It seems when people talk about sci fi movies, they always talk about the same films. Star Wars, Star Trek, Avatar, Aliens, but there are a slew of hugely underrated sci fi movies that just seem to get ignored by everyone, and being such a huge fan of the genre for so long, I cannot figure out why. Perhaps a few of these movies were ahead of their time (Sunshine) or maybe a bit too lofty (Source Code), but they deserve as much credit as the big guys when it comes to furthering the sci fi genre. Here are the 6 most underrated sci fi movies of recent memory.
When it comes to underrated sci fi movies, I have to put Predestination at the top. Very Inception meets Memento, and the writing is just about as stellar as it gets in this genre. Predestination is about an agent who can travel back in time to prevent crimes before they happen (I know we have all heard that premise before, but wait) but no matter what this agent does, there is one particular perp who has been consistently escaping him, and when it all comes together by the end, your face is melted by the sheer awesomeness of it all.
I would even go so far as to say this is Ethan Hawk’s best performance since Training Day. Great film, great cast, and a great mindf*ck of a movie.
When your Dad is David Bowie who made one of the best space rock songs ever, it kinda makes sense you might make one of the best space movies ever, and that is just what Duncan Jones did in directing Moon. A movie about a man who is a….well, actually, I would rather not spoil this one-man-show for the few of you who haven’t seen it yet, so I will tell you this. Sam Rockwell plays a guy who has been doing a solo mission on the moon and is waiting his turn to return home.
It’s a sci fi movie, so you know there is MUCH more to it than just that. Also, why Rockwell wasn’t up for an Oscar for this film will never sit well with me. He OWNS this movie in so many ways.
Some people had problems with this visually stunning Danny Boyle movie because it changed tone halfway through from sci fi to sort of space horror. I, for one, had no problem with it at all, and found the asthetic of the movie to be one of the most visually appealing since Kubrick’s 2001. That, matched with cast and writing, made for one hell of a ride.
You cannot talk about underrated sci fi movies and not name drop Sunshine. The film takes place at a point when the sun is dying and the only way to stop it to send a wayward crew up into space to blah blah. Again, you may have heard the story, but you have never seen it quite it like this. before.
Okay, so maybe this movie did get a lot of hype and love. But if that is so, how come when I bring it up to non sci fi fans, they have never even heard of it? Most nerds know, it is the Neill Blompkamp movie based off his short of the same name about some aliens that land in South Africa and begin experiencing ‘racism’ (or “spacism” as I dubbed it for this movie). One man is tasked with helping to opress them, and in the process, unwillingly becomes more and more aware of their side and which side he should be fighting for.
Again, some major twists that I won’t ruin here, but if you have not seen this movie, watch it right this second. Also, Shartlo Copley is the shit. Seriously.
Sorry, but I gotta name drop one more Duncan Jones movie. Its confirmed, when your Dad is an alien, you know sci fi pretty well. Source Code is a movie about a soldier who gets dropped into a situation just before a terrorist attack and needs to figure out different things each time before the bomb goes off so he can figure out how to stop it. Think Edge of Tomorrow long before Edge of Tomorrow and you have a solid idea what Source Code is like.
Ending is a little cheesy, but otherwise, great film and concept.
Okay, I might lose you here. In this case, sci fi is not exploding bombs or space ships darting through the night sky. In this case, the sci fi I am plugging here is WAY more cerebral. Made by the same man behind the also genius Primer, Shane Carruth. Upstream Color is a movie that is almost impossible to describe. I want to recommend it on this list of underrated sci fi movies just because of how brave and daring and original it is. But I will warn you, multiple viewings might be needed for this to make sense.
Hell, even after multiple viewings it may not make sense, but it sticks with you like good sci fi should. Upstream Color is about two people, mind control, larva, pigs, and fate. To tell you more than that would lead you to believe I even have a clue. I just knew (much like Primer) it was insane, brilliant, and I loved it.