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The top five sci-fi/fantasy chick flicks

What happens when a sci-fi geek needs a genre film that will satisfy his romantic comedy-craving muggle girlfriend? Well, he consults this list of conflated sci-fi/fantasy chick flicks.

Science fiction movies and chick flicks have been mortal enemies ever since Annie Hall trounced Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars at the 1977 Oscars. They exist at opposing ends of the convenient audience stereotype spectrum, with the sci-fi films representing adolescent male power fantasies wrapped in gratuitous special effects and implausible techno-babble, while the chick flicks embody all the unrealistic expectations of comically perfect fairy tale courtships. Or so the Hollywood marketing departments would have us believe.

But what, pray tell, of when worlds collide, and the sci-fi geek needs a genre film that will satisfy his romantic comedy-craving muggle girlfriend? Well, he consults this list of conflated sci-fi/fantasy chick flicks:

  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - In a world where you can pay a doctor to erase painful memories (hey, sci-fi), Jim Carrey has second thoughts about deleting his recollection of dating Kate Winslet (hey, relationship drama). Deep, meaningful, and creepily non-linear. Plus, a B-plot with Spider-Man's girlfriend and Frodo Baggins.
  2. The Princess Bride - What do you get when you cross When Harry Met Sally with The Lord of the Rings? The only romantic comedy to make Andre the Giant a comic relief sidekick, Billy Crystal an alchemist, and a son's quest for vengeance into the most ironically funny punchline ever. Inconceivable!
  3. Contact - What looks like a space nerd's dream quest to prove the existence of life on other planets, or perhaps even validate the role of faith in the human condition, is really just the story of little girl who misses her dead father. Guys, enjoy the math puzzles. Ladies, enjoy the emotional manipulation.
  4. Gattaca - Ethan Hawke's determination to fulfill his childhood dreams despite genetic chauvanism is a classic emotional journey to which women -- who deal with their own glass ceilings based on biology -- will readily relate. Men, however, will have no trouble rooting for a guy who wants nothing more than to become an astronaut and date Uma Thurman. Bravo.
  5. Deep Impact - A giant plot device forces the entire planet (which is to say, a bunch of people from the United States) to deal with their own mortality and resolve their outstanding relationship issues ASAP. Don't worry guys, that plot device is a ginormous asteroid that does eventually smack up Mother Earth, despite some awesome astronaut-and-nuclear-weaponry action sequences that, somehow, lead to yet more weepy tearjerker scenes. It's a win-win for everybody.

Did I miss a sci-fi chick flick? Make the case in the comments section.

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

103 comments
AmishCake
AmishCake

I cry every time I watch it.

eduramater
eduramater

Wargames (M.Broderick & A.Sheedy) - I liked the somewhat equal footing that the two kids were on. He had the technical knowledge, but was insecure. Her freewheeling, adventurous spirit made up for that, and encouraged him. And don't forget Jurassic Park. In the book, the boy was the tech whiz while his sister whined and complained constantly. But in the movie, the roles were reversed somewhat, with the girl accessing the computer to regain control of the security system. Which proves that Steven Spielberg is a bit more savvy about audiences than the late Michael Crichton.

jfuller05
jfuller05

WOW! This was started in 10/22/2008??

mswashington75
mswashington75

The fifth element...otherwise this list is eerily accurate

Temporal-Man
Temporal-Man

The Last Starfighter Mad Max Silent Running Dark Star Dark City Tron The Thirteenth Floor Matrix I Robot Alien Predator Serenity Ultraviolet War Games Dune Blade Runner Gattaca Red Planet District 9

Snak
Snak

I'm surprised SERENITY has not been mentioned. Love interest, comedy, action, reasonable story line - it has everything, including the most awesome martial arts by a gorgeous chick... It has to be said tho (IMO) that you need to have seen Firefly the series to fully appreciate the relationships involved.

parnote
parnote

Uhm ... Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour.

karenlawre70
karenlawre70

Did anyone ever figure out the three seashells?

jiminma50
jiminma50

While the action scenes might be a little graphic... immortals living hundreds/thousands of years amongst us... killing each other off until only one remains... it also appeals to the women, because it revolves around a main character, who is willing to love one woman, even though she will grow old and die in his arms one day. The main theme song is "Just one year of love...is better than, a lifetime alone" (Kinda sums up the whole movie in that one lyric lol) Plus, it's got Sean Connery in it LOL

GrizzledGeezer
GrizzledGeezer

...be considered "chick flicks", having, as they do, a take-charge female as their central character? (There is also some male eye candy for those who appreciate such things.)

TBone2k
TBone2k

Love interest, lots of action, emotional hero-sacrifice stuff. Maybe not a "chick flick", but definitely sci-fi you can sell your wife on.

bookw0rm
bookw0rm

I'd nominate Labyrinth, Jurassic Park (only the first - not the sequels), all three Back to the Future movies, Young Frankenstein and Shrek as sci-fi/fantasy chick flicks.

hezakiah
hezakiah

How about Krull (my wife's favorite) or the first Stargate movie (per my wife, the latest ones are pretty good, as well)

lbreit
lbreit

How about Independence Day?? A couple of love stories going on while the good guys are saving the planet from nasty alien invaders. It was hard holding back the tears when the president (opps -flash to Battle Star Galactica) I mean first lady dies.

jorge
jorge

A robot with "feelings" (TM) :) It is great to see hot things "should" evolve as we get on into the 21st century, and beyond.

bvankats
bvankats

... so what about "Hellboy", "The Thing", "Ghostbusters", "K-Pax", etc.?

cherin
cherin

The Fifth Element. That would be on my list.

connie.taylor
connie.taylor

The whole thing is a love story (with a bit of time travel and killing stuff thrown in). "I came back for you, Sarah" - Reese spent his whole life in pain and fear and only had Sarah's picture for comfort. Who didn't melt during the scene where they made love?

Dean.Taylor
Dean.Taylor

The "Terminator" according to my wife any man that would travel across time for his true love gets her vote.

thomas.a.wagner
thomas.a.wagner

How about Barbarella? Or the b/w series Gordon Flash?

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

Definitely fits into this category - time travel & period romance. Quite well done, I thought, even though there were the inevitable couple of "cheap" laughs at the expense of the 19th-century traveller who finds himself contending with 21st-century society and technology, it all came together quite charmingly well.

cupcake
cupcake

I am over-the-top in love with the Lord of the Rings movies and there is plenty for both the guys and the girls... although I am not sure it qualifies as 'sci-fi'. Oh, and along the same line, the movie 300 has to be the ultimate for a chick flick - hang on while I wipe the drool from the keyboard - but again, not sure it would be considered 'sci-fi'. I'll be over here, thinking about Gerard Butler...

Tink!
Tink!

Check out Stardust. I categorize it as high on the "family flick" scale and low on the "chick flick" scale. Meaning it's a fun light-hearted chick flick good for the whole family to watch together.

steven.c.kienle
steven.c.kienle

This under appreciated fantasy films definitely fits as a chick flick, even with some reasonably solid fight scenes.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Is there something wrong with that? ;)

jfuller05
jfuller05

is definitely a good sci-fi/fantasy movie with a really good female role. Good movie.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm surprised it wasn't been unearthed earlier by some "Twilight" fan-girl.

sean_clancy
sean_clancy

Highlander was a great, great film - however, Highlander II was so poor, I actually heard a death-reattle in my throat while I was watching it. Christopher Lambert's acting was creepy (as in bad creepy) and Sean Connery looked amused that he'd been embroiled to come back from the dead. Awful, awful movie. The worst movie of all time, hands down.

tiger8085
tiger8085

The whole series has the action and the the love aspects and it is deffinetly in the SiFi category.

sng - TX
sng - TX

That is what first attracted me to these - I am a female science fiction fan and it is classic sci-fi, but with strong females.

seanferd
seanferd

Haven't seen Barbarella for many years. Thanks for prodding my memory. "Duran Duran".

tcdavis
tcdavis

I cry every time I watch it, and I've seen it a few times. I only own a few movies, but Phenomenon and Kate & Leopold are among them. Oh, and I have to add Groundhog Day (the progression of Bill Murray's character into a decent human being) and Meet Joe Black (I own them, too). I cry at the end when I watch Meet Joe Black, too.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

Orson Scott Card has said that fantasy has trees, science fiction does not. I have to agree with that analysis.

Tink!
Tink!

not sci-fi. But since sci-fi has a tendency to be grouped with fantasy (hence sci-fi/fantasy) it fits. I find it amusing that sci-fi and fantasy are so intermingled all the time. In my mind, magic and science are two different entities even though their outcomes are often the same.

Tink!
Tink!

Ladyhawke is a chick flick.

LarryD4
LarryD4

I do agree Lady Hawke was and still is a chick flick. On a more sappy note.. I made a pledge to myself when I saw that movie. My first born daughter will be named Isabeau. Sadly I had no daughters.

jfuller05
jfuller05

I just thought the discussion title was interesting, making my way through the feedback, and then I noticed the date! I thought to myself, wow, this obviously is interesting because it's still getting talked about roughly a year and a couple of months later.

misterednichols
misterednichols

28 Days Later...One Woman, One girl...a Bike Messenger and a Company of British Soldiers!

Snak
Snak

I agree. I'm surrounded by women having fantasies about vampires. Now that just HAS to prove they're weird, right?

mr_bandit
mr_bandit

While Highlander 2 had severe problems, it shines above Starship Troopers (my take on that monstrosity in this discussion..) The director for Starship Troopers explicitly refused to read the book! The movie has nothing that makes the book. Oooo ... kill bugs! See coed barracks (not in the book ...). No powered armor. No reason for the society and how it was created. Even the special effects guys, all SF fans, hated it. (Full disclosure: many of the same special effects guys worked on both films (see www.renegadeeffects.com), and I was an unpaid extra on Highlander 2.) While H2 had problems with plot, and inconsistencies with the rest of the canon, Starship Troopers should be thrown into the sun. The animated version was *much* better; true to the story and canon, and done by folks who grokked the book. (Wow - the post spellchecker has "grokked" in the dictionary. I am truly impressed!)

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

Then I would assume that both of you ladies are fans of the Heroes, SG-1, Battlestar Gallactica and Alien film series, since all of them feature women in very strong roles. One of the things that I like about the Scream movies is that despite soemtimes playing to the archetype in the role, both the male and female characters take some really abrupt right turns in the films are aren't motivated or act as you believe they would based on the character type in horror movies. The films that no one has really mentioned is NightWatch and DayWatch which are filled with strong women, not to mention both story lines revolve around love, duty, devotion, loss and consequences of actions of both male and female characters. But then again, Russians do typically have the viewpoint that life seldom turns out well and you just have to hope for some happy moments along the journey - See War and Peace for further details. :)

merrid
merrid

No way, no how. Pure chick flick, and not very good at that. I agree with the commentator who said it was Scientology's revenge on John Travolta. I wouldn't call Groundhog Day or Meet Joe Black sci-fi either - possibly fantasy or psychological drama.

Roch.Skelton
Roch.Skelton

So, would this categorize "Ender's Game" (at least on the Battle School and Command School) SciFi, but "Speaker for the Dead" fantasy?? I can't agree with that analysis. At this rate, I'm going to be a grandfather before the Ender's Game movie ever gets made.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

:-) Lary Niven has written a good couple of books with trees - one even called "The Integral Trees" - and those are pure Sci Fi, not Fantasy at all... But as a tongue-in-cheek generalisation, it's not far off the mark!

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

but time is man made to keep order, it does not exist.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I actually heard that comment by OSC made as a forward to one of the aduio.com versions of his books, but I can't remember which one now. I just thought it was one of those interesting comments that authors make that is usually true, until some other author breaks the rule. I will be a drooling old bastard chasing nurses around the old folks home before Ender's Game ever gets made. I already made my prediction that I would be nearly an old coot before Watchmen got made.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

If I could remember all the way back to way back then when it was first published as a serial in Analog in 1983, I would have quoted that one novel as the exception that proved the rule. I actually went down into the library and found the copies from that year to make sure I was correct about when and where it was first published. I've heard Niven quoted that was one of the underlying sly comment of the books was that science fiction could indeed have trees.

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