Space Sagas
Defending Earth, interstellar adventures & other pyrotechnics


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Star Wars Trilogy
D: George Lucas, et al (1977-83) avg 125m


Blockbuster science fantasies that paved the way for others that followed. The now-familiar story traces Luke Skywalker's battle with an evil emperor and his Dark Lord sidekick. The standard good vs evil plot-lines involve a multitude of family skeletons in the closet. The effect of Lucas' concept of 'the Force' runs deep. Seminal.





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Dune
D: David Lynch (1984) 137m


Deadpanned by critics on release, the theatrical version of Frank Herbert's famous novel is proving surprisingly durable with fans. A political power struggle on the planet Arrakis sees the hero lead desert dwellers and sandworms into battle against oppressive rulers. A good cast and visually impressive - it is well worth another look.





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Aliens
D: James Cameron (1986) 137m


A rare sequel that manages to outdo the original, which is a fine film in its own right. Sigourney Weaver is again terrific as Ripley - the only one left alive after the original Alien movie (1979). A squadron of Marines heads off to the home planet of the nasty aliens, intent on wiping them out. Taut and terrifying - definitive space-horror.





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Stargate
D: Roland Emmerich (1994) 122m


Competent film that spawned a long-running TV series. James Spader plays an ancient language expert who helps the military decipher the purpose of a recently-uncovered alien artifact. It turns out to be a gateway to all sorts of places that is somehow tied to the ancient Egyptian gods. Kurt Russell chips in with a solid performance.





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Independence Day
D: Roland Emmerich (1996) 110m


Slam-bang sci-fi action flick featuring Oscar-winning special effects. The aliens are hovering above Earth set to invade. Things look pretty grim, but an absentminded scientist (Jeff Goldblum) eventually figures out a way to save the day. The US President finds he still has the right stuff and Will Smith looks to be born for the part.





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Starship Troopers
D: Paul Verhoeven (1997) 129m


This loose adaptation of Heinlein's novel is about as right-wing as sci-fi films get. High school kids get "citizenship" and service to the state drummed into their heads. A group of young military cadets graduate and head off to fight a war against giant bugs. There's lots of blood, gore and dismemberment - and then the movie ends.





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Moon
D: Duncan Jones (2009) 97m


A rare slice of intelligent sci-fi that is slowly gaining a solid following. Lunar Industries employee Sam Bell works in isolation on the moon harvesting clean energy source Helium-3 - his only companion the GERTY 3000 computer. A vehicle accident leads to some unexpected complications. Although often compared to 2001, this film stands on its own as an engrossing space thriller.





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Avatar
D: James Cameron (2009) 162m


Director James Cameron uses state-of-the-art 3D technology to produce visually convincing 'live action animation'. A wheelchair-bound Marine is sent to the planet Pandora where a corporate consortium is stomping all over the rights of the indigenous people in order to obtain a rare mineral. He infiltrates the Na'vi through a genetically engineered avatar body… but soon has a change of heart.


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