Saturday, July 23, 2016

Power Rankings: Top 10 Space Movies

Space: the final frontier. It's a place full of wonder, adventure, and, of course, terror.  They say no one can hear you scream in space, but I bet that with this week's Top Ten, some wish they could've been heard.

With the upcoming release of Star Trek Beyond, I have decided to count down the top ten space movies.  As with every top ten list, some will just barely miss making the cut, and I am bound to leave some off.  You will find that on my list there will be a good variety of genres represented.  So, without further ado - "Honorable Mention" and "what I haven't seen yet time"!

What I need to see (like now): 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Sunshine, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Honorable Mentions: Serenity, The Right Stuff, Titan A.E., Total Recall (1990), Spaceballs, Pitch Black, Starship Troopers, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Star Trek (2009)

10. Guardians of the Galaxy  (James Gunn)

When this movie was first announced, I was very skeptical about whether it would be good or not, and I was totally unfamiliar of the source material.  I thought that Marvel was finally going to fail, because no movie with a talking raccoon or a tree could be good.  When I saw, however I quickly ate my words.  Guardians of the Galaxy was a pleasant surprise and actually made my Number #7 film of 2014.  This film made Chris Pratt a super star.  Pratt leads an amazing cast with the likes of  Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Glen Close, John C. Rielly and Benicio Del Toro.  It also has a killer soundtrack, that reminds me of something Tarantino might use for one of his films (Pulp Fiction).  James Gunn (Super), proved that he can direct on a much bigger scale but still stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe space.  He made this film fun and entertaining to say the least.

9. The Martian (Ridley Scott) 

Ridley Scott - who we might see again on this list - directed one of the biggest film surprises of 2015 for me.  From the first trailers that came out,  it seemed bland, and my initial reaction was  unimpressed.  I thought they showed us to much in the trailers.  I was wrong.  The film was funny and entertaining, while still giving us a story we can get behind and cheer for.  Matt Damon gives one of his best performances since Good Will Hunting.  Damon leads an all-star cast, with the likes of  Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wigg, Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.  I was happy that Damon and Scott were both nominated for their respected categories at this years Oscars.  It's a beautifully shot film, and it  revitalized Ridley Scott's career.  I'm looking forward to watching this again, sooner rather than later.

8.  Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron)

Gravity isn't a film - it's an experience.  This film doesn't rely on star power, though it does star  Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and Ed Harris.  The driving force of this film is the amazing special effects, which will blow you away.  They will make your heart palpitate as you try to catch your breathe at each close call that happen to Bullock.  Other than the effects, the other star is the director Cuaron.  He directed an amazing film with a lot of moving parts.  Gravity took home a total seven Oscars (Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects)

7. Wall-E (Andrew Stanton)

 One of the best Pixar films to date.  Wall-E is about a curious little waste collector droid who inadvertently embarks on a journey into space, one that will ultimately decide the fate of  mankind.  It seems like every time Pixar makes a film, it's gold.  Wall-E might not say much -and he doesn't have to. Pixar does such a good job making us feel what he is feeling through his expressions and mannerisms.  The animation is so crisp and fantastic, and supporting a wonderful color pallet.  The Academy also loved this film too, nominating it six times (Animated Feature, Original Screenplay, Original Score, Original Song, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing).  It picked up the win for Best Animated Feature.

6. Alien (Ridley Scott)

Ridley Scott once again makes my list, this time with a totally different type of film.  Alien, isn't only a great space film, it is a great horror film.  I still remember my first viewing - being scared and on edge.  The first time you see the xenomorph, I jumped out of my seat.  Along with the chills, we were given one of the greatest movie heroines of all-time, Ellen Ripley.  With her portrayal of Ripley, Siqourney Weaver cemented herself as one of the greatest action stars as well, especially after her second time around with the character.  It won one Oscar (Visual Effects) and was nominated for another (Art Direction) as well.  Still one of the greatest tag lines for any movies, "In space no one can hear you scream".

5. Star Wars: A New Hope (George Lucas)

George Lucas: the creator of the greatest movie universe of all-time.  Where would we all be without Star Wars?  Say what you will about him now - the man is a genius.  He gave us some of the best characters, worlds, and experiences we will all remember.  A New Hope introduced us to the timeless characters of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C3PO.  The stamp that these characters have left on our society will forever be ingrained in our minds.  I know my child hood was formed by hokey religions, ancient weapons, a smuggler, a walking carpet, two droids, and the menacing golden lungs of the greatest Sith we all know.

4. Moon (Duncan Jones)

Sam Rockwell stars as astronaut Sam Bell, who is working on a lunar base by himself for three years.  What a trippy film that will make you think, 'what is real, and what is in my head'.  Rockwell is such an underrated actor and it's great to seem him carry a film and deliver it with flawless execution.  Kevin Spacey, on the other hand gives us one of the best voice-over performances in recent memory, maybe behind Scarlett Johansson (Her).  Duncan Jones delivers a great film, one you must check out.

3. Aliens (James Cameron)

This times it's war!  The Alien franchise makes another appearance on this 'best of' list', and it's very deserving.  Just like what he did for T2: Judgement Day, James Cameron, took a great movie and made it better.  He didn't just improve the action but made more compelling characters in the process.  Sigourney Weaver, reprises her role as Ripley, as well as enshrine her name as the most bad-ass female character ever.  She doesn't need the boys to save her - the boys need her!  Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton, also join this universe and try their hardest to take down some xenomorphs as well.

2. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner)

Like the previous film on this list, who said sequels can't bet better than the original?  Well, The Empire Strikes Back, is a far superior film than A New Hope.  It has a darker and more powerful tone, but is still grounded in the universe that George Lucas has created.  Growing up, this was my least favorite film in the original series - but what did I know, right?  As I grew, I began to appreciate it as more than just a Star Wars film, but as a work of cinema gold.  Empire is one of my favorite films of all time.  All of our favorite characters are back (Luke, Leia, Han) and we are introduced to some new ones as well (Boba Fett, Lando, Yoda).  Let's not forget to mention, Darth Vader - an iconic villain that strikes fear even in us scruffy-looking nerf herders.    

1. Apollo 13 (Ron Howard)

It's quite fitting that my number one space film would be based on an actual event.  Apollo 13, tells the daring story of how NASA was able to get the Apollo 13 space shuttle back to Earth safely.  This film is a triumph of the human spirit and the "never give up" attitude we should always have.  It's beautifully directed by Ron Howard and has some of the best performances you will see by a cast: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, and Gary Sinise.  This film received a lot of Academy love too, winning two Oscars (Best Sound, Best Editing) and nominated for seven others (Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Ed Harris) , Best Supporting Actress (Kathleen Quinlan), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score).  Apollo 13 is one of Almost Sideways' favorite films, and we highly recommend it to you!

Well that's my list!  What's your favorite space film?  Comment below and let me know! 

Thanks again for reading!



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