I noticed today that Rotten Tomatoes has put up a list of their highest rated top 100 Science Fiction Movies of all time. If you’ve never been to RT, it is a really nice site that congregates every critic’s opinion/review of a movie and gives them all equal share in the movie’s score. They then provide each review with either a Fresh or Rotten tag, and movies are given percentage scores based on the reviews. A movie with a score of 60% fresh or higher is considered to be a Fresh movie, while anything below that is Rotten. This really turns out to be a great scale for rating movies, as I find that typically the percentage of fresh reviews indicates pretty accurately what percentage of people will like the movie. A “Rotten” movie that has a 50% still has some redeeming qualities that lead to half the people I talk to liking it.
Here are some of the key inclusions on the list:
#98: Primer - 72% fresh – A movie that was recommended to me by a friend, and after seeing it once I went out and bought it. This will make you think more then most other movies ever made. From RT:
Dense, obtuse, but stimulating, Primer is a film for viewers ready for a cerebral challenge.
#91: A.I. Artificial Intelligence - 73% - I’ve always had a soft spot for this lengthy yet intriguing movie, and I’ve never been exactly sure why.
A curious, not always seamless, amalgamation of Kubrick’s chilly bleakness and Spielberg’s warm-hearted optimism, A.I. is, in a word, fascinating.
#89: War of the Worlds – 73% – I absolutely loved this remake of the classic, but I’ve heard from some people that they couldn’t stand seeing any of it. The terror and hopelessness created so well by the novel is recreated almost exactly, and NOT just because of Tom Cruise.
#87: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - 76% – Nuff Said?
#83: Signs - 74% – Despite the crappy premise and wishy-washy ending, seeing this movie in the theater was a supremely suspenseful experience.
With Signs, Shyamalan proves once again an expert at building suspense and giving audiences the chills.
#81: The Matrix: Reloaded - 74%
A worthy sequel even if it is a little heady and less satifying than the first Matrix.
#79: Total Recall - 79% – Obviously Phillip K. Dick has to be represented more than once.
#77: Videodrome - 79% – Has anyone seen this?
#69: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure - 84% – How many times is Keanu on this list?
#68: The Abyss – 83% – F’in right the Abyss is on here…I’d actually put it higher up too.
#66: Escape From N.Y. – 83%
Featuring an atmospherically grimy futuristic metropolis, Escape from New York is a strange, entertaining jumble of thrilling action and oddball weirdness.
#64: Pi – 83% – I was actually worried that Pi wouldn’t be on the list, this one is very much like Primer to me that I feel it was like accidentally stumbling upon something magnificently beautiful you’d only heard about in passing.
Dramatically gripping and frighteningly smart, this Lynchian thriller does wonders with its unlikely subject and shoestring budget.
#62: Jurassic Park - 85% – Can you believe this came out in 1993?
#60: Robocop – 85% – All necessary franchises present and accounted for?
#51: Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith – 80% – Okay…ummm, what? Who had a stroke and let this through? Oh, it’s there simply because of technology and the years of story behind it. Bleh…
#48: Serenity – 81%
#45: A Clockwork Orange - 89%
Disturbing and thought-provoking, A Clockwork Orange is a cold, dystopian nightmare with a very dark sense of humor.
#44: 12 Monkeys - 87% – Isn’t Brad Pitt’s ass enough to make this one worth mentioning?
#36: Bladerunner - 92% – Phillip K. Dick yet again inspires greatness.
Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Ridley Scott’s mysterious, noir-influenced Blade Runner has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece.
#32: The Matrix - 86%
An ingenious combination of Hong Kong action, ground-breaking Hollywood FX, and an imaginative vision.
#26: Young Frankenstein – 93% – Naturally.
#20: Mad Max - 97%
#18: 2001: A Space Odyssey – 94%
#13: Galaxy Quest - 90% – I was practically floored to see this one up so far, I enjoyed it but still very surprised.
#10: Aliens – 100% – Damn right it has a 100%.
#9: Star Wars – 95%
#8: The Host – 92%
#7: Children of Men – 91% – I was really surprised to see such a new movie up this high, definitely seeing it soon!
#6: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - 97%
#5: Minority Report – 91%
#4: Alien – 97%
#3: Metropolis - 99% - Being forced to watch this in a large classroom setting is like torture…
#2: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – 94% – Simply fantastic.
#1: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – 98%