Friday, 25 April 2008

Top 5 Spaceships

Space is cool. Spaceships are cool. I was 9 in 1977 and, I suspect like many other boys and girls of a similar age, Star Wars changed my life. Before Star Wars I went to the cinema to watch Disney films, after Star Wars all I cared about was spaceships and lasers and aliens and explosions and ... well you get my drift.

1. X-Wing Fighter (Star Wars) - The Ford Capri of space fighters. The X-Wing doesn't appear until well over half way through the original film but steals the show when it does. The battle to destroy the Death Star is a glorious climax to the only film of the saga that can really be considered a self-contained story and is reminiscent of classic war films. The X-Wing plays it's role as the Rebel Alliance's Spitfire against the Empire's Messerschmitt equivalent, the Tie-Fighter, winning the day for the heroes with the bombing run that leads to the Death Star's destruction. I spent most of the next five years drawing pictures or building models of X-Wing fighters and my appreciation of it is yet to dim.

2. Liberator (Blake's 7) - Blake's 7 may of been produced on a shoestring budget but following in the wake of Star Wars this was a dark tale of rebel outlaws fighting running skirmishes with a totalitarian Federation. In the early episodes it was a genuinely scary show and the talk of the playgrounds. The Liberator was a stolen alien ship that provided Blake and his crew of escaped convicts the upper hand against Servalan's forces of evil. It was faster and better equipped than anything the Federation could muster. It also looked cooler.

3. Eagle Transporter (Space: 1999) - The Eagle transporters were not the prettiest spaceships ever designed but there was something totally believable about them. Even today they look genuinely like something NASA might build if we were going to inhabit the moon. Space 1999 was at times a little too serious for a seven year old expecting the thrills and spills of a "live-action Thunderbirds" but the scenes with the Eagles quenched my thirst for space action and were always a highlight.

4. Millennium Falcon (Star Wars) - I was torn for a while between going for this or an Imperial Star Destroyer. The Star Destroyer is physically impressive and sets the tone for the whole saga with that slowly expanding opening shot. However, it's the Millennium Falcon's general decrepitude that wins me over. The constant need for Chewbacca or Han to fix things or hit something hard with a wrench, the expectation that at any moment something might break and that in Han Solo's own words "it may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts" all combined to make the Falcon a firm favourite.

5. U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek) - The original 60's design rather than any of the subsequent redesigns, proving that sometimes budget isn't everything. Whoever came up with the original design (Matt Jefferies I've just discovered via Wikipedia) created one of the most enduring images of my generation. It didn't look like any flying machine I had ever seen before and really could only have existed in space. Whilst the eventual movies and spin-off shows found ways to make the ship look smarter and faster they were merely fine tuning a design classic.

2 comments: said...

I'll use your Top 5 Spaceships to go to my Top 5 Planets...

Chopper said...

Love that. I'll have a longer read when I get the chance and add a link from my side bar.