io9.com: The past decade has seen a lot of bloated special-effects brain-sucks… but it’s also seen some of the best science-fiction films ever. Superhero films came of age, apocalypses ruled, and interstellar adventures came back. Here are the decade’s 20 greatest.
Avatar. I’m going to post my review of this film in a few days, closer to its actual release date. But this is definitely one of the decade’s most significant science-fiction films, both in its startling new look and in its elaborate alien world. Sigourney Weaver is one of the few heroic scientists we’ve seen in movies lately, and she fearlessly spouts facts about the science of Pandora. Avatar is by no means a perfect movie — it’s a frustrating mixture of brilliance and utter cheese — but it’s clearly an important movie in science-fiction history.
Star Trek. A young hero reluctantly starts to claim his true destined greatness… only to find out that his whole life has been altered, and maybe wrecked, by time-traveling, tattooed maniacs from the future. It’s a weird spin on a Star Trek movie, but considering how hard it was to imagine being thrilled by another Trek after Nemesis, this film is a marvel. Plot holes, frat-boy antics, “red matter” and all, it’s still the film that recharged Star Trek and may have helped bring back space-opera as a genre. And Spock has never been so… fascinating.
28 Days Later. Purists may hate this film’s “fast zombies,” but they’re not even really zombies — they’re the victims of a “rage” virus that stupid animal-rights activists cause to be released onto an unsuspecting world. Of all the apocalyptic scenarios we’ve seen in the past decade, 28 Days provides the best dose of terror and the sheer horror of society unraveling. When Christopher Eccleston’s vicious soldier says the words, “I promised them women,” your gut sinks. And the idea that the rage-virus outbreak will cure itself because the quasi-zombies will starve is genuinely clever. We were tempted to include Danny Boyle’s other great SF film of the decade, Sunshine, but 28 Days is clearly better.
Wall-E. The other Pixar movie we couldn’t help including on the list, this may have been the greatest blend of post-apocalyptic dystopia and cute robots. The love between Wall-E and Eve is both lovable and genuinely moving, and the trademark Pixar humor is in full effect with Wall-E’s junkyard slapstick and spaceship antics. The funniest, and maybe the best, robot uprising we’ve ever seen.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. How far are you willing to go to get over a lost love? Are you willing to injure yourself — by erasing a huge chunk of your brief time on this planet from your own mind — just to get back at your former lover? This Charlie Kaufman/Michel Gondry joint does what all the best science fiction does: it creates a fictional technology that has the potential to change who we are as people, and then it uses it to tell a deeply personal story. The scenes where Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are wandering through Carrey’s childhood memories are both unsettling and poignant, as Carrey tries to hold on to the love he was in the process of throwing away — by letting her into more of his mind.
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I love Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, it might get a little confusing, but it’s still a great movie. What do yout think of these sci-fi movies? Which ones are you favorite? Is there another you would have liked to see in the list?