Last Updated: July 17th
The sci-fi genre currently splits the difference between niche entertainment and the mainstream, providing diehard nerds and folks looking for a simple good time with a common ground on which they can unite and share in their enthusiasm. There was a time when tales of aliens, space travel, and robots were believed to be the strict province of four-eyed basement dwellers, but the truth is that everybody can find something to enjoy in the weird world of science fiction. The best sci-fi works in both universal truths and hyperspecific detail, using fantastical yet fully-realized worlds to tell stories about our own.
Netflix‘s selection of good sci fi movies isn’t exhaustive , and it errs mostly on the side of direct-to-video embarrassments, but there are still plenty of pictures worth exploring nestled among the sequels and paycheck-generators. Keep on scrolling for 10 of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix streaming to watch right now, taking you from the moon, to the farthest reaches of space, to the outer fringes of reality itself.
10. Advantageous (2015)
Jennifer Phang, a bold new directorial voice who will move onto higher-profile work as soon as the industry catches up with her, envisions a future where the societal powers-that-be disproportionately undervalue women’s labor and practically cast them aside once they’ve begun to show signs of aging. What makes this “sci-fi” and not “just how the world is” is that protagonist Gwen (played by co-writer Jacqueline Kim, the joint recipient of Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize for Collaborative Vision with Phang) has the option to transfer her consciousness into a younger and fitter body. Phang hits on a lot of the same theoretical points that John Frankenheimer covered in his classic Seconds, but lends this meditation on the modern obsession with youth an intersectional slant by virtue of her identity as a Korean-American woman. Densely packed with ideas and boasting impressive special effects relative to its humble budget, Advantageous is a godsend to young girls with creative ambitions on a galactic scale.
9. Armageddon (1998)
No binge of overblown ’90s action movies would be complete without a sampling from Michael Bay, and Armageddon is one of his best thanks to its lovable ridiculousness and implausibility. As the other “we have to stop the world-ending meteor” movie of 1998 — it arrived a bit after Deep Impact — this is the one that is packed with some of the biggest names of the decade. Despite some of the actors saying that they only did the movie for the paycheck and Bay himself saying he wishes he could redo the error-filled third act, it has a bloated charm to its mess. This is largely due to Steve Buscemi’s appearance, which was contractually obligated in every movie of the ’90s.
8. John Dies At The End (2012)
John Dies at the End may be hard to define, genre-wise, but it’s pretty undeniably science fiction. While this Don Coscarelli film may fall well short of being this generation’s Evil Dead 2, (or maybe even this generation’s Bubba Ho-Tep), it pretty deftly scratches the same itch. Hallucinations induced by alien substances, phantom limb powers, journeys across both time and dimension, some truly wonderful effects work, and an all-time “scoffing disbelief” performance by the master of scoffing disbelief, Paul Giamatti, make this one well worth your time. If you haven’t checked this one out before (and the box office receipts would tell you that few have), take 100 minutes and find out why the title of the film is anything but a spoiler.
7. The Host (2006)
Korean director Bong Joon-Ho brought the giant monster movie into the 21st century with this story of a strange creature who emerges from the Han River and starts wreaking havoc on everything it encounters. Bong, now probably best known for directing Snowpiercer, made The Host as his follow-up to Memories of Murder, a haunting crime story. And though this is a much different kind of movie, it’s made with the same care and attention to characters, even if the monster unavoidably ends up stealing the show.
6. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Klaatu barada nikto. These three words are nonsense, but like this storied B-movie, they function as a shibboleth, a secret password separating those who get it and those who don’t. In the years after World War II wound up, drive-ins across America were flooded with low-rent sci-fi flicks just like this one, which played to rapt audiences of young nerdlings. The indoor kids who grew up on these sorts of movies would use them as silent markers to identify one another and group together, and a select few even grew up to emulate them and usher in the age of blockbusters. It’s no coincidence that The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the cult movie to end all cult movies, begins by referencing lead actor Michael Rennie.
5. The Road (2009)
It’s hard not to watch The Road without feeling emotionally fatigued. The Cormac McCarthy adaptation takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but that’s only the backdrop for a gripping relationship between a man and his son. Once the world sorta ends — not much time is spent on the “why” — the man struggles to keep his son alive amidst murderers, cannibals, and despair. It’s rough. It’s bleak. It’s a terrifying, dying world that sucks you in as you can almost feel the cold and taste the hunger. But it’s the little moments of hope and love in the pair’s lives that makes it all worthwhile.
4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The Reese’s Pieces. The silhouette of the flying bike against a glowing full moon. “Phone home.” So much of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi bedtime story has attained icon-status through endless repeated viewings, a testament to the enduring universality of his expressions of childlike wonder. To watch E.T. is to be transported to a more innocent time, to flash back to memories of rapt summer nights spent before flickering silver screens. Movies about children can strike a cloying or saccharine tone with one misstep, but Spielberg maintains a clear-eyed view of youth, showing the capacity for awe along with the terror of not understanding the big, scary world around you.
3. The Iron Giant (1999)
For his first film as a writer and director, Brad Bird loosely adapted The Iron Man, an illustrated novel by British poet Ted Hughes, turning it into a Cold War-era story of friendship and political paranoia. Though a box office disappointment at the time, the film’s rightly been embraced as one of the best animated films of the past few decades thanks thanks to its wondrous animation and gentle tone. Bird would find more commercial success when he hooked up with Pixar and made The Incredibles, but if you’ve never seen this one, it’s well worth seeking out.
2. World Of Tomorrow (2015)
The latest release from animation genius Don Hertzfeldt, World Of Tomorrow leaps across millennia, creates clones of clones of clones, waxes poetic on the tragic ephemerality of memory, falls in and out love a few times, and very nearly locates the meaning of life. All of this takes place in 16 minutes. Over the course of a discursive conversation between a three-year-old girl and an adult clone of herself from the future (it makes more sense when you watch it [the third time]), Hertzfeldt crafts deeply moving monuments to sadness and salvation, and splashes it all against gorgeous expressionist abstractions. This is the sort of movie whose dialogue you get tattooed on yourself, or use as a criterion on first dates. A tremendous work of emotional power, World Of Tomorrow affirms the brutal loneliness of common life as a necessary counterbalance that creates joy. It’s really something.
1. Metropolis (1927)
Méliès may have been the first one to break ground on sci-fi, but German master Fritz Lang was the first to realize the genre’s full potential for visual grandeur and covert commentary. With a scale as grand as the countless blockbusters it inspired (this film’s disciples span from George Lucas to Lady Gaga), Lang weaves an epic tapestry of have-nots laboring under a tyrannical society of haves, his proletarian leanings on full display. A dazzling mashup of biblical allusions, Art Deco influences, Gothic architecture, and cinematic trickery, this film is a testament to the magnificent potential of the movies. That Lang was able to assemble such a sophisticated, technically impressive feat of craft so early in the film medium’s nascency is less like the discovery of fire, and more like a Neanderthal inventing an iPod.
from Real Stories – UPROXX http://uproxx.com/movies/best-sci-fi-movies-on-netflix-streaming/