The heap Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (11-15)

Finally I am able to continue our countdown here at the heap. of what we think are the movies which are instrumental and define the Sci Fi genre. If you’ve missed the first 15 movies on the list, check the entries out on the Lists page. Or if you just want to know the movies and spare yourself of my commentary hoopla, you can see a convenient text listing of the movies. So without further ado, let’s get on with the next 5 movies!

15. The Fifth Element (1997)

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It’s the year 2263, and as expected, the future presented by the film is full of many technological advancements which typify sci fi films. Again, we are presented with a sort of dystopian world, where man has been forced to build (and survive) Upwards. The visuals of The Fifth Element certainly resonate of the futuristic vision of Blade Runner with flying cars. Unforgettable is the chase scene in which Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) is able to escape police officers in a thrilling mid air series of events. But of course, this isn’t what sets this movie apart. Despite all of these futuristic advances, the universe is still plagued by intergalactic strife, notably hate and war. The Fifth Element wraps an antiwar message alongside the inner turmoils of faith- shown through the perseverance of forgotten religion, and the struggle of the proverbial savior (Leeloo) to decide (after ALL of the trouble to save and preserve HER) if the world is worth saving. And of course, Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod shows the absurdity of the media of the future. All of this delivered with MUCH comedy. IMDB: 7.3 Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

14. Jurassic Park (1993)

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We’ll stick with just the first one here. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel, Jurassic Park takes the audience on an epic “You know, this might just be a bad idea” journey to a remote island where dinosaurs have been genetically cloned and raised. And of course, all for ultimate commercial gain. JP becomes the ultimate dream of any kid who grew up loving dinosaurs, only being able to see fossil evidence and scientific reproductions as evidence for their existence. The animatronic for the movie brings to life some spectacular beings, and the computerwork (for what was available back then) is superb. JP is on the list because it IS the elite film which uses dinosaurs as its main selling point, and manages to do it without being all too cheesy. Oh, and Spielberg and Co. manage to make it intriguing, educational, and TERRIFYING. The purpose? To again promote caution with our ever-increasing knowledge and capability- a la cloning. Also, commercial gain from such scientific endeavors are to be frowned upon (See Wayne Knight’s character- you know… Newman!). IMDB: 7.8 Rotten Tomates: 86%

13. Fantastic Voyage (1966)

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Most of the movies on the list are about the vast unknown with is the Universe we live in. We can only try to calculate things in relative and even sometimes abstract scale, as we are limited by our present technology and unable to travel like in space sci fi movies. Yet, we have such a relatively unknown and unpredictable entity right here on Earth- the human body. Fantastic Voyage takes you on such a journey, a journey to twist the fate of a dying man through literal intraveinal human intercession. Again, a visual, creative delight, as the audience journeys through “inner space” and sees how various organs are portrayed on the silver screen. IMDB: 6.8 Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

12. War of the Worlds (2005)

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You want to talk about an epic tale of survival? Spielberg’s film based on H.G. Wells’ revolutionary novel assuredly thrilled audiences worldwide with it’s American perception of the events which transpired in the novel. Its success is also based off of the 1938 radio broadcast as well as the 50’s version because it captures the thematic issue of mass hysteria, whether it had to do with Nazi/Japanese infiltration during WWII, or possible secret operations by Russians during the Cold War. Of course, the novel itself played with such notions, predominately regarding the influx in immigration during the time period in England. Ironically (but perhaps purposefully… Spielberg’s a smart one…) the film came out during the apex of our own immigration “crisis,” as well as during the contining sensitive time period regarding acts of terrorism on our own soil. The themes could also be extended to racial and even sexual orientation demographics- any category of “threatening” difference. IMDB: 6.6 Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

11. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

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If you like the theme of exaggerated hysteria, especially during the Cold War standstill, then watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers will probably make you quite happy. The film captures a panoramic view of the effects of fear injecting media influence. As the main character, Dr. Bennell recounts the events of past days, one common theme ties all of the incidences together. Patients are claiming that their loved ones are impostors! And as it turns out, they’re right! What ensues is a discovery of the replacement of the loved ones by unemotional clones which kill humans and spread the “seeds” of the “pod people.” Clearly a stab at the portrayal of Soviet personalities, but also a sombering view of the effects of Communism on our often disregarded autonomous lifestyle. IMDB: 8.0 Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

And we’re down to our last 10! You’ll definitely see the next 5 by this weekend, and we’ll release the last 5 one at a time next week! (Including an honorable mention post!).

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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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“It was a pleasure to burn.”

Fahrenheit 451

For many fans of Ray Bradbury, this line resonates (and perhaps continues to resonate anytime they see a book) in the minds and hearts of all who contemplate the future of published literature, especially with the current explosion of growth of paperless technology. The opening line of Fahrenheit 451 eeriely introduces the destruction of books, and leaves an indeliable implication of future. One of my favorite books. The movie version, made in 1966, starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie… not so much. THANKFULLY, (I happened to stumble upon this, because I wondered the rating of the 1966 movie which you can read about here) they are remaking it! I am definitely curious how it will turn out with today’s creativity and technology, as well as acting talent. It is slated for a 2010 release, and you can keep up with it on the Fahrenheit 451 (2010) page.

Of course, what REALLY sparked my interest was a list a found on Yahoo: Top 30 Sci-Fi Films of All Time.

If you check it out, there are some really surprising choices (as well as sci-fi staples). What really baffled me was the positioning of some of the choices, as well as obvious films which weren’t included. In the upcoming days, Chaz, the movie expert of the heap. and myself will try to right the wrong, and come up wth our own list, so make sure you come back! And if you want, leave a comment about movies that you want to see on the list, feel shouldn’t be on the list, or about the positioning of movies on the list!

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