When you look at the scifi movie landscape, what puts butts in the seats?

The answer most authors want to hear is a ‘good story’.  But, honestly, while a good or even a great story really will bring butts to the seats, a massive and shiny space battle is what we remember when it’s all over and done with.

It’s difficult to find a really good space battle though.  I think that’s because of the cost.  Sigh.  Still, I’m willing to put together a list of some of my favorites.  Over the next couple of days, I’ll talk about the best space battle movies ever starting with:

Star Trek 2

Star Trek 2

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

This is the Nicholas Meyer film that every guy quotes at least once in their lives, usually looking up, fists clenched in rage while they shout: “KAAAAAAAHHHHHHNNNNNNN!!!!”

In a nutshell, Kahn and crew were left on a planet by Kirk and crew years ago.  The genetically engineered Kahn and his people are left to fend for themselves with a promise that Kirk et all will check back on them – something that never happens.  After a plantary disaster, Kahn’s people find themselves roughing it on a sand planet.  Years later, Chekov and his new captain, Terrell, come across Kahn who quickly takes over the U.S.S. Reliant and sets off to find and kill the now Admiral James T. Kirk.

The ensuing battle is pretty intense, with Enterprise getting caught with her pants down.  The battered ship and crew have to fight the smaller, faster Reliant in a game of cat and mouse inside of a nebula.  The action is similar to a submarine drama (I often remark that the Hunt for Red October is very similar in my mind to Kahn) where the two captains have to figure out what the other is going to do while flying blind and waiting for that one mistake that will reveal the others location…

Thrown in for good measure is the Genesis Device, a missle full of scifi goodness that can rewrite the molecules of a planet to create life, or overrite life ‘in favor of it’s new matrix’.

…and it’s sitting in the Reliant’s transporter room.

Definitely one of the best space battles ever, imho.  Well worth checking out if you’ve never seen it before.

Just watch out for Shatner’s hair…