With the Martian still a mega-box office hit, the ongoing 30th anniversary celebration of Back to the Future, and a new Star Wars film on the way, the Science-Fiction genre has come a long way from the niche audiences it drew in long ago. The ideas of advanced technologies and the unexplored wonders of outer space captured the imaginations of many a youth throughout the decades, and continue to inspire even today. While our opinions may vary, here are the favorite picks from the Sci-Fi nerds at Secret Stage:
5. Gattaca - "Despite being relegated to high school biology classes these days, Gattaca holds an interesting place in my hearts for mashing together science and morality. I loved the frequent jargon-based dialogue intermixed with well-acted drama. It might not have made waves in the box office, but it's worth a watch whenever it's on."
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - "Some might not even consider this a Sci-Fi film, but I think it's fair game, as the catalyst for the plot is again the use of technology in a morally-ambiguous way. It's also easily one of my favorite Jim Carrey roles."
3. The Empire Strikes Back - "No Sci-Fi list would be complete without Star Wars. Without a doubt, I speak for many in saying that Empire is the best so far. Like many 'Part 2s', it benefits from having a core group of established characters, being able to raise the stakes from an action standpoint, and not having to bookend a trilogy. I also managed to avoid having the twist spoiled for me, and I wouldn't want it any other way."
2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day - "Dare I say that the twist in T2 is better than that of Empire? I think I do. This second outing took the well-received formula and flipped it completely upside down. I found the T-1000 incredibly menacing as a child, and it's a damn shame they haven't been able to get a sequel right since."
1. Back to the Future Part II - "It's fitting that we're doing this list on this particular day [October 21st, 2015], even if the fictional 2015 might be a little off compared to our reality. The second Back to the Future movie succeeds in fundamentally improving the second one, but retroactively adding to the plot of the predecessor, thus creating an alternate interpretation the next time you see the original film. The series as a whole is phenomenal, but this particular junction point is the high point of the trilogy.
5. Jurassic World - "I thought the concept was unique and in the scenario where dinosaurs existed, I could see mankind creating that place that we could go to see Dinosaurs. It was a cool movie."
4. Iron Man - "Seeing him become the hero, building the suit in the cave, and then going back to blow up his weapons."
3. Guardians of the Galaxy - "I mostly enjoyed this film (much like Jurassic World) because of Chris Pratt's performance, I had fun watching it and it was funny."
2. Spider-Man 2 - "I very much enjoyed Dr. Octavius in this movie, and his rise as a villain. Alfred Molina did a fantastic job. I loved seeing Spider-man as a kid on the big screen and the action in this movie was big for me."
1. The Matrix Trilogy - "I love The Matrix not because of how ahead of it's time that it was, but because of the theory and plot itself. Seeing an object and not necessarily accepting it for what it seems, and the idea of bending the rules of reality. Sometimes it can be a little much, but the premise is enough to keep me interested."
HM: Alien - "I haven't seen any of the other films in this series, hence it being an honorable mention. But it definitely helped shaped the genre of Sci-Fi. Also, the scene where it bursts out of his chest. Classic."
5. Interstellar - "I know it's a recent film and weird to have something so new on a top 5 of ALL TIME list, but that's how good this movie is. The cinematography, the score, the concept, the screen writing, the acting... it was breathtaking and left me thinking about the 4th dimension/space for a while. Any movie that leaves me pondering science is a great Sci-Fi film."
4. Snowpiercer - "For the record, this tied with Serenity for me. However, as I already mentioned my love for Firefly in the TV show top 5 (or in my case a top 20 cause I'm the worst), I figured I'd shout out Snowpiercer. The shots in this are fantastic as it all takes place on a train and to have so many different scenes in one fluent motion was really cool. Also, I genuinely love this concept. Very realistic."
3. Jurassic Park - "Dinosaurs. Survival. Jeff Goldblum. There's a reason this movie is a staple in Hollywood history and a lot of that has to do with the Sci-Fi element of bringing Dinosaurs into the present day. But also Jeff Goldblum."
2. The Back To The Future Series - "Great Scott is this movie good! Not only did it put forth a ton of great quotes, but it also took the terrifying concept of altering history by doing something in the future and made it fun. It's also one of those movies you can go back and watch no matter what mood you're in because it has a lot of different elements."
1. The Star Wars Saga- "It's my favorite film series of all time. It also changed the genre of science fiction entirely. Obviously it existed prior to the release of A New Hope in '77, but it took what was already there and built on it tremendously with the effects, costumes/puppetry, set designs and plot. I also liked that they went backwards instead of into the future like most sci-fi films and made a unique universe around it."
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey - "This is certainly a classic that I like very much, but every time I watch it I'm reminded of just how long it is and how little anything happens for a long time."
4. The War if the Worlds (1953) - "I remember seeing this for the first time as a kid. To be honest, I'm not sure I remember the last time I watched it as an adult, but I remember it being good. And for 1953, the effects were pretty damn cool."
3. The Thing (1982) - "This one freaked me out as a kid. Even now the scenes with the dog make me... uneasy. But the story was good and the twist fooled me. I'll be watching this one again during the Halloween season."
2. Ghost in the Shell - "It was hard to choose which of my favorite anime films I should pick for this list. I like them all so much and nearly all of them are sci-fi. But this one fits the bill the best. Cyborgs, androids, walking tanks, AI, cloaking tech, it has it all."
1. The Matrix - "This movie was great as a kid. As I grew up and got more cynical about things I started seeing little flaws like I do with pretty much every other movie I watch now, but overall it is a great film. It is too bad the later ones didn't create the same magic the first one did, but it isn't like you need the other two to make the first one great."
5. Butterfly Effect - "Some might argue it's not a great movie, but that's fine. I enjoy it though, I and really enjoy the whole premise. If you could go back and change things, and how it would effect your future. It's kind of like multiple examples of why you don't change stuff if you get the chance to go back in time."
4. I Am Legend - "There are definitely parts of the movie that could have been better, but again it's the idea that I like. I've often wondered what it might be like to be the last person alive. How that time would get spent, the way I may handle it, and the things/ people that would be most missed."
3. The Matrix - "Totally nostalgic and revolutionary. I just enjoy the whole idea, and thought it was well cast and executed. I know I wanted to be Neo and be able to bend the laws of physics to my advantage. The original is my favorite, but with a definitely honorable mention to the second one, mainly for the cool action scenes."
2. In Time - "I very much enjoyed this movie and it can get you thinking about things in a very different way. If time/life was currency, the world would be a very different place."
1. Back to the Future - "This is just a timeless gem. It has nostalgic value, it's trend setting, and I think you'll find yourself hard up to find someone that doesn't have a reference or one liner from this movie. I would pick the original again, for the iconic, Johnny B. Goode scene, and because you're nowhere without the origin story. But with yet another honorable mention to the second movie, cause who didn't/doesn't still want a hover board?"