The Most Important Works In Science Fiction

Discussion in 'SciFi & Fantasy' started by Plazma Inferno!, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps - but it's still not quite clear. And did she like Interstellar? Hard to say.

    I saw Sunshine and liked it. They did a few things uncommon in mainstream movies (the near-deafening soundtrack that often stood in for dialogue, the extreme wide-angle FPS perspective) and I liked their use of color (dramatic shifts from inside, all blue and green, to outside, all yellow.) They had the usual silly science, which few movies really escape no matter how well made. The sense of claustrophobia and hopelessness was palpable near the end; you knew the character was going to end up riding the bomb into the sun (sorry, spoiler alert) and conveyance of such emotions is one of the signs of a director doing his job well.

    Overall though I don't think it had much influence overall on other later movies just because it wasn't very popular. And writers/producers/directors are like anyone else - they go with what's been proven to work and make money.
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  3. birch Valued Senior Member

    Yes, it did. It could also be construed as timing as well as lack of good pr. It it had been released today, it might have done better.

    The personal existential probing as a focus, some new age bent and focus on art style as well as the sense of the subtle at times to speak for itself (read between the lines) does seem to have influenced some later films.

    You dont have to take all elements from a film nor exactly. Its not all or nothing.

    This film was a very different angle/approach, progressive and take from previous sci-fi when it first came out for that time. This is why its still so re-watchable today.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    If you're paranoid, perhaps. I didn't pick up on anyone else because I looked at the latest page of this thread first. I replied to you and left it there. I may go and visit the first few pages, but if I think the suggestion is ridiculous then I won't.
    How many times do I need to have to point out to you that this is about the importance of the film, not whether I personally liked it or not. I haven't really gotten into my views of my enjoyment or otherwise of the film, but if you feel the need to make more shit up about my views, as you have done here, you go right ahead, and I'll happily ignore you.
    Let's try this again: I'm not concerned with whether you like the film or not. I'm not concerned with how popular the film is, with whether other people share your views or not. I am asking you about the importance of the film to the sci-fi genre. Can you answer that?
    Have you even seen Silent Running? Then there's The Day the Earth Stood Still back in the 50s, Omega Man and the like, all of which raise similar issues, the latter with more than a little philosophy, religion and science.
    But okay, other than mixing things up in a different manner to other films (which is pretty much a given unless a straight remake), why is Sunshine important to the genre?
    Where have you explained how important it is? You've said you liked it. You've said others have liked it. You've provided links to attest to that. But the importance? Still waiting. If I've missed it, apologies - please post it again.
    No, you've said why you like it.
    Such as?
    So you're not going to provide anything to support your assertion of importance, and just go with your generalisation that those in the industry will have taken something from it?
    ??? Classics are usually considered classics for a reason. As for being considered important, surely it's not surprising that a reasonable passage of time has to pass before one can truly see a work's legacy and importance. Some stand out immediately, such as Avatar's pioneering 3D usage, but otherwise why do you think it wouldn't take time, that most of those seen as the most important are not often the most recent?
    There's no intellectual dishonesty on my part, so I'll have to go with the former - if that's where you wish to take it.
    Second, being unique is not a reason for a film to be considered important.
    Third, you keep saying that it has influenced subsequent films... where? What films? How? And please, don't just revert to saying what you like about the film.
    No, I'm really just looking for an answer to the question of why it should be considered important... not why you happen to like it.
    Then you are mistaken. I think it's too early to say whether it's important or not. I personally haven't seen any influence of it in other films, but then I could be wrong. So what is there to suggest it should be considered important. Note, you liking the film is not a reason.
    I responded to your post. Is that not how it's done on forums such as this? The notion of Sunshine being considered important piqued my curiosity. You either seem incapable or unwilling to actually provide any support for your assertion of its importance, beyond your irrelevant liking of the film.
    I assure you that how you think and your evaluation of art is really not my concern. I am solely interested in why you think the film important. You have put it up for consideration by posting it here, and I am asking you for why - since all you have posted thus far is your personal opinion of the film, shared or otherwise.
    So tell me where those things can be seen! Why do you not want to?
    Lol! I gave a brief response regarding my personal enjoyment of it as a film - so yes, from an audience perspective. This isn't the thread to analyse the film in detail as to what we liked or didn't like. This thread is about (or at least I thought was about) is whether the work is... and I use this word again... important.
    As said, I am not aware of "Sunshine"'s importance that you can clearly see, and so am asking you, the one who can see it, where it can be found. Can you do that, please?
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Maybe, but unlikely. There are plenty of movies with terrible PR that have gone on to become fairly influential underground hits (like Clerks or Blair Witch Project.)
    Which ones?
    Definitely agreed there. By the same token, however, having an element in movie B that appeared in movie A does not mean that movie B was influential. As an example, modern directors still use Dutch angles. That does not mean that Battleground Earth, which was all Dutch angles all the time, had any influence on that. Indeed, if that movie has had any effect on modern cinematography, it was as an object lesson on how not to make science fiction movies.
    Agreed. It was fairly well done.
  8. birch Valued Senior Member

    the charade is up. several aspects have been pointed out. unless it's technical or blatant, you are not going to notice and not going to accept it. it's not according to your idea of what is important and as abstract as art and ideas can be, it is something that cannot be absolutely proven what has been an influence but merely based on subsequent films and extrapolation.

    in other words, no point or answer will satisfy you. end of discussion. there is literally no point except to agree to disagree.
  9. birch Valued Senior Member

    your opinion, but unlikely.

    so is sunshine an underground hit and is revered by some. people who dislike sunshine generally tend to not be much into science fiction films. this film was not as popular with the masses, not with those who like sci-fi films.

    that's the point of aesthetics, metaphors and ideas. it can be a subtle influence or style or even a tone. but in my opinion interstellar, gravity, alien covenant, prometheus etc have all been influenced somewhat by sunshine. but they didn't pull it off as well, imo.

    then i wanted to see if i would be wowed with the special effects and it was alright. they didn't move me at all and i didn't empathize with any of the characters or their mission. all in all, not a complete waste of time but not anything that was worth writing home about either but definitely not worth theater tickets/price. meh. dvd viewing though. however, sunshine was worth paying for movie tickets, even imax.

    one of the major problems with the above films was the casting. they were not believable in their roles or not especially good actors or the best fit. the cast of sunshine was a better crew.

    also, it's a mistake (for artistic merit) to cast just because they are big name stock celebrities or the current flavor of the month either or whatever. there was no inexplicable quality about them but very conventional portrayal. it works for the general public because there is little accounting for taste or finer perception but it doesn't as actual artistic integrity.

    that's already a given but not the point. that's hard to prove with artistic elements or style or tone or metaphorically, isn't it? especially even some aspects from a previous film, you don't have to mimic exactly.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Definitely. There are no movies with a 0% rating on RottenTomatoes - someone will always like any movie.
    OK. What aspects of Sunshine (or styles, or tones) made their way into those movies?
    Right, and some people loved them. There's something for everyone.
    Not really; there are often definitive styles that are adopted by others. For example, the handheld camera effect (sometimes called "shaky cam" or free camera) was first introduced in the 1920's, but no one used it much until the 1980's, starting with the movie "The Evil Dead." That became a very popular 'sleeper' hit and it had an outsized influence on movies that followed; the far more popular films Blood Simple and Raising Arizona used that method of cinematography, and since then it's been widely adopted. So both Evil Dead and the two that followed were hugely influential in terms of camera work - so much so that today, even some computer generated scenes are made to look shaky and out-of-focus.

    Star Wars started the era of "gritty" space operas, which radically changed the direction science fiction was going. Up until that point, the genre consisted mainly of aseptic, clean, futuristic sets with determined and singleminded characters. It also ushered in the era of complex story arcs that spanned a whole series; movies up until that point had been largely self contained, with even sequels starting each arc anew. So today's huge-arc series, like the Marvel superheroes franchise, owe a lot to Star Wars and the similar movies that followed.

    So there are plenty of examples of how a method of filming, or a genre of character, or a type of story makes a debut and strongly influences movies that follow. Don't get me wrong; I thought Sunshine was a good movie. I just don't think that it influenced much that followed it. Take Sunshine out of the lexicon of science fiction and today's movies wouldn't look much different. Indeed, if anything, Sunshine was a descendant of Solaris, which wasn't nearly as good a movie - but captured many of the same themes of isolation, claustrophobia, dreams becoming reality and facing one's death in the setting of approaching a massive, deadly star (or in the case of Solaris, a star-like planet.)
  11. birch Valued Senior Member

    totally unnecessary and condescending to this film which next:

    unfortunately, your hidden nasty tone is not discrediting the validity or influence of sunshine on later subsequent films, especially it's somber tone and artistic style. this film has become a cult classic among many science fiction buffs. though i must repeat to you, it is a better film than the likes of interstellar and not just on one front or level, you do realize that? i mean, there really is no accounting for much taste in this world but the rest of your post is already known. you are asking me a question that cannot be answered concretely.

    however, part of judgement is noticing patterns and subtle shifts in culture/style/changes when it comes to artistic production.

    the better question is you need to ask yourself why have there has been a different take from previous sci-fi styles, pacing, tone etc? why have they tried to copy a more somber tone but fall flat because there is nothing inspiring going on authentically in the message or the cast is lacking in depth of portrayal or miscast etc? haven't you noticed even ridley scott's latest sci-fi films have markedly veered from his original style such as the original blade runner and alien franchise?

    see, the problem is these later subsequent films are trying to be serious, mature and seem more contemplative/deep/philosophical or somber as well as a bit more artsy/fartsier but are ineffectual because it just comes across as just sterile or flat because the actors/cast can't pull it off. it would have been better if they skipped that completely and just went with hard-core action sequences and thrills as the previous formula.

    however, cillian murphy was perfectly cast as the introverted physicist with science as his muse/spiritual inspiration, rose byrne as the humanitarian, chris evans as the practical one, pinbacker allegorical extremist etc.

    you can try to put down this film as much as you like. it's merit and beauty stands on it's own and is high above much of the forgettable films out there.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  12. birch Valued Senior Member

    as a matter of fact, i thought i was done before but now i'm going to continue to post to praise this film and just pretty much shove it in your face as well as why this film has got that extra love.


    me neither

    exactly. it's transporting.

    it is.



    it's humble yet edgy at the same time.
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

    ??? I said I thought it was a good film - and there are people who like ANY film.
    I have no doubt that many buffs think that. There are cults that like all sorts of movies and series.
    I thought Interstellar was better; it had a wider arc that was well-handled, a stronger main character and the science (much of which was silly) was a little more central to the plot, which is (IMO) important to good science fiction. But both were good.
    I gave you two examples of concrete answers to that question regarding two other films. So it's certainly possible to answer it concretely
    That's often true; casting is key. Case in point was Millenium; a John Varley story made into a movie. A good story - but the two leads were perhaps the worst possible choices for those roles. The lead characters were a burned-out, alcoholic NTSB investigator in the present, and a damaged but tough as nails "temporal worker" from the future. Philip Seymour Hoffman could have pulled off that sort of flawed investigator, based on his work in similar roles - and Sigourney Weaver or someone similar who had a background playing damaged, somewhat neurotic but unstoppable characters would have worked. Instead they used Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd. As a result it failed at the box office and got terrible reviews (which were well deserved.)

    It's easy to take a good premise and damage it any number of ways - poor screenwriting, poor camera work, poor directing, poor acting.
    I am glad they didn't. There are enough of those.
    For the sixth time I am not putting it down; I said I liked it. It just wasn't very influential. Doesn't mean it isn't a good film, just that it didn't contain many new, unusual or standout elements that were adopted later by the industry.
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    birch, you're just trolling now. You've been asked several times for examples of the influence that Sunshine has had, as demonstration of the importance you seem to think the film has on the sci-fi genre, but all you come back with are things people like about the film, and comments to the effect that it was a good film. This speaks not to importance to the genre but simply to it being a good film in those people's view.
    Do you actually have anything to support it being an important film? Can you provide even one actual example of how it has changed the way sci-fi films are made, or imagined etc? And just providing some wishy-washy comment about how it's subtle things, it's ideas, it's mood, or tone etc, won't wash... please actually cite some examples to support your case.
  15. birch Valued Senior Member

    of course, it had a wider arc. it was three hours long and much of it unnnecessary. and with triple the budget, not impressed.

    what? you see, the problem with these type of discussions when people demand black/white answers. your perception that film had a stronger main character is merely that, a perception. nothing about his character stood out to me or hinted of any more unusual depth but it's also down to taste and what people appreciate. the science was not more central to the plot. in fact, the science was like disney world level ridiculous. mcconaughey was not believable in this role either as just about anyone could have taken his place, imo. as for cillian murphy, he exuded an inexplicable quality and depth that is central to the existential ending.

    that is your opinion. qualitatively, i can detect some type of trying to infuse some new age perspective or sympathy within interstellar and some other subsequent works. well, sunshine was better as it, imo.

    yes, it did. qualitatively, it most definitely made an impression on other sci-fi film-makers

    who do you think you are conversing with? and just as equally, there are plenty of films that are nothing special that make a lot of money. for instance, i don't think the latest installment of star trek films are that good in comparison to the originals. it's way too superficial, imo. there are way too many to list.

    you know you've seen a good film when you walk out of the theatre contemplating or pondering it in some way. not like: been there, seen that now, what's next.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That's fine. People like different things.
    OK great, that's more concrete. What new age perspective/sympathy was infused by Sunshine?
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Yes. That's an indicator of a groundbreaking film too.

    People went gaga over this idea of The Force. (I never went for that "hokey religion" part of SW- though as a teen I was ripe for it.) It's not new, or particularly deep, but it was the right thing at the right time. With traditional religion on the wane in the younger generation , they found a new way that they could embrace mysticism.

    Same thing happened to The Matrix.
  18. birch Valued Senior Member

    i'm not going to bother to keep answering this because you already saw the film but didn't pick up on it. which means this type of qualitative aspect is not in your radar. some people are just much more literal or conventional in what they percieve or detect. that's why you are the type who prefers the likes of interstellar.

    there are several 'hint's throughout the film. the film is a master at conveying an underlying or permeating existential spirituality behind this quest. it's the atmosphere. the ending ties it all together.

    this is why many who have seen it say they get goosebumps or 'can't explain' but there is something spiritually existential about this film, not religious. it goes beyond that. it's exuded from the characters themselves as that lifeforce and the deeper meaning of life or existence is in you (stardust) as well as the sun symbolism (lifeforce) and the universe/beyond/oneness. it was able to convey the grit, tech, philosophy and that ineffable something.

    this film is about the existential contemplation of essential meaning or existence that is purely who you are and therefore defies death or death is nothing to fear because it is not totally the end. you just transform or transition. that's the beauty of it.

    quote: hey cappa, remember we are only stardust.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Except Alien of course. Right?

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  20. birch Valued Senior Member

    though, the psychiatrist and botanist could have been cast differently as they were mainly inconsequential to the film.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member


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    This is like posting a picture and saying "Wally is in this picture somewhere." Others look but can not find him, so they ask you to point him out. Your reply is then "No, I'm not going to point him out. You can't see him because he's not on your radar. Some people will find it difficult to detect him."
    Okay, so point him out to us. Show us where Wally is in the picture so that we can concur that Wally is indeed in the picture.
    Wow. I'm guessing you have no idea of the utter crud of which you speak. But don't ask me to point it out to you: detecting this sort of BS is not in your radar. But rest assured it is there.

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    Yes, birch, we get why you like the film. I'm not sure ther are many ways more to tell you that this is not about why you like the film, but of why you think it is IMPORTANT to the sci-if genre. If you can't do that then you really are just trolling, aren't you.
  22. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You think if you dislike Sunshine then you're likely not to be into science fiction films?
    That's your serious view?
    Or is this just a piss-take?

    I'm not sure I've ever heard the No True Scotsman fallacy applied to personal preference of a film before.
    I guess you learn something new every day.
    So I suppose I'll just have to dump the vast majority of my movie collection, as I'm clearly not into science fiction films.
    I knew I should never have spent the past 20 years buying them!
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Not quite. Unless you think Sunshine was one of the best, most influential movies in science fiction, you aren't very smart or perceptive. Just liking it is insufficient to demonstrate that you have any taste when it comes to sci-fi.
    You're probably one of those literal, unimaginative people who liked Star Wars.

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