Friday, July 16, 2010

RottenTomatoes' annual ranking of SciFi

In honor of Christopher Nolan's new movie Inception, Rotten Tomatoes decided to do their (roughly) annual run-down on top ranked Sci-Fi movies. The list they came up with looked like this:

Rank Name Year T-Meter Fresh Rotten Total Precise
1 The Terminator 1984 100 41 0 41 100.00%
2 Blade Runner 1982 94 120 8 128 93.75%
3 Ghost in the Shell 1996 93 27 2 29 93.10%
4 Minority Report 2002 91 198 19 217 91.24%
5 12 Monkeys 1995 87 39 6 45 86.67%
6 The Matrix 1999 86 103 17 120 85.83%
7 Alphaville 1965 82 18 4 22 81.82%
8 The City of the Lost Children 1995 82 27 6 33 81.82%
9 Gattaca 1997 81 44 10 54 81.48%
10 Dark City 1998 76 57 18 75 76.00%

I have to say that this is a damn interesting list. This is one of the better looking lists I've seen. A lot of my all-time favorite movies are represented here. I would quibble with the order. Terminator is a huge crowd pleaser, but it is greatly over-rated. It should be lower on this list. I would put it much closer to 10 than to 1.

This is not say Terminator is a bad movie. I say that it is a Top-10 movie, so don't flame me fan-girls. However, I do want to go on the record declaring that Terminator got the top spot for just 3 reasons:
  1. It is a 1984 movie, and that means it was reviewed long before was ever founded.
  2. A small sample of critics chose to post-up.
  3. Terminator got all the chick-critics because, at its core, The Terminator is a romance about a guy who fell in love with a girl's photograph and was willing to sacrifice all to father the hero of the future with her.
Ghost in the Shell is over-rated for similar reasons. It also features a small self-selected crew of back-posting critics who love the movie. At its core, Ghost in the Shell is also a reproductive drama in which the female heroine has to make the decision to risk all for the sake of reproduction. Chicks like that sort of story.

I have seen all these films, and generally love them. I am not so in-love with The Matrix. I feel that is a greatly overrated film. It owes much to Ghost in the Shell as it does to Dark City. There are two movies on this list I have not yet seen. I don't think I have seen Alphaville. I know I have not seen City of the Los Children.

I would love to see both of those movies. Perhaps this weekend.

How about Christopher Nolan's new movie. I am not sitting on pins and needles waiting for the clock to strike 5:00pm so I can get out of here and see Inception. Frankly, I am vaguely interested. Perhaps I will get to it, perhaps I will not.

Nolan's following is a point of upset for me. Personally, I think this guy is greatly over-rated. Batman Begins was solid, but The Dark Knight was considerably weaker. It carried a lot of excess baggage and needed a lot of trim. Memento was solid, but I didn't care for The Prestige at all. The Prestige just left me cold. It just didn't activate my mind & soul or make a memorable impression on.

The bottom line is clear: Nolan is the little girl with a curl. He's Jeckle and Hyde guy. When he is good, he is very good. When he misses, he's bad, but everybody pretends it is great. This reminds me of the Watchowski brothers (brother & sister?). Larry is now Lana. V was a straight-up piece of shit, but it got accolades due to the fact that it was interpreted as an anti-Bush screed. Nolan is a lot better than those guys, but he does miss, and his following never admits it.