Although not particularly popular upon release, Mars Attacks! went on to be considered one of the great science fiction comedies. Directed by Tim Burton and featuring a truly quirky celebrity cast, the story is based on the comic TOPPS trading card series which chronicled an aggressive alien invasion. Bringing the vibe of old-school 1950s sci-fi movies into the 1990s and increasing levels of satire, this serves as a humorous counterpart to the much more serious Independence Day, released the same year.
Mobile Suit Gundam (1981)
A compilation film collecting the first part of the Mobile Suit Gundam series that debuted in 1979, it’s on a lot of must-see anime lists for good reason. When humans colonize outer space to solve the overpopulation problem, some of the outermost colonies break up and a war begins in which much of the human population on Earth perishes. With the help of a teenager named Amuro Ray to pilot the massive RX-78-2 Gundam fighter robot, the door opens wide to giant robot battles in space. Yet by treating the pilots like regular soldiers fighting an ugly war, Gundam revolutionized its genre and became one of the most important animated series ever produced. All Gundam movies are great, but you have to start somewhere.
A film that combines survival horror with sci-fi elements to create a disturbing adventure, Sweetheart is a great watch for anyone who likes an ominous vibe in their sci-fi. Taking its audience quite a ride through a handful of tropes while adding new twists along the way, it’s a great underrated. Following Jenn after her boat capsizes and leaves her stranded, the film brings her face-to-face with a deep-sea monster that comes ashore to hunt prey. Naturally, the scariest part of it all is when she meets her fellow survivors from the wreckage and they nearly lead her to her death, but the battles between Jenn and the monster remain epic.
What Happened to Monday (2017)
In a dystopian future where the solution to overcrowding is to limit each household to a single child, twins and other births involving more than one child result in euthanasia. A grandfather tries to hide seven identical daughters by having each go out on a day of the week pretending to be the same person. Naturally, that goes haywire in this movie, and a dystopian sci-fi action flick is born. It’s impossible to leave this article without praising Noomi Rapace’s juggling of each sister’s different personalities. Watching the women interact, it’s easy to forget that they’re all literally the same person off-screen. Plus, it’s the characterization that makes the story click as well as it does, as each death is meaningful, felt through the other sisters.
AI Loves You (2022)
In this futuristic world, AI is powered by human emotion. An ad agency employee named Lana goes on excruciatingly bad blind dates, not realizing she already has a secret admirer. The AI at her Dob office building possesses the body of a particularly bad date and uses it to woo her with his encyclopedic knowledge of the things she likes. A weird romantic comedy as well as a sci-fi movie in which a woman literally falls in love with a building, it’s tailor-made for anyone looking for a little more romance in their sci-fi.
Bong Joon-Ho fans, rejoice! This movie features a massive cast with plenty of celebrity appearances, and it tells a surprisingly heartwarming story of a young girl named Mija and her beloved genetically modified super pig. Although the company that created Okja inevitably wants their creation back at some point, Mija fights them tooth and nail, showing the level of dedication a person can have for their pets.
The Book of Eli (2010)
After a nuclear holocaust destroys much of the planet, the mysterious Eli travels across the country to deliver a book to a society trying to preserve knowledge. There are a number of twists along the way so spoilers are best avoided, but there’s no shortage of fun watching Denzel Washington as Eli takes part in some truly amazing action sequences as he journeys through a dark and gritty apocalypse. Aesthetically pleasing and full of top-notch fight scenes, it’s one of Washington’s most entertaining performances, but it’s also packed with plenty of commentary on the importance of historical records.
I Am Legend (2007)
Based on the 1954 horror novel by genre giant Richard Matheson, I Am Legend follows The Omega Man (1971) and The Last Man on Earth (1964) as the story’s third big-screen adaptation. While none particularly captured the moody mood of the novel, they’re all entertaining in their own right. I Am Legend leans into the sci-fi action side of the story, following Will Smith’s take on Robert Neville. Neville is literally the last man on Earth (or so we believe) when a virus meant to cure cancer leaves the human race of vampiric zombies blind. Attempting to find a cure while battling the odds of survival, this film is a good showcase for Smith while still being a fun take on a classic, even if it’s not particularly faithful to the source material.
The Black Mirror TV series is well known for telling a number of challenging sci-fi stories set in the not-too-distant future where technology is advancing rapidly but humans remain much the same as ever. Surprisingly, when given the opportunity to craft a feature-length experience, the series opted to go down memory lane, examining the Choose Your Own Adventure style of storytelling as well as the popularization of home video game systems in the 1980s to create this bizarre, sometimes obnoxious, always trippy genre. Whether you like Bandersnatch or not, the fact is there is no such thing, and it has to be experienced to be believed.
Married couple Vera and David move with their daughter Gloria into a house where severe traumatic effects leading to several deaths occurred years before. One of the dead is a boy named Nico, who during an electrical storm appears to Vera through the television. She urges him to avoid her death, then wakes up to a completely changed world in which her daughter was never born and her husband married someone else. Haunting and eerie, this film delves into the issues of using technology to change the timeline and boasts some brilliant performances along the way.
Anyone who loves Anthony Mackie’s portrayal as Sam Wilson in the MCU will be pleased to know that he’s a certified genre star, with standout performances in Black Mirror, Io, and even Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. One of his best performances, genre or otherwise, remains Synchronic, in which he portrays a paramedic sent to investigate a number of mysterious deaths. Seemingly caused by a new designer drug, he takes the drug and discovers it has time travel abilities. A disturbing film with likable protagonists, Synchronic is a staple in the realm of haunting time travel movies.
Quick Color (2018)
In a desert that hasn’t seen rain for eight years, we meet Ruth. Homeless and trying to get home, her seizures cause earthquakes, which puts her in the crosshairs of a research scientist who immediately attempts to draw blood from her after pretending to be a potential friend. Upon reuniting with his mother, we discover that superpowers run in the family. Putting a vital twist on superheroes as they’ve been portrayed in movies thus far, Fast Color is one of the great hidden sci-fi gems to be released in recent years.
The Mitchells Against the Machines (2021)
After a nasty fight between young filmmaker Katie and tech-phobic dad Rick leaves his laptop destroyed, he tries to make it up to him by getting the family together to drive them to their new college. However, when a soon-to-be-obsolete household robot decides to exact revenge on its creator by launching all of humanity into space, the Mitchells suddenly find themselves on the run and fighting to survive. Featuring an all-star voice cast with the likes of Maya Rudolph, Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride and Eric Andre, it’s the story of a family who put down their differences when it matters, but with many battles. of chaotic robots into the mix.
A woman who has risen to the top of her field is ready to lose everything due to her status as “lesser” due to her race and gender. She is fired suddenly due to sheer aging in her position according to her superiors, and the conditional privilege she experienced immediately vanishes as she struggles to provide for her daughter. As with many of the best sci-fi movies, Advantage is about a sci-fi premise, but the important part of the story is the human cost. By showing us a mother grappling with a series of complicated decisions she makes to protect her daughter while sadly failing to change the future which will demand much the same from the child, the lines between reality and fantasy disappear. .
Best movies on Netflix by genre:
Note: This list is for US Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms. This article is frequently updated to remove movies that are no longer on Netflix and to include more action movies now available on the service.