5 Best Sci-Fi Movie Moments
You know the moments – they’re the ones that made you scream, the ones that made you cry, the ones that made you cover your eyes. They’re the lines you can still quote or the images that still burn in your mind, so much so that you can remember them without hesitation if someone asks.
Narrowing down the best sci-fi movie moments was no doubt a hard task, but I took a stab at it…so strap into your space shuttle and zip along for the ride.
If you didn’t get at least a LITTLE misty-eyed watching Elliot and bicycle descend into the moon, then you might be as alien as ET himself.
Steven Spielberg’s film was iconic in the sci-fi world even before this scene took the top spot on most “magical movie moment” lists around the world. Living with his single mother and two siblings, young Elliot is often lost in his own world and seemingly misunderstood by adults. When he meets ET, an alien who has lost his way home, he decides to help him find a way back to his planet.
When Elliot’s bicycle flies high into the sky, with ET in his basket silhouetted by the moon, it wasn’t just an amazing moment because of the emotional intensity. It was an amazing moment because it signified that this wasn’t just a classic kid story. It was about something deeper – the importance of the innocence of childhood and the lesson of kindness towards people who are different.
Admit it – you screamed. I know I did. You think you’re safe…you think you’re prepared…and then it happens – the lumbering T-Rex charges out of the clearing, through the fence, and you’re taken by such surprise you’re screaming in fright.
Another Spielberg film – this one based on Michael Crichton’s popular novel – Jurassic Park is about scientists who get the bright idea to use successfully extracted dinosaur DNA to breed new predators that roam a for-profit theme park. A lucky selective audience (including a scientist, a mathematician and his grandchildren) are chosen for a viewing of the park before it is open to the public, but when a computer geek turns off the security system so he can make off with some dinosaur embryos, everything goes horribly awry.
Special effects in movies may have changed drastically since Jurassic Park first came out in theatres, but this particular scene – the T-Rex charging through the not-there-anymore electric fence, smashing in the two cars of tour people and then feasting on a man in a nearby tree – still makes me jump. The fact that it’s over 20 years later and you can still feel freaked out is a testament to not only the moment itself, but great filmmaking and storytelling.
Returning from a space mission, the crew of a commercial ship detour to investigate a strange planet and what they believe is an SOS call. The SOS call is actually a warning signal, which comes to light after the crew discovers a defunct alien ship. The crew thinks that they can destroy the one parasite and they’ll be safe…but they have no idea that the horror is just beginning.
The crew of a mining ship are sharing dinner and exchanging banter when all of a sudden, John Hurt’s character begins convulsing. Only seconds later, an alien parasite bursts from the confines of his chest, splattering blood everywhere and leaving screams in its wake.
Ridley Scott’s 1979 film had a lot of iconic moments, but that by far stands out as one of the creepiest (not to mention the most memorable) in film history.
It was the mantra of young boys everywhere – the ones who ran around in dark sunglasses, pretending to tote machine guns while intoning the famous phrase “I’ll be back.” Who knew that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s delivery of this line and its context would make such an impression on the world?
James Cameron’s Terminator is about a cyborg sent to Earth with one mission – kill Sarah Connor, who carries an unborn child that it said to be the future’s only hope for survival. And even though Sarah is protected by Kyle Reese, a man from the future, it seems that it is impossible to stop a man who is indestructible.
Despite numerous Terminator sequels with fun moments, none have been able to live up to this scene. Who could ever forget Arnold Schwarzenegger walking into the police station, looking for Sarah Connor and then uttering those famous words? Of course, he disappears and then returns with two large machine guns and proceeds to take everyone down without remorse. Classic, iconic and just plain awesome.
Virtual realities, futuristic combat scenes, and leather-clad fighters…when The Matrix was released in 1999, it shattered every vision that sci-fi geeks had for an action film and gave them something new to talk about. But there was nothing more impressive about the movie than what has become one of the most talked-about scene in the franchise – the slow-motion bullet time, as Neo bends time and space in the Matrix world to avoid getting killed by his pursuers.
Thomas Anderson (alias: Neo) is a computer geek who has a knack for hacking into programs. Through this process, he meets Morpheus, who tells him that everything in the “real world” is nothing but a dream. In fact, it’s actually the future, and he is one of the few people who has been caught in what is called “the Matrix” – an artificial intelligence world where people’s minds and bodies are trapped while they are given the illusion of living a normal life. Neo is the bridge between the Matrix and the real world, and it becomes his task to bring them together despite those who want to prevent him from doing so.
The other two Matrix movies fall short of anything spectacular, largely because there’s nothing new to be impressed by. When this moment occurred, movie-goers everywhere were beside themselves with amazement. If you ever get a chance to examine this scene, take notice not just of its cool effects but also of the camera work and the music – it all lends itself to making a sequence like this unforgettable.
So, what do you think, sci-fi lovers? Did I do your favorite movies justice? Is there a film I left off that you think has an iconic, awesome moment that should have been included? Admittedly, I had a hard time breaking down my choices to 5, so answer away!