There are two problems when it comes to compiling a list of my 10 favorite sci-fi movies: first, not everyone would agree that every movie on my list qualifies as science fiction; and second, how do I limit it to just 10?
Well, I agree that some of these movies aren’t really science fiction. I mean, that whole nonsense about being able to erase yourself from existence if you upset the “space-time continuum” in Back to the Future? Yeah, that’s great for the plot, but it has no scientific basis. It’s what Doctor Who would call, “Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey.” But it’s still a great movie franchise with a pseudo scientific basis, so it stays. The Avengers, on the other hand, is one of my favorite movies of all time, but it didn't make the list because, well, I just don't think superhero movies qualify as science fiction, particularly when they involve Norse gods.
And there were about 10 other movies I put on and took off the list, because there really are so many great sci-fi movies. I could play with this list forever, but I had to settle on a top 10, so this is it. Some are classics, while others are just personal favorites. Maybe some are your personal favorites too.
The movie that followed Joss Whedon’s Firefly: a TV series about Captain Mal (Nathan Fillion) and his motley crew of outlaw space cowboys. Like anything done by Joss Whedon, it has the perfect combination of excitement, comedy, strong characters, awesome heroes, and even more awesome heroines. Netflix has both the series and the movie available for streaming, so if you can, watch the series first and then the movie. Prepare to laugh and cry. A lot. Shiny.
A young boy named Elliot tries to help a friend from another planet get back to his spaceship. I’ve seen E.T. so many times, and I’ve cried every single time. E.T. will always hold a place in my heart.
A dream in a dream in a dream, and audiences argue which is reality. That’s kind of missing the point, though. This is really a movie about movies and how they affect us. That’s what’s real. Everything on the screen is a dream, and yet those dreams have the power to change our perceptions and our lives.
4. Star Trek
J.J. Abram’s reboot of the original Star Trek series is nothing short of brilliant. Star Trek Into Darkness is brilliant too. The only question is--where does the series go from here?
5. Blade Runner
What makes someone human? That question isn’t so black-and-white in this movie about a man who hunts down and kills renegade robots that have been programmed to think they’re just as human as the rest of us. This movie does what the best science-fiction does: it entertains while making you think.
Marty McFly endangers his very existence when he travels to the past and accidentally stops the event that led to his mother falling in love with his father in the 1950s. Can he fix the past, save himself, and get back to the present? Yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but it is so much fun.
7. Men in Black
The Men in Black help good and harmless aliens on Earth, while saving the planet from otherworldly threats. So silly and so funny.
The Star Wars movie that started them all. I know it’s probably just me, but this has always reminded me of a game of Dungeons & Dragons played in space. And I like that. Some things are better when they’re produced on a shoestring budget. The Star Wars series proves it.
Ordinary people are joined together on a quest after an encounter with aliens, in this early Steven Spielberg film. Just thinking of the scene with the car headlights, or the one with the mashed potatoes, puts a smile on my face. Da, da, da..DA, DA.
Douglas Adams wrote the screenplay for the movie based on his hysterically funny science-fiction novel--my all-time favorite in any genre. Arthur Dent is rescued from planet Earth just before it’s demolished to make room for an inter-galactic highway. This isn’t for everyone, but if you love Douglas Adams as much as I do, you should definitely give it a try. Don’t panic, and don’t forget your towel. It’s not as good as the book, but that’s like saying a Hershey bar isn’t as good as Max Brenner truffles. It’s still chocolate, and that means it’s still wonderful.