With this weekend's The Day the Earth Stood Still, Hollywood continues its attempt to remake every remotely viable classic property it can get its hands on. (It also conjures up the perfect role for Keanu Reeves, but that's another post.) The science-fiction genre has been a particularly inviting target, which makes sense since the ability to use modern effects makes filmmakers think that they are improving on their source material regardless of whether that's actually true. But it hasn't been all bad. Hollywood still churns out some good sci-fi from time to time, and some of the remakes have hit their mark. Here's a list of seven that worked for me -- though I warn you that my tastes in genre films are somewhat idiosyncratic. I'm fond of some black sheep.

1. War of the Worlds (2005) - Some of you may want to get off the train right here. But I saw Spielberg's War of the Worlds before the bad buzz, and I found the first ninety minutes just ridiculously intense -- the realest alien invasion ever put on screen. This was Spielberg the wizard, the technician, in top form. Sure, he chose to play out his daddy issues instead of giving us a believable ending; everyone is right about that. But to me, that's barely a smudge on this movie's accomplishments.

categories Cinematical