Off Topic: Favourite Science Fiction Movies

I just got off a 14 hour flight. I slept 10 hours of it, but spend the remainder of the time watching Snowpiercer, a pretty cool sci-fi post-apocalypse movie that makes up for its imperfections with some dazzlingly original high concepts. A couple of weeks ago I watched Interstellar, which I absolutely loved. Anyway, it got me wondering what some of your favourite sci-fi movies were?

Sure, feel free to drop some classics, but everyone already knows that Planet of the Apes and Blade Runner is good! Let's hear about some more recent ones that some of us may have missed out on or completely overlooked. Snowpiercer, for example — I didn't even know that existed until 5 hours ago. What else is worth watching.

An obvious one I would suggest, which was popular, but some of you might have ignored because of Tom Cruise, is Edge of Tomorrow. That was actually a little bit amazing.

Now you go!


    I quite enjoyed Sunshine until that terrible crazy russian super strong fire ravaged maniac came in, dropped trou and unleashed the fury all over what was a promising film with some outstanding filming.

    Outside of that - Event Horizon was pretty god damn boss.

      I loved the first half, maybe the first two thirds of Sunshine. Then it was like the writer died and some other dude stepped in to finish it off, and he thought he was supposed to be writing a slasher movie instead of a sci fi movie.

        Amazingly bad ending wasn't it. The worst I can remember in any film to be honest.

        I didn't think the end was that bad. Could have been better for sure, but it wasn't film-ruining for me.

          I find that tonal shifts and plot point have almost never ruined a film for me, it's just too easy to assume that brilliant directors are so stupid and that our film knowledge is so vastly superior to theirs so we don't bother to wonder why a creative choice was made, we just assume people are stupid. I'm usually just wondering what happens next instead of actively attempting to judge and watch at the same time.

      I loved the sudden appearance of the old captian! That "who is the fifth crew member?" part really ramped up my adrenaline levels. The ending isn't the best aspect of the film but I still thought it was good.

      As to the original question, Alien/Aliens would be up there for me (for different reasons). Such timeless classics.

    I was actually surprised by the movie "Edge of Tomorrow", due to having a natural aversion to Tom Cruise. But caught it last weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit. Good bit of blockbuster popcorn there

      Yeah cannot stand Cruise myself but absolutely loved Edge of Tomorrow.

        I find with Tom Cruise movies I'll either get past the fact it's Tom Cruise within the first ten minutes and I'll enjoy the movie, including his character, or I'll get hung up on it and hate it. There's no real middle ground. It's not like when I normally can't stand an actor where after enjoying their movie I'll say the movie was great inspite of the actor. I'll admit that the Mission Impossible movies work because of him.
        I was trying to figure out why I dislike him the other day because it's not like he's a terrible actor or someone who phones it in for every other movie. He seems to genuinely care about his work. By all means I should be able to at least respect him as a professional actor but I just don't. I felt this way even before his personal life really came into focus.

          Hee just super mediocre most of the time, works better as a blank slate for you to project your own personality on. He's Hollywood's answer to the silent protagonist.

          That said, he's amazing in Interview with a Vampire.
          "Theres life in the old lady yet!"
          *dances with corpse*

            It's a sci-fi movie about Tom Cruise dying a lot.

            I couldn't not enjoy it.

            that was before he went batshit crazy

              Is it? Or is it before he found a group of like-minded ....People.

              But yeah, he did seem to have more personality in the 80s.

            His performance in Tropic Thunder was legendary.

      It is a really good movie, I've probably re-watched it five times now...

      Agreed, surprisingly good for Mr Cruise.

      The book it's based on (The Only Way Is Kill) has a better ending imho, but Hollywood loves their formula too much.

      Protagonist has to kill Rita to end the loop.

        The book title is 'All You Need is Kill' by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

          Thanks, I stand corrected :) Is definitely worth reading if you liked the movie, and it's only short.

            They actually started republishing it with the title "Edge of Tomorrow" which I found to be hugely tacky. Thankfully I found a copy with the original title and cover.

      I think he's been fine as an actor... Personal life whatever....

      Minority Report
      Edge of Tomorrow
      War of the Worlds

      All pretty good.

        I loved all those movies except Oblivion as I haven't watched it. Might need to watch it now.

          I'd advise not watching the trailer beforehand.

          Last edited 11/11/14 5:09 pm

          I REALLY enjoyed Oblivion. A lot of hate for it, and it is a fairly 'generic' storyline, but it was so easy to watch and some fantastic landscapes!

      I think people who aren't fans of tom cruise actually enjoy that movie because you get to see him die so many times.

      The first hour of edge of tomorrow was good but after that the films premise became it's worst enemy and I found it rather droll......a shame really

      yeah agreed. under performed but it was quite good.

    moon. couldn't stop thinking about that film for a week after watching it.

      That Duncan Jones has gone from Moon to Source Code to Warcraft makes me so giddy with excitement.

        See I see that progression as steps backwards. I suppose Warcraft could be good, I won't judge too early, but Source Code's own logic broke the movie. How could the machine let him see things the dead guy he's inhabitng didn't see (like a cctv camera knowing what happened behind it?!)? And even if it made the simulation based off all the recordings of the dead, how could it show things that happened off the train after he alters events that can't possibly have been recorded? AND how would any sort of court system take that result as evidence?!

        No sense, no sense at all. Huge flatline after Moon.

          And that ending... I was good with everything (well, everything except the stupid name) right up until the ending.

          If they'd ended it ambiguously it would have been awesome. Instead it was cheesy and frustrating.

          Moon, though... what a film. Love it.

      I came here to mention Moon as well. Sam Rockwell is fantastic, and the story was brilliant and unique

    Timecrimes (los cronies crimenes)
    Upstream Color

      I'll second Shane Carruth's Primer and Upstream Color. I thought Snowpiercer and Interstellar were both pretty rubbish in terms of their story. Pretty visuals though. My addition to the list would be Coherence. A recent scifi movie that was pretty fun to watch play out.

        Watched Coherence on the weekend. Loved it. Thanks for the tip!

    A few of my favourites in no particular order... Blade Runner, Robocop, Alien, Aliens, Moon, Gattaca, Looper and probably some others that I can't think of right now off the top of my head.

      Looper! Forgot it & love it so!!!

      Last edited 11/11/14 12:02 pm

        It was a good film, but Gordon-Levitt's munted face creeped me out big style.

          Ha ha! Yeah, they needn't of bothered making him look like a plastic Bruce

      I hate Gattaca after I had to study it in Year 11... After the 30th time watching it and analyzing every single scene, colour, phrase etc.... you learn to hate it very quickly.

      That being said, in some ways Equilibrium has a very similar style but I enjoyed that much more. Also it actually has action scenes.

        I think you'd hate any film after watching it 30 times in the space of a year :P

        For those of us who only watch it when we actually want to, it's a great movie :P

        It took me so long to get over Gattaca. I copped it 2 years in a row - first for English Lit in Year 11 and then English in Year 12. Looking back on it, though, I can appreciate it's quality. I still never, ever, EVER want to watch it again, though.

        I love Equilibrium. It's a bit dumb, and even the action is a bit dumb, but he made a style of action that was entirely unique to his film, and that's so rare these days.

        I love the idea of the end fight. If you forget the idea of "gunkata" and just view it as close-quarters combat with guns then it's a very cool idea for an action scene.

      gattaca very under appreciated and ahead of its time. that I stop and think about it, I can't seem to think of any. Well I mean I've got a soft spot for the Alien series, etc. The big name stuff is all fine. But there isn't really much in terms of lesser known/talked about ones. All I can think of is various creature features, not sci-fi.

    Umm. Equilibrium was some random movie that I'd never heard of but we hired out once that seemed cool I guess. Not that I can remember much about it other than Sean Bean dies again.

    Event Horizon. Obvious ones like Alien, Aliens, Predator, Terminator & T2. One of my favourites is Westworld. The Thing.

    Struggling to name a few now. I prefer sci-fi to be done in a TV series rather than a film as I feel the premises and characters need to be fleshed out that much more when it comes to sci-fi, so if we can include TV shows, the Star Trek (obviously), Battlestar Galactica, X-Files, Babylon 5, Space Above & Beyond (still cut about that being canned), Stargate, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits. The list is more endless with TV shows than movies imo

      Mate, where is Firefly in that list?

        I watched bits of it and enjoyed it. I'm not a massive Whedon fan though in the way that some people fawn over everything he does. It was good but it didn't quite hit that Sci-Fi spot for me

        Last edited 11/11/14 12:10 pm

          Did you watch it before or after Serenity? The series isn't great but it's a thousand times more enjoyable if you're introduced to it after getting to know everyone in the movie. It's got potential and it shines through in places but ultimately I think if it wasn't cancelled season one would be the part of the box set you have to power through to get to the good stuff.

            Serenity came after the series. The first episode of the series (if watched in proper order) introduces all the characters quite well. It takes a few eps to really get going but it's awesome. The movie had to sort of re-introduce people to the characters again because not everyone going to see the movie had seen the series.

            I'm not a whedon fan either, Buffy and Angel held no interest for me. But this hooked me. I'm not sure exactly what it is but I love the unique genre melding, the script, characters, and the amazing chemistry between all the characters.

              Yeah I know the movie came first. I just find that the movie is a lot better than the series. It has a great plot and it also does a better job of introducing the characters and actually doing something interesting with them. I really like the series but it's flawed. The movie on the other hand is an amazing entry point to the world.

                I actually feel the direct opposite. I love the series and have re-watched it countless times. You get to spend time with everyone during the series, whereas in the movie Book and Inara are essentially fan-service (though these characters were always kind of the odd-ones-out).

                One of the things I actually love most about the series is that there's no filler. Being cancelled in the first season means that everything you get is solid (I guess that entirely depends on your opinion on what you get, though).

          thank you for finally giving a response about that movie and show that wasnt idiotic based on pure fandom or slam it for sucking. I feel the same, it was a "meh" feeling. A solid "yeah its ok"

    I remember pandorum as being pretty good but it was a few years ago so not sure how it's aged

    Firefly and Serenity are in my top sci-fi movies and tv shows. Seen them way too many times to count.

      Yeah, I think it's time to bust out the Blu Rays for another watch through.

      Last edited 11/11/14 12:04 pm

    Fifth Element, Stargate and eXistenZ are some of my favourites. Edge of Tomorrow and Pacific Rim are both contenders for new additions to the upper tiers of my movie hierarchy.

    District 9 and 2001: A Space Oddsey are my fave sci fi films, although it's not a genre I'm all that into.

    Moon is one of my absolute favourites!!! I have seen it so many times now, that it's right up there for me along with Blade Runner and Bram Stoker's Dracula in my holy trinity of awesome.

    Event Horizon is brilliant - I've loved that movie from the moment I saw it. I'll also put Blade Runner in there - even though it's technically cyberpunk-noir, but I've got to fit it into any list I can. It's sci-fi enough.

    2001: A Space Odyssey, for obvious reasons.

    Plan 9 from Outer Space for it's sheer awesomeness, and The Day The Earth Stood Still (both the superlative original and surprisingly decent remake) are up there for me too.

    Europa Report was a great movie too - definitely recommend it if you're after something a little more focused and moody.

    Overall, though, I think TV has done a better job at encapsulating sci-fi than film has. BSG, Stargate, The X Files and The Outer Limits have done a lot of good for sci-fi over the years :)

    EDIT: How in the hell could I have forgotten the Alien movies??? All of em. I love each and every one. Except AVP 2 - I can't handle that one. I actually like the first AVP a great deal.

    Last edited 11/11/14 11:37 am

      Will check out Europa report.

      For my tastes, the original Star Trek is great for sci go. Really great concepts like the Outer limits, just happens to star the same guy each episode.

      People seem to get caught up on the corniness & can't look past that to see how great it really is.

      Yeah. I think one of the cornerstones of great sci-fi is world building, and while it's possible to pull that off in a movie it really pays off on TV. I mean just look at what sprang from three episodes worth of expanding/retconning in the first season of SG-1.
      I guess the catch is that TV shows often fall apart behind the scenes. You get stuff like Heroes where it was just a mess. The writers had no idea where they wanted to go. Then they went on strike. They were stuck with popular characters/actors they had no use for. They refused to move forward and kept trying to hold it down on it's original premise of ordinary people with super powers, even though by season two pretty much none of the characters were still ordinary.
      It's also just really hard to write something on a season by season basis that adds up. Battlestar was stuck in a holding pattern for most of it's run. Even when the shows are wildly successful like X-Files there's no telling where it'll end. Why eight seasons, a movie and another movie way later down the track? That's days of story, and assuming someone could write that much content while maintaining a clear purpose, sense of direction, steady themes, etc they've still got to worry about getting Angel'ed and having to compress the end because it was cancelled early.
      One of the few times I've seen it done well is Supernatural season 1-5. Somehow the teen hunk Scooby-Doo managed to be better written than the unlimited resources of Lost. It's not strictly sci-fi but man, that's an under rated show.

        I tried to get into Supernatural, and really liked it, but I dunno, I stopped watching a little into Season 2. It's definitely one I want to go back to! I also LOVED Being Human US - I gave it a go (and the UK version) purely out of boredom, and ended up hooked.

        I still really enjoyed Heroes for it's run. Season one was a perfect 10, and by the end it was a 6.5, maaaaybe a 7, but I still couldn't stop watching. There are far better examples of a show going to shit than Heroes - shows like Glee and True Blood had knockout first season runs, but became more and more abhorrent as time went by.

        I'm still cut about Angel too. Whedon's best work by far, and it really didn't end on a great note. Like The X Files and Buffy, I just cannot take a comic book continuation seriously. It's TV format or nothing :)

    They Live!
    (You can't get better than Rowdy Roddy Piper starring in an anti-consumer sci-fi classic)

    The Day of the Triffids
    (With the opening idea totally stolen by The Walking Dead)

    Iron Sky
    (Aussies, Moon Nazi's, and an actual poignant ending, great film)

    Last edited 11/11/14 11:38 am

    Oh man, I love me some sci-fi. Such a versatile genre. Some obvious big players and in no order...

    Alien series
    Blade Runner
    Children of Men
    Terminator movies
    District 9
    Close Encounters
    Galaxy Quest
    Minority Report
    The Fountain
    The Man from Earth
    Upstream Color
    The Star Wars movies
    The Star Trek movies

    I could go on.

    Last edited 11/11/14 11:38 am

      Galaxy Quest was so good!

    Oh, and Logan's Run. Even if the effects are a bit cheezy now, and the book is fantastic.
    Definitely track down the book if you like dark SciFi, much meatier than the movie.
    The Man who fell to Earth (proof David Bowie is an actual Alien)
    Fantastic Planet (Great French 70s animation)
    and of course Leslie Neilson in Forbidden Planet

    Last edited 11/11/14 11:41 am

    On a long plane journey recently I saw Coherence, which I really enjoyed. It has a fairly small cast, and is entirely shot in and around a single house, but kept me interested as the story unfolded.

    I'd like to watch it again, but it doesn't seem to have come out in Australia yet: it seems to be doing the festival circuit still.

    Contact! Sagan + Zemeckis = brilliance.

    I will choose this place to mount my defense of The Chronicles of Riddick, namely the director's cut. Crazy scope, solid world-building with interesting villains, amazing production design and a great cast. Give it a(nother) look!

      Does the directors cut change the movie much? The original a bit of a convoluted mess with some neat set pieces.

        It definitely feels better paced. There's a whole subplot left out that hints at larger things. Even though it's a little clumsy it still adds value. It also clears up the culmination of the big action set piece on the fire planet, which was edited to shit in the original release. I do agree it's still a little clumsy, though I admire it for going all out.

    the original alien film is still my favourite. Rewatched it recently and it's amazing how such an old film holds up so well. I also caught a little of Alien resurection on foxtel on the weekend, it's crazy how that movie from the 90s looks so dated and silly compared to the original.

    While not an unknown set of movies it's a little unexpected, but I actually like the Star Wars prequel movies. Phantom Menace is a bit hard to get through because the Pod race brings everything to a screaming halt, all three of them have some pretty major faults, they crap all over a lot of the EU stuff I love, and I would have done things differently given the chance but I still don't hate them.

    Pitch Black with Vin Diesel is pretty superlative though the Chronicles of Riddick is not great.

    I, Robot, Bicentennial Man, Children of Men, District 9 are all favorites and I was surprised how much I enjoyed A.I by Stephen Spielberg though it's pretty much a re-telling of Bicentennial Man.

    I'm a big fan of Asimov's books if it's not obvious...

      You see Foundation is getting a TV series?

        Geez, that certainly will take some doing. I always found it odd that more Azimov hasn't been adapted to film.

          He has, always the robot stuff though. Hopefully they can pull this off. Such good books.

            Oh wait, 'more' Asimov, durrr

    Total Recall - Verhoeven version.
    Starship Troopers

    All the Verhoeven!

      Whilst I like both these films, I never liked how he kept the name 'starship troopers' for the film he made, as his film was loosley based on the book at best (i'm rpetty sure he said he didn't even read it...).

        Luckily he improved that piece of garbage beyond measure.

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