While 2022 often feels like a sci-fi dystopia, it can pay to escape to fictional universes dealing with fictional problems. And that’s partly why the science-fiction genre is so popular.
The other reason is a bit simpler: Science-fiction rules.
It’s a space for satire, to explore weird ideas, to safely make commentary on current issues. It’s also the perfect place for popcorn movies that do nothing more than allow you to shut your brain off for a couple of hours.
With all that said, here are some of our favorite sci-fi movies on Netflix.
Annihilation is just so good. It’s so good. It mixes warped Lynchian imagery with inspired sci-fi concepts, wrapping it all up in utterly deranged body horror that haunts me to this day.
And the soundtrack! Good lord the soundtrack. Annihilation is a true masterpiece that everyone should watch at least once.
My parents hated it.
The human race loves to dream of what would happen if we were visited by an alien species. Arrival is a magnificent twist on that theme.
Not since Close Encounters of the Third Kind has a movie inspired so much awe, turning the alien experience on its head completely. This is a movie that trades on mystery and plays with concepts of language. It’s a mind bender. There’s some hokey relationship stuff in there I could have done without, but nobody’s perfect.
I feel like, as a species, we’ve forgotten how much District 9 ruled.
That is all. Go watch it. What a goddamn movie.
Blade Runner 2049
I’ve always felt Blade Runner 2049 was a little too overpraised upon its release in 2017, but it’s still a hell of a movie.
It features some fantastic universe building, glorious visuals and some great performances as well. Could have been 30 minutes shorter, but who’s counting?
(Me, I’m counting.)
On the surface Ex Machina is a sci-fi flick about the potential dangers of AI. Dig deeper and you’ll find a movie that explores all the ways in which men suck.
Ex Machina is a great high concept film anchored by three, incredibly powerful performances. This could be performed on-stage, minus all the CGI, and still be compelling.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is one of the smartest, most accessible kids movies of the last few years. It’s the sort of movie kids and parents can watch together and both have a blast.
I should know, my kids have made me watch this… eight times so far? Sweet.
I just watched The Colony recently. It’s surprisingly good!
It follows a very familiar trope: Rich people returning to Earth years after abandoning it, to find it overrun by new, unknown threats. The Colony subverts some of these cliches, however, and has some surprisingly powerful things to say about the ways in which we dehumanize one another. Well worth giving a chance.
I love a movie like Gravity. Smart, self-contained, never overreaches and remains committed to its high concept. It’s a perfectly executed movie. Tense and taught with spectacular visuals and audio design. Gravity is a science fiction movie.
The Invisible Man
It’s fascinating when science fiction, or any “genre” movies for that matter, attack challenging themes. The Invisible Man is, obviously, a movie about an invisible man and inspired by the H.G. Wells novel, but it’s also a movie about spousal abuse and it handles that delicate issue well. Great movie, great performance by Elisabeth Moss, but you can almost take that for granted these days.
Is Okja science fiction? Look it’s a stretch, but it’s a good movie. Just watch it anyway.
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The Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix