I came across a list, by Screen Rant, of the 15 most intelligent science fiction movies… and naturally, my immediate thought was: Oh, yeah? Everyone has their opinion about things like that, and I’m no exception. Naturally I wanted to compare and contrast it against my opinion.
Their list (in alpha order):
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Quiet Earth
Under the Skin
World on a Wire
But one of the things I noticed was that I actually haven’t seen a few of these movies (the ones that are bolded). So, before I start my own rant about where they may have gone wrong, I realized I had to see the rest of these movies for myself. Then, and only then, can I give them crap about their list.
First of all, my own list includes movies like Arrival (mentioned in the article, but not actually included among the smartest list), The 13th Floor, Soylent Green, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Paprika (last three are anime, but still movies), Her, Bicentennial Man, 2010 and Contact. How do these compare to Screen Rant’s list? I could probably bounce Moon and Sunshine in favor of almost anything on my list (both movies deal with strong concepts, issues of individuality and environmental manipulation, but are a bit clumsy about it).
Secondly, I was surprised to discover that none of the movies I needed to catch up on were actually on Netflix. Some were on Amazon video, and I found one on Verizon On-Demand.
This left me kind of appalled. The very idea that these intelligent SF movies cannot be easily found and watched on major movie outlets left me with a hole in my chest. It’s like going to a quality Jewish market, and finding out they don’t have bagels.
Okay, fine, I get it: “intelligent science fiction” isn’t the same as “popular sci-fi.” In the profit game, Star Wars will win out over Predestination every time. But there are plenty of intelligent non-science fiction movies in Netflix, for example. Why not these? It’s just one more indication that SF is the Rodney Dangerfield of genres in the US, considered of less value than a season of Phineas and Ferb.
So, whatever. Apparently, it’s going to take me some time to see and judge all of these movies. Or, by the time I do, may have forgotten about this list. So, stay tuned… but don’t hold your breath.