The Heap. Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (21-25)

And we’re back. I know I’ve kept you all on your toes regarding the rest of the list. I DO want you coming back and reading, don’t I? There’s plenty of additional entertaining and fascinating content here! This week will certainly be groundbreaking here, as we’ll have our first album review! Also in the works is a book review. I might decide to release the artist/titles I will be reviewing… but I want to build up the suspense. Just a little. Just like with this list. I know you are ready for the next 5.

Movies 21-25 are quite well known. Some may argue that they belong a little bit higher on the list, and from a popularity point of view, I would probably agree. But again remember, we are looking for conceptual orginality, contribution to the sci-fi genre, and the all important “sci-fi-ness,” a film which upholds the and promotes the characteristics of the genre. And we start with:

25. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

An adaption of a Jules Verne novel had to be on the list somewhere, as he and H.G. Wells pretty much invented the science fiction genre in literature. With novels conceptualizing technological advancements far beyond their time (late 19th Century), the two paved the way for the likes of the future writers and directors of sci-fi alike. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is revolutionary when placed in the context of its setting, the 1870’s. Underwater travel was an unlikely possibility during the time. Thus the Nautilus as a method of underwater transportation clearly qualifies as a creative, imaginative concept. Captain Nemo perhaps provides one of the more resounding and chillingly applicable lines when the professor discovers the source of the submarine’s power as being atomic. He states, “Such a secret could revolutionize the world!” to which captain Nemo responds, “Or destroy it.” In the wake of the aftereffects of WWII and the use of the atomic bomb, the film clearly shed a light on the dangers of technology, if used irresponsibly. IMDB: 7.2 Rotten Tomatoes 90%

24. Robocop 1 (1987)

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The future of law enforcement was the popular tag line of this late 80’s sci-fi thriller. Again, the audience is presented with a society afflicted with extreme lawlessness. The answer to widespread crime? A kick ass cyborg. Director Paul Verhoeven paints a pretty pessimistic picture of the near future, as crime and violence reign supreme. Sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire, as the robotic protagonist goes on violent rampages himself in order to save the day. What makes Robocop unique is the fusion of man and machine in the concept of the cyborg. Robocop is the remains of human cop Murphy, controlled by computer programming. Throughout the course of the film, Robocop eventually overrides the mechanical restrictions placed on his brain’s freewill, and he is able to utilize human with with the superiority of machine. IMDB: 7.5 Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

23. Back to the Future I, II, III (1985, 1989, 1990)

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The heap. loves the entire franchise, and while the sequels aren’t entirely groundbreaking after the first film, they are just as entertaining, and for the most part, you don’t really think that it’s just a rehashing of the formula. It’s pretty obvious that man has always been fascinated by the idea of time travel. We see it most prominently in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and many sitcoms and films play around with the concept. Back to the Future provides a creatively fresh and hilarious take on time travel. For starters, the machine is a DeLorean, a funky sports car from Northern Ireland. The movie also emphasized the rules of time travel, as all “new” actions effect the (present) future. All in all, a good flick. (FYI: Back to the Future I is number 106 on IMBD’s best 250 movies of all time) IMDB: 8.3, 7.3, 6.9 Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, 65%, 74%

22. Planet of the Apes (1968)

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We must reiterate, please see the original! While I love Mark Wahlberg, he doesn’t get the job done in the 2001 version. This film probably has one of the biggest, unexpected twists of all time (which I won’t reveal). Human scientists, after traveling for millenia, land on an unknown planet where apes are the dominant species. They have advanced so much that they have also developed their own social class hierarchy. Humans still exist, but can no longer speak and are not intelligent beings. They are used for experimentation and are hunted. The main character, George Taylor (played by Charlton Heston) tries to demonstrate that he is intellectually able for most of the movie. A memorable scene is the trial, (which is apparently a satirical take on the Scopes Monkey Trial). The twist, and its reverberations are why it deserves to be on the list (which I can’t discuss now, so go see it!). IMDB: 8.0 Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

21. Blade Runner (1982)

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Flying cars, Earth colonies in outer space, and a dystopian Los Angeles. What more could you ask for in a sci-fi thriller? Ok, fine, we’ll throw in Harrison Ford too. Blade Runner symbolically addressed the pressing concerns of topics which are applicable as early as now! We see overpopulation, cloning, and climate concerns. Not to mention the question of how genetically engineered beings are to be treated, and what rights should they have. It is clear that the replicants, the bio engineered beings, are indistinguishable from humans, but are forced to be part of an extreme working class. After a revolution of sorts, blade runners are hired to kill off the troublemakers. Yep. Ford is one of these blade runners. Clearly ahead of its time in concept and depiction of the future. (Number 103 on IMDB’s best 250 Movies of All Time) IMDB: 8.3 Rotten Tomatoes 91%

So there you go. Look for the next 5 later this week!

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A Little Off the Top III

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It feels good to write again… even though A Little Off the Top is mostly just another article… and my wonderful insight. Today we have a real treat, from Bosnia, where the Sarajevo Police are holding a drug smuggling pigeon in custody… literally, behind bars, as the article explains.

SARAJEVO (AFP) – Bosnian police have impounded a pigeon after discovering prisoners used it to smuggle drugs into one of the country’s highest security jails, an official said Thursday.

“The guards suspected the animal might be involved in drug smuggling once they noticed four prisoners visibly intoxicated shortly after the pigeon landed on a prison window,” Zenica prison official Josip Pojavnik told AFP.

All four inmates had tested positive for heroin, said Pojavnik, adding disciplinary proceedings had been launched against the inmates.

The drugs, he added, had probably been stuffed into tiny bags attached to the legs of the carrier pigeon, which one of the prisoners had previously been allowed to keep as a pet in his cell.

“We suspect that the pigeon carried the drugs from Tuzla,” a town around 70 kilometres (more than 40 miles) northeast of Zenica in central Bosnia, he added.

The pigeon had been taken into custody by police, who have launched an investigation aimed at identifying those who had loaded it up with the drugs.

“We do not know what to do with the pigeon, but for the time being it will remain behind bars,” Pojavnik said.

The incident had prompted the prison administration to consider closing down a prisoner pigeon-breeding project established in a ward of the jail as part of a rehabilitation programme, he added.

Pojavnik insisted those birds had not been involved in the incident.

A similar case of carrier pigeons being used by prisoners was reportedly uncovered earlier this year at a jail in Brazil, where the birds were being used to deliver drugs and even mobile telephones.

My question is, does the bird get his phone call. Really Bosnia? A bird behind bars? I’m sure he’s made some new friends in jail, being that he’s a drug smuggler and all. Can you imagine if you were in jail and actually had the pigeon as a cellmate? Rewarding conversations right there. After a few days in the big house, I’m more than positive our feathered friend will be looking for a plea bargain. He’ll talk. I know it. I guess that is what officials want, right? Perhaps it will lead them back to the real perpetrators. Hang in there buddy, Harvey Birdman is on his way!

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