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Sci-Fi Entertainment

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

    by Hes Nikke (237581) <slashdot&gotnate,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 :\
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by mmaddox (155681) <oopfoo@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @01:42AM (#8734022)
    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.
  • Moonraker (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:36AM (#8734268)
    astronauts + laser rifles == sweet
  • by Hast (24833) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:28AM (#8734554)
    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 games like Wing Commander.
  • Enders' Game (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ovidus naso (20325) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:34AM (#8734579)
    Best battles descriptions ever. Of course, you had to be there ...
  • Excession (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RossyB (28685) < minus math_god> 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.
  • by yawgnol (244682) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @09:54AM (#8735832)
    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).
  • Re:Good scenes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @10:46AM (#8736374) Journal

    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.

  • by el-spectre (668104) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @02:43PM (#8739392) Journal
    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.

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine