So, you’re stuck inside. You’ve binged through The Office or whatever and you just need something new to watch. Well, if you’re a sci-fi geek like us, then we might have a few movies to recommend. If you have Netflix or Hulu, here are the 10 best sci-fi movies for your viewing pleasure.
Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix
What would it be like to fall in love with artificial intelligence? Well, a lonely writer, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is about to find out when he develops a relationship with Samantha (played by Scarlett Johansson), an artificially intelligent virtual assistant personified through a female voice. With fantastic performances from both leads, Her explores what it means to love while analyzing our relationship with the technology around us.
In arguably one of the best performances of his career, Sam Rockwell perfectly portrays a man in existential crisis as he nears the end of a three-year, solitary stint on the moon. If you think being alone in your apartment for a few weeks is bad, then maybe this film might give you some perspective. Not only was Rockwell’s performance praised, but also the film’s scientific realism and plausibility.
If you are not familiar, the Turing Test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. It’s an unsettling concept that one day we may not be able to distinguish between human and machine, and that is exactly what Ex Machina explores. With dynamite performances from Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina follows a programmer who is invited by the CEO of his tech company to administer the Turing test to an intelligent humanoid robot.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
With multiple ways this story can play out, it’s perfect for a long day cooped up inside. In short, Bandersnatch follows a video game programmer who is adapting a fantasy choose-your-own-adventure novel into a video game in 1984. Ironically, the whole film itself is interactive, allowing viewers to make decisions on the main characters behalf. With a multitude of endings (some that even the directors can’t remember how to get to), Bandersnatch is prime for rewatchability.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Sci-fi movies tend to lean toward dark themes, looking at our toxic relationship with technology or possibly how it could destroy us all. So, it’s nice when a sci-fi movie debuts that is just plain fun. That is Solo: A Star Wars Story. An origin story of Star Wars’ Han Solo, Solo follows the early days of the smuggler and how he reached such infamy. Plus, you’re going to want to watch this as soon as possible, as it might not be on Netflix for long (Disney+ will likely take it soon).
What happens when we die? Possibly even more poignant, what would happen to society if someone could prove what happens when we die? Well, when one scientist proves that there is an afterlife in The Discovery, things get a bit complicated. With a surprisingly dramatic performance from Jason Segel, The Discovery should definitely be on your watch list.
Best Sci-Fi Movies on Hulu
28 Days Later
If you think social distancing is bad, then maybe you should give 28 Days Later a watch. Not only are they dealing with vicious zombies, but vicious zombies that move quick. 28 Days Later moves as fast as its zombies, staying engaging the whole time. When a highly contagious virus is released and brings on the collapse of society, the film follows four survivors coping with the destruction while evading the infected.
From J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg comes possibly one of the best alien films of our time. When a group of young teenagers, filming their own film, witness a train derail, a dangerous presence is released into their town. With incredible CGI visuals, Super 8 will have you enthralled the whole time.
Based on the novel of the same name, Annihilation follows a group of scientists who enter “The Shimmer,” a mysterious quarantined zone of mutating plants and animals caused by an alien presence. With Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac at the helm, Annihilation is as beautiful at times as it is horrifying.
Debuting in 1988, Akira is likely one of the most famous anime movies of all time. Set in a dystopian 2019 (appropriately), Akira tells the story of Shōtarō, leader of a biker gang whose childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires incredible telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident. The film’s cyberpunk setting of Neo-Tokyo lends itself well to the anime format. If you’ve never watched an anime film, Akira is a great place to start.
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