Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall and Linda Harrison

Academy Award Wins – Best Costume Design and Best Original Score

My Rating – 3 Ticket Stubs (Out of 5)

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 89% (56 Reviews)

Silent Running (1972)

Director: Douglas Trumbull

My Rating – 0.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 68% (25 Reviews)

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

Director: George Lucas

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher

Academy Awards: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score, Best Sound and Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing

AFI Top 100: #15 (1998) #13 (2007)

Princess Leia (Fisher) sends two droids to a distant planet in the hopes of securing the help of war hero and jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) for the rebellion.  Obi-Wan, along with Luke Skywalker (Hamill) boards the Millennium Falcon in the hopes of helping the princess in her fight against Darth Vader and the evil empire.

Star Wars is one of the best movies ever made.  I don’t even feel like a nerd saying
that.  By now, it’s just common knowledge.  Even the American Film Institute put it in the top 15 in both editions of its “100 greatest movies” list.  This movie has everything that you
could want in an epic adventure: a damsel in distress, a rouge hero, a mysterious villain and an underdog among other things.  Personally, I think Empire is the best of the Trilogy, but A New Hope couldn’t have been a better opening chapter and couldn’t have had a larger cultural impact.

My Rating – 4.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 94% (67 Reviews)

Superman (1978)

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brandon and Gene Hackman

Academy Awards: Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects

My Rating – 3 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 94% (54 Reviews)

Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and Ian Holm

Academy Award Wins – Best Visual Effects

My Rating – 2.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 96% (83 Reviews)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Director: Steven Speilberg

Starring: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace Smith and Drew Barrymore

Academy Awards: Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score and Best Sound

AFI 100: #25 (1998) #24 (2007)

My Rating – 3.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 98% (91 Reviews)

Tron (1982)

Director: Steven Lisberger

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner and Barnard Hughes

Academy Award Wins – Award for Technical Achievement (awarded in 1997)

Hacker and arcade junkie Kevin Flynn (Bridges) gets turned into a software program by a computer at the office of his former employer, ENCOM.  After becoming a program, he must compete against other programs with his life on the line.  Meanwhile, Tron (Boxleitner) attempts to disable the Master Control Program that runs everything.

This is an incredibly hard film to review and rate.  It’s one of those that you say, “It was ahead of its time.”  But if you look it today, it’s sort of awful.  The graphics and effects seem laughable, almost as if it were an intended parody of effects.  But, then you realize just how
revolutionary this film was.  After that it’s much more easily appreciated.  Plus, Jeff Bridges is and was the dude…I mean the man.

My Rating – 2 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 70% (46 Reviews)

Ghostbusters (1984)

Director: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 93% (46 Reviews)

The Terminator (1984)

Director: James Cameron

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton

My Rating – 3  Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 100% (44 Reviews)

Back to the Future (1985)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson

Academy Awards: Best Sound Effects Editing

Thanks to the brilliant and eccentric Doc Brown (Lloyd), teenager Marty McFly (Fox) accidently travels thirty years into the past.  His arrival threatens his own existence as he
inadvertently interferes with his parents’ relationship.  He must work to convince them that they are destined to be together or he will disappear.

Back to the Future could have been a bust.  Originally Eric Stotlz was cast as the lead, but he was no Marty McFly and shortly after he was replaced by Michael J. Fox.  It’s Fox that takes this SciFi Comedy so likeable.  Combined with Lloyd’s Doc Brown, they might be the best old scientist and teenage slacker duo in film history.

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 97% (61 Reviews)

Robocop (1987)

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Starring: Peter Weller and Nancy Allen

Academy Awards: Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing

My Rating – 2 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 88% (42 Reviews)

Batman (1989)

Director: Tim Burton

Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger

Academy Awards: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration

My Rating – 3 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 71% (52 Reviews)

Jurassic Park (1993)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum

Academy Awards: Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound

My Rating – 3 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 89% (45 Reviews)

Independence Day (1996)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Starring: Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum

Academy Awards: Best Visual Effects

My Rating – 2.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 60% (55 Reviews)

Men In Black (1997)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Rip Torn

Academy Awards: Best Makeup

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 91% (68 Reviews)

The Matrix (1999)

Director: The Wachowski Brothers

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving

Academy Awards: Best Editing, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 87% (128 Reviews)

X-Men (2000)

Director: Bryan Singer

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen

My Rating – 3.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 82% (154 Reviews)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Director: Chris Columbus

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 80% (186 Reviews)

Spider-Man (2002)

Director: Sam Raimi

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe and Kirsten Dunst

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 89% (215 Reviews)

Serenity (2005)

Director: Joss Whedon

Starring: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Morena Baccarin

In a totalitarian future, America and China have combined into a singular super power known the Alliance.  Malcolm Reynolds (Fillion) captains a ship which is concealing River Tam (SciFi Queen – Summer Glau) who the Alliance desperately seeking.  The captain and his crew find themselves in unimaginable danger as they discover the Alliance’s darkest secret.

Joss Whedon’s third TV series, “Firefly” got cancelled by Fox part way through its premiere season in spite of critical support.  However, Fox under estimated the fan base and “Firefly” saw unexpected sales numbers when released onto DVD.  This gave Whedon the chance to finish his space western on the big screen.  The final product is Serenity.  Due to the necessary structure of a film, it lacks a lot of the humor that separated Firefly.  However, the film does an admirable job of wrapping up the story and provides a proper send off to some of the small screen’s most interesting characters.

My Rating – 3.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 81% (177 Reviews)

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Ivana Baquero, Sergi Lopez and Doug Jones

Academy Awards: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best
Makeup

My Rating – 2 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 95% (194 Reviews)

The Dark Knight (2008)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Gary Oldman

Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Ledger) and Best Sound Editing

Batman (Bale) and Gotham’s new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are working together to cut off Gotham’s mob bosses.  However, their success forces the mobs to turn to the psychopathic Joker, who turns his focus to Batman, Harvey and their shared love interest Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Batman Begins was a phenomenal movie and a great franchise starter.  Just based on
past experiences, it wouldn’t have surprised many people if the follow-up faltered.  However, thanks to Nolan’s direction and outstanding on-screen performances, The Dark Knight was a far superior film to its predecessor.  Above everything else, The Dark Knight will be remembered for Heath Ledger’s tour de force performance as The Joker and his tragic death before the film’s release.  Personally, I thought we gained one of the
all-time great performances and unfortunately lost an all-time great film actor.

RIP Heath.

My Rating – 5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 94% (280 Reviews)

District 9 (2009)

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Starring: Sharito Copley, Jason Cope and Nathalie Boltt

My Rating – 4.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 91% (251 Reviews)

@D_C_Evans

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About DC Evans

I’m a long time film lover. For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent my free time going to multiplexs; renting tapes and building my own DVD/Blu-ray collection. I'll be blogging about my efforts as I watch my way through the history of film. For starters, I’ll be focusing on watching each movie in the book “501 Must-See Movies.” Follow me on twitter: @D_C_Evans
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One Response to Science Fiction and Fantasy…”501 Must See Films” So Far

  1. Joe Tappa says:

    thanks, will check back sometime, have bookmarked you for now.

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