Okay, so last week, Yahoo! posted a list of its users’ “Top-30 Sci-Fi Films“. And I’m not sure what to make of it. First off, it’s Yahoo Users, so you can’t take it TOO seriously — the average user must skew somewhat young, and probably doesn’t make a living reviewing movies.
On the up side, I was actually surprised to see that half the movies on the list were more than 10 years old, with most of that half more than 20 years old. On the down side … all three X-Men movies? Revenge of the Sith? I Am Legend? Only one movie older than Star Wars? Really? (More of my commentary after the list itself.)
30. Serenity (2005)
29. X-Men 3: The Last Stand (2006)
28. I Am Legend (2007)
27. Donnie Darko (2001)
26. X-Men 2: X-Men United (2003)
25. Deja Vu (2006)
24. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
23. Ghostbusters (1984)
22. V for Vendetta (2006)
21. The Terminator (1984)
20. X-Men (2000)
19. Predator (1987)
18. Superman (1978)
17. Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
16. Alien (1979)
15. Spider-Man (2002)
14. Jurassic Park (1993)
13. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
12. The Incredibles (2004)
11. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
10. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
9. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982)
8. The Matrix (1999)
7. Back to the Future (1985)
6. Aliens (1986)
5. Return of the Jedi (1983)
4. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
3. Transformers (2007)
2. Star Wars (1977)
1. Iron Man (2008)
Now nobody loved Iron Man more than me. But does it really deserve the top spot here? Best comic book movie maybe, but does it truly have enough elements of great sci-fi movies — vision, social commentary, dystopia, metaphor, mythology, epic storyline, etc. — to qualify for #1? Or was that, more likely, just people voting while the adrenaline was still pulsing through their bodies? The great meal you had last week is always going to seem better than the ones you had 20 years ago.
The list of course has some glaring omissions. Where is Blade Runner (1982)? Westworld (1973)? 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)? Planet of the Apes (1968)? Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)? War of the Worlds (1953)? The last three of these have all seen remakes (one of them 3 times), which means they must have done something right. And how about the dystopian classics Robocop (1987), Twelve Monkeys (1995), and Children of Men (2006)?
I recognize that this isn’t a “Top 100” list, so you have to draw a line somewhere. But frankly, I’m a little suspicious. Did the same users who put Iron Man at the top of the list REALLY put The Day the Earth Stood Still in the top 10, disregarding every other movie from the 50s and 60s? Or is that some editorial meddling on the part of Yahoo, to give the list a small bit of legitimacy? I’m reminded of the people who have old battered editions of The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare on their bookshelf, just so everybody will know that they DID go to college, even though they mostly read comic books and watch TV.
Wait … I just described myself. Please disregard that last point.
Anyway, tell me which movies YOU think should or shouldn’t be on this list.
Any list that contains X-Men 3 on it is too long. And Serenity is waaay too low.
I do not disagree, my friend.
Iron Man is the most overrated movie ever. It’s nice and all, but I don’t get the raves. How can anyone say it’s better than The Dark Knight?
Actually, I liked Iron Man more than Dark Knight. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that one is objectively “better than” the other. They’re much different movies. Dark Knight was a bit broody for my tastes. As you say of Iron Man, it was “nice and all” but I didn’t quite get the raves. But I respect that it’s an excellent movie, and I’m willing to write it off to personal taste.
Bottom line, we don’t need to play into the hands of the marketers — there’s room enough for both movies and more. Iron Man made a shitload of money this summer and was critically acclaimed, and that (along with Dark Knight) will result in many more quality comic book movies in the years to come. So even if it’s as “overrated” as you say, comic book fans owe it a debt of gratitude for raising the bar.