Deep space adventures, artificial intelligence, light-speed spacecraft and of course, a time-travelling DeLorean. Sci-fi has stated its claim on genre supremacy. It has captured the imagination of countless fans and produced many timeless classics. In this review, we will take a look at 10 of the best sci fi movies.
People have always had an obsession with science fiction. From Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein novel to the first-ever sci-fi movie in 1902, Le Voyage Dans la Lune. They broaden the limits of what we perceive as reality and allow us to take an imaginary look into the ‘unknown’. Whether it be a romance or a horror, there is a sci-film film out there for everyone.
Trying to single out 10 prominent sci-fi movies is challenging with so many contenders. We’ve covered some recent, some old, some as fictional as they get, some a little too possible. No matter your favourite style of sci-fi, we’re sure some of them will be on this list.
It’s time to start off our top 10. Make sure to stay until the end to see what makes the number one spot!
Directed by Alex Garland, Ex Machina plays on our fears of artificial intelligence. The source of much recent concern, any good sci-fi about A.I. technology is going to capture the imagination of technophiles and conspiracy theorists alike.
The story follows Caleb Smith, a programmer as he undergoes a science experiment with artificial intelligence. The purpose is for Caleb to assess the human qualities of Ava, an A.I. If he forgets she is not human, the test is passed, or so he believes.
After interacting with the eerily lifelike Eva and beginning to realise not all is as it seems, Caleb begins to question if he is also an A.I.. Believing Ava is genuine, they form a plan to escape the not so innocent experiment. No spoilers here, but the ending of the film is truly haunting.
The idea of humanoid A.I.s living among us is all too real. They have caused some upset over the past few years and Ex Machina plays on that perfectly.
Alex Garland deservingly received much credit for his work on this film. With a 92% rotten tomatoes score and an Oscar for best visuals, this is certainly a strong contender. Undoubtedly one of the best sci-fi movies on Amazon Prime, this film only made number 10 because of so many other strong competitors.
The young robot boy Davis has become a very recognisable character within science fiction. The film is based on his desire to become human to gain the love of his foster mother. This heartfelt narrative is not the usual take of sci-fis, but a welcome alternative.
Based loosely on the short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long”, Spielberg based the events of this film in a post climate-change world. Both the angles of a harsh earth scarred by unsustainable human activity and the integration of robots into our world plays on many realistic fears.
Unlike Ex Machina however, the story of David is lovable but tragic. Being the first robot with the ability to feel love, he craves care and attention. This unusually warm take on humanoid robots makes this film one of the best sci fi movies on Netflix.
Speilberg’s only choice to play David was Haley Joel Osment. Osment even as a child avoided blinking and trained himself to hold a rigorous posture to portray the robotic character.
Despite only receiving the Saturn Award for best music and writing, this sci-fi classic is still popular among many fans of the genre. The alternative view of robots and Osment’s dedication to the role makes it an impressive pick.
The invisible man takes the spot for the most recent release on our list. Another making a good impression with a 91% rotten tomatoes score, this film is one of the best sci-fi movies 2020, if not the best.
This horror sci-fi is based on the novel by H.G. Wells. It was part of Universal’s ‘Dark Universe’ attempt which despite not taking off, provided us with this thriller.
We follow Cecilia, played by Elisabeth Moss, as she is stalked by her now invisible ex-boyfriend. Adrian Griffin, a rich engineer, fakes his death and uses his wealth to invent invisibility technology. Nobody believes Cecilia’s claims about Adrian, so has to face the issue herself.
Taking the narrative of a manipulative and abusive relationship and adding in a little sci-fi technology isn’t a typical story. Director Leigh Whannell perfectly molded that narrative into an invigorating film.
Looper is a brilliant science-fiction take on mobster films. The story follows an assassin, or ‘looper’, called Joe. His targets? Mob enemies sent back in time. The syndicate he works for sends these enemies back from 30 years in the future. This is due to advancements in technology making disposing of bodies near impossible.
Writer and director Rian Johnson delivered a wonderful meld of mobsters using time travel for assassinations. This prominently original film was received well for its risky and smart storyline. Another with an above 90% rotten tomatoes score and an average rating of 8.1/10, this is one of the best science fiction movies of the 2010s.
Looper didn’t quite take the Saturn Award for best film, but still came second in the box office. Opening for the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012 also highlights its success. Film critic Todd Mottram even gave the film a 5 out of 5-star rating saying it was “the best sci-fi movie since Moon”!
Arrival makes a very strong pick for the best new sci-fi movies. As alien ships come down to earth, humanity rushes to understand their arrival and intentions. Tensions run high between world governments as leaders start to contemplate our typical response, warfare.
The protagonist, Louise Banks played by Amy Adams is a world expert linguist. She is recruited to attempt communication with the aliens and determine their purpose for coming to earth. Unlike other alien films, the foreign lifeforms show no threat to people and want to reciprocate communication. The story follows the challenges Louise faces in interpreting the aliens’ form of communication which has no resemblance to any human language.
Denis Villeneuve caught the attention of the world with this film. Amy Adams received much appraisal for her performance as well as the film received both the BAFTA and Academy Award for the best sound. Arrival is undoubtedly one of the best sci-fi movies on Hulu.
Another film based on a novel, Villeneuve adapted ‘Story Of Your Life’ into this amazing film. If you love this film as much as we do, we recommend reading the novel too!
Children of Men is a harsh insight into the fictional future world imagined by Alfonso Cuarón. A future where war and poverty have swept over the earth has been put into film countless times.
In Children Of Men, however, the catalyst for this is 18 years of no new births. In a world of infertility and little hope for the future, a singular woman falls pregnant, Kee. We follow her attempt to reach safety in the UK escorted by Theo Faron.
A notable scene from the film is right after Kee gives birth. In the middle of a war between the UK government and refugees, the sight of a newborn baby stops everyone in their tracks. A beautiful moment in a dark future.
Cinematography by the legendary Emmanuel Lybezki combined with the work of Alfonso Cuarón was certain to be a success. Their efforts won the 2007 Saturn Award for best science fiction film and a 7.9.10 IMDb score.
Instead of aliens, robots and post-apocalyptic worlds, Inception takes us into the human mind.
Domm, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a professional thief with an unusual way of gaining information. He enters the subconscious of his targets and ‘extracts’ the knowledge he needs. Almost like a bank heist, but for information and inside people’s dreams. An amazing concept brought to us by Christopher Nolan and his wife Emma Thomas.
Originally presented to Warner Bros as ‘Dream Stealers’, this story was put on hold for 7 years with Nolan believing he needed more experience first.
Winning 4 Academy Awards, Inception has stated its claim as one of the top sci fi movies. Upon release, it became the second-highest-grossing sci-fi that was not a sequel, remake or adaptation, after Avatar.
Inception might be a little confusing when watching for the first time. It’s easy to get mixed up which dream you’re in and what is real or not. That’s what makes this film such an amazing science fiction.
The matrix is the epitome of science fiction. The concept that we are all part of the ‘matrix’ tournaments the minds of many still today. This film however goes much further than just making us question reality.
The Wachowskis sisters brought us this dark dystopian future where humanity fights against robotics for survival. Leather coats, guns, sunglasses, backflips, the best way to describe this film is damn cool.
The story follows Keanu Reeves playing a hacker called Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss playing Trinity. They jump between the underground world humans have been forced into and the fabricated world of The Matrix where the rest of us live – or believe we do, at least.
You’ve probably got one specific scene stuck in your head. Neo realises his potential and in slow motion we see him dodge bullets fired by an agent. You don’t need to have seen The Matrix to know what we’re talking about. For this reason, The Matrix has become one of the best sci fi action movies to ever be released.
Ridley Scott’s masterpiece is one of the most iconic films in history. Inspired by parasitic wasps, the xenomorphs have become some of the most terrifying creatures within film. Acid blood, bone-crushing jaws within jaws, and of course chest rupturing alien babies. Among the best sci-fi horror movies, this takes the top spot in our opinion.
Even Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of Ripley is iconic within the film industry. Stuck in deep space with a huge flesh-eating parasitic alien is enough to give us all nightmares. However, the reality of this film is much more terrifying.
Alien received the Oscar for best visual effects in 1980 as well as 17 other wins. This film has the highest rotten tomatoes score out of any of our options with 98%. The second in the franchise, Aliens, was just as a success with a 97% rotten tomatoes score.
Alien is a recognisable classic among all genres. It has inspired numerous other writings and films and is referenced still today.
If you’re a science fiction fan, you need no introduction to this classic. 2001: A Space Odyssey is an epic sci-fi that incorporated scientific facts to make it seem all the more possible.
The film starts with ancient humans gaining knowledge from a mysterious monolith, thus evolving. Fast forwards to the future and humans are in a battle with computers to locate the next monoliths to kickstart the next stage of evolution.
The film received the BAFTA for the best art director, cinematography, and soundtrack as well as numerous other awards. Stanley Kubrick was well rewarded for his achievements for making one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. However, this film’s receival is not what makes it our top pick. Rather, this film has become more relevant 52 years after its release.
2020 brought us a bit of not-so-fictional science fiction. Mysterious monoliths appear in countries around the world sweeping the news. Made of different materials and varied in size, this event caught the attention of the world. Some have been claimed by people, the source of others is still unknown. Whether you believe they are publicity stunts or not, 2020 brought us a taste of what it would be like to live in the world of 2001: A Space Odyssey. A science-fiction fan’s fantasy!
We hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed writing it. Picking 10 prominent science fiction movies was hard, but we had so much fun doing it!
There are so many amazing films that didn’t quite make the cut such as Star Wars, Terminator, and even E.T. We tried to pick a wide variety of sci-fi movies that have influenced the film industry in one way or another. We may be biased, but we think we did a pretty good job!
Here are a few other film buff articles you might be interested in: Best Fantasy Movies Of All Time: 10 Of Our Favourites, Best Cinematography Movies Of All Time: 10 Of Our Favourites, Best Cinematography Movies Of All Time: 10 Of Our Favourites.
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