In either case the idea is quite staggering."
-- Arthur C. Clarke
Beam aboard as the Movie Dearest countdown to the American Film Institute's 2008 edition of their famed "100 Years" lists, AFI's 10 Top 10, continues with science fiction. Defined as a genre that "marries a scientific or technological premise with imaginative speculation", sci fi films can range from the optimistic to the bleak, and there have been plenty of both recognized by the AFI's lists in years past.
Topping out at six prior mentions apiece are two films that should provide a close race for the top spot on this top ten: Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey. And while the latter can be viewed either way, the former is certainly in the optimistic camp (unlike its not nominated sequel, The Empire Strikes Back), as is the next highest placer, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (five previous listings). However, next up is another Stanley Kubrick masterpiece, A Clockwork Orange (four previous listings), that is certainly of the downer variety.
Three more classics come in next with three prior mentions: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Frankenstein, the oldest movie among the fifty nominees (see the comments section below for the full list). Rounding out the strong possibilities from previous lists are Alien, Blade Runner, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Planet of the Apes (all with two apiece), Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Soylent Green and The War of the Worlds (all with one previous mention), plus the lone AFI Award winner, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Of the possible newcomers to the list, the one that I would most like to see in the top ten, Children of Men, is also the most recent of the nominees. Other contenders include such popular favorites as Back to the Future, Fantastic Voyage, Forbidden Planet, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Invisible Man, Minority Report, Robocop, Silent Running, The Time Machine and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, representing the entire Trek franchise.
Mark your calendars for June 17, the date the results will be revealed when AFI's 10 Top 10 airs on CBS.