A New Era of Sci-Fi is Upon Us - Looking Ahead to Worlds That Await

March 27, 2013

District 9

9 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the Past Five Years

Very rarely have science fiction movies been nominated for Academy Awards. Only recently have they gotten their due diligence with particularly outstanding films like District 9, Avatar and Inception grabbing the Academy's attention, and that's only within the past few years when the number of nominees could be up to 10 films. However, plenty of cinema's most influential films comes from the genre including Star Wars, Blade Runner, Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes and Spielberg's Jurassic Park. But we wanted to look at the more recent influential sci-fi films from this new era. Therefore, we've sifted through the last five years of sci-fi as it rises to greatness again and picked the nine best of the bunch.

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Before we run down this list, we wanted to point out that we decided not to include most comic book movies in our consideration of the best sci-fi. While many comic book films undoubtedly have overwhelming sci-fi elements, and some like Green Lantern and Fantastic Four are science fiction through and through (but they wouldn't make the cut anyway), the films adapting characters from Marvel and DC are in a league all their own. So without further adieu, here's my picks for the 9 best science fiction films of the past five years.

#9 - Matt Reeves' Cloverfield (2008)


This might be the most divisive film on this list if only because it has just as much of a place in the horror genre as it does sci-fi. After all, Matt Reeves' film was one of the first in the recent trend of found footage films (an element that had never really been used to explore sci-fi before), and the revived an interest in movie monsters. The film was getting plenty of attention with a cast of unknowns essentially because the monster of the film itself became a white whale of sorts as audiences were overly obsessed with catching any glimpse of the creature. Though one might say the marketing leading up to the release trumps the film itself, Cloverfield is certainly an influential sci-fi monster movie whose impact can be seen today, specifically when it comes to the mystery and hype surrounding sci-fi, especially anything produced by J.J. Abrams.

#8 - James Cameron's Avatar (2009)


This writer has significantly tried to keep the hype that surrounded Avatar in check, mostly because of the derivative story and a mediocre leading man in Sam Worthington, but there's no denying that Avatar is still a great science fiction movie. Director James Cameron created new technology to get this film off the ground after developing it for years and years, and it shows with the sheer beauty and scale of Pandora and the tall, blue Na'vi inhabitants. Pretty much every single scene in Avatar is a breathtaking visual effects shot that transports audiences to another world. If only Worthington had been a better actor, it might have been easier to get lost in Cameron's stunning creations, but still, Avatar is a modern sci-fi staple.

#7 - Joe Cornish's Attack the Block (2011)

Attack the Block

Much like Cloverfield, this debut film from British writer/director Joe Cornish has just as many horror elements as sci-fi, but the storytelling style, alien monsters and callbacks to films like Gremlins and Alien make it sci-fi goodness to the max. What makes Attack the Block so appealing is the thrill, suspense and fun of a film with a low budget considering it's a high-concept, visual effects-reliance. The aliens themselves are simplistic, but it's that design that makes that that much more terrifying and captivating, not to mention the fantastic cast of kids making them feel all the more realistic. Attack the Block is the sci-fi equivalent of Shaun of the Dead, but goes for even more sci-fi adventure and excitement than just laughs and homages.

#6 - Rian Johnson's Looper (2012)


In what might be the best time travel film since Back to the Future (though Primer could give it a run for its money), director Rian Johnson can seemingly do no wrong after a string of critical darlings in Brick and The Brothers Bloom. From a subtle and fantastic performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a young Bruce Willis to a compelling story in a rich universe, Looper has it all. Aside from the leads, supporting actors Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan and Pierce Gagnon make this a must-see film that makes for a gritty, provoking sci-fi along the same lines as Blade Runner. Sure, there are plotholes, but no time travel film can escape those, and everything else in the film is so damn good that you just get lost in it.

#5 - J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek

Surely some Star Trek fans are going to get bent out of shape about this, but I think J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot from 2009 is the best that the Trek film series has ever been. While I respect "Star Trek" the TV series, not to mention "The Next Generation," I don't believe the film franchise does the legacy of the sci-fi favorite justice. Yes, Star Trek: Wrath of Khan is by far the best film of the old series, but the action, adventure and young cast of Star Trek just made the film pure ecstasy while still respecting the universe that Trekkies have come to love unconditionally. Star Trek is the definition of blockbuster sci-fi that's smart, engaging and just a fantastic experience in movie theaters. We can't wait to see this summer's sequel.

#4 - Duncan Jones' Moon (2009)


It's no wonder than director Duncan Jones has landed himself the World of Warcraft film after turning in this indie sci-fi gem that gets the award for best use of Sam Rockwell. Jones is a director who has his head firmly in the sci-fi mindset, even as he entered the blockbuster world with Source Code (a more grounded sci-fi thriller version of Groundhog Day). Moon is probably one of the best directing debuts by any feature filmmaker, but as a sci-fi indie, with tons of visual effects work to allow Rockwell to interact with his own clones, not to mention a lunar station robot voiced by Kevin Spacey, all taking place on the moon, this is a truly magnificent achievement in science fiction and filmmaking in general.

#3 - Pixar's WALL-E (2008)


Who would have thought that a family film would make the list of the best sci-fi films, especially among pieces of work that are gritty and serious. But the charming story of a waste consolidation robot (who can't really talk) falling in love on Earth in the wake of the human population abandoning an over-polluted planet is just lovely. Complete with social commentary on the laziness of humans and their complete lack of responsibility for sustaining the only planet they've got, Pixar's WALL-E, directed by Andrew Stanton, is a simple and beautiful story, something that we don't normally see in the sci-fi genre, and is far more revered than his live-action sci-fi attempt John Carter (though we think that sci-fi is sorely underrated).

#2 - Neill Blomkamp's District 9 (2009)

District 9

What's truly fascinating about District 9 is if you replace the aliens in the story with any other immigrant, especially those trying to get into the United States, this film becomes just another drama. But the fact that a story like this, with an emotional core and such human elements, can be told with aliens at the center is quite an achievement from director Neill Blomkamp. The film isn't subtle by any means, but it's probably one of the most bureaucratic and grounded sci-fi stories ever crafted. You can bet that any aliens smart enough to communicate with humans would be forced to fill out some sort of paperwork and be treated as sub-human, and that's depressing. District 9 captures that splendidly, but it also packs a thoughtful punch.

#1 - Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010)


I hope you're happy. For all the comments that get thrown around the Christopher Nolan should direct anything and everything, fans should be happy that Inception is the best sci-fi movie of the past five years. The film is wholly original, gorgeously shot, well-acted with a dream cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio, and weaves a complex tale that takes multiple viewings to soak everything in, subtleties, dream layers and all. The high-concept story has as many layers as our characters dive through in the dream world, and it still has audiences and cinephiles debating about the ending after the film cuts to black and the credits start rolling.

And there you have it. Sci-fi has been rising to another level of greatness again after falling off the radar for a little bit, and it shows no signs of going anywhere but up, especially with Marvel's upcoming projects like Guardians of the Galaxy and the next phases of their cinematic universe looking to take the comic book action to space. Plus, this year we have films like Joseph Kosinski's Oblivion, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness, M. Night Shyamalan's After Earth, Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim, Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity all coming this year, with many more projects on the horizon. We're excited about all sci-fi films coming, but…What are your top sci-fi films of the past 5 years?

9 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the Past Five Years
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What's life without a little sci-fi.

Xerxexx on Mar 27, 2013


We'll get a huge dose, 25, 30 each year 🙂

David Banner on Mar 28, 2013


life-fi not quite as good

ÇℜΔÇK_ℵΙℵℑΔΔ on Mar 28, 2013


Excellent article Alex!

Nick Bosworth on Mar 27, 2013


Nice article. I definitely think the industry runs in cycles...it's kind of interesting, because before the original star wars movies were released, there were a lot of way less successful science fiction or space fantasy movies released, and of course, many directly after Star Wars that failed to capture similar magic. We're in an era of films now that are informed by the successes and failures of those that came before, an era that obviously would never have been possible without Star Wars and Star Trek...new ground for new visionaries to chart new courses. Personally, I felt like the new generation of science fiction started with "sunshine" in 2007. I thought it was fantastic, shot in a brilliant new way, with a great score and emotional realistic character performances. In many ways, I felt like the star trek remake aped that film a lot in style and intensity while of course remaining decently true to Star Trek canon. I hope that "sunshine" gets a lot more props as the years go on...for pushing the boundaries of real hardcore science fiction cinema while we as an audience get to sit back and enjoy it all.

Linkfx on Mar 27, 2013


I for one am hopeful that Sci-Fi will one day get its rightfully deserved Oscar.

tigerianwinter on May 30, 2013


District 9 > Inception.

Tey on Mar 27, 2013


D9 was hard sci-fi (I.E. aliens, alien tech, space ships) and INCEPTION was more fantasy. That being said I think INCEPTION was the better of two awesome movies.

DAVIDPD on Mar 27, 2013


You've said it urself District 9 is pure Sci-Fi... & Inception is more like a fantasy all the more D9 was the best Sci-Fi in last decade.

Tey on Mar 27, 2013


I agree that D9 was in my top 3 sci-fi of last decade. But I also would put MOON in there and STAR TREK/SUNSHINE.

DAVIDPD on Mar 27, 2013


The New Star Trek is not Science Fiction. At the very best it is the softest of SciFi. Personally I put it in the "action movie in space" category. Spaceships+aliens does not necessarily make a scifi movie.

Brian Sleider on Mar 28, 2013


I know for nerds and such, they might not call STAR TREK sci-fi, but honestly the majority of the world would call it sci-fi. As such, I group it into sci-fi as well.

DAVIDPD on Mar 28, 2013


I disagree, just because people miss-attribute the term "SciFi" that doesn't change what "SciFi" means.

Brian Sleider on Mar 28, 2013


If 99% of people call something SciFi, if directors, executives and agents classify a pieces genre as scifi, it's scifi. Here's an example in terms of music, a can belly ache till the cows come home about how "posthardcore" or for that matter "hardcore" have in modern times become the new name for bands who less than 5 years ago would have been called "metalcore". I may not like classifications sometimes, but we musicians along with SF/F writers (of which I am one) all have to live with the worlds classifications of our work. It doesn't matter to me whether I get put in with the romance lot, or lit fic, or action adventure, or metal, or punk, or whatever (just so long as sales don't suffer of course)... what matters is that I’ve produced something that I can be proud of and know/hope people will consume it regardless of executive meddling. You may not like it, or agree, but Star Trek is and has been considered science fiction since the 60s.

Jc Farnham on Apr 26, 2013


Considering that Sci-Fi pre-dates Hollywood "directors, executives and agents", they have no authority to define science fiction. Sci-Fi is cerebral, philosophical and theoretical, supported by the factual; little JJ's action film is none of these things. For someone that claims to be a writer, you are pretty bad at reading.The comment that you replied to stated that Star Trek 2009 is not sci-fi, Mr. Sleider made no such comment concerning any other incarnation of Star Trek.

Brian on May 16, 2013


"Considering that Sci-Fi pre-dates Hollywood "directors, executives and agents", they have no authority to define science fiction." Maybe you should apply that sentence to yourself.

bfg666 on Sep 21, 2013


"If 99% of people call something SciFi, if directors, executives and agents classify a pieces genre as scifi, it's scifi." Not true either. It's not because almost everyone says something that it's right. For example, most people now use the verb "decimate" as a synonym to "slaughter" while its true meaning is "subtract 10 percent". Not quite the same, is it?

bfg666 on Sep 21, 2013


Ain't it so? Welcome to the wrong side of the dictionary, Brian!

bfg666 on Sep 21, 2013



avi on Mar 28, 2013


soft sci fi? wtf is that?

shadypotential on Mar 30, 2013


Star Trek 2009 is certainly sci fi. Futuristic space ships, teleportation, aliens, floating vehicles. it doesnt get more sci fi than that

shadypotential on Mar 31, 2013


As I have said and have many people across the world who agree. Adding in aliens and space ships DOES NOT equal a SciFi.

Brian Sleider on Apr 1, 2013


So what about time travel? or teleportation which were all in the movie? to actually call Star Trek NOT sci fi is a little idiotic don't you think? plus Aliens & space ships are hardcore SCI FI. what you are saying makes no sense. Inception is soft sci fi not Star Trek.

shadypotential on Apr 1, 2013


As I have said, any Hard SciFi geek will not consider a movie scifi simply because it has aliens and spaceships. If you think it does thats cool, most of America would agree. SciFi should have social and/or political themes relevant to the current climate. Look back at EVERY other Star Trek, each one was a comment on something happening in the world at the time. Making up a non science based substance that some how makes black holes and wormholes is not Hard SciFi. Shoot midiclorians being the cause of the Force in The Phantom Menace is more SciFi than Red Matter. I feel you do not truly grasp what the heart and soul of SciFi is, I will give you a hint, it has nothing to do with spaceships and aliens.

Brian Sleider on Apr 1, 2013


I am reading a Philip K Dick novel right now. Trust me I know what sci fi is. To say that EVERY story must have political or social themes in order for it to be true sci fi is ridiculous. Science fiction in definition deals with the imaginative with other worlds and inventions we do not yet have in our reality. There are many ways to tell a sci fi story and to incorporate social issues is definitely a way but to take away from so many great adventure sci fi stories that just deal with "space ships and aliens" and say they are not true sci fi is.....wack.

shadypotential on Apr 1, 2013


Actually Brian , you are doing the mis-labeling here . A movie that has " social and/or political themes relevant to the current climate " would be called a DRAMA . It becomes noted as Sci-Fi when there are elements of Science " FICTION " introduced into and along with the story . Elements which may only be "fiction" for a decade or so , until it becomes science FACT ( like the cell phone) . Now , GOOD Sci-Fi has both drama and SF elements well done and , as you say , relevant . But just because it's bad , or it's "soft" DOESN'T mean it's not Science Fiction . It just means you " hard SciFi geeks " aren't going to respect or like it ...

Dominic on Apr 2, 2013


Your definition is ridiculous and goes against the decades old standards of science fiction literature. Science fiction has always contained social and political themes. furthermore, it has been well documented that this social and political commentary has inspired many people to go forth and do great things for mankind, be it invention, politics or social activism. Gene Roddenberry's version in particular was a future where technology defeats the struggle for survival. In Star Trek, mankind is free from economy and the elite who control it and we truly become an entire species of inventors, philosophers, artists and explorers. This vision is absent from JJ's retarded action film.

Brian on May 16, 2013


And it is absent from most of the other Trek-movies, and thank god for it. Trek was relevant in the sixties, and I love next generation and DS9, but it is in no way more thoughtful as Abrams trek. It's tv, that plays it safe (maybe with the exception of DS9) and is very naive and inoffensive. How does the economy work? They have no money, so I alway thought, they live in a communist state (but god beware that in an us-tv-show!) Where are the gay people? Where is the military, when they fight so many wars? Abrams trek maybe silly at times, the science (supernova threatens the galaxy, superblood heals and revives people and so on) is ridiculus, but again Star Trek was never the hard sf people claimed it to be. Babylon 5 had a realistic approach with real people, the new Battlestar Galactica asked the question if abortion should be illegal when only 50000 surviving humans remain. Compare this to most of the trek-episodes. And please: I agree, Science Fiction has not to be in space, or with aliens or spaceships, there are movies like for instance Soylent Green (based on "Make room"), and Science Fiction can and should extrapolate political and social developments. But nevertheless Aliens and Spaceships are Science Fiction elements and I would define every story with these elements as SF, maybe categorize it as space opera. Consider E.E.Doc Smiths Lensmen, the stories of Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett, I think nobody would deny them the label science fiction.

Mark Wolf on May 24, 2013


Hi, have you watched Starge SG-1? What is your opinion about it? I believe you've been making good points in all these comments.

douglasac on Jun 2, 2013


I love it when people with erroneous certainties tell others that their notions are ridiculous. To be so full of it AND at the same time condescending is just priceless!

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


None of the characteristics that you listed define a story as science fiction. Case and point, Blade Runner. Would you dare to say that Blade Runner is not sci-fi? Science Fiction, at its core, is a commentary on modern western society. Morality and social commentary is what made Star Trek great and the absence of which is why Enterprise and lil JJ's film has alienated so many Star Trek fans.

Brian on May 16, 2013


Science Fiction, at its core, is a commentary on modern western society. NO it isn't. lmao where the hell did you get that?

shadypotential on May 16, 2013


From every work of science fiction that I have ever read and/or watched. Are you so dense that you think it is really all about the superficial imagery of aliens and spaceships? have you every read something like "Dune"?

Brian on May 17, 2013


ohh so its something you made up? cool bro. listen if that is what you believe, okay. enjoy being wrong for the rest of your life

shadypotential on May 17, 2013


Wow, I guess Gene Roddenberry, Michael Piller, Ronald Moore, Frank Herbert (to name a few) are wrong too, huh? It is fascinating how you revel in your ignorance. Tell me, did you compete your high school education?

Brian on May 17, 2013


because i'm right and you're wrong? lmao.

shadypotential on May 18, 2013


Lol, proclaiming oneself to be right does not make it so. In your case, several of the greatest writers of the genre have made statements that support my comment. Now, run along little boy and enjoy the loud bangs and flashy, shiny lights and such of "Into Darkness". I know that it is difficult for you to get the deeper existential nuances of science fiction but I have been assured that this film is simplistic enough that people like you shouldn't be overwhelmed by it.

Brian on May 20, 2013


Furthermore, to answer the question "where the hell did you get that"? Besides recognizing the obvious, it was Gene Roddenberry's entire reason for creating Star Trek. Also, the opinions of Michael Piller and Ronald D. Moore on the subject of Star Trek and science fiction in general.

Brian on May 17, 2013


Yes they do. Futuristic space ships, teleportation, aliens, floating vehicles are typical sci-fi elements. Science fiction relies on science that doesn't exist yet, not on the contents of the story. It doesn't require social commentary, though the best sci-fi usually delivers on that too. Blade Runner has flying cars and androids, hence it's sci-fi. Hadn't Philip K. Dick included a social commentary, it would still be sci-fi.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Umm... not hard sci-fi?

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


lol As if you could have Spaceships and Aliens WITHOUT Science FICTION

Dominic on Apr 2, 2013


good point there.

Austin Patrick on Apr 20, 2013


So true, not to mention how unbelievably stupid Trek 09 is. Star Trek always had scientific consultation so as to not appear implausible; I guess lil JJ is too good for that. Just a few points of the tip top of my head: A super nova that threatens the galaxy. Really? Fall into a black hole and be transported into the past. Really? Black holes are unimaginably destructive, their gravitational influence is so great that they flatten three dimensional objects into two dimensions! The mining platform hanging in the atmosphere from a ship that is orbiting the planet. Really? Spock can see the destruction of Vulcan in glorious detail with the naked eye while standing on another planet. Really? Most people look up at the night sky and can't tell Venus, Saturn and Mars from the other stars never mind the level of detail shown in this cinematic miscarriage. Fake Kirk goes from a 3rd year cadet to captain of Starfleet's flag ship. really? The movie is beyond retarded. Regardless of it's title, it's a bad story!

Brian on May 16, 2013


There have been a lot of points here, and a lot of you are wrong. Let me give you all a brief history lesson. Sci-Fi stands for Science Fiction. There's a debate as to when it started, but early ones include Jules Verne and Mary Shelley (Hence debate, over whether Frank was sci-fi or horror). The 1940s, the so-called golden-age, first brought about wide-spread readership. This is when sci-fi changed from cheap pulps to actual books. It also spawned the three grandmasters, Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke. Since then, Sci-FI has spread out, and spread from books into movies/TV/etc. Lets go back to what Sci-Fi is. Science Fiction is fiction, that related to science. Sci-Fi differs from Fantasy because it is extrapolation. It takes current science, and what we know is true about the universe, and extrapolates. It doesn't conjure up magic tricks, like Fantasy. The reason that Brian is so bent out of shape about the 2009 Trek, is that "red Matter' makes no sense, and has no scientific basis. However, there are other elements in the movie that DO make sense. And it's entertaining. So it's good fiction ... bad "Science" Fiction. As to the comment that Sci-Fi "requires" political/social commentary ... that's wrong. But it's a mistake that is easy to make, because most good Sci-Fi DOES. Most good Fiction in general does. Now we go from fact to opinion. In my opinion, good Sci-Fi requires one additional thing besides extrapolation of technology/trends. It requires that the characters make sense. A good sci-fi book will take a few big ideas, inject them into the world to change it, and then examine how people react. If it's good, the people will make sense, and the book will make sense. Can an author make you identify with someone who is in a totally alien environment? If yes, then it's good fiction, and if the science makes sense, good science fiction as well.

Kelderic on Jun 6, 2013


One additional thing. For anyone looking to dive deeper into Sci-Fi, I'd recommend "From Here to Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature". It is a recorded set of lectures from a college course taught on the subject, and it's quite in-depth. Amazon has it for sale, as do other places, and it can probably be found online for free somewhere, but I haven't looked.

Kelderic on Jun 6, 2013


'Nuff said.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Black holes don't flatten three dimensional objects into two dimensions. Black holes compress three dimensional objects into four dimensions and greater. I.e., a thousand steel ball bearings can easily occupy the same space.

disqus_ucIWLiTToR on Jun 7, 2013


You definitely need to check the definition of sci-fi.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


The Man From Earth. I don't know if that counts as sci fi.

chiffmonkey on May 16, 2013


Snickers > M&Ms

⚔Christophuh⚔ on May 15, 2013


I think that the true meaning of District 9 was lost on the public. like good sci-fi it had a deeper, relevant meaning. D9 was a scathing criticism of what the is currently going on in Africa; everything despicable that was done to the aliens is currently be committed upon refugees today.

Brian on May 16, 2013


So glad you're here to condescend to us about "real sci-fi" and how none of us understood District 9. Where would we all BE without you, Brian?

Mike Grunwald on May 24, 2013


Not just in Africa, all over the world people is being treated like that.

douglasac on Jun 2, 2013


Because of it's deeper commentary, it WASN'T science fiction. Or only barely. It was 95% a human rights documentary. It just had a Sci-Fi-ish gloss over top, to make it more appealing and so raise awareness.

Kelderic on Jun 6, 2013


Pal, the best science-fiction is always a vehicle for social commentary. Asimov, K. Dick, Brunner, you name them. Always. FYI, science-fiction is a setting, rules for the depicted world like fantasy or western, but absolutely not the story itself.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


How is the Foundation series social commentary?

Kelderic on Sep 22, 2013


How is a scientist-led society becoming a fascist state not? How is the inescapable downfall of any kind of government not? How is the reliance in statistics, which by definition can't predict the unpredictable, not? Jeez, did you even read the books?

bfg666 on Sep 25, 2013


Great article, I also loved Upside Down and wish it would've gotten the credit it deserved. Out of all the films you mentioned the only one I've actually never seen is Gattaca so I think I'll check that out tonight. You mentioned World War Z and I'm curious as to if that would actually be considered sci fi?

Matt Peloquin on Mar 27, 2013


Unless the contagion comes from a technology that doesn't exist yet in today's real world (like in 28 Days Later), zombie movies are pure fantasy.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


THIS is one of the main reasons why I enjoy stopping by this website: An incredible & intricate article Alex!

Maxwell Morro on Mar 27, 2013


seconded! in fact, i've just re-read it. to all involved, many thanks. more of this, please!

son_et_lumiere on Mar 29, 2013


Danny Boyle's Sunshine and Duncan Jones' Moon are two of my favs from the last decade. I have high hopes for Elysium and Gravity.

Marcus on Mar 27, 2013


Optimism. So refreshing. Well written.

Devin Garabedian on Mar 27, 2013


Right? This article is like an island in a sea of cynicism. Well done Alex!

axalon on Mar 28, 2013


My opinion, Avatar was much better than District 9...which I found quite forgettable. It wasn't underwhelming...but I've maybe been able to sit down and get through ONE re-watch of it since I saw it opening night in the theater. I could watch Avatar just about any day of the week.

Chris Groves on Mar 27, 2013


I'm sure you enjoyed transformers over inception as well

Hatorian on Mar 28, 2013


Nope, Inception is fantastic and gets better with every viewing while the Transformers films have a shelf-life of exactly one viewing. They are fun once, I won't pretend to not enjoy the spectacle...but the bad jokes, bad characterization, and bad pacing kill the entire experience after the 'fun' of seeing it once.

Chris Groves on May 26, 2013


All of which District 9 doesn't have. It's a great sci-fi film but clearly not a fun one, which is presumably why it eluded you. Then again, fun is a subjective notion: I, for one, take absolutely no fun in watching something as mindless as a Transformers flick, no matter how big the 'splosions.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


To be honest, in some points, D-9 tried a little too hard to be fun. The gun that causes people to explode seemed like it was only there to get some kind of "OH DAMN!" reaction from the "dudes" in the audience every time it was fired....which was a ridiculous amount of times. The things I dislike about Transformers and District 9 are quite different. The Transformers movies are a bit too 'willfully dumb' while District 9 just has structural and stylistic problems that make it unappealing to me. D-9 was a bit too insistent on being overly gritty and violent, and the narrative style of switching between 'found footage', 'post-event interviews' and the traditional narrative style whenever it was convenient kind of irked me. "Oh, lets do post-event interviews to set the mood and spoil that a lot of these characters will survive the events of the story" "Oh, lets cut to security camera footage because it will be cool, and then we can say that the movie was grounded in reality." "Oh, we don't have any avenue for telling this part of the story with some sort of found-footage? Well, we'll just go traditional narrative style, just because." "The movie is starting to lose it's legs, lets throw in some gross-out violence to catch everyone's attention, that will be cool." I don't like to get heavily into all of the things I dislike about District 9, because it makes it seem like I just loathe the movie, when that's far from true. It's a good movie, but has it's flaws that keep me from loving it, and I'm genuinely perplexed that some people see it as some kind of holy grail of modern sci-fi.

Chris Groves on Sep 22, 2013


I didn't feel this randomness you're describing at all when watching D9. I dunno, maybe you're overanalyzing what is essentially a good B-movie with a relevant social commentary. I think what makes it so praised is 1) the fact that it's a south-african movie with production value on par with what Hollywood can deliver; 2) what impressed me most, which is the perfect integration of CGI in such shaky camera moves. If you didn't like the style of D9, I doubt you'll like Elysium. I just saw it and it's basically the same with a wider scope (minus security footage and a little less gore). Nice heartless bitch performance by Jodie Foster though, and it's good to hear french not butchered by the actors for a change (yes, I'm looking at you, croatian Mira Furlan - Danielle Rousseau of Lost fame). Even Foster who usually speaks a nice french but with a slight accent sounds fully french-born here. In a time of Norse gods (or french revolutionaries) speaking modern english, it's quite refreshing.

bfg666 on Sep 25, 2013


Avatar better than D9? I liked Dances with Wolves too....when it came out in the 90s.

Brian Sleider on Mar 28, 2013


The "fish-out-of-water" story is as old as the hills, long before that 1990 film. Avatar was a very average example of that story idea.

$126191 on Mar 29, 2013


Yeah, just because he hasn't exploded as a star since Avatar doesn't mean his performance didn't work great in Avatar.

Chris Groves on Mar 28, 2013


If more films like Moon are produced and less films like Star Trek XI make it to the big screen, then I'll think Hollywood got it right. Unfortunately Hollywood values flash and sex over relevant social commentary (which is what great sci-fi has always been about) and good solid storytelling. I suspect we'll have a lot more sci-fi that emphasize big explosions, copious amounts of CGI and half naked actors and less of the type that makes us think and evaluate ourselves.

vangpo on Mar 27, 2013


As a cinephile I completely agree, but the side of me that uses movies to escape sometimes doesnt, and that can be said for a big chunk of moviegoers as well, some people dont want to think and just want to switch there brains off.

Cody W on Mar 27, 2013


i think you can have both the social commentary @vangpo:disqus talks about and the escapism and still retain good storytelling and characterisation - provided the film-makers and studios bother to put the effort in. Blade Runner has its analysis of morality and mortality, Alien has its big set-piece shocks, but both rely not just on well-executed spectacle but also on the audience caring about the characters portrayed, because of good writing in alliance with good acting. here's to more of *that*.

son_et_lumiere on Mar 28, 2013


A good script and characters that you care about is one thing, but existential, thought provoking movies is another. Dont get me wrong, I agree with you completely, but I think its safe to say people dont want to have to think about life and moralities etc when they walk into a theater, people have to think about enough shit as it let alone have a medium that they go for distraction and entertainment preach to them about it.

Cody W on Mar 30, 2013


Hence why science fiction draws a smaller audience. Sci-fi fans enjoy the debate and enjoy the intellectual and often times spiritual challenges posed by true science fiction. We want to entertain our minds, not turn them off. A good example of this is Prometheus. So many people hated this film because it required them to think! If one is not a cerebral individual then the film is lost on them. Personally, this film gave me a slight hope for science fiction in the cinematic media.

Brian on May 16, 2013


Was my first thought about this when I saw the title. There's a lot more flash in the movies, but less thoughtfulness and intelligence, or even decent scripts in the genre.

$126191 on Mar 29, 2013


The new Star Treks are great summer adventure movies. They're well-made and extremely entertaining. They wouldn't draw so much criticism if they weren't Star Trek films. I love old Star Trek and Moon too, but Abrams Trek offers simple stories about life in general that resonate with me, plus bits of old Star Trek for nostalgia value, in a beautiful package, so I have to choose them. To my surprise, Star Trek XI has proven to be one of the most rewatchable films in my collection. And there's about 30 seconds of "half naked actors" in it.

Andro ang Christopher on Apr 21, 2013


Well-made? lol... They rank among some of the worst movies I've seen in my life. Vapid acting, terrible storylines (particularly the gaping plot holes int he first one), and a director who thinks lens-flare is the greatest invention in cinematic history. Pathetic. Not to mention simply wrecking one of the best long-running sci-fi traditions in existence. JJ Abrams should retire in shame. Good generic FX, but everything has that, these days. They wouldn't draw so much SUPPORT if they weren't Trek flicks.

M_1 on Jul 21, 2013


In my opinion, the only aspect deserving criticism is the writing of Into Darkness. I don't always agree with Red Letter Media, but I think they were right about these films.

Andro ang Christopher on Jul 22, 2013


That's a matter of opinion, or maybe you're so full of yourself that you think your taste has to be the absolute truth?

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Perhaps you should review how discussions work. You're in the wrong place if you're looking for a love-in where everybody agrees with everyone all the time. I understand it's probably hard to see that from waaaay up there on that high horse.

M_1 on Sep 25, 2013


Talk about high horse... I'm not the one spewing opinions like they were the truth. Perhaps you should review how discussions work.

bfg666 on Sep 25, 2013


Amazing article, Alex. Here's hoping Blomkamp delivers with 'Elysium.' My expectations are pretty high. Also can't wait to see what GDT does with Pacific Rim.

Chris Bob on Mar 27, 2013


Woot! Can't wait to see Elysium!!

Linkfx on Mar 27, 2013


The article left me with two questions; when does/did this era begin and is there really a value in celebrating bad SF just because it's SF. Whatever year you state as the year of era inception, one can step back just one year and find a litany of SF, especially if the quality of that SF isn't at question. Very quickly you'll find yourself back in the Nineties with the last remarked era of SF. Don't get me wrong, I love good SF. I'm a SF fan. Which is why I can't celebrate bad SciFi. When SF elements are used as a crutch to try and tell bad stories (Looper, for example), this shouldn't be applauded. This will just encourage Hollywood and Indie to continue to make bad movies. (Also, if we're celebrating a genre, it would be good to correctly categorise the specific movies) All in all, If a new golden age of SF is upon us, we won't know it without hindsight (as with all golden ages).

Alan McNevin on Mar 27, 2013


Looper wasn't a bad movie. It had its flaws, yes, but it was pretty good overall. Also, no movie in this list was wrongly categorized, all of them can be called sci-fi (see my answer to Brian Sleider above). Some of them are more than that, but all of them are indeed sci-fi.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


I liked all of these... except (Im sure Im in the minority) for Moon. Moon was a great idea, I just didnt like the execution.

Keltari on Mar 27, 2013


I was one of the few who wasn't a fan of Inception. No, it's not because I couldn't understand it. Just didn't care for it. All these other movies he mentioned are great though. Cloverfield is one of my favorites in the last decade or so. District 9 was very well done, as was Looper, and I thought Attack the Block was awesome.

JacksonHart on Mar 27, 2013


Gattaca...one of the best truly grounded Sci-Fi movies ever.

YeahISaidIt on Mar 28, 2013


+1 for Gattaca!

Brian on May 16, 2013


inception and gattaca are two classic movies who can join predator, alien and kubricks 2001 in the pantheon of godlike sience fiction movies. The other ones are also great but to much''popcorn ''!

avi on Mar 28, 2013


Lets not forget Moon, District 9, and Source Code.

Brian Sleider on Mar 28, 2013


Predator, really? At least Alien has a message about corporate greed but Predator? Now Total Recall was good cinematic sci-fi.

Brian on May 16, 2013


Did anyone else like Pandorum? I thought it was going to be awful, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. That it was great.

Scuba Steve on Mar 28, 2013


i liked Pandorum, the last 15 minits where astonishing! Great movie...

avi on Mar 28, 2013


These articles on future Sci-Fi are the best you've written Alex. But what about TV, what has happened there last 10 years in Sci-Fi and what is on the horizon in TV-land for Sci-Fi shows(yes, somewhat rhetorical, but TV and movies often mingle)? Remind me please 🙂

David Banner on Mar 28, 2013


Cloverfield was shit and looper was waaaaay overrated

Hatorian on Mar 28, 2013


CloverField is not SciFi. It is action horror. Adding in an "alien" does not a SciFi movie make.

Brian Sleider on Mar 28, 2013


Yes it does. Again, buy a dictionary.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Just noticed... the site has the initials FS which is SF backwards. Pretty *ucked up, eh? Amazing article(s). Appreciate the love and sweat put into this. Here's to science fiction and cinema!

Isildur_of_Numenor on Mar 28, 2013


I would only count 4 movies on that list as SciFi

Brian Sleider on Mar 28, 2013


#9 alien invasion = sci-fi #8 other worlds and aliens = sci-fi #7 alien invasion = sci-fi #6 time travel = sci-fi #5 space travel = sci-fi #4 moon base = sci-fi #3 robots = sci-fi #2 alien invasion = sci-fi #1 tech allowing dream exploration = sci-fi Buy a dictionary.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


If you're including films with religion tied in like some (the Seth Rogen one is more religiously toned than sci-fi. I'd explain but I don't want to spoil it) then would Darren Aronofsky's NOAH deserve a spot on this list?

Greg dinskisk on Mar 28, 2013


Hey Greg, I was considering including it... but I realized, it's much more of a fantasy-drama than it is sci-fi. It's essentially a gritty historical story with a few fantasy elements, like angels and demons and a great flood, but I wouldn't really call it full on science fiction like most of the projects on this list. But I did mention Darren Aronofsky working with ILM in the editorial.

Alex Billington on Mar 28, 2013


Alright, thanks! Just wondering!

Greg dinskisk on Mar 28, 2013


Of course. The more I think about it, by the time a trailer comes out, I'm sure I'm going to get some crap like "it should've been on there!" And we'll see the trailer and think "yea, maybe." 😉

Alex Billington on Mar 31, 2013


Unless God is revealed to be an alien, it actually has strictly nothing sci-fi. Fantasy and sci-fi are two very different (one might even say opposite) notions. They may sometimes get blended in the same story but still, they don't mean the same thing at all.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


We have an entire universe of trek next gen ds9 and movies where Romulus and Vulcan exist J J Abrams is non canon

dave on Mar 29, 2013


You need to grasp the concept of alternate realities. Abrams' reality is now as much canon as the rest. Deal with it.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Sunshine was defo better than Avatar, Cloverfield, Star Trek.... It also has the best score (well second best - Moon would be number 1 ) of the films listed.

gert on Mar 29, 2013


It's a crying shame that while American science fiction films are flourishing, American science fiction novels are all but dead. I remember the days in the 70s and 80s when Asimov, Clarke and others spent weeks on the NYT Bestseller Lists. All the best science fiction nowadays is from Great Britain. But it doesn't sell here. We just had an major and amazing new novel from Peter F. Hamilton, Great North Road that didn't even get near the Bestseller lists. Why are science fiction novels dying as science fiction films flourish?

David Keith on Mar 29, 2013


Not a John Sclazi fan, huh? I thought the Old Man's War series was rather good.

Zeph on Mar 30, 2013


It'll come back around, Steampunk, horror, and fantasy seems to be the flavor currently, and if you are looking for a science fix, steampunk while not futuristic science, does have it's own flare. Side note, read Ready Player One, for a bit of scifi and a great nostalgia trip if you are over the age of 25, and WB picked up the rights for the movie version so hopefully we will see it soon. For now film wise look forward to Elisyum, Pacific Rim, and Ender's Game

The Saint on Jun 24, 2013


What about Kim Stanley Robinson? He's still around and I'm pretty sure he's one of the heavyweights in the trade.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Keep an eye out for Samuel Blondahl's The Anahita Chronicles too. As soon as a studio buys the rights. Hey studios, buy the rights ! http://www.blondahl.ca

definately not the author on Mar 29, 2013


So, when does Flesh Gordon get remade?

Steve on Mar 31, 2013


Hopefully never. And it's Flash, Flesh Gordon is a porn parody.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Overall good list, but just 1 question.... Where Da' Fuq is the " JLA " ?!!!!!

JustAClearMan on Mar 31, 2013


That's exactly what we're wondering, too! WB is still in development hell with the project, it's doubtful/possible we'll see it by 2015. Plus, without knowing any of the characters, plot, setting, or director yet, I can't say it'll be anything more than a comic book movie and those are in a genre of their own. JLA is something we'll see at the tail end of this sci-fi era, but we're watching closely to see what WB comes up with for it.

Alex Billington on Mar 31, 2013


Read. The. Goddamn. Article. Jeez!

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


I, for one cannot wait for "Tards from Phobos" and the epic "Spetnaz-V-Cosmic Lesbian Mutants" Golden days of sci-fi ahead, my friends. And they'll both have Worthington.

Thom on Mar 31, 2013


If only someone was doing a proper adaptation of an Alastair Reynolds or Iain M. Banks story...

k5000 on Apr 2, 2013


What happened to Amazing Spiderman 2, Captain America: Winter Soldier, TMNT, and Wolverine?

Prince Awesom3 on Apr 6, 2013


More comic book/fantasy than they are sci-fi movies...

Alex Billington on Apr 20, 2013


You might wanna read the article before asking stupid questions about superheroes.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


If anyone can come up with stuff in their bedrooms which is just as good as what Hollywood does, then where does that leave Hollywood? I think it will go the way of the music industry, where it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to have a sustainable career as a creator in movies. This will 'commoditize' talent and creativity.

cy12 on Apr 8, 2013


Kind of amazed to see Rendezvous with Rama mentioned. I remember reading about how that film was "coming" over 10 years ago. I kid you not. Morgan Freeman was pushing it, and they even had an official website for a while. I think they even debuted some wireframe footage at one point. Sadly, I'm not holding out hope it will appear within the next 10 years either.

crystaltowers on Apr 8, 2013


Maybe it went back into development hell after they witnessed the videogame make such a flop.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


I am still crushed by what appears to be a miserable remake of RoboCop. The one thing the City of Detroit had going for it was RoboCop and now they are even going to mess that up. They should have begged Peter Weller to done the costume again. People would be lined up for a mile to see it.

bill c on Apr 9, 2013


Oh yea, someone please share with me why Avatar was such a hit? The story was stupid, the acting bad and the CGI was miserable. Someone help me out here.

bill c on Apr 9, 2013


Cool story Bill. To answer your question: It was a hit because most people liked it, even though you didn't. To date, $2.7billion at the box office.

crystaltowers on May 1, 2013


You forgot to mention; Clash of The Titans 3; the sequel to Wrath of The Titans.

Alex Diaz on Apr 9, 2013


Nope. Even if it had the slightest chance to be good, we're talking sci-fi here.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


That Seth Rogen film sounds like the perfect excuse to carpet bomb a set. You'd wipe out most of the annoying little shits in film today without any effort.

Bite me on Apr 11, 2013


There's also Cloud Atlas.

Red on Apr 11, 2013


Moon left me stupid and emotionally wrecked for weeks!

Juan A. Valdivia on Apr 12, 2013


Moon and District where the only two i can say really hit emotionally, the rest of these films where good some great but didnt hit the same spot those two did.

Juan A. Valdivia on Apr 12, 2013


district 9 !for the win

jeff on Apr 14, 2013


nice article. but, apart from the top four, a pretty poor choice of films in my opinion.

steak and kidney pie on Apr 17, 2013


perhaps James Cameron should take notice of the Kubrick quote before releasing films like Avatar.

spag bol on Apr 17, 2013


District 9 was horrible...

Sean Cowan on Apr 19, 2013


Here are some 50s/60s classics I wouldn't mind seeing as remakes (with adventurous, imaginative directors & writers, able to kick the story up a notch from the original film): Kronos; Forbidden Planet; The Flame Barrier; Gorgo. Plus, A comic book I've always thought could make a great movie is "Turok, Son Of Stone". I'm a bit tired of superheroes at this point due to oversaturation.

nobonesl on Apr 20, 2013


J. Michael Straczynski has written a Forbidden Planet prequel (the story of the original Bellerophon expedition) that, if successful, would become a trilogy, the last of which would be a remake of the original. Premise is that much of what Morbius told the crew was untrue (perfectly credible!), allowing JMS to include all sorts of surprises without contradicting the original. No reason why this shouldn't happen some day!

ericmvan on Apr 25, 2013


Turok, seriously? The guy who goes back in time to stuff a bunch of dinos with some lead? Uh, no thanks.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Lead? No--Stone, actually. Hence the title, "Turok, Son Of Stone". Stone arrowheads. Actually, it was poisoned arrows using venom from some exotic plant, I believe. They were Sioux warriors somehow transported thru time. Works for me. The suits aren't as cool as in the superheroes' stuff, though, I must admit. But the Honkers rock!

nobonesl on Sep 20, 2013


I remember playing the first videogames, of which the comics were derived, and Turok had a shotgun and other modern weapons. I read a recent comic a few months ago, and there were also more modern weapons than bows and arrows.

bfg666 on Sep 21, 2013


Here's a personal top 25 favorites, including a whole mess of under-the-radar gems, from a World Fantasy Award nominee who has seen a ton. Plus grades on a 0-100 scale! (I don't really dispute the high ratings given in the article to four films that didn't quite wow me as much as others; taste is taste.) 25. Knowing (2009), 80; 24. Timecrimes (2008), 80; 23. Another Earth (2011), 80; 22. Never Let Me Go (2010), 81; 21. The Hunger Games (2012), 81; 20. Cloverfield (2008), 81; 19. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), 81; 18. Looper (2012), 82; 17. Fish Story (2011 DVD), 83; 16. Monsters (2010), 84, 15. Wall-E (2008), 84; 14. Prometheus (2012), 85 [largely for the visuals], 13. Limitless (2011), 85, 12. Moon (2009), 85; 11. Source Code (2011), 86; 10. The Adjustment Bureau (2011), 86; 9. Sound of My Voice (2012), 87; 8. Perfect Sense (2012), 87; 7. Attack the Block (2011), 87; 6. Star Trek (2009), 88; 5. District 9 (2009), 88; 4. Avatar (2009), 96; 3. Cloud Atlas (2012), 99 and the only egregious omission from the article; 2. Inception (2010) ... and what could possibly by #1? Upstream Color (2013), 100. 1.

ericmvan on Apr 25, 2013


Bookmarking this, and noting the irony that you left out *one of the two or three best science fiction films of all time,* which opened April 5: Shane Carruth's follow-up to Primer, Upstream Color.

ericmvan on Apr 25, 2013


Avatar is a shit movie, the only thing going for it was the graphics.

anon on Apr 30, 2013


Graphics are what they have in video games. Movies have CGI or special effects

Huels on May 12, 2013


CGI: computer-generated imagery, AKA "graphics."

M_1 on Jul 21, 2013


I still can't believe Roland Emmerich is attached to Foundation. I can see it now, 2 hours of Harry Seldon narrowly outrunning collapsing buildings. A perfect title would be Foundation: Escape From Trantor.

The Mighty Pathos on May 1, 2013


Right here with you. You don't give such a staple of intelligent sci-fi to a hack like Emmerich.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


you forgot "The Wolverine" in july 13

Danny Sivan on May 12, 2013


Iron Man isnt sci fi? ok, you're an idiot.

⚔Christophuh⚔ on May 15, 2013


Well it is, but its mostly superhero genre

Kyle Edgecomb on Sep 15, 2013


As a huge animé fan I can't help but notice that both Battle Angel (Alita) and the live action Ghost in the Shell are missing... the rights being owned by Cameron & Spielberg respectively. These are both based on seminal works of fiction and if handled well (as in NOT like Dragonball), could take sci-fi into a new era. While Cameron has stated that Battle Angel is not going to be started until Avatar is completed (so 2016/7), it appears GITS has dissapeared off the radar. Lets all forget about DeCaprio's Akira... please.

Dante Solablood on May 23, 2013


These are all great movies...except Cloverfield....that had people too stupid to be enjoyed.

Gudni on May 25, 2013


15 Season of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis should have help a little to this "Sci-Fi Boom"

douglasac on Jun 2, 2013


I'm going to watch Cloverfield just right before Pacific Rim comes out to put me in the right mood for some 'Kaiju' bashing 🙂

Guess on Jun 3, 2013


Uh, you missed "Primer."

J.F. King on Jun 5, 2013


I couldn't finish that movie, it looked cool but I was lost and I still have to finish it. Hopefully some time soon, I guess.

David on Aug 4, 2013


"Forbidden Planet" and the original "Star Wars" still set the all time standard for me. When I compare those movies to your "last five years" list, only "Avatar" and the new "Star Trek" are in the same league.

OldMule on Jun 5, 2013


Of course, the first four being in a much higher league. That is, sci-fi that makes you think, which is what the best sci-fi is always about.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Avatar was a rip off of Fern Gulley.

Mars on Sep 22, 2013


Nice article. Only issue ... Starship Troopers is the gold standard of how NOT to make a sci-fi movie. It's what I judge sci-fi movies made from books against, in terms of utter terrible-ness. Starship Troopers took the ideas of the book, ripped them to pieces, threw them on the ground, spit, doused gasoline, and lit them on fire.

Kelderic on Jun 6, 2013


And made a good movie. The future fascist state in the movie is straight from the books.

Wilf Tarquin on Aug 3, 2013


Given that you seem to think it's a series, not a single book, I don't think that you've actually read it. If you had, (assuming you know the definition of the word 'fascism'), you wouldn't have made that comment.

Kelderic on Aug 4, 2013


Hm? Oh, I see - "books". Heinlein wrote a lot of books, none of which particularly good, and the society he outlines as his utopia is fascist. That Verhoeven played that straight, and made the film as a propaganda film from a future fascist dictatorship, was part of what made the film great.

Wilf Tarquin on Aug 4, 2013


Please explain how a society in which every single person, regardless of sex, race, etc etc, has the opportunity to vote and run for office is a fascist state?

Kelderic on Aug 5, 2013


They don't. Only military veterans were allowed to vote in Heinleins utopia, (because the military makes responsible citizens). The society was also formed by a military coup.

Wilf Tarquin on Aug 5, 2013


They do, because every person, regardless of sex, race,etc etc, can serve a term in the military and earn the right to vote. Which brings me back to, everyone has the opportunity to vote. Not all take it. In our own society, people still have to do things in order to vote. One has to register, one has to complete jury duty. The differences are that in his idea, the requirements are a bit more rigorous (prove you care about society by putting yourself in possible danger to protect it), and that it's optional, unlike with our own requirements. Additionally, the vote is not actually limited to military veterans in that society. There are other equivalents to military service.

Kelderic on Aug 6, 2013


You don't "earn" the right to vote in a democracy, and thankfully not by serving as disposable cannon fodder for the higher-ups. You have it, plain and simple, and you don't need to do anything for it. They might strip you of it if you refuse to do your civic duty, not the other way around. Society as depicted in Heinlein's book is a fascist state because it requires you to conform to abusive rules to be considered a citizen, squashing your individuality and personality in the process. It is an ant farm designed for humans. Also, the idea that serving in the military makes responsible citizens is an especially partial and twisted vision of human nature that the military like to teach their offspring.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


I'm not sure where you got your ideas on Fascism, but being required to conform has nothing to do with it. Fascism means that a single entity, be it a single person or a group of like-minded people, control the government. Given that in the world in that book, anyone could earn the right to vote, and could vote however they wanted, fascism is factually incorrect.You can dislike the system, you can be glad it's not our system, but you can't just call it something it isn't. Well you can, but you'd be wrong. Your last paragraph, about how serving in the military doesn't cause responsibility, is more of an opinion, and you are certainly entitled to whatever opinion you'd like to hold. I hold a different one though. I would say that a person who is willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of others is on average a more responsible citizen. It doesn't mean that I agree that the world that Heinlein describes is a place I'd want to live in. It doesn't mean that that system is fair, or even logical. But it's certainly not fascism. It's just a more limited democracy than our own. One thing I always recommend to people when I speak in person about this issue is that they read The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Also be Heinlein, it discusses a situation that is almost exactly opposite. An exploration of libertarianism to the point of anarchism. Reading both books gives a much better feel of the author than either one by itself.

Kelderic on Sep 22, 2013


A system that requires you to comply to certain rules in order to acquire full citizenship clearly is closer to fascism than democracy. It's even worse because it doesn't have the balls to put the right words on its methods and uses a pseudo-democratic facade to hide its deviousness (Huxley's Brave New World ringing any bell?). My last paragraph is not an opinion. Believing the military makes responsible citizens, however, is. Education does that. Granted, a few thick skulls need to be mistreated by a frustrated sarge to get that education across but I surely didn't need to serve to become a responsible citizen. Also, I know people who were damaged (both physically and psychologically, sometimes permanently) by their time in the army, so please don't feed me that partial crap. To travesty a quote of yours, I would say that a person who is willing to kill others is in no way a more responsible citizen. Your mention of The Moon... has little to no relevance here. Any author can write about anything, that doesn't mean he endorses the ideas developed in his books. Even if he does... well, Heinlein was a complex man who contradicted himself more than once. And I specifically talked about Starship Troopers, not another book or its author - though ST is believed to be the closest Heinlein ever wrote to his own ideas.

bfg666 on Sep 26, 2013


When the ideas of the book are so nauseous, what Verhoeven did is in the public interest.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Seen all of these films, surprisingly..

James Justsun Jr on Jul 3, 2013


Just as long as they leave the Heinlein novels alone. After the way they screwed up Starship Troopers, I hope they leave Heinlein's worl alone.

John Taylor on Jul 5, 2013


Asimov's works are touched in "Elysium"

David on Aug 4, 2013


You mean "after the way they enhanced Starship Troopers", right? Verhoeven turned a borderline fascist book glorifying the military into a brilliant and much needed political satire.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Really? I think Verhoeven turned a great book into a completely crappy movie. Borderline fascist? The movie was more than borderline where the book wasn't even remotely anything like fascist. I have encountered this opinion before. Usually expressed by someone who doesn't know the history of this country's military. Specifics in the movie. The whole of the character Carl. A science geek who gets killed off early in the book. Not some mental super-Nazi like in the movie. The women pilots. In the book, all wore buzz cuts/short hair. No A.G. in the book. Landing in transports. Most of the book, the landings were one man shells launched from tubes aboard ship. Where was the powered armor so prminent in the book? A lot more of the book dealt with training. Then there was the main character. Johnny Rico was not some white bread dude. He was from the Philippines. A matter of ethnic diversity which seemed to be almost totally absent in the movie.

John Taylor on Sep 20, 2013


The book wasn't even remotely anything like fascist? Wow, that's rich! I suggest you read it again, it has apparently eluded you. Furthermore, the book was completely first degree as it expressed the views of its author. Indeed, Verhoeven did underline the rampant fascism of the militaristic society depicted, so what? He did so with the specific purpose of an ever needed satire in mind, to call said society out on its sickening deviousness and warn us about its dangers, should mankind ever follow this dreadful path again. At least, a full-blown dictature has the honesty of laying its cards on the table, but hiding itself under the guise of a pseudo-democracy is much, much worse. Need I remind you this is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany? Things were kept under wraps and the overwhelming majority of the german people had no idea what was really going on until it was way too late. Remember the outcome? Also, what's the history of your country's military, whichever it might be, got to do with the subject? Unless you're German or Italian, nothing. You want a patriotic history lesson, go read a history book or watch a documentary. This is a fictional story about a future fascist society, for crying out loud! And please, don't even try to balance the substance of Verhoeven's purpose with mere details. I mean come on, transports, armors and... oh, haircuts, really? Jeez, this is so fucking preposterous! By the way, the absence of those powered armors was a budgetary constraint and the replacement of the Philippino lead by a white guy was to attract a larger audience, I thought these points obvious much. And you can't possibly cram everything from a book into the timeframe of a movie, this should be pretty obvious too. There has to be some cuts and I'm sorry but wasting one hour watching a bunch of grunts train would've been one hell of a drag. Again, if you want that, you can always jerk off to a documentary.

bfg666 on Oct 2, 2013


One opf my favorites. Have read it many times. Absolutely nothing fascist about it. A strong support of the military, but also a strong support of the individual's right to choose his or her own fate. If you consider that fascist, then that's your right. However it is my right to accuse you of being incorrect in your assessment of the novel.

John Taylor on Oct 3, 2013


That's exactly the point you're missing: there's no real right to choose when you're not considered a citizen unless you forfeit your fate to the State. I didn't think it could be so hard to understand.

bfg666 on Oct 3, 2013


Well, you had Star Trek and Avatar, so the list wasn't completely dreck.

John Taylor on Jul 12, 2013


Sadly, the good ones tend to do badly at the box office (Firefly, District 9, Cloud Atlas, Dredd...) while the junk rakes in both cash and scorn (Star Wars 1-3, Pacific Rim, Prometheus...). The one exception I can think of offhand is John Carter, which was both bad and had poor sales, proving that yes, it is possible for films to be too horrible even for the kiddie crowd.

Wilf Tarquin on Jul 20, 2013


.Prometheus was prety good, you probably just didn't get it.

Håkon on Jul 31, 2013


District 9 did pretty good and Pacific Rim was an incredibly fun popcorn flick that didn't do that great actually.

Bob on Aug 3, 2013


I would not put pacific rim in with prometheus and star wars because it was everything it ever promised to be. A romantic B movie about giant fighting robots.

Chris Cubitt on Sep 4, 2013


Prometheus was epic, exactly what it should have been. Cloud Atlas was dumb. Far too long and a rip of so many movies. And John Carter was a C movie but the ending made it purely awesome.

Mars on Sep 22, 2013


I personally didn't really like Looper or Elysium (which I just saw today) - I thought they were too violent and put too much value in showing bloody gory messes. But I am really happy that sci-fi is making such a huge comeback, as it's my favorite genre. And I agree with you that Upside Down is amazing and it's a shame that more people haven't seen it.

spyergirl4 on Aug 9, 2013


Im dying to see Upside Down, they havent released it in UK yet, and alls we know is Lionsgate is distrubuting it in UK

Kyle Edgecomb on Sep 15, 2013


You're sure they haven't released it yet and you simply missed it? I'm french and it was released in April in France, but it stayed two weeks tops in theaters. It's pretty good if a bit mellow, but I guess that's to be expected from any Romeo and Juliet retelling.

bfg666 on Oct 3, 2013


Im pretty sure, been keeping my eye out for it since last year, i might just buy the dvd from the US, cause im sick of waiting

Kyle Edgecomb on Oct 3, 2013


Probably a good move. If they haven't released it at this point and are still not communicating about a release date, it means they have little to no care for it and bought the distribution rights only to prevent it from casting a shadow over one of their big releases. And if you like it and they finally deign to release it, you could watch it again in a theater then.

bfg666 on Oct 3, 2013


It's on Netflix here in the USA... ("/)_-

Saros7 on Jan 4, 2014


While not a movie, yet, I'd like to bring up the Mass Effect series. It's got an awesome universe, cool science and tech, great characters, an involving and emotional story, and it can really get to you when you get invested in it. Not a movie, but it ticks every box for 'great sci -fi' in my opinion.

Amanda Marvell on Aug 26, 2013



waenhir on Sep 8, 2013


Hah, Mass Effect is a total joke! Do you honesty want Transformers or Star Trek Into Darkness, AGAIN? Oh, wait, you do! You wouldn't care? You just want "Mass Effect" as the title of the dam movie!

Saros7 on Jan 4, 2014


I don't care about the movie, I was on about the video game series; and as I said, in my opinion it's excellent science-fiction. Besides, the movie's barely even started production, who know's what it'll be like: all we know for sure is that it's source material is great.

Amanda Marvell on Jan 4, 2014


Wait, there's going to be a Mass Effect movie? What?! That's ridiculous! There's already books and video games! The video game would NOT rival the movie! That's utter trash! A movie? How idiotic of them!

Saros7 on Jan 6, 2014


I am still waiting on the "Fallout" movie... Guess i'll keep on waiting.

Brian Beard on Aug 27, 2013


I know theres this one sci fi coming out next year called Jupiter Ascending.....sounds interesting

Kyle Edgecomb on Sep 15, 2013


Moon is basically the 2001 of the XXIst century, it's most definitely worth watching.

bfg666 on Sep 20, 2013


Disconnect is a verb. Disconnection is the corresponding noun.

B2 on Oct 7, 2013


C'mon man! English is pretty darn versatile. dis·con·nect noun - a discrepancy or lack of connection.

hp b on Oct 23, 2013


This is the internet buddy, it's no place for perfect grammar.

John on Dec 31, 2013


Atrocious music and HUGE sci-fi movies. Proof that we're living in a repeat of the 80s.

Jeremy Schep on Oct 25, 2013


We just need a 6'8 actor to dress up in a Sasquatch costume and a brother and sister that never knew of each other! Hah!

Saros7 on Jan 4, 2014


I just came to say... Have you watched Guardians of the Galaxy? because, well, it's awful, and it's exactly what you described there. I'm sure George and the rest of Marvel is getting royalties from all the sideshows they're leeching from their characters

Saros7 on Sep 8, 2014


I'm glad (and hoping it continues) that I'm still alive for this resurgence of Sci Fi, animation and the plethora of superhero adaptations. Glory be to whatever cosmic force allowed me not to die (permanently) after a cement truck made a pancake out of me and my car in '81 and through the illnesses I have now. Keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way!

Rob Dotzler on Dec 17, 2013


Looper was a pathetic film, it doesn't deserve a place on this list. It's arguable that it's worth a watch, but it doesn't deserve to be called one of the best sci-fi movies of the last 5 years because it doesn't work. The main problems are firstly, the time travel aspect which revolves around the films climax don't work, (Of course, I understand this is science fiction we're talking about and not truth, but the logic of it creates a paradox, and as such, as far as I can work out, prevents it from working,) and secondly the completely underdeveloped back story and that whole thing with the telekinetic people? That definitely was far too subtextualised, I'm not saying it needed to be spelled out, but it was just sort of there and then all of a sudden it became a massive plot point, seemingly out of nowhere. Woops, I've gone on a rant, apologies, if anyone would like to further discuss Looper, hit me up!

Samuel Nicholson on Dec 20, 2013


Paradoxes such as the well known Grandfather Paradox are illogical. The only way backwards time travel would be possible is if there are infinite numbers of parallel universes, one for each possible outcome of every event that takes place in the entire universe, from a leaf falling from a tree to events on a cosmological scale. It would not work otherwise. Going back to the Grandfather Paradox. It proposes that if you went back and killed your grandfather before he met your grandmother then you would no longer exist. This of course is preposterous, you are not just going to disappear! It would simply mean that another timeline, or parallel universe, is created in which your parents never existed and in which a strange person with no past history suddenly showed up and killed a person. As for the universe you came from, you would simply become a missing person case. You disappeared and were never seen again, everyone would go on with their lives and you'd live the rest of yours in an alternate timeline, possibly in prison as a convicted murder with no past! I can't remember exactly how Looper finished but I'm sure if you think along the same lines as my thoughts above it will make sense......or at least there would no longer be a paradox.

John on Dec 31, 2013


Time Travel would not make sense at all then!? It's as real as the Tooth Fairy and Sasquatch!

Saros7 on Jan 4, 2014


Backwards time travel, no. Forwards time travel, yes absolutely, so long as you can find a spacecraft that can go fast enough.

inefekt on Jan 5, 2014


Not possible, period

Saros7 on Jan 6, 2014


I suggest you familiarize yourself with Einstein's theory of relativity, in particular 'time dilation'. Time slows down, relative to the observer, the closer you approach the speed of light. So if you go fast enough then time will slow down enough that for every day you spend on the spacecraft, 100 years may pass for everybody else. One week later and you come back to a world which is now 700 years older than the one you left. This phenomenon has been proven in a host of experiments over the years so yes, time travel into the future is possible.

inefekt on Sep 8, 2014


That's not time travel, that sounds like a group of travelers running away from their problems.

Saros7 on Sep 8, 2014


Try reallocating some time away from Facebook and redirecting it towards something more constructive..........like actually researching your subject before making blind statements, which are absolutely and undeniably wrong. I'm done trying to convince idiots, it's a waste of my time.

inefekt on Sep 20, 2014


Well, you said that time travel is possible, but, there's a but...just as long as the travelers leave first and then come back. That means that those travelers went on a suicide mission to leave, let's say Earth, they come back and whoever is left would not even know if a spaceship was supposed to come back.

Saros7 on Sep 22, 2014


Just having a lot of sci fi films does not mean that things are great. Essentially, 80% of movies that come out in the sci fi genre are the same story. It would be a great time for sci fi if many different types of sci fi stories were being told rather than more Hollywood rehashes of the same us vs. them plot/ good guy vs. bad guy plots

msep on Dec 22, 2013


The days of films like Contact and 2001 are over... These days the kiddies want to see Iron Man grinding against Thor while Loki watches.

Saros7 on Jan 4, 2014


It's best to NOT cast "A-List" *cough* Hollywood douchebags* coughs* for "grounded" Sci-Fi movies.... I think it's best to leave Sci-Fi to guys outside America... Just saying...

Saros7 on Jan 4, 2014

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