Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Reader Top Ten Greatest Science Fiction Film Endings: WoodchuckGod
Reader Woodchuck God presents his list of greatest science fiction film endings.
“As a young musician I was told that the only thing the audience will hear are the first notes, and the final notes. Film can often be the same, especially with passage of time.
So - after much gnashing of teeth and deliberation, my list:
#1.) Escape from L.A. - I don't think I've ever had such a delighted reaction at the final actions of a film's protagonist. The bewildered, angry, and suddenly helpless look on the face of the President who - really - thought himself the personal messenger of God; It just said it all. I'll say it again. I cackled in the theater. Loudly. I am to this day so extremely pleased I was able to see this on the big screen. The flicker of Snake's match lighting his cigarette was better than any fireworks display that technology could have put on display.
#2.) Dark Star - After one of my singularly favorite Science Fiction moments: a discussion of phenomenology with an armed planet-destroying intelligent bomb and its ultimate conclusion : Let There Be Light. How do you top it? Surfing into the atmosphere in a space suit on a chunk of metal debris until you go poof from the friction. If you've got to go, go with a smile.
#3.) Brazil - Which I suppose also fits with the last line in #2. Sam's ultimate escape from a society drowning in its own bureaucracy was a good circling around to what started him on the road in the first place - and led to endless hours of discussion with my college friends about the exact point in the movie when he started dreaming the end to begin with.
#4.) Gattaca - This one fought hard for a top spot in my head. I think if the #3 slot was awarded an extra point somehow, this would have made it there. The ending was both deeply sad and victorious at once, both in story and visuals. Few movies move me to tears the first time. This was one of them.
#5.) Logan's Run - Very much a victory for the young, with the young me very much appreciated at the time. That and the visual shots of the Water Gardens in Ft.Worth, Tx. I've been there and walked on it. Awesome. So cool to see in a film.
#6.) 12 Monkeys - It's like slipping that last piece of the jigsaw puzzle in place, only to realize you were building a picture of something far, far different than the box displayed. Beautiful.
#7.) Wall-E - The human race, quite literally getting off its ass to take care of what it has. I like.
#8.) The Matrix - There was a reason I obsessed about this series. The strength of the ending has a lot to do with it. You said it well already. No more needed there.
#9.) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - The Nimoy voiceover of the original beginning -was- a perfect circle, to wrap the action, emotion, grief, and hope. 'Nuff said.
#10.) Stargate - Have to love the old teleporting atom bomb trick.
Woodchuckgod: It's great to see that I am not alone in my appreciation for Escape from L.A.'s last sequence. Such a sharp, brilliant, anarchic ending. I agree with every word you wrote about it. It's also terrific to see another Carpenter masterpiece, Dark Star place highly on the list.
I'm also glad you mentioned the ending of Stargate. It's not my favorite sci-fi film by a stretch, but the final battle, and that "teleporting atom bomb" trick certainly end the movie on a burst of excitement, tension and adrenaline. It's a wicked and triumphant moment, to be certain.