Neil deGrasse Tyson Names His Top Ten Science Fiction Films

Neil deGrasse Tyson has made headlines in the past, whether it's critiquing Gravity or leading Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Well recently he's listed his ten favorite science fiction films, and one of the films on the list is a comic book movie. But which one? Hit the jump to find out!

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By MrBlackjack - 6/7/2014
In a recent article for the LA Times, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey "star" listed his ten favorite science fiction films of all time, and gave reasoning for each. Below you'll find his ten favorite sci-fi films and a runner up, all of which he personally wrote for the LA Times.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951): The story was so strong and compelling that the film did not require heavy special effects or monsters or violence to be simultaneously hopeful and terrifying.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): Perhaps the first film to be all about the discovery of alien intelligence yet not show what it looks like, knowing that our imagination could surely do a better job than Hollywood. In any case, it was a visual orgy of space travel and space exploration that we remain far from achieving, even 13 years after the 33 years-in-the-future it portrayed.

Planet of the Apes (1968): Saw this again recently and it held up over all these years in many important details. Had not appreciated when I first saw it. The hierarchy of apes that ran the planet, chimps were the academics, baboons were the soldiers, orangutans were the diplomats. An action-adventure movie that was an insightful mirror to our lives and our civilization.

The Terminator (1984): Deftly woven action, violence, sentient machines, a heroine and time travel. All stitched together in a tight and scarily plausible storyline. And, when you think about it, a perfect acting vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a mostly mute terminator, whom many would rather look at than listen to.

The Quiet Earth (1985): Low budget, low distribution. One of many films that imagine for you what life might be like if you were the last person alive on Earth. In this case, the premise, the story, the casual science literacy of the main character, keeps the viewer in suspense the entire time, wondering what the hell happened and why.

Contact (1997): The second film that I know of that is all about contact with alien intelligence and yet does not offer you a glimpse of what they look like. Perhaps it’s no surprise that Carl Sagan advised Arthur C. Clarke to not show aliens in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “Contact” itself is Carl Sagan’s Story. A brilliant exploration of how our culturally and religiously pluralistic society might react to the knowledge that we have been contacted by a species more intelligent than we are.

Deep Impact (1998): There have been many asteroid/comet disaster films. But this one took the time to get most of the physics right, and made sure you cared about all the characters in the film so that their prospect of dying matters to the viewer. And Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of the president of the United States may be the best ever.

The Matrix (1999): My top film in any category. From the opening credits to final scenes, every moment of this film is so fully conceived and so well executed that in spite of the complete fantasy world portrayed, the viewer was there, experiencing it with the characters themselves.

The Island (2005): Apart from too many minutes of gratuitous chase scenes, I think this movie is profound in its message as well as visually stunning. A rare study of science in the service of vanity, mixed with an exploration of corporate profits, human identity and free will. I've always viewed “Gattaca” (1997) as a lower-budget cousin of this film.

Watchmen (2009): I don’t know if I am alone in thinking that “Watchmen” is the best-of-genre among all superhero films. I liked it because the characters had fully expressed, complex personality profiles. They experience love, hate, revenge, megalomania, moral anguish and trepidation. Nothing polished about them. For this reason, they were all more real to me. If the world really did have superheroes in it, “Watchmen” is the world it would be.

As a runner up, Tyson cited Blade Runner (1982), stating "This story was simultaneously deep and scary. But I never warmed to it the way so many lovers of the genre have. Which makes this comment more of a confession than a review." So what do you guys think? Do you agree with him? Sound off below!
Source: LA Times
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batcheeks8 - 6/7/2014, 3:41 PM
Nice list.
Phronesis - 6/7/2014, 3:42 PM
Hard to believe that Blade Runner was hated upon it's release back then.
Ignition - 6/7/2014, 3:42 PM
Snyderbot!!! confirmed!!!

I really like the list.
BatManHeisenberg - 6/7/2014, 3:43 PM
Inception was incredibly underrated.
BatManHeisenberg - 6/7/2014, 3:43 PM
Cool find, btw.
Starfox - 6/7/2014, 3:45 PM
Really good list. Nice find MBJ!
WhiteSAMURAI22 - 6/7/2014, 3:47 PM
@Phronesis Blade Runner is a great movie but I'm not sure how impressed I would be if I saw the original cut first. The ending to the director's cut really makes that movie for me.
LEEE777 - 6/7/2014, 3:50 PM
WATCHMEN is there, that says it all.

AWESOME movie, one of the best cbm's ever made!




Ahhh wheres STAR WARS yo? :P
Mike89 - 6/7/2014, 3:52 PM
Great list.
AreTudaEDub - 6/7/2014, 3:52 PM
@BatManHeisenberg - Even though he didn't list Inception, I wouldn't say that that film is underrated. My fiance and I love that film along with all my friends that have seen it. But Matrix is one of the greatest Sci-Fi contributions ever. It came out at perfect time when the YK2 hysteria was looming in the air.
Asterisk - 6/7/2014, 3:52 PM
Inception is called overrated so much that Noe its underrated.
Mike89 - 6/7/2014, 3:53 PM
Glad he included WATCHMEN

One of the best and most Underrated CMB's ever!
GuardianAngel - 6/7/2014, 3:55 PM
For those people who say Watchmen isn't good, watch the Director's Cut. I promise you'll love it.
Mike89 - 6/7/2014, 3:56 PM
CBM's**
Brainiac13 - 6/7/2014, 3:58 PM
@Mike89
@LEEE777

Agree. :)


Tdi7457 - 6/7/2014, 3:58 PM
The Island? He liked that Bayfest?
JamesMan - 6/7/2014, 3:59 PM
Contact was a fantastic movie. Flawed premise (it would take lightyears for any sound from space to come to us) but it lead to a great movie.
Brainiac13 - 6/7/2014, 3:59 PM
@GuardianAngel

Do you know when the Ultimate Cut will be released on Blu-ray?

There were limited copies released a few years back.
Phronesis - 6/7/2014, 4:00 PM
Yeah, I'm really surprised at no Star Wars...
FastFlames - 6/7/2014, 4:02 PM
I need to check out Watchmen
LEEE777 - 6/7/2014, 4:05 PM
Brainiac13 @ ;)

Phronesis @ Yeah man, STAR WARS needs to be on anyone's top 10 sci-fi list! :P

Or Empire or trilogy.



Great find @ Jack m'man :thumbs!
DCGuy - 6/7/2014, 4:12 PM
Yes! a DC movie! Wooooooo this man has a brain at least! Genius!
MrFridayNights - 6/7/2014, 4:14 PM
Star Wars and Star Trek(reboot) needs to be on that top 10 science fiction films list.
SpiderFraud - 6/7/2014, 4:19 PM
Glad to see him put Watchmen on his list, really good movie. Surprised that he put The Island on his list, I always liked that movie, one of Bay's best.

Whoops, I shouldn't give Bay any credit, don't wanna get blasted by Bayhaters.
SpiderFraud - 6/7/2014, 4:20 PM
I'm always a little sad when I don't see Alien on a top 10 Sci-Fi list..it's my favorite movie of all time ;(
0megaDaGod - 6/7/2014, 4:22 PM
This list: I like it

ANOTHER
Indy - 6/7/2014, 4:28 PM
Yeah he has a good list.
DaVinci31 - 6/7/2014, 4:32 PM
Am I the only surprised at the fact that The Island is on his list?

BlindJustice - 6/7/2014, 4:33 PM
How can anyone who lived the 70s and 80s and loves Science Fiction NOT put STAR WARS in their top 10???

I understand his need to be cool and wow us all with putting 'The Quiet Earth' in it, but come on! Oh and I'm sure 85% of this site has probably never even heard of 'The Quiet Earth', much less knew that there was an original version of 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'.

BlindJustice - 6/7/2014, 4:34 PM
batz11 - 6/7/2014, 4:36 PM
Um, incorrect...

"The hierarchy of apes that ran the planet, chimps were the academics, baboons were the soldiers, orangutans were the diplomats..."

gorillas were the soldiers - what a dumbass this guy is ;)

batz11 - 6/7/2014, 4:37 PM
^ oh, calling him a "dumb-ass" was sarcasm, just incase...
Bazinga - 6/7/2014, 4:38 PM
WHOOPS! Did I forget To Put STAR WARS On My LIST?!? ....My Bad
DrunkenNukem - 6/7/2014, 4:40 PM
"I don’t know if I am alone in thinking that “Watchmen” is the best-of-genre among all superhero films. I liked it because the characters had fully expressed, complex personality profiles. They experience love, hate, revenge, megalomania, moral anguish and trepidation. Nothing polished about them. For this reason, they were all more real to me. If the world really did have superheroes in it, “Watchmen” is the world it would be."

Can´t believe NDT loves Watchmen movie...awsome!

Spock0Clock - 6/7/2014, 4:41 PM
"The Matrix: My top film in any category. From the opening credits to final scenes, every moment of this film is so fully conceived and so well executed that in spite of the complete fantasy world portrayed, the viewer was there, experiencing it with the characters themselves."

It's 15 years later and I still don't understand how the Wachowskis pulled off a movie so revolutionary and entertaining, with deep subtext of social commentary, and the damn near perfection of the Joseph-Campbell-Hero-Arc thesis.

I still don't understand it because every movie they made after is so deeply flawed and confused. I strongly suspect there was a third Wachowski involved with the first Matrix that we've never heard of that died, leaving only his less talented siblings to carry on the name.
Himura - 6/7/2014, 4:43 PM
LOL someone actually said Inception was UNDERrated
DrunkenNukem - 6/7/2014, 4:43 PM
@Phronesis...Star Wars..and Star Trek...weird...

I didn´t like the Island....

Is it wrong that i consider the Prestige as Syfy???

Is one of my favorites..
DrunkenNukem - 6/7/2014, 4:45 PM
@DaVinci...i am...
DEVLIN712 - 6/7/2014, 4:48 PM
@GuardianAngel
Isn't it 3+ hours long?!
grif - 6/7/2014, 4:50 PM
not bad. even when i saw deep impact on the list. then i saw the island... seriously?
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