Classic Science Fiction Movies
1990s Science Fiction
During the 1990s, there was a trend toward more and more "action-adventure" and outright "gore-fest" movies being released as "science fiction" just on the basis of a futuristic setting or backdrop. I've mentioned before (see my review of the World War II film Memphis Belle) that I believe that movie producers are going overboard in the level of gratuitous graphic violence presented in movies. In many cases the level of graphic violence is totally unnecessary in the telling of the story and, in fact, is often used as a substitute for good storytelling. To me, this happens because the producers are too lazy to develop the plots and characters. An excellent example of the opposite is the extremely successful "Star Wars" series, where close-knit and exciting stories and well-developed characters result in specatcular box office success without the need for all the blood and gore. There were quite a few "science fiction" movies released in the 1980s and 1990s that I have not seen and refuse to see because I know that they feature a lot of graphic violence. While some of you might think my views on this subject are extreme, I don't -- and quite frankly, I strongly believe that if more moviegoers would make their opinions heard by withholding their dollars from these "gore-fests," the producers would get the idea, and you - the movies goer - would get better overall quality films.
That "sermon" out of the way, the standout science fiction films of the 1990s include "Jurassic Park" (1993) [another example of great storytelling and edge-of-the-seat excitement without a lot of graphic blood and gore], "Contact" (1997) [a great character study of a dedicated SETI scientists], "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" (1998) [more excitement and tension without unnecessary graphic violence], "Bicentennial Man" (1999) [an excellent retelling of Isaac Asimov's classic tale], and "Galaxy Quest" (1999) [perhaps one of the best science fiction comedies ever]. Here are the rest of my "Top 10" science fiction movies of the 1990s.
(1993 - 126 min) *****
Plot: A billionaire invites a group of scientists to preview his planned amusement park which features cloned dinosaurs, who soon are on the loose.
(1994 - 119 min) ***
Plot: A military man and an anthropologist enter a stone gateway that leads to a strange universe which resembles ancient Egypt.
(1996 - 145 min) ***
Plot: Alien spaceships hover over Earth on July 4th with the intent of total domination of the planet, and an unlikely band of heroes strike out to save the Earth.
(1997 - 150 min) ****
Plot: A SETI scientist is ostracized by her peers until she actually receives an extraterrestrial message, then she's the center of a project to send a human representative to the homeworld of the message's senders. (Based on the novel by Carl Sagan.)
(1997 - 129 min) **
Plot: Young military recruits find themselves in a full-scale war against invading insects from space. (Based on the novel by Robert Heinlein.)
Casper Van Dien
(1998 - 151 min) ***
Plot: NASA recruits an oil-well driller and his crew to plant a nuclear bomb on an asteroid headed on a collision course with Earth.
(1998 120 min) ****
Plot: NASA attempts to deflect a comet on a collision course with Earth, while the President of the United States leads efforts to save as many people as possible if the attempt is unsuccessful. (Loosely based on the novel "Hammer of God" by Arthur C. Clarke.)
Lost in Space
(1998 - 122 min) **
Plot: A family is launched into space to open a gateway to a planet where people from an overcrowded Earth can be transplanted. (Based on the 1960s TV series.)
(1999 - 131 min) ****
Plot: In the near future, a domestic robot develops a sense of self-awareness and sets out to become human. (Based on the short story by Isaac Asimov and the follow-up novel "The Positronic Man" by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg.)
(1999 - 104 min) ****
Plot: The stars of a popular TV science fiction series are unwittingly recruited by real-life aliens to help them defend their civilization from a vicious prediatory race. (Fun-filled plot takes off on many cliches common to "Star Trek" fandom.)
1996-2015 Arnold E.
van Beverhoudt, Jr.