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Best Sci-Fi Space Battles?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the beams-missles-and-railguns dept.

Sci-Fi 247

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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First Post (1)

Neop2Lemus (683727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733778)

For the fight in Return of the Jedi, like you said, the one where they blow the deathstar up at the end.

Also of note, Picard V.S. the Klingons is Generation(hope thats the right film).

Those are the two I always think of.

Re:First Post (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734154)

The pilot episode for DS9 and the opening sequences in First Contact had far more elaborate combat sequences in the Trekkie universe.

I also strongly recommend the new Battlestar Galactica.

Re:First Post (1)

Vexinator (253312) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734526)

The DS9 episode that will forever be etched in my memory is the finale of the third season/beginning of the fourth season, where a Klingon fleet attacks DS9. I think the actual episodes were called "The Way of the Warrior"

Flashbacks to my Netrek playing days... "Ogg the base! Ogg the base!"

And carnage ensues...

Re:First Post (2, Informative)

nocomment (239368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734240)

While reading the post I was thinking the entire time of the one at the end of Jedi. I guess another good one is the one from the 80's movie The Last Starfighter [] . Of course I was a kid so I dunno if would hold the same appeal now (whereas Jedi does).

The Last Starfighter... (1)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734914)

...the bit around about when the lizard uses Death Blossom.

LoGH (1)

Drantin (569921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733801)

Many of the battles in the anime "Legend of the Galactic Heroes" are quite good, especially for a late 80s show [] for more info

Anime space battles (1)

born_to_live_forever (228372) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734657)

Making a great space battle in an anime is less of a technical challenge, and more of a story-telling challenge. Many anime productions which rely heavily on technical props (from giant robots to space battles to cyborgs, etc.) have design staff working specifically on the technology in the anime.

Among the better examples of how technical design produces realistic-looking space battles are such animes as Cowboy Bebop and Crest of the Stars. You can also find very realistic-looking space sequences in Planetes. All of these three are also well-told tales, so one needn't fear that focussing on the tech will draw away attention from telling a good story.

Getting slightly off-topic, a fine example of technical innovation and design implemented in an anime is Ghost in the Shell. Featuring well-designed cybernetics technology, this one is a joy to watch. And though the technological details (and the shapely female lead) are definitely the main draw, the character development is excellent, too.

SECOND post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8733803)

This is the second post, biyatcyh!!!

Re:SECOND post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8733929)

No Mr. Romero, that was the third post! You can stop calling us "bitches" now. We got the point a few years ago.

Battlestar Galactica (3)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733823)

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.

Space: Above & Beyond (3, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#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)

Space: Above & Beyond ruled! (2, Informative)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733969)

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 holds a candle to S:A&B. Heck, if you're feeling a little nostalgic (and read this before the server gets /.ed to hell), clicky over here [] for a short (and really poor quality) clip of S:A&B. At first blush it doesn't really seem special, but if you watch it closely, you start to notice the little things that S:A&B got right. Stuff like the ship having to dodge debris, or how the alien fighter at that flys past them at the end cuts power and spins around to blast them while still traveling forward (momentum). Its stuff like that that made their dogfights so enthralling to watch.
Plus, the Wildcards were just badass! "Expect No Mercy". (And who can forget the forboding "Abandon All Hope" ace? ;))

Re:Space: Above & Beyond ruled! (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734582)

Chiggy Von Richthofen

Wildcards Rule! (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734598)

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.

Re:Space: Above & Beyond (1)

Polo (30659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734102)

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.

Battles... (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733846)

I seem to recall some battles in Space: Above and Beyond, and Deep Space 9 seasons 4 and later being pretty bad-ass.

Re:Battles... (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734059)

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 the dominion. B5 had some great battles also, with a good mix of fighters.

a few of treks! (5, Insightful)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733855)

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! (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733915)

"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.

Stargate SG1 (4, Informative)

Pleiades (20912) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733864)

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.

You know what made this a great episode? (1)

Trikenstein (571493) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734463)

It was General Hammond using the line:
"Give Me Ramming Speed! []
If we're going down we're taking them with us!"

The dominion wars (4, Insightful)

Toxygen (738180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733867)

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.

Give Me Ramming Speed! (3, Funny)

Trikenstein (571493) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733878)

Any space battle that has that quote is usually a grabber.

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

Re:Give Me Ramming Speed! (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734026)

"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.

Re:Give Me Ramming Speed! (1)

Trikenstein (571493) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734096)

ST:V had a story arc where a race of aliens had a huge ship that was a temporal weapon.
They used this weapon to alter history on a scale that would wipe out whole races.
Make it so they never existed.

Janeway formed an alliance of a couple different cultures to destroy the ship.
She had her crew dispersed and was manning a mostly automated Voyager, that was very badly dammaged.
With most systems down, she used the Voyager as her final weapon, rammed the time ship and destroyed it.

Thus hitting the reset button and making revert to what it had been.

She gave the order to the computer iirc.
Or she may not have vocalized it (its been a long time)
But she did use the ship as a ram, destroying both ships in the process.

Re:Give Me Ramming Speed! (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734106)

"ST:V had a story arc where a race of aliens had a huge ship that was a temporal weapon."

Oops, I didn't realize you meant Voyager. I thought you were referring to Star Trek 5. Sorry.

Re:Give Me Ramming Speed! (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734529)

Those episodes are named "Year of Hell" BTW.

Re:Give Me Ramming Speed! (1)

taiso (312134) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734656)

The movie I remember for this great line was....

The Last Starfighter!

And yes, I own the dvd. Don't tell anyone...

Star Trek: First Contact (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733880)

The battle against the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact was pretty good. Didn't last very long, though.

Re:Star Trek: First Contact (2, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734011)

"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 die, somebody I know did.

Then, to top it off, the explosion of the Borg ship took out one of the other ships that was too close to it. 500-1,000 people, isntantly gone even though the battle was decidedly over.

Re:Star Trek: First Contact (1)

_hAZE_ (20054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734737)

And don't forget the battle at Wolf 359 in ST:TNG. Both it and the First Contact battle were awe-inspiring, but unfortunately were not shown in-depth. One thing that I really wish they would have done more of in ST:TNG were actual space battles. I was hoping they'd do a batter job in First Contact, but they left it just as short as they usually did.

Are you listening, producers? We want good, long space battles!

Re:Star Trek: First Contact (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734754)

"Are you listening, producers? We want good, long space battles!"

Watch Nemesis. Lots of battle there. Very 3-dimensional too. Very satisfying to boot.

Starwreck: ITP (4, Informative)

Disti (449585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733884)

Just go see and their trailer. Now that's going to be THE fragfest of the century! :)

Farscape (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8733895)

The obligatory Farscape plug. But in actuality, there were many very interesting space battles. Agile fighters, hulking battleships, and of course a myriad of species each with different ship technology and ways of fighting. While there were all-out battles with lots of ships, most of the battles were of course focused around the living ship and a few others. All of the battles were very well-done and worked with the storyline to add tension, instead of large-moving-object-laser-bolts-boom-repeat.

Of course there were quite a few Star Trek battles over the years, not all of which were good, but not awful considering the wilful ignorance of physics.

The best were in Deep Space Nine (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733896)

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.

The introduction of the Jem Hadar (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8734243)

The USS Odyssey, a Galaxy Class ship, went into the Gamma Quadrant, and the Jem Hadar ships made quick work of it with a kamakazi style attack. I was in shock. It wasn't the Enterprise, but it was the same class, and to see the new enemy just destroy it was quite amazing.

Re:The introduction of the Jem Hadar (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734458)

I dunno, man. The Galaxy class ships struck me as a fairly lousy design. They're supposed to last for a century, and something like half of them get blown up in the first decade.

Then again, something similar happened to the Constitution class ships too.

Given that we see so many of them in active service over a long period of time, the Mirandas and Excelsiors seem to have worked out better.

Course the costs of building the models probably had something to do with this. ;)

Starship Troopers (5, Interesting)

mmaddox (155681) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Starship Troopers (1)

mmaddox (155681) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733945)

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.


Wicked cool show. I hated that my Dinky SHADO Interceptor was metallic green rather than the white mil-spec look of the show.

Re:Starship Troopers (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733978)

" 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.

Re:Starship Troopers (1)

mmaddox (155681) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733999)

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.

Re:Starship Troopers (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734047)

"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 optics going on here, just a hell of a stunt...)

Come to think of it, the recent Pearl Harbor movie had me going in a similar way. There was a point in that movie that I *really* hated the Japanese military of that era. I haven't been charged by a movie like that in ages. (Fortunately that disappeared quickly after leaving the theater..)

Re:Starship Troopers (2, Insightful)

Hast (24833) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

The Forever War... (5, Interesting)

rthille (8526) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733899)

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.

Re:The Forever War... (2, Interesting)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733989)

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.

Re:The Forever War... (2, Insightful)

mmaddox (155681) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:The Forever War... (1)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734962)

Also read Peter F. Hamiltons 'The Night's Dawn' trilogy. Very good science fiction, with space battles from two to two hundred ships (using orbital mechanics, no less!) and ground battles from two persons to two million (including orbital support).

Interpsersed in 3600 pages.

Re:The Forever War... (2, Interesting)

Utoxin (26011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734927)

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 (5, Insightful)

Cecil (37810) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733905)

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:Good scenes (2, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733961)

"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.

Re:Good scenes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8734040)

I've never seen any good space fights in movies. THey all seem to negate the whole "you don't need to make a wide arcing turn/bank in space to turn around" thing.

And most violate the whole burning weapons thing.

Re:Good scenes (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734084)

Watch B5.

Re:Good scenes (5, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734090)

"THey all seem to negate the whole "you don't need to make a wide arcing turn/bank in space to turn around" thing."

I've heard this complaint a lot, but I've never particularly subscribed to it. There's a few things that people don't typically consider.

1.) In a battle, it's important to keep moving. If you suddenly spin your ship 180 degrees and fire your thrusters the other way, you're going to come to a complete stop for a moment before re-accellerating back to your attack speed. A wide sweeping arc keeps you in motion and provides for better evasive maneuvers.

2.) Even though most ships have magic intertial/gravitic control force field thingies, there are probably still structural reasons to keep the ship oriented a certain way while it's moving.

3.) The most powerful thrusters on a ship are going to be to its aft, and along the lateral side of the ship. One's for moving forward, the other's for hovering over a planet. Banking the ship to perform a controlled turn is not necessarily wasteful seeing as how very little is known about how its basic maneuvering systems work.

4.) B5 did it all the time.

Re:Good scenes (1)

born_to_live_forever (228372) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734755)

1.) In a battle, it's important to keep moving. If you suddenly spin your ship 180 degrees and fire your thrusters the other way, you're going to come to a complete stop for a moment before re-accellerating back to your attack speed. A wide sweeping arc keeps you in motion and provides for better evasive maneuvers.

"A complete stop"? Relative to what? Assuming this is a dogfight, any force you apply will alter your vector relative to your opponent. There is no need to assume that this will seem to him to be "coming to a complete stop". Not unless you were zooming by him, that is. If he was in hot pursuit, the reverse-thrust move will appear to be a dramatic change in vector, not "coming to a complete stop".

I may be just an historian, but I have at least a nodding acquaintance with simple Newtonian physics.

Re:Good scenes (1)

Anztac (322182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734170)

Yeah, and if stealing that from a submarine movie wasn't bad enough, they desided to go overboard (no pun intended) and make another part like a damned pirate movie "Yarr matie, give em a broadside!" :: both ships line up side by side with cannons and blast away at each other... :: Now Enders Game... There's a movie that if done right would have som e insanely badass stuff.

Re:Good scenes (1)

Unbeliever (35305) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734483)

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?"

Re:Good scenes (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734795)

You may complain about that, but most people still hold TOS: Ballance of Terror in high regard, that had a similar plot

Re:Good scenes (4, Interesting)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734173)

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.

Re:Good scenes (1)

Cecil (37810) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734211)

Cool, thanks for the correction. It's been a long while since I've watched B5, although this Ask Slashdot has rekindled my desire to. (and they need to put out the rest of the DVDs, damnit!)

Fun but campy... (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733926)

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 budget operations that can throw together a good set of battle scenes that can be included.

The other side of this is that it makes a great adreneline boost towards a climax, but really should not be the end all of the show.

Then again, that's my opinion....


Re:Fun but campy... (1)

mmaddox (155681) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733984)

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 did okay, but mostly seemed to re-use the movie effects for in-flight scenes. Still, a great launch sequence.

Re:Fun but campy... (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734250)

Now if hollywood is out of ideas, why aren't we seeing Last Starfighter remakes? That was a great story!

The battle I wanna see... (2, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8733940)

I'd really like to see a fleet of eggs from Ork engage a fleet of Police Boxes from Gallifrey.

The start of Star Trek: First Contact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8733943)

Pity it's so short, though...

Macross Plus (1)

Zugok (17194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734020)

I don't know if anime really qualifies, but still a great deal of imagination is still needed. I remember when Macross Plus volume 4 was released, all the anime fans at the time were raving about how fantastic final dog fight was. I didn't think much of it myself, however in my expereince, that was the most hyped action battle scene I have come across.

Re:Macross Plus (1)

XeresRazor (142207) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734274)

Or even better yet, the third episode of Macross Zero, each episode of the series has built up better and better battles, so far culminating in the beautiful mix of CGI and traditional animation that is the assault on an aircraft carrier. Not exactly space based but definitely sci-fi.

Best question ever! (1)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734023)

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 to be lots of blood, and additional entrails are much desired.

Voyager! (0)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734025)

Voyager! That damn little ship could take out a borg cube all by its self! If took most of the federations war fleet to do the same thing at wolf 359...

Re:Voyager! (1)

trinitrotoluene (713170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734183)

And the Wolf 359 fleet didn't even take out the cube.

It's all because Voyager has main character aboard - it can therefore do anything.

Re:Voyager! (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734239)

the Federation fleet even failed at Wolf 359, it took the Enterprise coming along later to exploit a bug in the Borg systems to take out that ship!

no, Voyager just took the Borg from being this menacing supervillain to the silly cyborgs to be kicked in the shins. (just one of my many gripes with ST:Voy)

*watches the women run away from the geek*

I liked this one from B5. (4, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734048)

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)

Have to agree (1)

xagon7 (530399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734081)

To this day I still say Return of the Jedi is the best space fight I have ever seen.

Re:Have to agree (1)

trinitrotoluene (713170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734202)

Two images from that battle really stick in my mind:
  • The start of the battle, when you see waves of fighters attacking from the Falcon's cockpit, with the Imperial fleet in the background.
  • A few seconds after that, when you see the Falcon surrounded by TIE fighters, with Endor and the Death Star in the background.
It's really incredible what they accomplished, when you consider when they did it.

Best recent space battles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8734092)

(1) Macross Zero.

I know, I know - technically this just has a lot of Giant Robot fights - but the first time you see a VF-0 transform, your jaw is agape and drool starts dripping down your chin. There are some absolutely amazing CG battle sequences in this series (I have seen up to part 3).

Not officially available in the US yet, but be [] resourceful [] . :)

(2) Battlestar Galactica (2003 remake).

Anyone who caught the recent Battlestar Galactica remake on Sci-Fi channel could testify - there were some pretty frickin' cool space battles in it. Very anime-inspired with the missile trails streaking all over the place - and they don't forget the laws of physics (turning around and shooting while traveling backwards).

And one of the battles is the setup for the best line of the entire miniseries:

"What do you hear?"
"Nothing but the rain, sir!"

(As chunks of debris from destroyed enemy craft bounce off the hull of Starbuck's fighter).

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1)

falsification (644190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734100)

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

Re:Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734282)

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 mentioning. Also the reason why II is the highest grossing trek movie ever.

Moonraker (2, Insightful)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734268)

astronauts + laser rifles == sweet

Ricardo Montalban as the devious and cunning (3, Funny)

gnudutch (235983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734276)


Re:Ricardo Montalban as the devious and cunning (1)

Micro$will (592938) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734961)

You forgot the link. []

ID4 (1)

BillyBlaze (746775) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734286)

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.

"Yesterday's Enterprise" (2, Informative)

Mr. Ophidian Jones (653797) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734324)

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."

Re:"Yesterday's Enterprise" (1)

captainktainer (588167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734540)

Eh, it was really good dialogue, but the actual battle was far from awe-inspiring. I have to say, though, that's one of my favorite episodes.

Re:"Yesterday's Enterprise" (1)

wllf (627835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734758)

Yes! Read your comment and I remembered again. Not much ships, but dramatically very well done. Enterprise loosing?!

'Surrender and prepare to be boarded.' 'That will be the day...'

The Last Starfighter (1)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734397)

Damn Slash made me put this sentence in.

Re:The Last Starfighter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8734465)

In a sad occurrence, I've read the novelization but not seen the movie. The novelization, by Alan Dean Foster, is the best novelization of a movie I've ever read. I reason that if the novelization kicks ass, the movie has to be even better. Alas, I've never seen the movie.

Anime? (4, Interesting)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Anime? (1)

Zugok (17194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734634)

How could I forget Voices of a Distant Star! I was already spellbound by the story, and the CGI was brilliant, and if I am correct, it was all done by one guy.

Re:Anime? (1)

_hAZE_ (20054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734756)

Does anyone remember Gunbuster? I haven't seen it in a few years.. but I seem to recall it had some pretty decent space battle scenes.

I've also been a big fan of the Star Blazers series, but that's going back a few years. I hate showing my age. =P

Any Chase Scene (2, Funny)

crem_d_genes (726860) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734475)

In which the commander utters the words *we've gone to plaid* is worth sacrificing a few space vessels for.

Starship Troopers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8734572)

How about Starship Troopers? The design and rendering of the craft is incredible, as are the effects when they break up!

Probably considered minor compared to Star Trek and Wars, but it was the first time I was wowed by special effects in ages. []

Enders' Game (2, Insightful)

ovidus naso (20325) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734579)

Best battles descriptions ever. Of course, you had to be there ...

Re:Enders' Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8734776)

Heh... i'm so with you... read this book again recently, had me just has enthralled as it did when i was a kid... had to call in sick twicet wo finish the series :P

ID4 (1)

selphish189 (754989) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734592)

I think "Independce Day" had one of the all out best sci fi aciton in it. I mean come on, it had great special effects a decent plot, and good acting..... gotta love will smith

Re:ID4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8734643)

Yes, Independence Day was amazing! []

Re:ID4 (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734649)

I think "Independce Day" had one of the all out best sci fi aciton in it. I mean come on, it had great special effects a decent plot, and good acting..... gotta love will smith

April 1.??

Attack! (4, Interesting)

payndz (589033) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Red Dwarf (1)

GrumpySimon (707671) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734701)

Not really a space battle but has to be said:

Cat: "Is that what I think it is?"

Lister: "What do you think it is?"

Cat: "An orange whirly thing in space?"

and later on:

Cat: "I hate to get all technical on you guys, but - all hands on deck! Swirly thing alert!"

Where the orange swirly thing was obviously just orange colored water being stirred, with added glitter.

Re:Red Dwarf (1)

bakes (87194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734949)

Swirly thing reply: They used the glitter in (clear) water trick for the transporter effect in ST:TOS.

Red Dwarf reply: How about when they tackled the aliens that souped up the starbug.

Aliens (paraphrased): "We have given your ship big guns and really fast drives. Now you may try to run away while we count to 100, then we come after you."

Cat: "Hey, I know this game, it's called Cat and Mouse. And the only way to win is to be the cat - despite what those stupid cartoons show."

Re:Red Dwarf (2, Funny)

Psiren (6145) | more than 10 years ago | (#8735049)

The best line ever is:

Rimmer: Step up to red alert!

Kryten: Sir, are you sure? It does mean changing the bulb!

Love it!

Excession (3, Insightful)

RossyB (28685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8734742)

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.
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