From the long-awaited birth of Darth Vader to the ultimately reviled (box office) Doom, 2005 produced both major achievements and serious let-downs when it came to the types of far-out movies that IT geeks seem to love.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which documented the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into the evil lord Darth Vader, and Sin City, the big screen adapation of the classic Frank Miller comic book series, topped the list of IT pros' favorite geeked-out movies of 2005, according to TechTarget's second annual (and highly unscientific) polling of IT geeks across the land.
Batman Begins, the story of how the dark knight came to be, Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were also high up on the list of geek's 2005 favorites.
"Sin City was probably the best movie of the past several years, in fact, and not just because it has Jessica Alba," said Doug Linder, a longtime Unix systems administrator. "[Star Wars Episode III's] opening spaceship battle sequence was one of the most amazing pieces of special effects ever created and was worth the price of admission by itself."
The geek psyche
Just what is it that draws the technically savvy among us to far-fetched films about scientists-turned-superheroes and treks to far-off planets "where no man has gone before?" The simple answer is that technical people are naturally attracted to movies that feature technology.
But some in the IT industry believe the real reason is slightly more complex and centers on the fact that most technophiles have highly imaginative ideas about what the future holds -- ideas that they like to see played out on the big screen.
"It's because you have to be a visionary to be a true technophile," said Tony Iams, a longtime operating systems analyst and a vice president with Ideas International in Rye Brook, N.Y. "Especially with software because it doesn't suffer the physical limitations that hardware does. In theory the possibilities are unlimited."
Doomed from the start
Despite their instinctive attraction to spaced-out flicks, geeks are quick to point out that Hollywood rarely rewards their loyalty and enthusiasm with quality motion pictures. The year 2005, with its fair share of sci-fi stinkers, was no exception.
Asked what they thought was the absolute worst geek film of 2005, IT pros unanimously pointed to a long-awaited and much-hyped film that led many to suggest that its star get back into the wrestling game.
Based on a classic video game, which kept many-a-geek up all night during college, Doom, which starred former pro-wrestling phenom Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, tells the story of a top secret government experiment gone awry. The resulting mayhem featured The Rock venturing into an underground silo to fight all sorts of nasty monsters.
"Doom was probably the worst movie I've seen in many years, but it wasn't just because it had terrible acting or lame plot," Linder said. "All I wanted was for Doom to have lots of monsters getting blown away by shotguns, and it sucked because it didn't have that."
Other films that geeks found to be disappointing in 2005 included Serenity, which was an offshoot of the short-lived Sci-Fi Channel series Firefly, and the movie adaption of the classic novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
"Hitchhiker was a fantastic film compared to the usual Hollywood focus-grouped, script-doctored BS," Linder said. "But the problem was that it had to live up to the expectation of being a holy icon worshiped by millions of geeks [and it fell short]."
Not all geek favorites focus on technology
One of the favorite geek films of the year had nothing to do with lasers, spaceships or witches.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell, tickled the fancy of many IT pros, who said they liked its originality, as well as its classic geek-turned-cool scenario.
"It focused on the trials and travails on the personal side that a geek has," said Ideas International's Iams. "It clearly showed the emotional side from the geek's point of view. I thought it was pretty funny."
Looking ahead to 2006, IT pros said there is a lot to look forward to, including the newly released King Kong and Aeon Flux.
"I'm greatly looking forward to King Kong and A Scanner Darkly, which is an animated version of a Philip K. Dick book," said Dave Pye, senior account manager with a Boston-based search engine marketing firm. "Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report are all great geek movies based on Dick's work, and I hope the trend continues."