5 of Cinema’s Coolest Spaceships

November 29, 2012 7:39 pm

Science fiction films are renowned for their speculative and advanced technology, from miracle drugs to deadly weapons. Since the early days of cinema, audiences have been amazed by these glimpses of a future that may yet come to pass. And of all these technological wonders, spaceships often hold the most appeal.

In this list I have selected what, in my opinion, are the five coolest spaceships to have ever graced the silver screen. In the interest of variety I decided to restrict participation to one entry per franchise, which led to some very tough choices.

So here’s my top five, enjoy and please, let me know if you disagree.


5. The Heart of Gold.

The starship Heart of Gold (from the 2005 film, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) may at first seem like an unlikely candidate for this list. It’s not particularly sleek or, in my opinion, at all attractive, resembling a giant eyeball. Nor does it boast an impressive array of weaponry, capable of laying waste to an entire planet. But what the Heart of Gold does have in its favour is perhaps the coolest form of propulsion ever envisioned: the Infinite Improbability Drive. This engine manipulates quantum theory, allowing the starship to pass through every point in every conceivable universe simultaneously – effectively instantaneously teleporting from one spot to another. There’s no denying that that is pretty cool.


4. The Narada.

Controversy time. From the vast selection of ships in the Star Trek universe, I think the coolest is the Narada, the Romulan mining vessel that caused so much damage in the 2009 Star Trek movie. Yes, the USS Enterprise is iconic, and it’s a fine looking vessel, but the Narada is just so much cooler. Resembling a colossal, mechanical squid, the Narada possesses a deadly, gothic beauty that the clean lines and gentle curves of the Enterprise can’t quite match. And then there are the acts that this fearsome ship performs: it easily dispatches the USS Kelvin, destroys forty-seven Klingon warbirds and an entire fleet of Federation ships, and then completely obliterates the planet Vulcan. All pretty impressive for a ship that was built with more peaceful endeavours in mind.


3. Serenity.

The eponymous star of Joss Whedon’s fantastic 2005 space western, Serenity is a Firefly-class Transport Ship with a whole lot of attitude. Rescued from a junkyard by Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity became not just a transport and a home, but a member of the crew. Although much maligned and regularly insulted, due to her rustic appearance and tendency to break down, she never quits, and, under the expert tutelage of Kaylee the mechanic, she stays in the sky no matter how many components have fallen off of her, pulling off manoeuvres that would put any younger, shinier ship to shame. Serenity is the perfect companion for the rag-tag band of smugglers (and reluctant heroes) of Joss Whedon’s Verse.


2. The USS Sulaco.

The Alien franchise offers a number of worthy candidates, but, in my opinion, the USS Sulaco just edges out the rest – including the visually stunning USCSS Prometheus. The Sulaco (seen in Aliens and Alien 3) is a Conestoga-class Troop Transport, built to carry US Colonial Marines. Not only is this ship visually cool (resembling a giant gun), it’s also a beast at over 300 metres and seventy-eight thousand tonnes, and is packed to the rafters with high-tech weaponry, such as railguns and particle beams. And just when you think the Sulaco couldn’t get any better, it plays its wildcard: the cargo doors open and deploy a fleet of UD -4L Cheyenne Dropships (a combination of landing craft and flying death machine), each of which holds M577 Armoured Personnel Carriers, full of heavily armed Colonial Marines. Layer after layer of death-dealing technology makes the Sulaco more than deserving of a place on this list.


1. The Millenium Falcon.

And of course, the number one spot goes to Star Wars’ Millenium Falcon, the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. This suped-up Corellian freighter was the true hero of the original Star Wars trilogy. Whether dodging Imperial fighters, or charging the planet-killing Death Star, the Falcon always came through in a pinch – I think it’s fair to say that without her, the rebellion would have ended very badly indeed. But then what else would you expect from the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs?


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