- There’s a great selection of sci-fi movies available to stream on a variety of platforms
- Entries in the biggest sci-fi franchises like “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”
- Check out modern classics like “Annihilation,” “Under The Skin,” and “Arrival”
Sitting in your sweatpants this weekend and looking for some good science fiction to stream? The options can be overwhelming, so here are some recommendations.
These 13 sci-fi movies will satisfy fans of new, flashy sci-fi as well as those looking for some cult classics.
“Inception” can be streamed on HBO.
Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending modern classic “Inception” is available to stream. The movie is known for its deeply layered and confusing dream-jumping plot, star power, a ludicrous amount of stylish action, and some wild twists and turns. If you haven’t seen “Inception,” now is the best time. If you have, it’s always a good one to rewatch.
“Total Recall” is on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Sci-fi-satirist supreme Paul Verhoeven directed this trippy 1990 action adventure. Arnold Schwarzenegger finds himself as an undercover agent on Mars but is unsure whether what is happening to him is real, or part of an immersive simulation that’s giving him an exciting alternative to his boring, regular life.
“Annihilation” can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
“Annihilation” is Alex Garland’s visually stunning latest. Following the critical success of “Ex Machina,” “Annihilation” flopped at the box office, but will be talked about for years. A crew of women (Natalie Portman Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson) are sent in to investigate a mysterious Shimmer where soldiers have been disappearing.
The ending is one of the most striking sequences of last year. If you missed this in theatres in 2018, check it out on streaming today.
“Star Trek” (2009) is on Amazon Prime.
J.J. Abram’s 2009 reboot of “Star Trek” is a thrilling ride. The cast serves their purpose and introduced a new generation to the beloved crew of the Enterprise. Sure, there is too much lens flare, but there is also Leonard Nimoy.
If you are a newcomer and this piques your interest (or if you are a long-time Trekkie and the Abrams films make you turn up your nose) the original series, “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager,” and “Enterprise” are all free to stream on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
“Her” can be streamed on Netflix.
“Her” is the perfect blend of science fiction and romance. In Spike Jonze’s near-future tale of alienation and connection, Joaquin Phoenix is down-on-his-luck Theodore Twombly, who falls in love with his new OS (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
It’s all the melancholy you would expect from the director of “Adaptation” and “Being John Malkovich,” but it’s the tenderness and true emotion that makes “Her” Jonze’s best film.
“District 9” can be found on Netflix.
“District 9” is a dark sci-fi movie that dabbles in many genres. The first half is full of gnarly body horror, while the second half is a more straightforward action movie fare. If you can deal with the gore, “District 9” is an interesting exploration of xenophobia and segregation that plays on very-specific historic touchstones of 20th-century apartheid in South Africa.
“Under The Skin” is streaming on Netflix.
If you are into artsy sci-fi, “Under the Skin” is the essential entry on this list. The low-budget, documentary-style film may be off-putting to some as we follow an alien (Scarlett Johansson) across Scotland as she submerges men into an inky, black abyss. “Under the Skin” is one of the more daring sci-fi films of the decade.
“Cloud Atlas” is available on Netflix.
“Cloud Atlas” is a sci-fi epic that any fan of the genre should invest their time in at least once. Following multiple stories over six time periods, the film is complex and hard to follow at times. It polarised critics and audiences and will have people arguing over its status in great sci-fi cannon until the end of time.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is on Netflix.
The most divisive entry in the series, “The Last Jedi” is a must-watch for sci-fi fans. It’s extremely subversive, entertaining, and the best “Star Wars” movie in years, at least according to some people.
“Arrival” is available on Hulu.
Nominated for best picture at the 2017 Academy Awards, “Arrival” is an adaptation of Ted Chiang’s award-winning short story “Story of Your Life.” Amy Adams’ Golden Globe-nominated performance carries the deliberately-paced story of a linguist trying to uncover an alien language and communicate.
“Arrival” is the rare great modern sci-fi drama that is fascinating in the ideas it communicates.
“Starship Troopers” is on Hulu.
The second Verhoeven movie on this list, “Starship Troopers” is nothing like “Total Recall,” but if you are a fan of one, consider checking out the other. This cult classic sci-fi military satire often verges on parody with how over-the-top it can get. Praised as Verhoeven’s richest and funniest film, this is for sci-fi fans who don’t take themselves too seriously.
“The Running Man” is available for streaming on Hulu.
This 1987 action-sci-fi entry in Schwarzenegger’s great run as the sub-genre leading man is a hoot. Competing in a post-apocalyptic game show where the stakes are life and death, Schwarzenegger’s character must fight for his life and expose the corrupt totalitarian system. A cult classic ’80s satire, “The Running Man” is worth a watch.
“Akira” in on Hulu.
“Akira” is one of the most-influential anime films of all time. It nailed the trappings of Japanese cyberpunk, chock-full of visual iconography and explores government corruption, individualism, and military imperialism. If you are at all interested in the history of animation, sci-fi, or cyberpunk you need to watch “Akira.”
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