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  • Underrated Science Fiction Movies

    My wife and I run this tiny film website, and we've been meaning to do an article about underrated science fiction movies. So I thought I'd ask around and get some suggestions for movies that we might not have heard about, or that might have been unjustly trashed. And this seemed like a good place to ask.

    So - any suggestions?
    Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

  • #2
    Well, depending on what underrated means.. but titles that come to mind:

    Dark City (came out before The Matrix, and I thought it was at least as good, if not better, but didn't make even a dent in the box office)
    Moon (got good reviews, but didn't get a proper theatrical release)
    Sunshine (I at least liked it, didn't make much in BO)
    Equilibrium (good film, came and went without much noise)
    Donnie Darko (perhaps well known in geek circles, but didn't get a proper release. some might even call it overrated, depending if you like it or not, but I don't think the general public knew much of it)
    Stardust (more fantasy, but one of the best fantasy films of recent times. disappeared rather quickly from theaters)

    You've probably seen most of 'em, but those come to mind.

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    • #3
      A couple more I forgot about:

      Strange Days (1995)
      Frequency (2000)

      Both good, but weren't huge money makers.

      Also browsed imdb's sci-fi lists for films I haven't seen yet, but others have seemed to like. These at least sounded interesting and I'll try to seek them out:

      Mr. Nobody (2009/I)
      Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009)
      The Man from Earth (2007)
      The Jacket (2005)
      Cypher (2002)
      Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road (2002)
      Last Night (1998/I)
      La citÚ des enfants perdus (The City of Lost Children) (1995)

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      • #4
        The Man From Earth and Last Night are absolute masterpieces - some of my favourite movies ever. (Same goes for Sunshine, Dark City, and several more you mention.)

        Excellent suggestions! We've seen most of them, but we'd forgotten about some of them. And we haven't seen Mr. Nobody, so that is definitely one to watch.

        Thanks! Anyone else?
        Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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        • #5
          I think Logan's Run is a good one that tends to get mixed reviews. Also, I think a more recent film (around 1999) that was very interesting and well done was eXistenZ. Had to watch that one in my film class about 7 years ago and I can still remember most of it because it struck me that much.
          Last edited by JoeD80; 10-29-2010, 04:18 PM.

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          • #6
            Timecrimes springs to mind.
            Got movies? www.filmbuffonline.com

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            • #7
              More titles that came to mind:

              Pandorum (2009) - won't be a classic perhaps, but was interesting and suspenseful enough to keep me watching til the end
              Bridge to Terabithia (2007) - another fantasy film that I liked
              Children of Men (2006) - got mostly good reviews, but kinda bombed
              The Fountain (2006) - bombed, and got mixed reviews
              Serenity (2005) - unfortunately didn't do good enough to warrant sequels
              Solaris (2002) - bombed, and got mixed reviews
              Gattaca (1997) - got mostly good reviews, but bombed

              Some more I haven't seen yet, but have heard good things about:

              Primer (2004)
              Code 46 (2003)
              Enemy Mine (1985) - have vague memories of seeing this on TV
              A Boy and His Dog (1975) - based on a Harlan Ellison story
              Sleeper (1973)

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              • #8
                My girlfriend suggested the 1950s film Them!, though I think that one did pretty well.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by frulad View Post
                  Timecrimes springs to mind.
                  The Spanish one? Haven't seen it, but it sounds quite interesting. (One of my favourite sci-fi/horror films is La Hora FrÝa, also from Spain.)
                  Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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                  • #10
                    Nice movies Vakie but I wouldn't call "The Fountain" a Sci-Fi movie. But its one of the best movies ever IMO - so a "must have seen" film ^^

                    @topic:

                    The Quiet Earth
                    The Last Man On Earth (with Vincent Price)
                    Soylent Green

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                    • #11
                      I'd also go for Dark City (heavily underrated!), Serenity (still a shame it wasn't more succesfull), Enemy Mine (spawned dozens of sci-fi-episodes through different shows with it's topic), and perhaps even Lynch's Dune (sure wasn't Herbert's vision, but just Lynch's; but might fall into the "overrated"-category for some people).

                      I think The Fountain could be partially labeled as scifi-movie - and a very good one, indeed.

                      Still unmentioned I think is Peter Hyams' Outland, a version of "High Noon in Space" - got mixed reviews when it came out, but has achieved a small but nice fanbase - critics and viewers - since then.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Morden View Post
                        Still unmentioned I think is Peter Hyams' Outland, a version of "High Noon in Space" - got mixed reviews when it came out, but has achieved a small but nice fanbase - critics and viewers - since then.
                        We've got that, but haven't seen it yet. Need to do that!
                        Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Morden View Post
                          I'd also go for Dark City (heavily underrated!), Serenity (still a shame it wasn't more succesfull), Enemy Mine (spawned dozens of sci-fi-episodes through different shows with it's topic), and perhaps even Lynch's Dune (sure wasn't Herbert's vision, but just Lynch's; but might fall into the "overrated"-category for some people).

                          I think The Fountain could be partially labeled as scifi-movie - and a very good one, indeed.

                          Still unmentioned I think is Peter Hyams' Outland, a version of "High Noon in Space" - got mixed reviews when it came out, but has achieved a small but nice fanbase - critics and viewers - since then.
                          The David Lynch version was good, it always sucks me in when i see it flipping channels, but the "Alan Smithee" version is worthy of the name.

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                          • #14
                            The Day the Earth Stood Still by Robert Wise (the version with Michael Rennie).
                            Understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their side and the truth.
                            John Sheridan

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DeMonk View Post
                              The Day the Earth Stood Still by Robert Wise (the version with Michael Rennie).
                              Agree that it is a magnificent movie, but is it really under-rated? As long as I can remember it has been considered an absolute classic of the genre, and that status was only reaffirmed and reinforced with the release of the crappy remake with Keanu as Klaatu.
                              The Optimist: The glass is half full
                              The Pessimist: The glass is half empty
                              The Engineer: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

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