25. The Matrix Trilogy I love it when movies show me things I've never seen before. Even though the movies are derivative, liberally borrowed from the works of Harlan Ellison, William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, pick your cyberpunk author, the trick with any derivative work is to become something more than the sum total of its parts. When you add in the stunning visuals, the groundbreaking camera work, and the jaw dropping special effects, you get something really special.
24. The Back to the Future Trilogy I had absolutely no interest in this movie when it came out, but I ended up going to see it anyway because my girlfriend at the time thought Michael J. Fox was, "just so hot." Cut to several years later, and Robert Zemeckis had just finished filming the two sequals back to back, something unprecedented in Hollywood. With the added information from BTTF II and III, a convoluted mess of a plot becomes something intriguing, and fairly unique.
23. Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior Easily my favorite of the Mad Max Trilogy, and the first one I saw. Back before Mel Gibson got all pretentious, he was actually an actor that gave his all to a part. This was the first time I began to notice acting as a craft. I'd already read Along the Scenic Route by Harlan Ellison by then, and I wasn't terribly offended by the fact that they borrowed liberally from that story, which says something about its quality. I still wish H.E. had gotten some sort of nod though.
22. The Fifth Element Luc Besson's unique vision of the future was a study in set dressing and not so subtle social commentary. If I hadn't been a bit older when I first saw this movie, I doubt I would have liked it as much as I did. Everything about this future is a logical projection of modern society from the bizarre clothing, to the way media has been reduced to rapid fire sound bites, to the fact that big corporations dominate everything. It succeeds on so many levels for me, that I doubt I'll ever get tired of watching it.
21. Strange Days Oh what wonders we could have had if Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron had stayed together. This movie gave me hope that William Gibson's Neuromancer might one day make it to the big screen. And, you know seeing Angela Bassett running around in skin tight leather didn't hurt any either.
20. Legend Ridley Scott did for fantasy what he did for science fiction with Alien and Blade Runner (No hyperlinks, they're both on the list.) He raised the bar by ramping up production values, and adding his unique camera perspective. Legend still stands out as the only movie where I didn't find Tom Cruise utterly offensive. This movie has everything I could ever ask from a fantasy film, without the benefit of CGI.
19. Kaiju soshingeki Or as I first saw it in the US, Destroy All Monsters. This was supposed to be the end of the Godzilla series, and it was certainly the end of the good ones. As a lifelong Godzilla fan, Destroy All Monsters had all my favorite giant monsters in one place, stomping the bejeebus out of poor Tokyo. I couldn't ask for better.
18. Time After Time Yeah, I know the script was terrible, but I still adore the idea of H.G. Wells using the Argo to chase Jack The Ripper through time. This was the first movie where I'd seen Malcom McDowell play a good guy, and David Warner was inspired as Jack. These actors chew scenery better than Al Pachino coming off a five day crack bender, and whoever had the brilliant idea to pair them was either certifiable, or a genius.
17. Brazil If Terry Gilliam isn't the Orson Welles of our generation, I don't know who is. From his stubborn ability to tank a movie before he'll play ball with the studios, to his unparalleled screen vision when he does complete a movie, Terry will never have a massive catalog of films, but what he does have will always be high quality. Brazil was breathtaking and heartbreaking all in the same breath.
16. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy I've never made it a secret that I absolutely loathe the books. I appreciate the fact that they were groundbreaking, and scholarly, and that they legitamized the genre, blah, blah, blah... but they were boring, dry, and way too pretentious. The movies, however, were anything but. It seems that all I needed to make me actually like the Lord of the Rings story were lush visuals, and the excision of a lot of extraneous crap.
15. Spider Man2 Sam Raimi made the perfect comic book to film adaptation and I will always love him for that. By the time Spider Man 2 came out, I had finally let go of my "James Cameron or nobody" stigma with these films, and I was actually able to enjoy myself.
14. Aliens The first James Cameron film I ever saw was Piranah 2 The Spawning, and I've been hooked ever since. For me, Aliens was the epitome of action adventure films, and it (and Die Hard) are the two standards by which I hold all others.
13. La Cite des Enfants Perdus I know artists have an innate need to explore lots of genres, but I really wish that Jean-Piere Jeunet would make a straight up action adventure Sci Fi flick. I think it'd be mind blowing. Maybe something like Alan Moore's Halo Jones story. Anyway, this movie makes the list for the Jeunet visuals, the creepy/cool story, and of course Ron Perlman.
12. The Incredibles In my opinion, Brad Bird has achieved the current pinnacle of animated films. This is the best original superhero fantasy story on film to date.
11. Jurassic Park The most realistic dinosaurs ever. I still jump out of my seat at the velociraptor jump scene.
10. Superman This movie really did make me believe a man could fly. So much so that I immediately went out, tied a bath towel around my neck and jumpped off the roof of our trailer house. Didn't even break anything, but I didn't to it again. Though it was a lot of fun when I convinced my little brother to try it. We won't go into what happened to him.
9. Big Trouble In Little China Don't get me wrong, I love Escape From New York but for sheer joy of watching a movie, I'll go for Big Trouble any day. I totally wanted to be Jack Burton when I grew up. Then I grew up and realized that I actually wanted to be Kurt Russel. (You know minus the embarassing Disney Kid past) And I still think Kim Cattrall was a waaaaaay better Savik, (oh sorry, wrong movie.)
8. Wo Hu Cang Long Or Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon if you prefer. One of the prettiest fantasy movies ever made, and probably the closest thing to a blockbuster Ninja action flick that I'll ever get. *sigh*
7. The Valley of Gwangi What can I say. I love Dinosaurs, I love cowboys. I love this movie. It has been and always will be one of my favorites, and it's resisted the Hollywood remake bug for a good long time now. Surprising, considering how many best and favorites lists this movie inhabits.
6. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai A lot of my friends revile this movie because it's a direct riff on Doc Savage. I love the Doc Savage novels, and I've always thought of Bucckaroo as a modern updating. It's amazing to me how many actors in this movie actually went on to have decent careers.
5. Dark City Alex Proyas just wowed me with cool noir visuals and his script that combines the best tropes from hardboiled detective fiction, wierd science fiction, and outright horror. Depending on my mood or what I've watched most recently, this movie sometimes rates higher. But it will always be one of my favorites.
4. The Thief of Bagdad This one has my vote for best fantasy movie of all time. It always makes my top 10 best films ever made. The movie is a true delight to the senses every step of the way. The Douglas Fairbanks version can go take a flying carpet ride. For my money give me the Sabu version any day.
3. Alien 'In space, no one can hear you scream,' still send chills down my spine. I've loved this movie since I first saw it in the theater in 1979 and to this day, I still get facehugger nightmares. Ridley Scott was going to be the John Ford of Science Fiction, what happened?
2. Blade Runner 'Heem say you Brade Runnah. You go weed heem.' and pick your Roy Batty line, are still the most quoted movie lines around my group of indigent friends. It's too bad that Rutger Hauer decided that Marlon Brando's career was a good path to follow. Also too bad that Ridley Scott has stopped directing science fiction.
1. The Classic Star Wars Trilogy Don't get me wrong, even though they didn't make my top 25, I love the second trilogy too, especially Revenge of the Sith, but I was 7 years old when I first saw Star Wars, the perfect age to see it. Everytime I hear the John Williams signature and see those words 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...' that seven year old kid in me comes back and sits down for a couple hours to watch his favorite movie. I have so many good memories associated with the Star Wars films. I think that no matter what comes along next for Science Fiction and Fantasy, I will always compare it with the way Star Wars made me feel when I was a kid. George Lucas raised our generation now its time for him to step back and do something for himself. Amen.
I know, I cheated a bit by listing Trilogies as one film. Eh, sue me, it's my list. Where I've listed a Trilogy, I feel that though the individual movies within may be spectactular, combined with the other two, the whole becomes something transcendent. Oh, by the way...
*Special Runner Up Goes to: Pirates of the Caribbean See, I have this working theory that goes like this;
All movies are better with pirates.
All Movies are better with zombies.
All movies are better with monkeys.
Pirates of the Caribbean:Curse of the Black Pearl, would therefore follow as the perfect movie. Huh... well, like I said, it's just a theory at this point.