“Inception” has put sci-fi back in the movies, with mixed reviews. We look at the best science fiction films of all time. (See our guests’ lists of top picks below.)
“Avatar” hit the jackpot. Leonard DiCaprio and “Inception” hit rougher waters with their dream travel. But science fiction is one of the sturdiest, most celebrated genres in the history of film.
From the earliest days of silent film, the movies have taken us to alternate “sci-fi” realities. Off the Earth. Into the Earth. To far galaxies. To unseen dimensions. Sci-fi films challenge convention, and offer different worlds, even within our own.
We’re looking at the best-of-the-best with Annalee Newitz of io9 and New York Times chief film critic A. O. Scott.
A.O. Scott, chief film critic for the New York Times.
Here are our guests’ lists for best science fiction films.
Picks of A.O. Scott, New York Times:
AI/ET/Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Kevin McCarthy and Donald Sutherland versions; not Nicole Kidman version)
Metropolis–Fritz Lang version AND Rintaro anime
Spaceballs/ The Empire Strikes Back
Picks of Annalee Newitz of io9.com:
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Star Wars: A New Hope AND Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (tie)
Ghost in the Shell (Japanese version)
Teknolust (Lynn Hershman-Leeson)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (I hadn’t thought of this as sci-fi but it makes sense)
Honorable Mention: Primer (Shane Carruth)
Picks of Mike Brotherton, University of Wyoming:
2001: A Space Odyssey