Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

My Ten Greatest Science Fiction Film Characters of All Time

children_of_men_explosion

I swear, with friends like John Kenneth Muir I will never ever run out of ideas to write-up posts ‘cuz he just keeps popping up with great ones through the interaction of his blog. This from Monday:

“Since our first reader top ten in May, I’ve received several great ideas for the next top ten list.

Some readers have suggested I focus on horror films, others on the greatest characters in film or television history, and others on underrated science fiction movies that didn’t get a fairing hearing in the previous list.

After considering all the information, I’ve decided to go with the following list at this time: The Ten Greatest Science Fiction Film Characters of All Time.”

I highly recommend checking out another of John’s Top Ten lists located right here. It’s an excellent tensome of iconic Sci-Fi characters. Since this is one of my favorite genres, from childhood, this cannot go unanswered. Drum roll please:


Ellen-Ripley-Aliens

1) Ellen Ripley (Alien Quadrilogy) – John said it best for one of the greatest ‘last girl’ characters of all-time:

“Ripley makes the cut as my favorite big screen character in part because she has endured so much, and done so with such strength and humanity.  We have seen her tested in a command position (when Dallas is off the ship in Alien), embrace parenthood (in Aliens) and reckon with the inevitability of death (Alien3).”

I’d add with Alien Resurrection she epitomized badassery, too ;-).

roy-batty

2) Roy Batty (Blade Runner) – While some would consider him to be the villain, the antagonist, to Rick Deckard in the film, I’m of the opinion the replicant was the true hero in the story (with Deckard the antihero). Roy was always the one more like us, more human in his reactions to our mortality. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” fit him to a tee. Reaching a point in the film where we could, or will eventually, understand all too well his epiphany that resulted in his final act.

“All those…moments…will be lost in time, like tears… in… rain. Time… to die…”

sarah

3) Sarah Conner (Terminator series) – To me, one of the great characters in science-fiction film was not the one who’d ultimately saved humanity from James Cameron’s machines, but the one who gave birth to him. It’s no surprise the key figure was not so much the hero of the tale, but the mother who taught, nurtured, and cared enough to not let the men of the world destroy it — all via their cold, unfeeling cyborg offspring. Doing whatever it took, she epitomized the sacrifice and the transfiguration of motherhood upon us all (any husband, resident sperm-donor or significant other can attest to that when they witness it, I can assure you).

Taylor

4) George Taylor (Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes) – The ultimate cynic in my book. The deep space explorer who will be taught a lesson on what it is to be human, even if the one teaching it isn’t, and remains one of the 60s iconic figures. Forced to see his error of his, and his species, ways via the ultimate culture shock, Taylor’s journey will be among the most memorable. In one of the greatest “twist ending”s of all time, he’s left ranting at the foot of a broken Statue of Liberty in frustrated anger that still resonates.

“You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

wall-e

5) WALL•E – The long-lived, Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class machine (WALL•E) evolved after 700 years of labor into a distinct sentient being. One that knows how alone it really is since it’s the last of its kind on the abandoned Earth. The machine will spark the chain reaction that liberates and literally saves itself, along with humankind. WALL•E’s selflessness to overcome the ingrained ways of others at almost every turn in the tale is what not only makes him heroic but one of the unexpectedly great dystopian characters in the genre.

trinity
6) Trinity (The Matrix Trilogy) – The real heart and soul of this mind-blowing film series was this dark-haired, intelligent, and lethal beauty. Debate all you want on the direction the Wachowski Siblings took the tale in the long run, but the most alluring, and alive, character in three films was Trinity. She’s the prime reason Neo succeeds as the hero. Admit it, without her it’s much a shorter story. When she says, “In five minutes, I’ll tear that whole goddamn building down.”, you damn well better believe her.

dayearthstoodstill1

7) Klaatu (The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1959) – The extraterrestrial, with the coolest flying saucer and robotic sidekick this side of Forbidden Planet, who arrives on Earth with a sobering warning about our immature fascination with nuclear weapons and future spaceflight. Looking like us, but not acting similarly, Klaatu remains a fascinating, almost Christ-like creature of intellectual paternal guidance, and one of the most indelible characters of the 50s and science-fiction.

jodie_dishes

8) Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Arroway (Contact) – Easily, the most driven, intelligent, and passionate scientist on the third rock from the sun. The one character more intent on bringing a heart and a soul with an intellect to a journey of discovery this 90s film provided, and who you’d want interpreting an interstellar signal beaming its way to Earth. A hero with conviction, but without a weapon or attitude, armed with all the smarts, curiosity, and hope anyone could muster.

theo faron

9) Theo Faron (Children of Men) – One of the seemingly lucky ones — as defined by the fact that he is a UK citizen with a job, and not one of the ill-fated refugees clamoring to stay on Britain’s shores as humanity slowly dies away, Theo is the man for an extraordinary journey. His path from utter pessimism (through the darkest of times and the loss of his dearest friends along the way) to ultimately one of hope at his, and the film’s, end remains the remarkable core of a hauntingly desperate, beautiful film.

Mal Reynolds

10) Mal Reynolds (Firefly, Serenity) – Most stories, no matter if they are Sci-Fi or not, usually have a stalwart lead surrounded by colorful support characters and/or charismatic villains to play off against. Our man Mal, the Browncoat war-vet, broke the mold by being not only at least as funny, charming, or dramatic as those in the crew around him, but could go as dark or more than any of the bad guys he faced. Joss Whedon’s wonderful gift of a character to the genre’s fans.

Advertisements

39 Responses to “My Ten Greatest Science Fiction Film Characters of All Time”

  1. Colin

    Michael, science fiction wouldn’t be my favorite genre – I don’t dislike it or anything but it doesn’t resonate for me like some other genres.
    Having said that, there are some good picks here. I like that you found a place for Charlton Heston from Planet of the Apes, and might I suggest his roles in Soylent Green & The Omega Man are worthy of consideration too?

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Those additional roles by Heston during his career’s second wind (by way of this genre) were simply splendid. I saw them all during this period first-run, too. They are part of me, as well. I’ve seen his Robert Neville from OMEGA MAN on a couple of others’ lists already so he’s far from forgotten in this aggregation. Many thanks for the read and comment, Colin :-).

      Like

      Reply
  2. ckckred

    Nice list. I’d add HAL from 2001 and Gigolo Joe from A. I. but all of the characters you’ve mentioned I really love.

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Oh, yes. HAL is one that will make many a list as one of the great sci-fi characters. Hated to leave him off here. There really are so many in the genre. Thanks, ckckred.

      Like

      Reply
  3. cindybruchman

    Great list. I’m glad to see you put Contact in there. The black hole sequence was amazing. One of my favorites from the 90s. I really loved A.I. and MInority Report, too.

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Great to find another ‘Contact’ film fan. The more I rewatch that film, the more I’ve come to admire/respect Ellie’s character in the story. She’s amazing. Thanks, Cindy :-).

      Like

      Reply
  4. Terri Wilson

    I debated adding Deckard or Roy to my own list because I felt like “Blade Runner” needed to be represented, but in the end I just couldn’t find room for them. Glad someone did! Great list! And hooray for scifi, a genre with plenty of strong female characters from which to choose. 😀

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      I know, it’s hard with something as crowded as this genre’s character cast. So many great ones through the years. Still, your list is a fantastic one, Terri. Many thanks for the read and comment, my friend.

      Like

      Reply
  5. Fogs' Movie Reviews

    Totally agree about Roy Batty. What an incredible character. What an incredible movie.

    Nice mix of the classic and the new, the thought provoking and the more entertaining!

    Like

    Reply
  6. filmhipster

    Wow, what a great list, I only recently saw Children of Men and I was completely blown away by it. Theo Faron was quite the character indeed.

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      CHILDREN OF MEN is quite somethin’, isn’t it? Glad to hear of your admiration for this film, Chris. Many thanks, my friend.

      Like

      Reply
  7. 70srichard

    Good list, love the Heston nod. I will have to think on my own list now. I feel strongly that Alex Murphy should be here somewhere. Han Solo is an icon as are all the Star Wars characters. Buckaroo Banzai?Again I have to ponder.

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Oh, yes. Please check out CHILDREN OF MEN, Chris. Now why am I not surprised you’ve a crush on Trinity ;-). Thank you so much, my friend.

      Like

      Reply
  8. mummbles

    This is cool idea, I really like some of your choices. I can see why my list would be different and so would just about everyone esles. Good idea and maybe I will have to write up my own blog about this!

    Like

    Reply
  9. Nostra

    Looking at the list I was going “Yes, yes, yes…” until the last one. Had no idea who that was, but then again I never watched the show and probably because of that didn’t feel much when I watched the movie.

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      I understand, Nostra. If you had seen the Firefly series, Mal’s one and only time on film may have registered more. I guess I’m a browncoat at heart. Thanks so much for the read and comment, my friend.

      Like

      Reply
  10. Morgan R. Lewis

    Some great choices, Michael. Nothing here that I would say doesn’t merit being on the list. I might have come up with different choices if I put my mind to it, but these are all worthies — even the ones I’m not so familiar with personally, I know the films are highly regarded.

    I’ll make special mention of Sarah Connor because of that transformation you mention. To me, that’s one of the most impressive things about the character. She goes through the first film as, essentially, the damsel in distress. She’s out of her depth, and she knows it, and so she relies on the hero male sent to her. But he’s dead in the end, and she realizes it’s all up to her, and sets to work. Next time we see her, she’s almost terrifyingly competent. All too often in series we don’t see a character evolve, or it’s only in small degrees — or they change but no longer remain recognizable. Sarah Connor does a complete 180 while being the same character.

    Like

    Reply
  11. Novroz

    Great post, Mike! although I can only vote for Ripley and Sarah Connor. I have seen some of the other in the list but it didn’t give long lasting impression for me.

    Like

    Reply

Are you talkin’ to me?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: