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Best Sci-Fi Space Battles? 247

Posted by Cliff
from the beams-missles-and-railguns dept.
ardor asks: "Recently, while watching Babylon5, I wondered about the space dogfights in popular sci-fi outings. I find the space battle in Star Wars VI to be still one of the best in existence, and some battles from B5 are amazing too. But where are more good space fights? I've found them to be surprisingly rare. Most are very short, or not very big (less than 5 ships). I know, large & complex scenes are very expensive, nevertheless I mean some with tons of small interceptor & bomber ships, large/huge cruisers, stations, and so forth. Have you watched a really awesome space battles, and if so, what show/movie was it?"
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Best Sci-Fi Space Battles?

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  • by Drantin (569921)
    Many of the battles in the anime "Legend of the Galactic Heroes" are quite good, especially for a late 80s show http://logh.net [logh.net] for more info
  • by ArmorFiend (151674) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:10AM (#8733823) Homepage Journal
    One of the most memorable was from Battlestar Galactica, where the humans have been getting kicked around for three episodes, and finally their fighters have managed to fall upon a few Cylon ships. They're all about payback. They deploy only to have their avionics turned off by a computer exploit, then get to watch helplessly as they're detonated in a wave of missiles. I thought that "battle" was very well done in terms of dramatic tension, and hey, often war is like that. Just ask Task Force Z.
    • by yawgnol (244682)
      The remake of Battlestar on Sci-Fi Channel had some great space battle scenes. Some of the coolest ones on tv imho.

      Of course in movies, I'd still have to go with Star Wars (4-6).
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:10AM (#8733824)
    That show had some great dogfight stuff with more realistic than normal physics. Better than B5 B5 in that respect.

    Battlestar Galactica (the original - haven't seen the 'reimagined' version yet) had some good stuff, but it was repeated over and over throughout the series.

    In general, though, the more 'realistic' it is, the less spectacular it's going to be. *shrug*

    I'll have to agree with your assessment of Star Wars VI (coming to DVD on 9-21!) - that was some fun stuff.

    Oh, I just remembered something - Battle Beyond the Stars. Some good stuff in there, albeit a pretty hokey story, and even worse acting. The ship models were used in many later movies. (as were many designs from the 'rag-tag fugitive fleet' from Battlestar Galactica)
    • Right on. S:A&B was the friggin BOMB. I loved that show to death, especially the space battles! They just got SO much right, and still managed to keep it exciting!
      I know this is against all things geek, but honestly most Star Trek spacefights aren't that great... they tend to show more actors shaking around on stage than two goliath ships duking it out. The only show that even comes close to the greatness that was S:A&B is B5. They've got some pretty badass large scale fights... but IMO, nothing ho
      • Chiggy Von Richthofen
        • I think I watched every episode of this show on late night BBC, back in europe. It's got some really engrossing battles in it, not just relating to space but to ground forces as well.

          The plot was continuous and you could really feel the eb and flow of war in ever episode. The battles actually meant something to the plot, they weren't just TV versions of X-wing vs Tie-fighter, or something like that.

          I could swear a lot of the battles and themes were based on WWII naval and air campaigns. I think it surpass

      • Plus, the Wildcards were just badass!

        What's this were shit?

        Last I saw they were still on active duty.

        Did the 5/8 ever give up? Die maybe yes. Give up no. There is still hoep for a return.
    • I'd have to say the "reimagined" Battlestar Galactica was quite good. It's a pretty engrossing show.

      And the space battles had some really imaginative effects.
    • In general, though, the more 'realistic' it is, the less spectacular it's going to be. *shrug*

      Probably, because movie- and seriesmakers will more go for effect than realism.

      I think that the most realistic space wars have probably been written by Larry Niven (Protector), CJ Cherryh (Downbelow station), Poul Anderson (The Space Fox), Joe Haldeman (The Forever War).

      The scale of these things is too large and too slow for a movie, but they provide fine strategic thinking, which is mostly absent in movies

    • yeah unfortunately that was another show doomed from the very beginning...so it didn't last...Fox never had faith in the show, they put it into the crapiest time slots possible...Networks here is a hint, your show ill NEVER build a following if its pre-empted by football or some other weekly event on a regular basis. SFI-FI shows will fair better in the ratings when they are on at 8:00pm on a Monday, Friday, or Saturday.
  • I seem to recall some battles in Space: Above and Beyond, and Deep Space 9 seasons 4 and later being pretty bad-ass.
    • I'd second that. Deep space 9 had some pretty intense battles, even if only for a few seconds.

      I really like how STNG series has large ship's with littler run-abouts, they can't focus all thier power on run-abouts, or the larger ships would win.

      Also, with only 1 laser beam (whatever) to shoot at, they had to target 1 thing at a time. Really made it harder. Wondered why the heavier cruisers didnt have multiple laser turrets, and smaller turrets to shoot smaller craft.

      But DS9 had some great battles with t
      • by cthugha (185672)

        Wondered why the heavier cruisers didnt have multiple laser turrets, and smaller turrets to shoot smaller craft.

        They do, sort of. Next Gen ships have omnidirectional phaser arrays capable of firing multiple beams coupled with sensors that can maintain a lock on multiple targets (DS9 had a scene in Sacrifice of Angels, IIRC, which showed a Galaxy-class ship firing two beams simultaneously from its forward ventral array at a Cardassian cruiser, pounding the s@#% out of it). The trouble is that this would m

  • a few of treks! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hes Nikke (237581) <slashdot AT gotnate DOT com> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:15AM (#8733855) Journal
    not big but good: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn :) (produced by ILM no less)

    big but not that great: one of the last episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (don't remember which one in particular) - yes, you can stuff too many ships on screen at once!

    while not a fight per se, it was still funny: the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Worf slides from one quantum universe to another, and finally the Enterprise finds he hole that caused Worf to start sliding... 1500 Enterprise D's anyone? (and yes, one was semi-hostile and blew up another semi-hostile one - that was a small fight)

    just getting silly and out there: the orbital fight at the beginning of the lost in space movie <shudder>

    finally, while not in a movie, there were a couple of good orbital flights in Halo: The Fall of Reach - it's same that we had to loose Keyes in The Flood/Combat Evolved :\
    • Re:a few of treks! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:26AM (#8733915) Homepage Journal
      "big but not that great: one of the last episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (don't remember which one in particular) - yes, you can stuff too many ships on screen at once!"

      Nar it wasn't that bad. Star Trek ships are color coded for easy reference. Gray or green ships are good guys, brown and purple are bad guys, and yellow changes sides on a whim.
    • the Enterprise finds the hole that caused Worf to start sliding... 1500 Enterprise D's anyone?


      That one contained the only Wesley Crusher line ever to make me laugh. "Captain... we are receiving two hundred and eighty five thousand hails..."
    • just getting silly and out there: the orbital fight at the beginning of the lost in space movie

      I like that fight, actually. It may seem pretty cheesy or whatever, but it lays down important foundation for later in the movie. And Joey actually plays a cool guy. :) (I hate Friends)

      And on that topic, while not exactly a space battle, I really enjoy the sequence later in the movie where they go through the planet.

      Yeah, I know, there's some cheesy stuff in that movie, but I really like it anyway. ;) Dann

    • What made the battle in Wrath of Khan so great was the fact that it was a battle between two of the best. Kirk, a decorated Starfleet Admiral, with years of experience going where none have gone before, up against Khan, a product of late 20th century (heh, woops!) genetic engineering. Khan, while lacking Kirk's experience, likely had ten times Kirk's IQ.

      Also, another thing that made the battle so neat was the fact that the Enterprise was attacked with its shields down. So instead of the ship just sha

  • Stargate SG1 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pleiades (20912) <austin@ a u s t i n t h e e n.com> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:16AM (#8733864) Homepage
    I really enjoyed the Stargate SG1 season 7 finale, Where the 37 Motherships and hundreds of Al'kesh (Medium range bombers) of Anubis' fleet enters Earth's atmosphere. Towards the end of the episode, Earth's mainline defense, the Prometheus and a fleet of X302 fighters do about a 5 minute battle. First to defend a small Cargo vessel above an Ancient outpost in Antarctica and later when the X303 (Prometheus) attack's Anubis' motherships. It's a pretty well done attack scene. I can't say I like the matrix like squiddies that O'Neil calls out from the Ancient's outpost, but It's still pretty good space battle scene. Bests most B5 scense I recall.
  • The dominion wars (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toxygen (738180) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:17AM (#8733867) Journal
    Towards the end of DS9's run, they had a few really good large scale battles that would really keep you on edge. It just gives you such a sense of the scale of a conflict like that when you see ship after ship get blown apart, and you start thinking "they MUST be running low by now" and all of a sudden another wave shows up from each side. Not to mention the suspense and the politics they showed before and between battles. Star Trek really is a very politically motivated show when you think about it. The bajorans as the jews, cardassians as the germans, klingons as the russians, romulans would be the chinese I think...the stories are definitely inspired by real world events and they can portray them with such candor because of the sheild of a fantasy world they can hide behind.

    As for a small scale battle, I hate to make another trek reference but the nebula battle in nemesis was a beautiful portrayal of tactics and experience vs power and the overconfidence that came with it.
  • by Trikenstein (571493) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:19AM (#8733878)
    Any space battle that has that quote is usually a grabber.

    It was used in B5, ST:DS9, and ST:V iirc.

    • "It was used in B5, ST:DS9, and ST:V iirc."

      Okay, I'm going to expose my geekiness here. Fortunately I don't think many femmes are watching. I don't think STV had a ramming order in it, but they did have a shuttle nick the floor of the shuttlebay, scaring the shit out of everybody involved. STVIII (First Contact) was the one where Worf ordered it, but didn't actually go through with it. STX actually portrayed a ramming scene, and like or hate the movie, that was pretty damn cool.
      • STVIII (First Contact) was the one where Worf ordered it

        I don't recall this exactly, sorta, however, in the next one (you know, that one nobody wants to remember) Riker orders them to ram the outcasts ship, and the guy says "He won't do it, will he?" and Worf says "Yes, he will." :) That whole movie's worth it just because Riker finally has balls, for the first time ever.

    • Ramming Speed? Awwwww... not good enough! ;)

      "Prepare ship for light speed!"
      "No no no, light speed is too slow!"
      "Light speed too slow?"
      "Yes, we're gonna have to go right to... ludicrous speed!"
      "Ludicrous speed? Sir, we've never gone that fast before. I don't know if this ship can take it!"
      "Whatsa matter, Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?"

      Spaceballs. Has a few space battles, too, but... well... ;)
    • YES!!!!

      "Ramming Speed" is probably the most basic yet most powerful thing a captain can say at the helm.
  • The battle against the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact was pretty good. Didn't last very long, though.
    • "The battle against the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact was pretty good. Didn't last very long, though."

      It didn't, but man it was effective. Remember when they listened in on the battle over the radio? All those ships reporting the damage they've sustained, etc. Seeing a bunch of ships flying around and blowing up is kinda neat, but that little audio blurb was enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It caused me to imagine standing on one of those ships, knowing that if I didn't di
  • Starwreck: ITP (Score:4, Informative)

    by Disti (449585) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:20AM (#8733884)
    Just go see http://starwreck.com/ and their trailer. Now that's going to be THE fragfest of the century! :)
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:22AM (#8733896) Homepage Journal
    Deep Space Nine had some damn cool battles. "Sacrifice of Angels" was particularly surprising given that it featured a battle between 1200 Dominion ships and 600 Federation ships. The sheer scale of it was amazing. "Way of the Warrior" was another kick ass episode. It featured a fleet of Klingon ships assaulting DS9. What was so startling about it was that most of it featured motion controlled models as opposed to the CGI stuff we see today. The visual quality of that battle is amazing, even today. "Shattered Mirror" made a lot of people's eyes go wide as well. There moneymaker shot was when the Defiant went up against a huge Klingon ship and blew away pieces of the underside of it. They had to build a 20 foot model to film that! Eek.

    Not sure it really qualifies, but there's an ep called "One Little Ship" where a minaturized runabout's flying around the Defiant. There is little that's more satisfying than watching a man shot in the chest by a photon torpedo. Heh.

    I loved Deep Space Nine's space fx. To be honest, that show is the main reason I'm gunning for the VFX industry right now. Not only were the battles on that show unique (notice how one doesn't really sound like the other, unlike some shows that overdid it ridiculously), but man the visual quality was just top notch.
  • Starship Troopers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mmaddox (155681) <(oopfoo) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:23AM (#8733897)
    I'll not comment on the practicality of such battle tactics, nor on the movie's total disregard for the book, but Starship Troopers had some interesting special effects during the assault on Klendathu--the bug homeworld. Seeing the Rodger Young and other transports lumbering about, colliding stupidly, and eating bug plasma was pretty cool--a good example of what happens when close formations of stupid people in big ships blindly fly over excellent AAA.

    Ack. If they'd just paid a little attention to Heinlein's book. Sigh.
    • Oh, and I almost forgot UFO. Maybe not the most cutting-edge in today's terms, but who among us wasn't scared of the alien ships (gave me memorable nightmares that I still remember), and loved those SHADO Interceptors? Nothing but an engine and a missile.

      Interceptors!...1...2...3...

      Wicked cool show. I hated that my Dinky SHADO Interceptor was metallic green rather than the white mil-spec look of the show.
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:34AM (#8733978) Homepage Journal
      " but Starship Troopers had some interesting special effects during the assault on Klendathu--the bug homeworld. Seeing the Rodger Young and other transports lumbering about, colliding stupidly, and eating bug plasma was pretty cool--"

      Like or hate the movie, they did an excellent job of portraying how dangerous it would be to be in a soldier/pilot in a battle like that. That scene where the escape pod bumps into a dead body really burned into my mind.

      I really like battles that make you feel like "Ugh, I'm glad I'm safe at home in my living room." I saw Star Trek II when I was a kid. There was a scene where the torpedo bay took a hit, and somebody was walking past that section when it was hit. All the sudden there was a flash, the whole room was instantly on fire, and this guy just let out this awful scream of pain. Blowing nacelles off is cool, but that scene really got me.
      • You know, I must concur. I like most ANY movie that really burns that message home. It's why, although I think Sands of Iwo Jima was good for its time, it'll never touch Band of Brothers in my book. Sci-fi would do well to learn such a lesson and portray war as hell...on everyone.
        • "It's why, although I think Sands of Iwo Jima was good for its time"

          Ever see Tora Tora Tora? (Note: I might have the name wrong, I only caught a little bit of it on TV...) I think it was a portrayal of Pearl Harbor. Several runways were bombed by Japanese planes. They had scenes where guys were hopping out of their plane just before the bomb hit. I remember thinking "SON OF A BITCH!! How'd they film that?!! I can't imagine a stunt guy being that close to a plane blowing up!" (Note: No fancy opti
      • I saw Star Trek II when I was a kid.

        You could have just stopped there, man, 'nuff said. Kirk and Khan facing off is by far the best space battle ever. It really is a last man standing, and they didn't fool around with it, they trashed both of those ships.

        On a completely unsci-fi note, I really enjoy the bombing of Pearl Harbor in the movie Pearl Harbor. Sucks that there's this whole stupid movie built around it, but when the fight actually starts it rocks.

      • Re:Starship Troopers (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun.gmail@com> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @10:50AM (#8736431) Journal

        I remember watching Robotech on TV, as a kid, and being absoultely stunned by the fact that, unlike Transformers, or GI Joe, or other 'war' stories, people died.

        • by el-spectre (668104)
          I'm in the process of rewatching robotech (yay Netflix) right now. That always impressed me, that a kids show (in the US anyway) had people die.

          If they ever release the "All Min Mei's songs are 5 seconds long" or "She knows more than 3 songs" special edition, I'll buy the macross set.
    • by Hast (24833)
      Besides the fact that the ships are grossly off scale in that scene it is interesting. IIRC the ships cover a good portion of the sky seen from the planet. Considering that the bugs fire non-homing weapons the ships would have to be large like a country or small continent to be hit. It's like trying to hit a small bird at 10,0000" with a rifle from the ground.

      But it is nice when big ships collide. Same thing goes for those (super) star destroyers in RotJ.

      I think the best space fights I've seen has been in
  • The Forever War... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot@nOSpAM.rangat.org> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:24AM (#8733899) Homepage Journal
    Book space battles are always better than movie battles. The stuff in the Forever war was some of the coolest battle gear.

    The chase in 'Protector' by Larry Niven was pretty cool too.
    • I'll second that, From the post-ROTJ SW books, the Tim Zahn Thrawn trillogy (Dark Force), and Truce at Bakura (Still wish the Ssi-Ruivi would get more time), had great space battles. The Jedi Academy series (Sun Crusher, a half completed DS) also had good tactical descriptions as well, but not quite as good as the Thrawn series. I quit reading after I, Jedi, but I'm thinking of restarting soon.
    • by mmaddox (155681)
      I'll give this a third. I've always wanted to see F.M. Busby's Bran and Rissa books moved to film--just for the space battles. For those who haven't read it, time dilation is a factor, weapons have to be set to heterodyne on targets, and real physics comes into play. The author left in some neat toys to beat real physics occasionally, but describes some pretty wild battles where figuring out to actually FIGHT in the stupid ships is the first course of action.
    • by Utoxin (26011)
      If you want good 'realistic' space battles, David Weber's Honor Harrington series does a great job of dealing with inertia and missle/energy weapon ranges along with relative velocity and all that stuff. ;)
  • Good scenes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cecil (37810) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:24AM (#8733905) Homepage
    DS9 had some awesome battles towards the end of the series, during the Dominion War, and although they were often short by most people's standards, they were still pretty long action sequences for a Trek.

    B5, obviously. You mentioned it already, but really, the battles in B5 are some of the best that I've ever seen, especially when coupled with the build-up to the battle provided by the storyline. "There is only one man who has ever survived a battle with a Minbari fleet. That man is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, you will leave." (Technically not a battle, but there's one shortly afterwards)

    Battlestar Galactica had some cheesy battles that were actually pretty good for their time.

    The Wing Commander movie had some good space combat in it, it's really too bad they felt the need to lobotomize the plot into some sickening Hollywood "Ooh Blair is one with the universe and has magic powers" tripe. Really not a bad movie though if you go take a walk for a minute anytime you hear the word "pilgrim".

    Finally, as long as I'm talking space shows: Go buy Firefly. It has almost no space combat (seeing as the Firefly doesn't have any weapons to speak of) but it's got the whole "no sound in a vacuum" thing going for it. Besides, it's truly excellent. If you enjoy the depth and intelligence of the characters and story in B5, you'll like Firefly too.
    • "The Wing Commander movie had some good space combat in it..."

      Sorry, any good battles in that movie were nullified by the "Be quite, the other SPACE ship might hear us talking!" scene.
      • It also didn't help that Jurgen Prochnow was on the bridge too.

        During the Depth Charging, err.. I mean Bombing, I started thinking "When did they start showing Das Boot instead of Wing Commander, and wasn't Das Boot better than this?"

        • What got me with Das Boot was the Vangelis-esque soundtrack. Great movie, but the music didn't quite fit--I would expect music more like that in Hunt for Red October than Blade Runner.

          --Mike
      • You may complain about that, but most people still hold TOS: Ballance of Terror in high regard, that had a similar plot
        • Balance of Terror was an awesome episode. I'm glad you brought it up. That battle is very good, and considering how early it was in visual science fiction, it was an excellent battle.

          Yeah, it might have had the same plot as whatever the GP was bitching about, but it was played out well. That's what the cloaking device was all about, it was the same ol' submarine warfare. Not to mention the weird plasma gun the Romulans had, so they could cloak themselves for awhile, hide, and fire their gun, and wipe o

      • Re:Good scenes (Score:3, Insightful)

        They were not being quiet because they were afraid of having noise detected.

        They were being quiet because, when a human being knows he is being stalked or searched for, they tend to try to hide. It's a subconcious thing, and I, for one, thought it was a wonderful touch.

    • Re:Good scenes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent@jan@goh.gmail@com> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:12AM (#8734173) Homepage
      I'm going to correct your use of that excellent quote, mostly because I think the correct version carries slightly more weight. :)

      "This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw... or be destroyed."
      'Negative, we have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.'
      "Why not? Only one Human Captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me, you are in front of me. If you value your lives... be somewhere else."

      As for good space battles, B5 easily has the best ones that I've seen. Anything with an Earth Alliance cruiser is IMO opinion particularily fun to watch. I just love those massive cannons that they have mounted on the fronts of the ships.
  • The Last Star Fighter.

    also a couple of the transitional movies from video games.

    One of the bad parts of dogfight scenes in space is the fact that you have to decide if you are going to make it a first person view from the perspective of one (or iteratively several) of the fighters, a seprate observer's view, or some combination of those. The more combinations you choose, the more video that needs to be generated, an awful lot of which won't make the final cut.

    There have not been a lot of really high budg
    • Yeah...The Last Starfighter had LOTS of promise, but the Deus Ex Machina ending....ick. "Death Blossom" wasn't it? Indeed. Push a button and you win. Why the hell was the kid needed at all?

      I would vote the large-scale stuff from the original Buck Rogers movie over Last Starfighter. Also a big armada and a silly means of destroying it, but cool Terran ships and Erin Gray to boot. Of course, the best special effect of that movie was the princess-tig-ole-biddies and the anti-gravity jubblies.

      The NBC series d
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:28AM (#8733940) Homepage Journal
    I'd really like to see a fleet of eggs from Ork engage a fleet of Police Boxes from Gallifrey.
  • I am going to submit a new question to Ask Slashdot:

    Dear Slashdot. I was watching Lord of the Rings and wondered what the best battle sequence of all time was. I guess Lord of the Rings had some decent ones but I know there are better ones out there. I mean one with tons of people, catapults, elephants, dragons, pirates, ninjas, robots, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and rocket launchers. Additionally, there should be aliens using an alien operating system (that Mac users can communiate with of course). There has
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:46AM (#8734048) Journal
    I like the B5 battle where this quote is said.

    "*Who am I*? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander, daughter of Andrei and Sophie Ivanova. I am the right hand of vengeance, and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth... I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me." (they open fire)
    --Ivanova
  • To this day I still say Return of the Jedi is the best space fight I have ever seen.
  • Star Trek's second movie, The Wrath of Khan, had some incredible special effects that really stand the test of time.

    The space battle scenes are very cool.

    They just showed it this week on AMC. Lucky me.

    Runner-up: ROTJ

    • From the article:

      I mean some with tons of small interceptor & bomber ships, large/huge cruisers, stations, and so forth.

      I suppose you could say that the Enterprise and the Reliant both weighed several tonnes, although still quite weightless in space. But I should say, two (2) spaceships playing pattycake in a nebula doesn't class as a "huge space battle" for the purposes of an article.

      Definately, nonetheless, the defining space battle of the entire original set of movies, and the only one worth me
    • I was totally watching it on AMC too. What a great movie.

      Bigass space battles are good and all... but a good one-on-one confrontation can be way more exciting. Kirk and the Enterprise (good old 1701) vs. Khan and the Reliant is one of the best space battles ever. Because of the captains, because of the action, because of the effects, because of the strategy...

      it was like Enemy Down Below, but in space! (US destroyer captain vs. German u-boat captain... awesome movie)
  • Moonraker (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:36AM (#8734268)
    astronauts + laser rifles == sweet
  • by gnudutch (235983) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:37AM (#8734276)
    KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHN!!!
  • Aside from Star Wars IV, my favorite is Independence Day. Yes, it's not a space battle, but that gives it the advantage of a good excuse for sound and banking turns. It's only real shortcoming is the fake explosions, especially of the fighter jets. They completely stop and vaporize, leaving no debris, and well after it's vaporized, the pilot is still shown screaming. But the motion and cinematography is great.
  • I'm surprised no one has mentioned this one yet.

    Season 3 of TNG. Picard and the Enterprise-D must protect the Enterprise-C from three Klingon Bird-of-Prey vessels until it enters a rift to go back in time.

    "Let's make sure that history never forgets... the name... Enterprise. Picard out."
  • Damn Slash made me put this sentence in.
  • Anime? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by M1FCJ (586251) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:56AM (#8734400)
    What about anime space battles? Someone mentioned The Legend of Galactic Heroes already. I strongly reccomend Macross Zero 1&2, the battle scenes are really impressive. Macross Plus is very good but the battles are mainly one-to-one. Also Voices of a Distant Star is a very good story and has quite good graphics.
  • In which the commander utters the words *we've gone to plaid* is worth sacrificing a few space vessels for.
  • Enders' Game (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ovidus naso (20325)
    Best battles descriptions ever. Of course, you had to be there ...
  • Attack! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by payndz (589033) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:48AM (#8734637)
    B5: 'Severed Dreams' - physics about as realistic as we're likely to see on TV, yet still tremendously tense and exciting. The shot where a Thunderbolt gets clipped by B5's AA fire and goes tumbling right into the station, the camera following it all the way, is amazing. (Too bad Warners spoiled the effect on the DVDs by losing the masters of the CG and having to letterbox the 4:3 versions to match the 16:9 live action. The loss of quality is very noticeable.)

    Star Wars - the final minutes of the Death Star attack *still* get my adrenaline going, even after all these years!

    DS9: 'Sacrifice Of Angels' - fighters! Wings of Galaxies kicking ass! Mirandas spinning and exploding right into the camera! Klingons to the rescue! The Defiant flying three feet above the hull of an exploding battleship! Geek porn!

    The Last Starfighter - the CG looks cheap now, but the Gun Star was/is a fantastic design. Death blossom!

    Starship Troopers - one of the few times big ships have been given a real feeling of mass, especially when they start crashing into each other.

  • Excession (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RossyB (28685) <ross@nosPaM.burtonini.com> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @04:20AM (#8734742) Homepage
    If we're talking on TV, then obviously B5 with the super-manuverable fighters has to win.

    However, Excession (Iain M Banks) has to win for all-time greatest space battle, despite it lasting ~0.1 seconds. Several massive ships, all travelling faster than light, controlled by AIs, looping around and hyperspace. Somehow the speed and scale of the fight came out of the book, it was wonderful.
  • Independence Day (although technically not in space it did involve thousands of spacecraft) and Stargate SG-1 has had a number of good battles. The season finale this year was pretty impressive.
  • OK, I just managed to get reception in my crystal ball, and it tells me that some of the best space battles will be around in 15 years or so. That's when we will have huge video archives in our home computers, where we can use intelligent agents to recreate battles, using characters from different series, possibly even with different laws of physics, and watch the results.

    Think of the SIMS, now multiply by 10,000,000 -- and include the abililty to set the Borg against the Jedis, and throw in a squadron of
  • Star Trek 2 Baby... (Score:3, Informative)

    by CokoBWare (584686) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @09:46AM (#8735776)
    Wrath of Khan... yeah... Wrath of Khan... it's not every day you get to see an enemy down the Enterprise's shields and slice through it's hull with Kirk at the helm. He got through by the skin of his teeth, but he also got his ass served to him. "Revenge is a dish served cold..." - Khan
  • Anything with the Black Tiger Squadron or the Argo (Yamato). Check out the Star Blazers [starblazers.com] home page.
  • Andromeda (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar (714234) * on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:51PM (#8739499) Journal
    Can't say much for the dogfights, but I was rececntly very impressed with what's an otherwise minor detail in Andromeda's pilot show.

    In preparing to fight, Dylan says he's going to dump the atmosphere in most of the ship to reduce its mass.

    DUH. That makes perfect sense. In over 40 years of sci fi reading and watching, I'd never seen that before.

It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.

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