The 21st century was once just a subject for science fiction – now we’re living it. But what are some of the best sci-fi movies made since we crossed into the new millennium. Though the box office may be dominated by the superhero movie franchise behemoths, those viewers looking for something more than just popcorn thrills are in no way starved of choices. Here’s a list of 10 of the best sci-fi movies ever made.
Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. Her commander is veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), helming his last flight before retirement. Then, during a routine space walk by the pair, disaster strikes: The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Ryan and Matt stranded in deep space with no link to Earth and no hope of rescue. As fear turns to panic, they realize that the only way home may be to venture further into space.
9 – 2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. When Kubrick set out to make 2001, he was determined to make a movie firmly grounded in science. His sets on the space station and the Discovery are built to simulate the rotation necessary to create artificial gravity, something never utilized in other films.
Solaris is a 2002 American science fiction drama film written and directed by Steven Soderbergh, produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, and starring George Clooney and Natascha McElhone. “Solaris” centers on a psychologist (George Clooney) sent to investigate unexplained behavior of key scientists on a space station orbiting the planet Solaris. Once aboard he, too, falls victim to this unique world’s mysteries — as well as to an erotic obsession with someone he thought he had left behind.
7 – Metropolis
This influential German science-fiction film presents a highly stylized futuristic city, sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
6 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science fiction comedy-drama film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry. It follows an estranged couple who have erased each other from their memories, then re-met and started dating again.
5 – Blade Runner
Blade Runner is a 1982 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott. Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced by the police Boss (M. Emmet Walsh) to continue his old job as Replicant Hunter. His assignment: eliminate four escaped Replicants from the colonies who have returned to Earth. Before starting the job, Deckard goes to the Tyrell Corporation and he meets Rachel (Sean Young), a Replicant girl he falls in love with.
Astronaut Sam, the sole employee working at a lunar station with his computer, GERTY, is nearing the end of his three-year work contract. Just before he returns home, he meets with a fatal accident. He meets what appears to be a younger version of himself, possibly a clone. With time running out, Sam must solve the mystery before the company crew arrives.
3 – Inception
Inception is a 2010 science fiction action film written, co-produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. His skill has made him a hot commodity in the world of corporate espionage but has also cost him everything he loves. Cobb gets a chance at redemption when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.
2 – Twelve Monkeys
A group known as the Army of the Twelve Monkeys is believed to have released the virus. In 2035, James Cole is a prisoner living in a subterranean compound beneath the ruins of Philadelphia. Cole is selected to be trained and sent back in time to find the original virus in order to help scientists develop a cure.
1 – The Matrix
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction action film written and directed by the Wachowskis that stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano. Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question — What is the Matrix? Neo is contacted by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), a beautiful stranger who leads him into an underworld where he meets Morpheus. They fight a brutal battle for their lives against a cadre of viciously intelligent secret agents. It is a truth that could cost Neo something more precious than his life.