Sci-Fi Tournament: Game Changers
(This article is a follow up to the introduction to the Sci-Fi Tournament post.)
It’s hard to argue that some of cinema’s most amazing spectacles have been the sci-fi films that have graced decades. Science fiction films have continually pushed the envelope of what’s possible in moviemaking and shown moviegoers that in most cases that it’s limited only by our imagination.
Seeding the Game Changers Region of the Tournament was, in many ways, the most difficult of all the brackets. There are literally dozens of films that changed the genre, or moviemaking in general, so narrowing the choices to just four caused physical pain. Some omissions even started fist fights… which pretty much preceded the physical pain!
But that’s enough preamble. We came here for a reason… FIGHT:
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi vs. The Matrix
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi was the culmination of six long years of anticipation for fans of the Star Wars saga.
While some might take issue with the Ewoks, there’s no doubt Return of the Jedi hit all the right notes with its epic space battle, vibrant use of the force, and ultimate redemption. Its highly positive ending strongly contrasted that of its predecessor The Empire Strikes Back and proved an apt finale for the trilogy.
The Matrix has aged very well. It is eminently re-watchable even today and it’s hard to believe that it’s four years away from its 20th anniversary. It seamlessly blended sci-fi and Hong Kong action and brought this unique world to North American audiences for the first time.
Laurence Fishburne’s sonorous voice made him the perfect character to introduce Neo (and, in effect, we the audience) to the “real” world and the template for the villainous Agent Smith was copied in many films that followed.
It went on to spawn two sequels, which were not nearly as fun, or as positively reviewed as the original, but their quality takes nothing away from the masterful universe conceived of by the Wachowskis in their original Sci-Fi masterpiece.
One blue pill, please; don’t need to know how far the rabbit hole goes.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, as the only representative from the original Star Wars trilogy, must topple The Matrix in this 1 v. 4 clash. Had The Matrix been seeded differently, it’s not impossible that it would have moved forward.
But Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi? The force is strong with this one.
Aliens vs. Jurassic Park
The prime example of the Sci-Fi action opus, Aliens brought a new level of terror to an already terrifying universe. (Never add an s to anything, is the lesson here.)
Aliens changed the face of sci-fi with a female protagonist who was no less of a war-machine than any of her male (military) cohorts. She is made all the more impressive by the fact that she has no military training and yet still brings heaping helpings of pain.
There are few action sequences more iconic than Ripley sliding into the loader and going toe to toe with the Alien queen, spitting the line “Get away from her you b****!”
Combining the science fiction genre with action, and the direction of James Cameron in his sci-fi prime, Aliens is a sci-fi classic.
A year before it came out, reading over the premise of Jurassic Park, it would have seemed pretty cool. “Dinosaur Park? Okay seems neat.” If you’d read the book, you would have known what to expect, right?
Jurassic Park made dinosaurs come to life… and it was spectacular.
Gone were the jerky stop motion dinosaurs of the past, replaced instead by dinosaurs built entirely inside a computer: this was the birth of computer generated images (CGI) in film, But in 1992, when they were trying to make the movie, they weren’t even sure if they could do it… and if they could do it, they weren’t sure how it would look.
That changed after the first successful test of the CGI footage, which was so amazing that it caused the stop motion artist Phil Tippett to remark, “I think I’m extinct,” a line that was later incorporated into the film
The final roar of the victorious T-Rex echoed through theatres across the world, but was dwarfed by squeals of millions of kids seeing what looked like real dinosaurs on screen for the first time.
Aliens is an amazing action film and is still enjoyable today but in the game changers region, Jurassic Park is a juggernaut of sci-fi, and has singlehandedly made more of an impact than any other film of its generation.
Almost every film produced today uses some element of CGI technology, and while it’s been greatly advanced from what they used then, there’s no doubt that today’s CGI finds its genetic code squarely at the heart of Jurassic Park.
Which game changer is your choice to advance to the final four? Vote below!