Friday, July 19, 2013
Reader Top Ten Greatest Science Fiction Film Endings: Terri Wilson of In The Comfy Chair
The fantastic blogger of In The Comfy Chair -- and my friend -- Terri Wilson contributes a great top ten list this afternoon, and selects a number of offbeat but memorable titles.
"When it comes to a memorable ending, I tend to like ones that I can't see coming. Although I have one happy ending in this list, the rest are mostly twists and surprises. Which is why I liked them so much.
10. The Matrix (1999) - Neo finally embraces his fate and becomes The One. Whoa.
9. Time Bandits (1981) - Just when you think the whole movie is nothing but a little boy's dream, an errant piece of Concentrated Evil kills his annoying parents leaving him all alone to navigate the universe. Heavy.
8. The Final Countdown (1980) - Speaking of time travel, this genre usually ends up making my brain hurt because at some point an old version and a young version of someone is at the same place in the same time. Such is the ending of this film when the reveal is that old James Farentino is the mysterious millionaire sending young James Farentino off on this mission.
7. Donnie Darko (2001) - Speaking of making my brain hurt, this movie blew my mind so badly that I don't know if I was shocked by the ending or not.
6. Paranoia: 1.0 (2004) - Also known by a plethora of titles that are some version of "1.0," this epitome of a Kafka-esque nightmare gives us an answer to the film's mystery that we and the hero have been suspecting all along, but the final tableau is surprising in its action and the characters it involves. The film was so unsettling to me that it haunted my thoughts for days afterwards.
5. Men In Black (1997) - In a movie where nothing is what it seems, the fact that our world is as insignificant as another sphere in an alien kid's marble bag is a perfect coda. "Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."
4. E.T. (1982) - If you weren't sobbing your eyes out at the end of this movie, you have no soul!
3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) - Though I like 1979's ST The Motion Picture, it's this film that really is the "beginning" of the Trek movie franchise and that is so apparent in an ending that perfectly sets up the next two movies while simultaneously paying homage to the past.
2. Soylent Green (1973) - Ditto what everyone else has said.
1. Planet of the Apes (1968) - Again, ditto. And why are we so adamant in destroying the Statue of Liberty? The poor lady almost never makes through a sci-fi movie unscathed."
This is such a great list, Terri, and I love that you remembered both Time Bandits (1981) and The Final Countdown (1980), two eighties films that don't get nearly the love they deserve.
Your list also confirms the fact that Donnie Darko has left a permanent imprint on many viewers, in no small part for its haunting climax. I suspect it is going to finish high in the final tally...