Q&A #189: What is a favorite sci-fi film?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

What is a favorite sci-fi film?


GABBY

I’m not a movie person; I’m a TV person. If I do watch movies, they are most likely fantasy films or independent dramas/rom coms. However, I watched Super 8 a couple of months ago.

the movie poster of Super 8

Let’s back track. One of my biggest movie disappointment happened when, at 13 years of age, I went to see Dreamcatcher in the theaters. I remember feeling so cheated that I wandered into a sci fi film without knowing it (hey, I had little to no idea who Stephen King was; I still thought Our Lady Peace was a band I had “discovered”). Ever since, I have been wary of monster-like alien films posing as supernatural thrillers (like The Cave, for instance). This is all to say that I had no idea I was wandering into the exact same trap with Super 8:

a still from the film Super 8

And you know what? I LOVED this movie. From the kids, to the adults, to the big honking alien, everything about this film breathes of the little details that make us human. I was so surprised when, at the end of the movie, I felt water on my cheeks. The actors portraying those kids? Do they ever know how to do their jobs!

a still from the film Super 8

Also, I didn’t really care at the time because I hadn’t watched Friday Night Lights yet, but squee! Kyle Chandler!

(PS: To borrow Sam’s line: Watch. Friday. Night. Lights.)


JESSICA

If we’re being honest, I probably don’t necessarily have just one “favorite” Sci-Fi film…there are so many good ones! As a cop-out I will go with my most recent favorite is the 2009 incarnation of Star Trek. I watched The Next Generation with my parents in the nineties, and was mostly interested in the new movie out of nostalgia. When I saw it I was totally blown away. That film is pure awesome, plus Spock is terribly good looking (cue Nerfherder song). It brought all of the sci-fi elements that were interesting about the original Star Trek and combined them with 21st-century special effects. Beautiful.

Plus it kicked off a two-week period where I watched every single episode of the original series. Best TV binge ever.


MARIE

One of my absolute favorites is Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. It’s a silent era piece that tends to get a lot of attention from film buffs, but on it’s own I think it’s one of the few movies out there that deserves the compliment of being “ahead of its time.” Taking place in a futuristic dystopian society with broad-sweeping themes on class and human nature, this one will always be a winner for me.

the poster for Metropolis

If I’m in the mood for something fun and light-hearted, however, my go-to movie is Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. Mostly because Milla Jovovich and Gary Oldman are awesome.

the poster for The Fifth Element


SAM

Well, scifi is my favorite genre of everything ever. And Tron is my favorite film of all time, so I guess it’s also my favorite scifi film of all time too, right? Right!

I have a huge list of scifi movies I love, from The Fifth Element to Blade Runner to The Matrix to eXistenZ to Moon to Star Wars to 2001: A Space Odyssey to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (one of my favorite subgenres is the “soft” scifi that relies on only a teeny scifi element, like a machine that can erase memories, but is otherwise a “standard” story). I love post apocalyptic fiction, which generally has some scifi aspect to it. I love outer space stories (I started watching Star Trek in the womb). I love the idea of evolving technology and the questions it poses to our inherent humanity. So yeah, scifi is my favorite genre.

But anyway, Tron. It’s hard for me to introduce people to Tron. It’s a long movie, and it’s really foreign to the sensibilities of the modern movie goer. It came out in 1982, it pioneered a lot of CGI, and it influenced (eventually) the creation of Pixar. It was so revolutionary that it wasn’t allowed to be nominated for an Oscar for special effects because computers were considered “cheating”.

It’s a movie about a guy (Jeff Bridges!) who’s really good at video games – making them and playing them – who gets sucked into the digital world of the computer at his old office. To get out he has to defeat the big scary Master Control Program. Generally by playing video games. There’s CGI, rotoscoping, cool chases (lightcycles!), a teeny bit of romance, Bruce Boxleitner, original songs by Journey, and an amazing original score by Wendy Carlos.

an image of the film Tron

If all you know about Tron is Tron: Legacy, the sort-of-sequel (IMO it’s more like what Abrams’ Star Trek was, a quasi-reboot with links to the original), or the pretty-decent cartoon Tron: Uprising, give the original a chance. Especially if you already like the world of the newer stories. Tron is a classic, and you can see how it influenced the last thirty years of science fiction.

And if you ever find yourself in an old school arcade, try out the tie-in arcade game.


So what about you? What is a favorite sci-fi film?