This is topic Blade Runner Best Sci-fi Movie of All Time? in forum « 80's Movies at iRewind Talk.

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Posted by esmagnus (Member # 8099) on :
I love Blade Runner but not sure how ethical it is to put it above Star Wars.

100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies
Posted by 2eighties4me (Member # 3060) on :
Star Wars is not truly SF. It is space opera/fantasy. Blade Runner is true SF. Topnotch. I'd put it in the top spot myself.

2001 also ranks, though I've always felt its themes ultimately lay outside true SF. But its adherence to technical accuracy was admirable.

But if you like Blade Runner, and also are a Star Wars fan, let me recommend a little-known flick from 1989 that should not be missed. It was way under the radar and there have since been a couple of movies by the same title so don't get confused - Slipstream:

It is quite good and boasts an awesome cast, starting with Mark Hamill and Bill Paxton, but including luminaries like F. Murray Abraham and Ben Kingsley in smaller roles.

For added 80s goodness, it was directed by TRON writer/director Steven Lisberger. Must see. Sadly the DVD version available is full screen only and it doesn't appear to exist in a widescreen version.

This is an excellent SF film that never got the attention it deserved, especially in a genre that so rarely lives up to its potential.

I didn't see this gem on the list you linked.

[ 04. August 2009, 10:33: Message edited by: 2eighties4me ]
Posted by logan5 (Member # 1467) on :
Slipstream is an interesting film. Not what you'd call 'pure fun'. Featuring the late great Bob Peck.

I agree with 2eighties4me that Star Wars is not true Sci-Fi, so in some ways that can count against it. If the list was Sci-Fi/Fantasy then it should be the topper.

The list also had some other problems - Explorers:

"Joe Dante’s family-orientated adventure still hasn’t quite received the recognition it deserves. For the most part it’s the amusing and honest tale of three kids who build a rocket to outer space. The final half an hour, when they arrive on a spaceship and meet a couple of aliens, is a joy to watch."

The final half an hour? Sorry, he's way off with that one. The first hour maybe, but not the final half an hour.
Posted by Earl Keese (Member # 7986) on :
Interesting. Up until now, I had always put Star Wars firmly in the sci-fi camp (probably more out of laziness than actually giving it some thought). Okay, I'll bite. So if I am following the thought process, we would probably say that Close Encounters of the Third Kind is not Sci-Fi, but rather some kind of Drama or Adventure? Alien truly a Horror film? E.T. a Family film?

If I have to go with true science fiction, it doesn't get much better than Forbidden Planet for me! The dramatic origins not withstanding, it evokes all of the best sci-fi (sorry syfy) elements for me and I love the colors (MGM using their musicals as a template). Surely you must respect the dramatic range of a young Leslie Neilsen! I do...and stop calling me Shirley.

Posted by esmagnus (Member # 8099) on :
Star Wars IS Sci-Fi ... That's why it's on the list. I think you're splitting hairs to say it's not sci fi but a "space opera/fantasy."
Posted by Paul Dangerously, you iceholes.... (Member # 1022) on :
whether it's Sci Fi or Space Opera (a statement levelled at Star Trek as well) Star Wars isn't the best of either genre. Trek for me is more consistently good, whereas Star Wars has nosedived into the fantasy kids movie scene.

As for sci fi, then it's worth bearing the definition of sci fi in mind - it's Fiction about Science. so Blade runner definately gets in the list, and probably tops it. Silent Running, with Bruce Dern, is also an excellent movie.
Posted by Kash (Member # 297) on :
Interesting points on genre, I try and keep it simple though: if I see space then its sci-fi; stars, robots, galaxies? Sci-fi.

1.Star Wars
2.Empire Strikes Back
7.Blade Runner (director's cut)
8.Pitch Black
10.Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Posted by Paul Dangerously, you iceholes.... (Member # 1022) on :
I reckon your location makes you a little biased there, Kash!
Posted by 2eighties4me (Member # 3060) on :
I am definitely more of a stickler on this issue than the VAST majority of others. The sci-fi category (which term I don't care for, preferring SF) is usually a pretty wide net for most people. If it involves space, aliens, rockets, lasers, etc., that makes it SF. Not for me. I'm a "hard SF" type. SF should involve serious speculative content dealing with science, technology, human potential, etc.

Star Wars doesn't cut it on dozens of fronts. Despite being immersed in bang-flash tech, there is never the slightest nod to how such technology actually works, even within the context of the film, let alone as a potential reality. The film takes place "long ago, in a galaxy far away", therefore it isn't about any sort of human future. It's a sword and sorcery fantasy story with laser guns and spaceships.

This in no way should be taken as criticism of the film. I LIKE Star Wars even though it isn't a truly great film in other ways. But I just don't delude myself that it is SF.

@Earl - I would class Close Encounters as marginal SF. Although it's a fantasy about first contact, and the aliens' technology is never explained (let alone their behavior) the presentation of our response to the event is what it is really about. Alien(s) is more horror than SF for sure. It's basically a monster movie, or a psycho slasher flick. Michael Myers in space. The setting has some satisfactory SF elements to it though, and I am ok with classing it as SF, especially the second film.

There are really relatively few films that actually deliver a satisfactory quality of true SF for me. I keep hoping.

It isn't even necessary to have special effects and all that eye candy for good SF. True SF is more about IDEAS than about space battles. It is a philosophical form. As a reader of SF since I was a young boy, I have always hoped for SF movies to match the sense of wonder and joy and awe that the books have given me.

What I'd class as GOOD SF:

Silent Running
The Day The Earth Stood Still (original, not remake - ugh)
Solaris has some things going for it, but isn't perfect.
Destination Moon
Twelve Monkeys
The Abyss (Director's Cut)
The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Andromeda Strain
The Fountain
Soylent Green
Dark City
The Quiet Earth
Fahrenheit 451
Serenity (Firefly)
The aforementioned Slipstream

I'd almost add The Matrix, but it is SOO derivative and flawed in other ways (especially the sequels) that I can't go there. There are some others and there've been a couple of TV shows that weren't bad also.
Posted by Pyromantic (Member # 7658) on :
naw...there's better
Posted by Earl Keese (Member # 7986) on :
Nice exposition 2eighties4me! I agree more with Kash in that if I see a spaceship or an alien (wookies count), it's SF for me, but I like your passion. I too have read SF books and magazines among countless other genres and watched the movies since childhood and love it, so while I don't necessarily agree, I get where you're coming from and appreciate your style. One thing I know for sure is that you don't set the plan-o-grams for Blockbuster Video for a living! [Razz]
Posted by journey (Member # 7316) on :
2001: A Space Odyssey should be in the number 1 spot.
Posted by logan5 (Member # 1467) on :
Okay, I'll bite. So if I am following the thought process, we would probably say that Close Encounters of the Third Kind is not Sci-Fi, but rather some kind of Drama or Adventure? Alien truly a Horror film? E.T. a Family film?
Close Encounters is a drama. But it also involves Alien contact on earth with a pseudo-plausible setup, which makes it Sci-Fi. E.T. is a family film, but once again involves Alien contact and government involvment, so it could also fit Sci-Fi.

For me, Star Wars is a Sci-Fi in that (like everyone else) I see spaceships and lasers and just lump it there for convenience. However, die-hard Sci-Fi fans point out that it does not involve speculative science, or the potential of humanity; it's pure fantasy, and it's set "A long time..." you know the drill. So they don't like it to be considered Sci-Fi. Personally, I don't care. But if someone does, or someone compiles a list in which Star Wars is knocked down a little for it, then I'll agree with them. I have no truck with calling Star Wars 'Fantasy' or 'Swords and Sorcery' - it's just as true. Star Wars is true science fiction about as much as 'Lord of the Rings' is true history; medieval armour and celtic style songs don't stop it being pure fantasy, in the same way that spaceships and lasers don't stop Star Wars from being pure fantasy.

I said all that, but ultimately... I really don't care! Call it whatever you want, it's all good.

Trek for me is more consistently good, whereas Star Wars has nosedived into the fantasy kids movie scene.
Well... the Ewok's were the writing on the wall. The prequels sucked badly and damaged the perception of the first three movies. 'Star Trek' however, has had many many more hours through TV and movies with which to explore lots of different ideas on lots of different levels. On the basis of different ideas being explored, Star Trek would win, but on the basis of three popcorn movies that set out to entertain (pick any three Star Trek movies) Star Wars would win. I've never really seen them as an either/or proposition though, since they both do different things (in different formats). I find 'Battlestar Galactica' to be much more like Star Trek than Star Wars. The only reason the Trek/Wars debate seems to rage is dedication of the hardcore fans, who love nothing more than to get defensive with other groups of fans who deride their "precious" (yet another group!)
Posted by 2eighties4me (Member # 3060) on :
Good discussion all around. And I should say that I do understand the convenience factor of lumping movies such as Star Wars in as sci-fi even if I use a different definition for my own categories. I'm just kind of a geek and I'm flatly not as entertained (or edified) by eye-candy space epics as I am by truly well developed, thought provoking, hard science fiction. There is too much of the former and not nearly enough of the latter and for my money the term has been degraded and the market ruined because the Hollywood perception is that people just aren't smart enough to get the deep stuff. They may even be right, but I'd really love to see it get tried once in a while.

I won't get into the Trek/Wars debate other than to say that I come down a bit more on the Trek side for all the reasons stated above.

2001 is a fine achievement. How do we feel in general about 2010? I found it to be better than I remembered in a recent re-viewing.
Posted by Earl Keese (Member # 7986) on :
2eighties4me - Good job looping it back around to 80's sci-fi movies! I know exactly what you are saying about 2010 having "aged" well. I own the dvd, but I always find myself watching it half-way through on Encore or something.

The special effects hold up very well...


The grain of the film, even on dvd, has that worn 70's/80's look to it which i love. It has some great reveals and is just fun and meets it expectation of a sense of wonder. Fun movie to be sure!
Posted by the young warrior (Member # 9554) on :
I see the new teaser trailer for Blade Runner 2049 is out now -

I wonder how this will turn out?

Sure is a big time gap between this and the 1982 original!
Posted by TerdNthePoolGGB (Member # 9818) on :
Was Dune High on that list also?
Blade Runner wasnt any good IMO. I found it to be boring.

Mad Max
The Road Warrior
Just a few of the many that are better than BR.
Posted by P_a_u_l (Member # 1022) on :
I'm with 2eighties4me if you want to nail down what science fiction actually means - fiction about science. I get the fact that - for most people - they see a spaceship and it's automatically sci fi. The issue is where they watch a movie that doesn't have any space battles in, and they don't class it as sci fi. A simple rule of thumb would be whether you can disregard the pure science element and still make the movie. I'd argue that if you can (like with Star Wars) then it's an adventure yarn set in space. But if you can't (like with Gattaca) then it's sci fi.


The Philadelphia Experiment is good sci fi, and there's not a space vessel in sight. The science and its impact is the main plot enabler.

2001 is a great 30 minute story wrapped up in two additional hours of Kubrick's infamous padding, and really suffers because of it. 2010 is a far better movie.

Star Wars is fantasy set in space. For me, whilst it's excellent, it's a lot less sci-fi than (for example) Back To The Future, where the science of time travel enables basically everything.

Blade Runner is all about the science. The replicants are central to everything that happens, whether they are pushing the plot along by their actions, whether Deckard is hunting them down, or whether Rachael is understanding the reality of her existence.

[ 21. December 2016, 05:47: Message edited by: P_a_u_l ]

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