Guest Post » Picking A Bone With Den of Geek: Top 75 Spaceships in Movies and TV
Greetings all and sundry!
Apologies for this late arrival. Due to loose ends needing to be tidies up during this rather tame and enjoyable summer. Allowing time to briefly visits other like sites in the early AM hours. Commenting here and there while looking for impetus for an intriguing idea or topics I could explore and run with.
I found it while going through and deleting History and Bookmarked sites. Dating back “long ago in a galaxy far, far away”. And had stolen and posted on an obscure site devoted to Science Fiction in writings, film and television. Dating back to 2009. And obviously missing many cinematic model and CGI constructs from the interim years to today. And suggestions, tales, reminiscences and/or disagreement will be more than welcome!
With a large group of selections from those to whom are the living, breathing embodiment of the words “Geek” and “Nerd”. A fine collection. Thoroughly researched through clickable links and interviews on each photo. Though, having been brought up in the heydays of 1940s “V-2” and ’50s George Pal Rocket Ships and space Stations. A bit too heavily invested in the wolds of ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ for my discerning tastes.
To that end. Allow me a few moments of your time to critique and opine on several which pique my interest. as I indulge and revel in:
Picking A Bone With Den of Geek: Top 75 Spaceships in Movies and TV
#75: “Friedle”: ‘Woman In The Moon’. A favorite and test bed for the imagination of Werner Von Braun. Too much fin(s). Not enough payload. But, about as “Old School” as one can get!
#74:’ BTA Fighter’ from ‘Enemy Mine’. Fast. Nimble. Maneuverable. Deserved much more screen time than one dogfight.
#73:”‘Dr. Zarkov’s Space Ship”: Low budget. Low tech splendor. With 4th of July sparklers as a propulsion system! Strategically “bent” for Guilty Pleasure, ‘Flesh Gordon’.
#71: The “Saucer” from John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’. Not entirely buying it. Since it was an Antarctic Matte painting in the film!
#70: “Patrol Ship” which delivered Harvey Keitel with an intermittently bad British accent to ‘Saturn 3’. Resembles the Alex Toth, “Starduster” spaceship the kind of animated ‘Space Angel’ series.
#69: ‘Uncle Martin’s’ spaceship’ from “My Favorite Martian”. The Jaguar XKE of spacecraft!
#65: TARDIS: “Time And Relativity. Dimensions In Space”… It’s bigger on the inside! Also seen as a Doric column under the command of “The Master” in early Tom Baker episodes.
#64:”‘Fireball XL-5″: One of the great Jerry Anderson spaceships I grew up with Saturday mornings! Notable for its small, returnable “Landing Pod”. And Mr. Anderson’s use of detergent bottles, juicers, graters and other kitchenware in the assembly of ‘Fireball’, ‘Super Car’, ‘Stingray’, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘Space: 1999’ and ‘SHADO’.
#61: “Planet Express Ship” from ‘Futurama’. Classic 1950’s design. With the series’ with its classic characters’ “over bite”.
#59:”‘Klattu’s Ship” from the original ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’. Classic saucer design that creates more questions than answers.
#58: ‘Yamato’: Superb anime rendering of the over gunned and under powered warship creted for Deep Space!
#57: ‘Eurosec Rocket’; Delivery system and rendezvous “Mother Ship” for the wondrously detailed “Lifting Body” craft for astronaut, Roy Thinnes in ‘Journey To The Dark Side of The Sun’. Also known as ‘Doppelganger. A neat, mirror image, bit of reverse Sci-Fi’ from 1969.
#56: “Icarus” from the original ‘Planets of the Apes’. Very cool looking. For its few minutes of cinematic fame!
#53: ‘Dalek Saucer’: From ‘Daleks Invasion of Earth. 2150’. With Peter Cushing as “The Doctor”. Not really a “Saucer” in the strictest sense of the word. But pretty cool for 1966!
#52: ‘Solar Sailor’. Count Dokoo’s sloop sails on solar winds in a neatly economical melsing of technology and ergonomics. “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” also featured a more detailed, home-built, Father/Son bonding variant in a late season episode.
#48: ‘Space Cowboy’. George Peppard’s ship from ‘Battle Beyond The Stars’. One of the early models made by then Roger Corman intern, James Cameron in 1980. a sturdy, though swaybacked mount!
#46: ‘Outland’ Shuttle’: An empty brick used to transport from mid-point to planet side. Period!
#44: “Serenity”: The Tenth Cast Member of the iconic Joss Whedon series and later film. Simplicity and ‘No Frills” in the extreme. But, one seriously cool looking and performing spaceship!
#43: ‘Alien’ Derelict: A question mark wrapped in an enigma. Shrouded in shadow and mystery.
#42: NSEA ‘Protector’: From ‘Galaxy Quest’ (1999). Intriguing design with cool looking, though next to useless “Swing Wings”.
#40: ‘Event Horizon’: Nice spin on the classic Kubrick design for ‘Odyssey’ in ‘2001…’. Skeletal works heighten tension in several key scenes.
#37: “Cruiser C-57D” from ‘Forbidden Planet’. Earthlings shouldn’t explore space and its planets in Saucers! Lavishly accented and detailed interior, though.
#35: ‘Alien Craft’ from UFO: A model of superb simplicity. Often shot out of focus to heighten mystery and suspense.
#34: ‘CE3K Mother Ship’: Take the radar mast, turrets, bridge structures and lattices from about forty modern warship models. Put them anywhere.On top of and underneath a central platform ring. String both with hundreds of colored fluorescent lights LEDs. And shot it all through man made mist and smoke. Back light and shoot upward from an angle… And “Voila!”. A masterpiece of un synchronized marvel and wonder!
#32:”‘Leonov'” from Peter Hyams’ ‘2010’. A fair representation of Soviet technology for that time. In a film that a notable extension of Kubrick’s magic in ‘2001’!
#31: Obi-Wan’s Galactic Lamborghini is one seriously cool looking. And performing piece of Technology. Appears to be doing Warp Speed even when sitting still. A delightful throwback to 1960s and 70s Frank Frazetta comic book design and function!
#29:”‘Sulaco” from ‘Aliens’: A malevolent looking armed transport ship that resembles a Colonial Marine Pulse Rifle more than a vessel. Also an excellent definition of Form and Function.
#28: “EVA Pod” from Kubrick’s ‘2001’. Elegantly thought out conglomeration of mechanical arms, Waldoes and Life Support. Positively screams NASA “Space Race” design and functionality.
#27: GR-75 Rebel Transport. A massively over sized “Torpedo for Space”. As intricately detailed outside as in.
#25: Colonial “Viper”. Made famous on ABC’s original ‘Battlestar Galactica’. Made just cool enough to avoid numerous lawsuits from George Lucas and ‘Star Wars’.
#24: “Rodger Young” A monstrously large rendering of what a WWII “AK” troop transport would look like. And do in the distant future. Whose functions are very close to what Robert Heinlein envisioned in his novel, ‘Starship Troopers’. And whose full functions of launching Mobile Infantry troopers Planet Side would be more closely detailed in its later CGI animated, “Roughnecks” series.
#22: ‘Cylon Raider’: Luftwaffe ME and BF-109s and Focke Wulf 190s in space.
#21: ‘Star Destroyer’. The first slow pan “Money Shot” seen by a generation of ’round the world! A staggeringly gigantic old 1920s Dreadnought put on Steroids for future galactic warfare. A succinct definition of “Overkill Is Underrated!” and malicious Empire “Eye Candy”.
#19: “Liberator” from ‘Blake’s 7’. Thrilled to see this Deep Space Capitol Ship make the cut. The UK’s unique, late 1970s take on Desilu and Gene Roddenberry’s “Enterprise” from ‘Star Trek’.
#18: Galactic freighter and Wildlife Preserve. ‘Valley Forge’ from “Silent Running”. A masterpiece of minimalist, though meticulously revealed model work. In a criminally neglected or forgotten “No Frills” cinematic gem!
#17: ‘Nostromo’. The humongous Semi Tractor cab pulling a meteor sized refinery and cargo box behind in Ridley Scott’s “Alien”. The often leaking, creepy, steamy, shadowy culmination of superior size and detail brought to life from Shepperton Studios outside London.
#16:”Discovery”: The sterile, computerized, streamlined flip side of ‘Nostromo’. Positively aglow with “2001: A Space Odyssey” NASA design and detail. Just big enough for its crew. Alive. Or kept in Stasis. A pleasing, gleaming, meticulous marvel to return to time and again!
#13: Moonbase “Interceptor” from Jerry Anderson’s team of 1970 futurists and its “UFO”. Single seat first line of SHADO’s defense against “Things that go “Bump!” in the night” sky. Fast. relatively maneuverable. And with a massive nuclear warhead missile to do the dirty work. Leaving the craft weaponless and reliant upon its speed, afterwards.
#12: Empire “Tie Fighter”: Made famous in Episode IV of ‘Star Wars’. For being the first eye-catching, unique and imaginative design for a spacecraft devoted to “Dogfights” in decades! Though, one question remains… “Where’s its landing gear?”
#11: Rebel “X-Wing Fighter”: The latest evolution of the famous “Mosquito” Fighter/Bomber of WWII. With a neat “hook” of split wings which rotate 30 degrees and deploy before the fur flies!
#10: “Slave-1”: Boba Fett’s personal ride.And overgrown 1950s Mercury hood ornament or Deco streetlight. Doesn’t appear aerodynamic in the least in atmosphere. Yet, incredibly sly and agile away from planets and their gravitational fields.
#9: “Gunstar” Here’s a novel concept. A fighter spacecraft that takes off vertically. And is as armed to the teeth as it is “Sexy Cool” to look at! A centerpiece of the medium budgeted, well executed and nearly forgotten, ‘The Last Starfighter’!
#7: “Millennium Falcon”: The be all-end all of the “Not In Line” and “Guts on the outside” genre of space ship originated in Episode IV of ‘Star Wars’. Appears to have been coated in glue and had myriad bits, parts and odds and ends tossed on it. Before being set ablaze! Speaks volumes to anyone who spent the kid and teen years building model ships and planes. And blowing them up!… A fine example all around. Without the longed for explosions and collateral fires.
#6: “Thunder Fighter”: A welcome “Blast from the Past” from NBC and Glen Larson’s ‘Buck Rogers In The 25th Century’. Smooth, streamlined, sleek and sexy. Leaves the angled “Colonial Viper” in the dust in many aspects!
#5: “Aeries 1-B Shuttle”: Another marvel of opulent Zero G design from the team of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. A well endowed, padded and cushioned interior belies its “Basketball In Space” exterior. That silently, lushly seethes with NASA and Jet Propulsion Lab, “Simple Is Better!” engineering.
#4: “USS Enterprise”. The space ship that stunned and refined a generation in the 1960s. And many beyond. Possessing an elegance rarely experienced before. Or after. The most detailed and expensive Special Effects model. In a series renown for its well and frugally spent low budget!
#3: Klingon “Bird Of Prey”: The first solid and long time look at Klingon technology in the ‘Star Trek’ franchise. And well worth the wait!
#2: “Eagle” Transporter: The “Strong Second String” within the meager quiver of equipment allotted the stranded Moon Base survivors of the UK’s ‘Space: 1999′. Positively reeking with minimalist design and function for moving cargo and surveying new outposts and sites beyond the damaged home base. Incredibly popular during the series’ two season run from 1975-77. And with modelers and fans long afterwards.
#1: “Dropship” from ‘Aliens’: Another wondrously marvelous brooding machine from the mind of James Cameron. Fleet. Nimble. And loaded for Bear! Taking the best parts of ancient troop hauling, Huey and Blackhawk helicopters. The cargo haling capabilities of “Short Field” C-130s and today’s V-22 “Osprey’. And mating them with the “Full Frontal Assault Bad Ass!” quotient of the Army’s modern AH-64 and “Longbow” Apache helicopters!
Not sure if it deserves the Number One spot. Though, it will continue its lineage in Cameron’s later, ‘Avatar’.
An incredibly informative collection of unique and often memorable space craft. Especially when the photos are clicked on. Perhaps, a bit weighted towards younger readers and viewers. But, very functional, nonetheless.
Would I have chosen different craft?… Certainly! Being of a different age. When “Rocket Ships” were slender, aerodynamic arrows soaring through thick or thin atmosphere before finding the vacuum of Space. Beginning with quite possibly the coolest of the crowd to subtly mesmerize an eight year old boy. The “XV-2 Orbit Jet”. Piloted by Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. The design is basically a taller, more smoothed out German “V-2” rocket. With sleeker, extruded tail stabilizers/landing gear. And a pair of curved wings amidships.
Followed closely by sometimes “Bare Bones” method of construction employed by the many model and effects teams of George Pal’s trio of Sci-Fi classics.’Destination Moon’ from 1950. Also noted for the crew’s bright Technicolor space suits and clever engineering used to strip the ship after expending too much fuel on landing.
‘When Worlds Collide’ and the rocket sled assisted take off of the “Ark Ship” as the rogue star Bellus is pulled close into Earth’s gravity. Very heady, well thought out and executed stuff for 1951.
And ‘Conquest Of Space’. One of the first films to give Science Fiction 1955 big Studio legitimacy through Paramount. With very of that time, pulp magazine looking space crafts and stations on a trip to the Red Planet.
Offset by the often augmented Department of Defense’s stock footage enhanced, ‘Rocket Ship X-M”. Even if the US engineered version of the German “V-2” in 1950 was far too small for its fuel payload and crew. The film works very well on the cheap.
Topped off by two late comers to the discussion. Both elegant in their own ways. The C-142 Space Ship used in the lower budgeted and more claustrophobic forerunner to ‘Alien’. United Artists’ ‘It! The Terror From Beyond Space’ from 1958.
And Cambria Productions’ oddly animated. Wet lipped, “Synchro-Vox”ed , ‘Space Angel’. Imagined and drawn by minimalist, Alex Toth from 1962-1964. Its hero, Scott McCloud. And it’s just enough room. “Guts on the Inside, “Starduster’.
Author’s Note: These final choices are mime. Not necessarily for the ships themselves. But for the roles played in the films in which they were featured. Not just for their roles in conveyance. And the aesthetics and personalities they added to classic films and television.
9 Responses to “Guest Post » Picking A Bone With Den of Geek: Top 75 Spaceships in Movies and TV”
Mind expanding and mind-boggling all at once! 🙂
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Thanks very much!
Seriously high Kudos to the team of Den of Geek for putting together such a well thought out and executed piece of research. I wanted to attempt something as grand and expansive as your cinematic “Seasonal Quizzes”. And this seems to fill the bill nicely!
Creating myriad thought and reminiscence while taking their very impressive list all in before commenting. And yours is quite superb!
Yes, indeed. Thanks, Sergio.
PS was on the set of EVENT HORIZON at Pinewood Studios … Still prefer BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS though 🙂
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I’m very jealous!
Pinewood has such a noted and wonderful history in cinematic magic!
‘Event Horizon’ has always struck me as a very lush and high tech ‘Hellraiser’ in Space. Great to look at and take in between of overdone shock, splatter and gore.
While Corman’s ‘Battle Beyond the Stars’ has a comfortable ‘Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven’ vibe and feel. Exceptional model work from Mr. Cameron. With crafts that reflect the film’s characters!
PS/Note: Thank you, Michael. For adding several shots of the crafts I’ve noted. Saves the distraction of opening up a separate page for Den of Geek’s original choices!
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I’m so jealous to hear that. Tell me, would you have been on the set during the filming of that infamous ‘Hell Orgy’ segment in EVENT HORIZON? I’ve slo-mo that sequence once before and it’s really kind of disturbing. Thanks once again, Sergio.
Sadly not – I was there when Sam Neill was the only one on set, though that was pretty cool. It apparently went through agonies in the editing as the production company kept changing their mind about how much horror there should be.
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Another wonderful contribution, Kevin. Quite thorough. Certainly got me to break out the new blu-ray for “It! The Terror From Beyond Space” over the weekend and show it to my son. As well as, since the kids and I re-did ‘Firefly’s sole season last week, and thus top it off with “Serenity”, those ships certainly had impact once again with our household. I’ve a penchant to the ‘Solaco’ from “Aliens”. It’s shape and design looked like it gave birth to the Colonial Marine’s pulse-rifle. So many great sci-fi vessels through the years. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts here, my friend.
‘Den of Geek’ went all out with their selections. Some excellent and timely ships and back stories. You can’t look at “Alien” without thinking of its B&W predecessor. Though the Ridley Scott version excels at creepy suspense with idea of humans finding a very Lovecraft Great Old One and keeping it at bay. While “It!…” goes for shock and “Red Scare” claustrophobia.
“Firefly” and “Serenity” rock in their own ways! Surprised at the absence of “Babylon-5” fighters and allied ships. And I swear I bought a “Super Soaker” rifle years ago that bears a surprisingly cool resemblance to the Colonial Marine Pulse Rifle and “Sulaco”!