Never mind the quality, dig the visuals. That's the sentiment being expressed over at Warren Ellis's Whitechapel message board, where fans are talking about the films that may not be very good, but are still very watchable. What are their suggestions for what looks great but ultimately tastes less so?

Says one:

We're not talking about the movie's merit's as a whole, just the design aspects. Bad movies can have fantastic artistic direction. Just thinking of a . . . Event Horizon: Not a good movie, but the design on the ship based around the design of a gothic cathedral, it's engines, the black hole drive, were very pretty . . . Equilibrium: Here's it's mainly costuming. The tunic coats, the uniforms that at once had the look of the matrix and yet were still utilitarian . . . The Fountain: The space sequences were made using a form of "fluid painting" giving space an amazingly different look.


The other fans know exactly what makes their eyes pop, and are happy to list examples of the usual suspects:

Sci-fi has the great advantage in that the design for movies of that genre is limited only ot the designer's imagination.

Ghost in the Shell
Fifth Element for Gaultier's costumes
Gattaca too

But the Fountain was especially beautiful to look at, yes

Says another:

Let's not forget "Sunshine". I loved the huge shield in front of the spaceship.

And another:

As far as science fiction design goes there is always Dark City. I love the way the city looks in that movie, especially how every age seems to be blended into one time, loosely the 50's but not exactly. Just really well done and the design elements were almost gothic and steampunk...but then not. Hard to describe I guess, just like the movie.


Of course, there's the occasional controversial addition, as well:

i think star wars deserves to go in there even if those new movies were a godawful abortion

A godawful abortion? That seems more than a little harsh; the prequel movies were more boring than that sounds (but, yeah, visually stunning in places), if nothing else. My favorite suggestion, though, is maybe the most surprising one of the lot:

In design terms, there's a lot I like about the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy film adaptation. The Heart of Gold has a lovely, molded plastic retro futurism thang going on, and looks inherently humorous without feeling like a 'novelty' spacecraft. It also looks like exactly the sort of ship a narcissistic space hooligan like Zaphod would tool around in, and a perfect contrast to the clunky grey boxes the Vogons use. Which were, incidentally, PERFECT for the Vogons.


Despite its flaws, I really, really liked that movie, and especially the way it looked (Joby Talbot's "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish" song helped, as well), so I'm glad to see it getting some props from somewhere. But what do you think are the SF movies that provide eye candy even if the rest of you has been left surprisingly unmoved?

Beautiful SF Movie Design