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Movies: Sci-Fi Fantasy


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The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass (2007)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Sam Elliot
Director: Chris Weitz

This is a very, very good children's fantasy about "The Magisterium," an organization dedicated to ridding the world and universe of free will. The "sands" that percolate from other worlds into the consciousness of the inhabitants of our world threaten the existing, invested order of things and will undermine the authority of the establishment. Our... (See the whole review)

(Added by Sam Erica on 1/20, 6:55pm)
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Avatar
Avatar (2009)

Starring: Michelle Rodriguez , Sigourney Weaver, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana
Director: James Cameron

AVATAR The film Avatar has finally been released this month after being in development since 1994. I have not seen it yet, but I have read about it and discussed it with several people who have. This prose-poem tries to encapsulate some of my initial thoughts on this blockbuster, its initial reception and some of its meaning. James ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Ron Price on 2/15/2010, 3:22am)

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Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009)

Starring: Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackoff, Tricia Heller
Director: Michael Rymer

This series deserved the PEABODY AWARD it was granted.  The show does highlight ethical challenges, but resolutions are few and far between.  Therein my wife and I find the intrigue of plot, theme and character development -- subject, as always to the limitations of the writers.  ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Michael E. Marotta on 11/06/2009, 4:08pm)
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Sunshine
Sunshine (2007)

Starring: Cillian Murphey, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Rose Byrne
Director: Danny Boyle

I began watching this film with little to no expectation, and ended up very pleasantly surprised. Instead of focusing purely on action, as many environmental disaster movies do, this film focused on the character's psychological experience of their mission. It had both elements of a good SciFi action adventure, and an eerie psych thriller. ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Nicole Aranzábal on 1/08/2009, 2:38am)

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Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

Starring: Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom,..., Christopher Lee, Sean Astin, Sean Bean ...
Director: Peter Jackson

Good versus evil.  ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Michael E. Marotta on 7/19/2008, 6:48pm)
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I Am Legend
I Am Legend (2007)

Starring: Will Smith
Director: Francis Lawrence

The phrase "high concept" is used often by Hollywood writers and producers. In plain English, it means "doubly plagiarized." Ever since the disintegration of the studio system (because of antirust laws), the only way to get a feature film made by the so-called majors (Warner Bros; Paramount; MGM; 20th Century Fox; etc.) is to (i) "package" ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Claude Shannon on 2/22/2008, 6:01pm)

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The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass (2007)

Starring: Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman
Director: Chris Weitz

Much talked about, based on His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, this is the story of a girl who holds the key to passage between parallel "universes."  Her ability is contrary to the rules of The Magisterium which seeks to rule not only its world, but the others if it can.  Like the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings stories, this is a ta... (See the whole review)

(Added by Michael E. Marotta on 12/23/2007, 8:56am)
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The Returner
The Returner (2002)

Starring: Ann Susuki , Takeshi Kaneshiro , Goro Kishitani
Director: Takashi Yamazaki

If you like a really hip, very clever, funny, action thriller, with the nastiest villians you've ever seen and some of the best heros and heroines, plus a thousand turns and twists that will force you to watch it ten more more times just to get every nuance, this is IT! This is one of my fave all-time movies.  (The 2nd time, I suddenly reali... (See the whole review)

(Added by Phil Osborn on 4/10/2007, 8:25pm)
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Mr. Murder
Mr. Murder (1998)

Starring: Stephen Baldwin, Julie Warner, Thomas Haden Church, James Coburn
Director: Dick Lowry

My wife and I caught this average science fiction fantasy thriller while flipping channels on a lazy Sunday afternoon today.  Dean Koontz's novel of the same name serves as the basis for the movie.  It definitely had a "made for TV" look and feel to it. I only mention it here because the film concludes with the main character, a murder myste... (See the whole review)

(Added by Luke Setzer on 7/30/2006, 1:40pm)
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Superman Returns
Superman Returns (2006)

Starring: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden
Director: Bryan Singer

This review was posted to the General Forum before I discovered how to post it here. Thanks to Jonathan Fauth for his directions. * * * * * After walking out in the middle of the campy Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (supposedly the #1 Movie in America) with the foppish Captain Jack Sparrow, I was sorely in need of a good m... (See the whole review)

(Added by William Dwyer on 7/25/2006, 11:54am)

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Spirited Away
Spirited Away (2000)

Starring: Rumi Hiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takashi Naito
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

This is truly one of the most magical movies I've ever seen in my life. Miyazaki is an extraordinarily gifted director and has a knack for creating truly believable characters, and that's what truly shines about this movie. While there is a scene that is unabashedly environmentalist, it's not a "preachy" film, and there is much for Objectivists t... (See the whole review)

(Added by Daniel Walden on 6/26/2006, 9:46pm)
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ANTHEM Movie Trailer
ANTHEM Movie Trailer (2006)

This short movie (click here) was created as a school project, apparently by a 17-year-old-girl, and posted at YouTube on April 16, 2006. (On screen the movie is actually titled The Anthem, perhaps intentionally different from the book.) Despite low production values, I think it is excellent. It evokes somewhat the beginning of the We the Li... (See the whole review)

(Added by Rodney Rawlings on 5/08/2006, 6:21am)

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Serenity
Serenity

Serenity is the latest creation from the man who brought us the TV version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon. It's showing now at a cinema near you. It wasn't mind blowing by my high standards, I didn't think it was that great but you get your money's worth no doubt. Following directly on from Whendon's much acclaimed TV show Firefly, th... (See the whole review)

(Added by Rick Giles on 10/09/2005, 8:12pm)

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The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant (2004)

Starring: Harry Connick, Jr.
Director: Brad Bird

From Incredibles director Brad Bird, we have a poignant story addressing an old question - do creatures with A.I. deserve to be treated as human? Featuring Harry Connick Jr.'s beautiful voice as that of the semi-reclusive artist who doesn't like children, this movie is great for kids and adults alike.  It's a nice, simple, non-liberally-loa... (See the whole review)

(Added by Heidi Lange on 6/07/2005, 11:37pm)

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2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, Douglas Rain, William Sylvester
Director: Stanley Kubrick

        2001:  A Space Odyssey is an allegory, concerning what drives and influences man and the very definition of "man."  The film opens with the grandeur of Richard Strauss’ tone poem, <<Also Sprach Zarathustra>>, a theme that is played at other key moments in the film.  The Moon, the Earth, and the Sun are in alignment.  The story that follows ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Lauren Oliver on 5/26/2005, 11:57pm)
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Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
Buffy: The Vampire Slayer (1997 - 2003)

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Stewart Head

Throughout its 7 year run, this innovative and daring show not only developed a solid teenage/young adult fan base, but won substantial critical praise and several Emmy nominations. Due to it's setting in a fantasy/supernatural context, the show may at first glace appear to be quite at odds with Objectivism, but due to the ingenious vision of creat... (See the whole review)

(Added by Matthew Humphreys on 4/30/2005, 4:29pm)

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Smallville
Smallville (2001 - present)

Starring: Tom Welling, Kristen Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum

This brilliant re-imagining of Clark Kent's (Welling) teenage years growing up on his "adoptive" parents' farm in the town of Smallville remains immensely popular with Superman fans and has elicited a number of positive comments from various Objectivist commentators. Forget any corny "Superboy" antics - Clark has no costumes or secret identi... (See the whole review)

(Added by Matthew Humphreys on 3/04/2005, 7:54am)

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Contact
Contact

Starring: Jodie Foster

Arguments about the existence of god. The hero is an atheist.

(Added by katdaddy on 1/17/2005, 9:18pm)
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Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko (2001/2004)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle
Director: Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko first hit theaters on Halloween in 2001 and did poorly, but then it went on to become a "cult hit" and sold 10 million copies on DVD.  Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut is scheduled for a limited release this fall, 2004.   Donnie Darko begins when Donnie, a troubled adolescent, first hallucinates Frank, who saves his life by lead... (See the whole review)

(Added by Jana Beck on 8/09/2004, 8:41pm)
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Clockwork Orange
Clockwork Orange (1972)

Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee
Director: Stanley Kubrick

This movie is an adaptation of Anthony Burgess's book by the same title, which I haven't yet read. The story is about Alex, who is the leader of a small group of violent thugs. They rape, beat and mug people at will and enjoy submissive women, drinks and listening to Beethoven. Alex ends up in jail when his friends leave him to be caught one night ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Elizabeth on 6/21/2004, 7:36am)
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Firefly - The Complete Series
Firefly - The Complete Series

We discussed this show quite a bit a while ago here, and though cancelled, the whole thing is now out on DVD. Very good sense of life. The filming has also started on the movie based on the show (http://imdb.com/title/tt0379786/). (See the whole review)

(Added by Jeff Landauer on 6/09/2004, 12:09am)
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Waterworld
Waterworld (1995)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Jeanne Triplehorn
Director: Kevin Reynolds

Waterworld is a flawed movie often described as a wet Mad Max. In an alternate future where the Earth is covered with water, human survivors live on floating villages and ancient boats. The central Mariner character has strong parallels with Howard Roark, a brilliant, 'different' individualist who prefers to live alone on his custom-rigged trimaran... (See the whole review)

(Added by Luke Howison on 5/26/2004, 2:07am)
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Gattaca
Gattaca (1997)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman
Director: Andrew Niccol

The promo posters and DVD cases for Gattaca carry the truism, "there is no gene for the human spirit," and that theme defines this movie from its opening lines to its triumphant conclusion. ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Andrew Bissell on 4/24/2004, 3:52am)
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Quiet Earth
Quiet Earth (1985)

Starring: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge
Director: Geoff Murphy

... (See the whole review)

(Added by Peter Cresswell on 4/09/2004, 5:03pm)
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Star Trek:  The Motion Picture
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1980)

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

While many people consider this to have been a "boring and stupid" movie, philosophically it is very likely one of the most important of the Star Trek movie series.  ... (See the whole review)

(Added by Orion Reasoner on 4/03/2004, 1:36pm)
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Star Wars IV: A New Hope
Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness
Director: George Lucas

An epic battle of good versus evil in which young Luke Skywalker finally gets off his families desert farm and gets involved in events much grander than he could ever have hoped for.  Rescuing a space-princess, comedic robots, epic space-battles... what more could you want in a movie?  Definitely positive sense of life.

(Added by Jeff Landauer on 2/26/2004, 11:12pm)
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