Best fantasy/sci-fi films

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
I'll start with a couple:

Star Wars (A New Hope) - [of course!]

Also -

Conan the Barbarian - [superb soundtrack as well.]
Silent Running - [actually makes males cry.]
LOTR:Fellowship (especially the collectors edition 4 disc DVD version), Alien,Aliens, Alien3, Star Wars (Original Triliogy), ST:First Contact, T2:Judgement Day, Dark City, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Dune.
Its a big over the top epic adventure where people can fly, and you can have your wishes granted by jumping off the top of Wu-Dan mountain. Sounds pretty fantasy to me, I have on occasion leapt off mountains myself in the hop that I too will return to the desert - all I get is another broken arm and a posse of people telling me I'm an idiot - they may have a point! Sure the film has elements of romance, martial arts, and morality, but in my opinion its still primarily a fantasy film!
But she doesn't get her wish granted...she doesn't have a faithful heart. That's pretty much the whole point of the story.

As for the fighting, come on!
But she doesn't get her wish granted...

Doesn't she? ???

I've only seen it the once, but was left with the feeling that - advised to be true to herself, yet constantly under pressure to conform to the wishes of pretty much every single character she interracts with - she therefore wishes for personal freedom. She leaves them all behind so that she can be free to shape herself.
My votes go for (fantasy) Excalibur and (sci-fi) Blade Runner.

Generally I find most fantasy films to be a big let down - the stories and images on the screen rarely match the scale of what I expect (an active imagination is one of the plus points of growing up playing RPGs ... there are lots of down points as well thought :p). Sci-fi I tend to find very hit or miss - films or TV shows that rely on the fact that they are 'sci-fi' usually bore me. To often the need for characters and a story are completely overlooked.

One of the reasons that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon did so poorly in the Chinese market is that in the context of Chinese culture it is unambigously a total downer ;)

I thought it was a beautiful movie myself, but I really like depressing movies (a trait of westernized Chinese, we like being depressed).
Ah…forgot to add - her freedom was death, yes? Does that tie-in with the tainted heart issue, in that her wish comes true, regardless?

Generally I find most fantasy films to be a big let down - the stories and images on the screen rarely match the scale of what I expect

Yes, the problem of being able to [affordably] acheive on screen something approaching our imaginations. Perhaps the continued development of CGI will help address that issue - assuming they can get decent scriptwriters and actors to support such production projects!
Hah! There's your problem. It's not a lack of visual effects, 'tis the lack of imagination. Filmmakers that think they can make a movie better just by increasing the special effects budget *coLucusugh* are the reason that movies fall short of our expectations.
Definitely it's the imagination that's missing. And there's always too much reliance on CGI. For backgrops it can work nicely. But for objects in motion too often they end up looking like shiny plastic toys. I refer you to the TIE fighters in the CGI'ed Star Wars (episode 4) and the lamentable Enterprise in the last Star Trek film, which was poor enough to not warrant my remembering it's title.
Ive got to agree, at least to some extent with nemesis, there is far too much reliance on CGI (I especially agree with your point about the Enterprise in Insurrection, the one in First contact which half CGI/half model looked Far better). The process of CGI has however got infinately better over the last 5-10 years, Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within, despite what anyone has to say looks scarily real. The only thing they haven't got completely right is the wieght distribution of large creatures, and human eyes. They look lifeless, vacant and slightly glassy. Then again they do say the eyes are windows to the soul. However any amount of incredible CGI will get film producers knowhere if they do not use it to create original films, with at least some grasp of realism. For the most part film writers have a tendancy to come up with the most ludicrous plots imaginable, simply to be original, and the result is the creation of films such as Final Fantasy (which I still love despite its blatant overambitiousness). On the other hand you cannot be too harsh as (In my humble opinion) never have been possible to bring The Lord Of The Rings to the big screen (and done justice to it), with old fashioned superimposition and modelwork. CGI is the future of filmaking, whether the filmwriters can come up with original stories is the real problem.
I don't believe that a story necessarily must be original to be good. After all, none of Shakespeare's stories were original at all.

But a story does have to be creative to be any good.
Bladerunner has not dated badly at all. Still worth watching. I wonder when we will see a better DVD realease.
Star Wars, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, DUNE!!!! (tv series, the other was hokey), The Matrix, 2001: A Space Odyssey (classic).

Best comedic Sci-fi; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Galaxy Quest.

Kilroy Was Here
One of my favorite sci fi films is Logan's Run. Seeing it today kind of makes you cringe, but at the time I enjoyed it so much I dreamt about it for years later.

I also enjoyed The Beastmaster (the first one) but that may have been mostly due to the fact that at the time I first saw it I was a teenager and boy did he look nice in a loincloth! ;D

I thought the TV miniseries V was done well.

Yor, The Hunter from the Future is the worst film ever made and it fits into fantasy and sci fi! I cringe just thinking about that one...

Bladerunner is still a great movie.

I loved Conan but usually don't admit it. You'll keep my secret won't you? ;)

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