10 Most Entertaining Sci-fi Movies: Favorite Sci-fi Movies of a Non-fan
This is a list of my favorite sci-fi movies ever and I am not a sci-fi fan. Hence, don’t be surprised not to find Star Trek or Star Wars or The Matrix. But be assured, the listed movies are very entertaining.
According to Wikipedia, Science fiction “is a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology. It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature…”
Many sci-fi movies have been made, and some have gained extreme popularity and loyal followings. And some movies did combine fantasy with sci-fi. However while fans of the genre adore the classics like Star Wars, and The Matrix, I never clicked with those films. When it comes to sci-fi, I need to relate to the characters or at least find a technological situation that I have fantasized myself as well. I also need to enjoy the world created. And that’s why we go to the movies in the first place: to enjoy ourselves.
So while I don’t make a habit of checking out every sci-fi movie ever made, some of them are so brilliantly in touch with reality and so well-mixed with other great genres such as action/thriller/fantasy/romance and even better, comedy, I might end up being a total fan for the film. Here are movies with sci-fi elements that I love:
StaStarring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cottilard, Tom Hardy and Ken Watanabe
I saw this one last night and really enjoyed it. It does deserve the credit it is getting.
I just wrote a lengthy review this morning.
For its detailed review: Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio
2. Strange Days
Cover of Strange Days
This movie is in my top 5 movie ever made. I love absolutely everything about this movie: the story (James Cameron), direction (Kathryn Bigelow), characters and actors (Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemoore, Michael Wincott). Now, I never really considered this film as science fiction, but it is set in a very chaotic Los Angeles where people are hooked on watching real people’s real memories through a device they place on their brains. And because they are watching it in their minds, they absolutely feel everything the people in the video feel. So imagine what happens when a killer records his murders, cops are corrupted and the tapes are circling around.
Strange Days is a great action/thriller/drama/sci-fi that portrays both darkness and hope, friendship and romance, love and obsession all so well. As I said, to me it is one of the best movies ever made. And I don’t think we are really far away from the technology either.
3. Back to the Future Trilogy
I dare you not to like any of the back to the future movies. They are fun, creative, full of great adventure and comedy. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Llyod are great in their roles and make one of the most fun and unlikely movie duos ever.
What is not to love about a fun-loving, rock-n-roll -listening and guitar-playing, romantic high school student Marty Mcfly (Michael J. Fox) finding himself taking eccentric but good-natured scientist Emmet Brown’s time-machine car for an involuntarily and ending up 30 years ago, in 1955? And it gets even more interesting and hilarious when Marty has to convince the much younger scientist that he did manage to make a time machine and now he has to fix it. And who can forget Marty’s finding out that his boring, old-fashioned and narrow-minded parents were horny teenager in 1955?
Brilliant comedy/sci-fi/action-adventure that is recommended for everyone. The first movie was made in 1985 and is on IMDB’s top 250, currently at 74. It is rated 8.4 and if you ask me, it should be higher. It never gets old. I love the second and third installments as well.
4. Dark City
Cover of Dark City (New Line Platinum Series)
Made in 1998, co-written and directed by Alex Proyas- director of The Crow (1994). The movie stars Jennifer Connelly, Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland and William Hurt.
What’s spookier than aliens messing up with your memories and re-creating your lives? It’s being aware of this fact. So it is up to John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) to save to city, convince Inspector Frank Bumstead (William Hurt) and protect his “wife” (Jennifer Connelly). More details are featured in my Jennifer Connelly trivia but there will be a Dark City review on my blog pretty soon.
Cover of Equilibrium
This is my favorite Christian Bale movie. It is written and directed by one of my favorite screenwriters, Kurt Wimmer (Law Abiding Citizen, Street Kings, The Thomas Crown Affair -1999). It is incredibly humane, refreshing and engaging; not to mention original.
Starring Christian Bale Emily Watson and Taye Diggs, Equilibrium set in the future where all feelings are forbidden and everyone is supposed to take a drug called Prozium, which makes people numb. And because people are perfectly managed, the only “criminals” are outlaws who have rebelled against this fascist regime and are not taking the drug, so that they feel all the emotions. John Preston (Christian Baled) is a government officer/law enforcer, perfectly trained for fighting. Ome day he misses one does and then with his newly acquired feelings, he begins to question the system and eventually becomes the most passionate outlaw himself.
Beautifully done and there are great fighting scenes involved. Rated 7.7 on IMDB and an 8 from me.
Cover of Surrogates
Directed by Jonathan Mostow (co-writer/director of Breakdown starring Kurt Russell) and starring Bruce Willis, Surrogates is as fun, engaging and thought-provoking as science fiction can get. And the scariest notion is that it is not exactly away from reality. It is set in a world where humans have left the living and interacting to their surrogate robots, not leaving their houses. There are some rebels who live the old-fashioned way, but the majority is just content with surrogates. But one day a weapon is designed to kill the human controlling the surrogate and when murders continue, Tom Greer is forced to leave the comfort of his house to investigate. The link to the detailed plot summary of Surrogates is featured below. It is rated at 6.3 on IMDB, but I had a marvelous time watching this solid drama/thriller/sci-fi.
7. Independence Day
Co-written and directed by disaster movie/blockbuster specialist Roland Emmerich (Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012), Independence is one of the most fun movies ever made about unfriendly aliens and how humans try to fight them off. Bill Pullman works wonders as the President of the United States, and the two other male leads- Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum provide great comic and emotional chemistry. With nice effects, competent writing and fine acting, Independence is fun even for those who are vehemently against alien movies. And in any case, this is not a Tim Burton film where aliens walk around throughout the entire film.
Image via: http://caramelwhistle.com
As far as I am concerned, this movie is a masterpiece.
Even though I enjoyed Inception, The Man from Earth is certainly the most inspiring sci-fi element featuring movie I have ever seen. Despite all the high-budget films listed here –and Inception probably topping the list with its budget, this movie is about how far a great story and subtle yet great acting can take you. At 8.1 on IMDB, I think it can even be considered underrated. Because it takes some real talent to make such an engaging and interesting drama/sci-fi that has no special effects and virtually no budget (it takes place in one house!). You can read the plot summary and review here: The Man from Earth Review. But fear not, I gave away no spoilers. And I think this film has one of the best endings in film history.
Timeline is a wonderfully entertaining time-travel movie that takes us way back- a few centuries back when a group of archeology enthusiasts/students end up there trying to save one of guys’ father. We get both technology and all the perks of good old times with knights, romances and everything. Plus, we have Martin Sheen for making trouble and Gerard Butler and Paul Walker for romantic leads. Based on the novel by Michael Crichton.
Cover of Gattaca [Blu-ray]
Starring Jude Law, Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, and written and directed by Andrew Niccol.
Gattaca tells the story of a naturally born man (Ethan Hawke), as opposed to the genetically altered and perfected human beings produced. Because he is natural, he is considered “lower quality” and is denied the chance to travel to space, which is his dream. So he decides to fake his identity and take over the identity of a perfectly manufactured but now paralyzed human being (Jude Law), he sets to accomplish his dream. But of course things get complicated when suspicions arise.
Rated at 7.8, it is a great story about technology, perception and humanity.