Top ten underrated SF movies of all time

September 3, 2008

I like science fiction movies. Not as much as SF novels, you understand, but all the same, they’re a big factor in my life.

I do wonder why SF movies are all Action Adventure Flicks (Space Opera, in other words) rather than addressing some of the bigger themes you’ll find in the novels, but either way there are plenty of interesting movies out there.

This site has a list of the top ten underrated SF movies of all time, but it misses out a handful of vitally important movies and I’m wondering if there are more that should be included.

I can’t fault those that are there but where’s Dark Star? One of my favourite films it was co-written by Dan O’Bannion who went on to write Alien. It’s clearly a student project but what a movie! I saw it at about the same time as I first saw Silent Running and the two films took root in my subconscious and have yet to move on.

And then there’s Charly, based on one of the best SF novels ever written. It actually is one of those thoughtful SF novels that rarely get made into movies (“Not enough aliens. When does the lead heroine get eaten by a bug?”) and requires many people to rethink what they mean by Science Fiction (I would say the most successful SF TV series ever made is actually ER. It uses science to tell its stories which makes it SF to my way of thinking. Discuss!).

No such list could be complete without The Man Who Fell To Earth if only because it’s got David Bowie in it.

Any others? I could talk about Solaris, Metropolis and Mad Max but I would say they’re probably not underrated so much as neglected these days.

I once got hold of a copy of Metropolis but was warned it was “in German” which of course was a pointless warning because it’s a silent film.

All the caption pages were in German.

Slaps forehead.


5 Responses to “Top ten underrated SF movies of all time”

  1. Mysterious Dave Mather Says:

    ‘The man that fell to earth’ only because it’s got David Bowie in it.

    That would be the only reason as far as I can see. I seriously don’t rate that movie.

    About a decade ago, Mrs Mysterious Dave and myself was having a viceo watching weekend on our very old tv. We were watching ‘The man that fell to earth’, after a spell, we decided that the movie was not engaging us, and perhaps the old tv was the problem. We went to the shops, brought a new telly, came back, and started watching again.

    Turns out, as best I can recall, David Bowie was some sort of alien, who was all misunderstood and fragile. And the movie didn’t noticeably improved, although we could see so much more of it. In fact, in someways, it was worse.

    I’d actually say ‘Mad Max’ is actually a good Western (particularly ‘Mad Max 2’).

  2. audent Says:

    Ooh, Mad Max is a western, discuss! They easily devolve into cliche, much like SF, but can rise above and be jolly good!

    Westerns are another genre that can get misunderstood. I’ve got 3.10 to Yuma but haven’t watched it yet…

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is, of course, the very best movie ever produced. But that goes without saying.

    Other SF films I should have mentioned: The Quiet Earth. Quite frankly, if you’re going to write about life after the end of the world you should ALWAYS set your movie in Hamilton. In the 1980s.

    I’m just saying.

  3. Mysterious Dave Mather Says:

    Not seen the new “3.10 to Yuma”, enjoyed the old one. In the area of nearly Western, I thought “Ride with the Devil” was good. U.S. Civil War movie, directed by Ang Lee and set in bloody Missouri and bleeding Kansas. Would like to have caught the James boys movie which came out recently. Maybe on DVD.

    As for life after the end being set in Hamilton: I accept that only if the people in the movie deserve to go to a better place.

  4. audent Says:

    It was a humbler, easier way of life.

  5. Cliff Burns Says:

    Man, whoever wrote that roster for the “VideoHound” site needs to get out of their basement more. Some of the picks were out and out embarrassing (the 1993 version of “Body Snatchers” was an appalling effort).
    I, too, am a big fan of “Silent Running”, a terrific small budget film with a stellar performance by the always reliable Bruce Dern. SF films today have no decent story, the spectacle is everything; CGI effects and eye candy for the 14 year old demographic everyone is shooting for. George Lucas is to blame and all the pale imitators who followed, one eye always firmly fixed on the box office…

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