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     Home »  Other Science Fiction/Fantasy »  Some Under-rated Sci-Fi Movies (and Why)
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    Some Under-rated Sci-Fi Movies (and Why) Views: 7103
     Friday, July 22 2005 @ 10:53 PM EDT
    Lets start with... Tron. Way ahead of its time. Well cast, religious undertones, predicted the internet, rated PG. Only 90 minutes!

    "There comes a time, Timelord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance"
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     Saturday, July 23 2005 @ 03:58 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  Ken] Lets start with... Tron. Way ahead of its time. Well cast, religious undertones, predicted the internet, rated PG. Only 90 minutes!

    So good that Disney has decided to remake the 1982 film.

    As a tech geek myself, the film holds a special place in my heart being the first of its kind to really exploit computer technology both on-screen and behind the scenes. It's interesting to know that the computers on our desks now are more powerful than the Cray super-computer that the filmmakers had to rent time on to render the CGI in that film.

    ...End of line.

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     Tuesday, July 26 2005 @ 01:35 AM EDT
    First off, this is a great topic! Now for some under-rated Sci-Fi movies, and why. I thought of 3 examples. They are under-rated in the sense that most people would consider/argue that the sequel is better than the original, and these movies are Superman, Alien, Terminator. And now for why these movies are just as good, if not better than their sequels, starting with Superman.

    Superman, just like Ken had mentioned in Tron, both had a PG rating, and religious undertones. Undertones which its sequel lacked. Having Superman being Jar-el's only son being sent to earth, to end up saving it. Having Superman disappear for all those years from his childhood to his adulthood, as another Jesus metaphor worked well too. It had a great score by John Williams (who did not score the others), and Gene Hackman played an amazing villian. He stole the show by being both a very menacing nemesis, while at the same time, children could watch and not be terrified.

    Next is Alien. It seems like many people would argue that Aliens is the better movie, however I would argue that Alien was not only a deeper movie, but had more of an impact on movie making in general.

    The ship in Alien has had an amazing impact on Sci-Fi. It was the first time in which a star ship was really made to be frightening, and so run down and lacking in maitainence. The atmosphere was just amazing and really gave you that feeling of desperation. The fact that they were so far from anything, that even in escape they may end up dying trying to get back made it all the more frightening. As well as the one character turning out to be a robot, which was a great twist. The fact that it was also a lone Alien taking out the crew with no real weaponery was amazing as well. Such an underrated classic.

    Finally Terminator. The first terminator movie was the only one in which the theme was Man vs Machine. I found it to be great watching one lone soldier from the future trying to take out such a powerful killing machine. It had a great twist with the soldier being the father too.

    Well, that's all on those for now. I'd have no problem elaborating on any of the movies I mentioned if anyone wants. I hope you all enjoy my post.

    "Hero! I should have been a God!"
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     Tuesday, July 26 2005 @ 04:02 AM EDT
    I am with you completely Omega! Superman is a far superior film than any of it's sequels. The parts that did work best in Superman II were in fact the segments under the leadership and direction of Richard Donor who directed the 1978 original movie. He was unfortunately, let go from the sequel and replaced by Richard Lester who has a more slapstick sense of humor. The other films in the series just went downhill from there. The only saving grace that second film had is that it were the original Richard Donor elements.

    Besides the original introduced (or rather re-introduced) the legend that is Superman. It made the public believe that a man could fly. The films that followed, didn't need to prove it, because the original already had done so.

    Although I like and enjoy Aliens (1986), it in no way comes close to comparing to the groundbreaking original Alien (1979). To his credit, James Cameron took the sequel in a completely different direction and made a different type of movie than the first. But having said that, in various ways, it is a remake of the first in it's basic plot (Knute replaces Jonesy the cat). The original Alien is a masterpiece made possible by director Ridley Scott and creator Dan O'Bannon. Composer Jerry Goldsmith masterfully set the tone of the film. As with Superman, in which made the public believe that a man could fly, Alien made you believe that men and women could work and live in space, and in space, no one can hear you scream! It was more than just a haunted house in space as some may write it off. It showed believable characters in very believable surroundings. Brilliantly brought to life by the artistry of Ron Cobb (who is also by the way responsible for the interior design of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars)... and true alien conceptual artwork of H.R. Giger brought to the silver screen in this movie. Not only designing the alien itself, but many of the bio-mechnical elements of the film (i.e. the derelict spaceship, the face hugger, etc.).

    There are various sexual themes explored in the original Alien as well as motherhood (which James Cameron continued to explore in the sequel). The Nostromo's shipboard computer named Mother, the chest bursting aliens en-pregnant their hosts, are among some of the references. Sexual overtones can be seen throughout H.R. Giger's original art and conceptual art for this film. Even the entrance to the derelict alien ship is somewhat shaped like a virginia... The point to it all is that the original film is far more thought out and is loaded with details that the sequels don't come close to having. Everything is thought out thoroughly here. It's a great film that stands on its own. It really doesn't need any sequels, and the sequels tend to only hurt the original rather than compliment it.

    The original is even more rich than what finally appeared on screen. Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett story was even more expansive originally. It's pretty interesting.

    I highly recommend the original Alien. As I said, I still like and enjoy Aliens but it can't compare to the original (which I believe Cameron knew hence the reason he took it a different direction). The rest of the series is downhill from there.

    It's a movie that really didn't need any sequels at all. Similar to Jaws. I won't even go there!

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     Tuesday, August 02 2005 @ 04:34 PM EDT
    And then there is Star Trek:The Motion Picture! I love The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home, but ST one gets bashed. The film is amazing. It also has a number of metaphors running through it. Plus Robert Wise is one of the greatest directors of all time. Jerry Goldsmith's music is perfect.
    The movie opened in the wake of the original Star Wars and that set expectations of ST:TMP being an action movie.
    Had ST2: Wrath of Khan been released first this movie would be considered the masterpiece it is.

    "There comes a time, Timelord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance"
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     Tuesday, August 02 2005 @ 05:52 PM EDT
    So many people dismiss Star Trek: The Motion Picture... and that is a shame. What's also shameful is that the original theatrical release were missing some of the scenes that the film really needed. People criticized the film for not touching about the human factor of the character, that it was "all about the special effects." In the Extended Version most of the scenes in those 12 extra minutes were human character scenes, not effects shots for the most part. The whole parallel story-line with Spock and V'ger is lost without the scenes of Spock reconnecting with his human side after coming aboard stripped of all emotions. V'ger was looking for something more in life... beyond facts and figures... It needed a human element... Just as Spock reconnected with his human side, so did V'ger through Captain/Commander Decker. Not to mention the scenes with Ilia (as the probe mechanism) finding her humanity through the relationship with Decker.

    Yeah, ST: The Motion Picture is under-rated by both the mainstream and fandom as well.

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     Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 08:58 AM EDT
    The Shadow with Alec Baldwin is another under-rated movie. An exceptional cast, Jerry Goldsmith with a wonderful score yet again, and production design that creates some tasty eye candy.
    Released a few years after the first few Batman movies, The Shadow clearly tries to imitate the Dark Knight/Batman feel. That being said, it still manages to be an original movie. Alec Baldwin weaves a mixture of dry humor and troubled soul into the character of Lamont Cranston. Peter Boyle as his driver is his perfect self.
    I like when a movie is fun, action packed and clean. The Shadow has a sexy edge to it without crossing into the rated R catagory.

    "There comes a time, Timelord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance"
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     Friday, August 05 2005 @ 01:24 AM EDT
    Hmm... I don't think I ever saw the movie, The Shadow. I do recall seeing the ads and publicity for it at the time.

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     Monday, August 08 2005 @ 08:45 AM EDT
    Today's under-rated classic is the 1983 release from Columbia Pictures called Krull. Ken Marshall of Marco Polo (the mini series, not William Hartnell) and DS9 fame stars along side Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane. Camp, yes. Chesse, yes. Fun, yes. In the late seventies /early eighties studios rushed to get the next space opera or foggy moat dragon epic onto our screens. Krull was both and neither. OK, you're seeing the problem. But the movie entertains. The music (by James everything sounds like Star Trek 2 Horner) is rousing. The production design is interesting and the acting is quite good. The story is a rehash of dozens of movies before it, and the script can be bizzare. Overall Krull is a fun, clean, enjoyable film. I' like it. Does that make me the only person who does?

    "There comes a time, Timelord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance"
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     Wednesday, August 17 2005 @ 09:04 AM EDT
    This week it's: The Final Countdown (the movie, not the song) Co-written by Dr. Who alum Gerry Davis. Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen time travel in an aircraft carrier to Pearl Harbor on December 6 1941. John Scott's score is rousing. The dialog is well written and the supporting cast help keep the film believable. The modern fighter planes verse the Japanese Zeros is the payoff. The movie gets treated with respect on its new 2-DVD set.

    "There comes a time, Timelord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance"
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     Saturday, August 20 2005 @ 10:53 PM EDT
    The Final Countdown is an excellent example of an overlooked classic. Watching it today, the effects may seem a bit dated, but it is the story that really carries this through... (and as Doctor Who fans, we appreciate a good story more than fancy effects). The effects did the trick for the day, I believe it was 1980 that the film came out. There had been a loooong wait for the DVD to finally show up, but it eventually it did and it is well worth picking up. It explores the possibilities and consequences of time travel.

    What really sells the film is the realism... OK, I realized I may have made a jab at the effects earlier, but as I said, it was sufficient to tell the story when the film came out, but the entire film is so realistic it is almost plays out like a documentary. This is because the film crew shot onboard an actual aircraft carrier with the actual crew onboard performing their exercises and routines. This is what 'sells' the film to the audience.

    Excellent performances by the likes of Kirk Douglas whose son I believe produced the film. So he may have given it a little extra in his performance because of the fact. Although the story deals with time travel, it is taken completely serious and it is not written off as just "science fiction yarn" as sometimes is the case.

    So if you haven't seen it yet, pick it up, you won't be disappointed. If you have seen it before, watch it again.

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     Tuesday, September 13 2005 @ 09:18 AM EDT
    I know, I took some time off. But now I'm back with the next installment of the always popular "SUrSFMaW"
    This weeks exciting episode is all about the under-rated classic: The Black Hole (1979)! We should love this movie for no other reason than Disney completly purged this movie from their catalog. Travel to any Disney park, store, website, ect. and you would be hard pressed to find even the hint that this movie was ever made. Maybe it's because they use words like damn and hell in it. Sure, but thing didn't kill any baby dear.
    Here are some things to love about The Black Hole: 1. The Music. John Barry(of James Bond fame) masterful soundtrack is the stuff legends are made of. 2. The cast. Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Forster, and the perfect voice of Roddy McDowall. 3. It's only 90 minutes long. Get in, get out. No blagh, blagh, blagh. Tell the story, move on. 4. They didn't know the ending. Cast and crew made an entire movie without knowing how it would end. 5. wonderful dialog. "The word impossible is only found in the dictionary of fools"
    Most of the knocks against this movie came on the heels of Star Wars. With every studio rushing out the next big sci-fi thing, The Black Hole was no exception. Minus the cutesy robot thing and the scientifically incorrect use of the object in the title, over all a FUN movie. Worth a rental.

    "There comes a time, Timelord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance"
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     Tuesday, September 13 2005 @ 04:55 PM EDT
    The Black Hole gets ripped by so many people, critics and sci-fi fans alike all the the time. It is a shame. Sure, it has its flaws... but it is still an entertaining little science fiction/fantasy flick. The banter between the robots Vincent and Bob are well worth the time investing in this movie. As Ken rightly pointed out, it followed on the heels of Star Wars (A New Hope) in the late 70's, so if you went in expecting to see another Star Wars, sure you may be disappointed. But as a standalone science fiction/fantasy story, it is a nice little piece of escapism in the space opera genre. I agree with all the points Ken made, the music by John Barry is outstanding... and the casting is interesting to say the least. Good pick there Ken.

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     Monday, January 09 2006 @ 11:33 PM EST
    Here is one movie that I think was under-rated, "The Lathe of Heaven". Based on a story by Ursula Le Guin, it starred Bruce Davison (who played the doomed senator from X-Men) as George Orr, a man who's dreams alter relaity. A docter he sees discovers that George is telling the truth about his dreams and decides to use George's dreams to make the world "right". It was American public tv's first and only try at science fiction and although not the best, it showed a lot of promise. It was a pity that Public TV didn't have the courage to try other science fiction

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     Tuesday, January 10 2006 @ 04:13 AM EST
    [Quote  by:  Greyroamer] Here is one movie that I think was under-rated, "The Lathe of Heaven". Based on a story by Ursula Le Guin, it starred Bruce Davison (who played the doomed senator from X-Men) as George Orr, a man who's dreams alter relaity. A docter he sees discovers that George is telling the truth about his dreams and decides to use George's dreams to make the world "right". It was American public tv's first and only try at science fiction and although not the best, it showed a lot of promise. It was a pity that Public TV didn't have the courage to try other science fiction

    Yes, I enjoyed The Lathe of Heaven from when it first aired on PSB (back in 1979 or 1980). It is a real fascinating story and the concepts explored within it are really interesting!

    For a long period this movie was unavailable to purchase... I finally found myself a copy on tape... Thankfully, it finally came out on DVD. It was digitally remastered, PBS re-ran the remastered version and now it is available on DVD. I highly recommend it. Though if memory serves, I think they had the change the song at the end due to copyrights when it was remastered (I believe it was originally a Beatles song).

    But be sure to get the original... by that I mean, there was a remake made. I believe it stars Lukas Haas playing George Orr (Bruce Davison's character) in the 2002 remake. Like many remakes, I didn't believe it was necessary since the original still holds up well today. The remake was not as memorable for me.

    Wasn't this also notable because it was the first science fiction movie that was made for PBS?

    It's definitely worth checking out...

    Good pick, Greyroamer!


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