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TOP 15 Sci-Fi Movies from the Last 15 Years

April 22nd 2009 01:46
Sci-fi is one of my favourite genres, and within my favourite genre I will try to narrow down some of my favourite films.

Sci-fi can examine the human condition in ways that realism cannot. When a film is set in the future, or in space, or on another planet, the scope is so broad that the formulation of hypotheticals is boundless and free. I particularly like films about artificial intelligence (robots), genetics and cloning, and reevaluating perceptions of reality.

I have enjoyed the "classic" sci-fi films like Alien, Terminator, Star Wars, Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, Planet of The Apes, The Abyss, Short Circuit, Cocoon, and Close Encounters.

I have cringed at The Cube, Lawnmower Man, Waterworld, Logans Run, Rollerball, Transformers, and Battlefield Earth.

I can even appreciate light-hearted "entertainment" sci-fi like Galaxy Quest, Back To The Future, The Fifth Element, Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, Total Recall, and ET.

However being a child schooled in the 90s, my absolute favourites are those more serious, thought-provoking sci-fi films from my own generation. I believe sci-fi is getting better and better.

Here are my TOP 15 from the Last 15 Years:

1. Star Trek Nemesis (2002)
2. Gattaca (1997)
3. Aeon Flux (2005)
4. The Matrix (1999)
5. The Island (2005)
6. The Truman Show (1998)
7. The Final Cut (2004)
8. Vanilla Sky (2001)
9. Stargate (1994)
10. Serenity (2005)
11. Sunshine (2007)
12. Contact (1997)
13. A.I. (2001)
14. Soldier (1998)
15. Battlestar Galactica (2003)


Tom Hardy as Praetor Shinzon (Captain Picard's clone) in Star Trek Nemesis













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Comments
39 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Someone

April 22nd 2009 00:25
Does Event Horizon count as sci-fi or horror? That'd definitely make my top 10. As would Starship Troopers (only the first one though, 2 and 3 were just plain awful).

Also, I would definitely put Serenity in the top 3, possibly first. I love that movie so much.

I also have spots reserved on my list for Terminator 4, The Star Trek remake, and Transformers 2


Comment by Someone

April 22nd 2009 00:30
Oh I almost forgot... Wall-E would definitely be up there too. As would (I think it's slightly outside the 15 year limit) Jurassic Park.

Comment by Norm

April 22nd 2009 00:44
I've only seen 4 of those 15. Eeek.
The Day the Earth Stood Still, is one I wouldn't have in my top 5.
Minority Report, I have to admit, I would have in my top 6.

I stll reckon 2001: A Space Odyssey is a great moofie, Hal.

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 00:47
hi Someone,
i think theres a big area of overlap between sci-fi and horror, i would count anything that uses technology that is not currently available as sci-fi, space ships into deep space is obviously a big one, but i count the lucid dreams in Vanilla Sky, and the human memory recording in The Final Cut
i havent seen Wall-E yet but i suspect i would enjoy it
i would classify Jurassic Park as light entertainment, and Starship Troopers as cringe (lol sorry)
Serenity was fantastic though hey

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 00:53
hi Norm,
Minority Report has some really cool special effects, esp the scenes in the old ladys garden, oh and the eyeball operation . . . whats with sci-fi and the obsession with removing eyeballs?
only 4 out of the 15???
you need to take a movie excursion to my house if you want to be a real nerd!

Comment by Tania Crivellenti

April 22nd 2009 01:02
I like your list Morgan, some of the movies I'll watch again just to remember them. Good fun.

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 01:04
hi Tania,
the good ones are always worth watching again and again
thanks so much for the kind comment

Comment by Someone

April 22nd 2009 01:37
tarship Troopers as cringe

Me too. That's the beauty of it

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 01:44
hi Someone,
i like The Happening based on much the same theory

Comment by Bryn

April 22nd 2009 02:02
I'm a big fan of sf ...
But there are some crowd favourites that I loathe, such as The Fifth Element. I thought Solider was dreadful. I thought AI, The Island and Sunshine were hugely disappointing. I'm not a Trekkie, but I'm keen to see the re-boot. I beg to differ that science fiction movies are getting better. I think special effects (ie CGI) are allowing filmmakers to realise visual concepts a lot more convincingly, but I don't think they're necessarily better movies.
I'm a little longer in the tooth, so my favourites are mostly from the earlier decades, with a couple of exceptions. I also prefer my sf to be of a darker hue.
My top 15 would be:
1. Blade Runner (1982)
2. Alien (1979)
3. The Thing (1982)
4. The Terminator (1984)
5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1958)
6. Solaris (1972)
7. The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)
8. Star Wars (1977)
9. THX-1138 (1969)
10. Primer (2004)
11. La Jetee (1962)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. The Time Machine (1960)
14. Wizards (1977)
15. Saturn 3 (1980)

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 02:19
hi Bryn,
i was kind of anticipating your comment, so i thought i would pick a few you probably wouldnt
i should watch The Man Who Fell To Earth again, i vaguely remember bits of it as a child, and i have a bit of an affinity with Bowie (yes he likes me as much as i like him haha), im sure i would like it
thanks for your list

Comment by Bryn

April 22nd 2009 02:50
Morgan, by all means dip back into Bowie. Candy Clark's great in it too, and you even get to see Bowie's legendary wang-doodle! I love the concept that an alien trying to find a way to get back to his home planet to prevent his family from dying of thirst ends up an alcoholic trapped on earth.

Comment by JohnDoe

April 22nd 2009 03:04
A massive sci fi fan here too...I enjoy and rank Gattaca, Serenity, Sunshine and Battlestar Galactica....the rest on the list not so much. (IMO Nemisis was one of the lamer Star trek films i thought - too much mindless action, no substance - I hate Matrix, Soldier, Stargate and most fluff sci fi)

15 of my faves over the last 15 years areIn No Order)

Pi
Primer
Wall-E
Equilibrium
Pitch Black
Dark City
Solaris (remake)
The Cube
Starship Troopers
Abre Los Ojos (Open your Eyes)
Los cronocrímenes (Time Crimes)
Free Enterprise
A Scanner Darkly
Existenz
The Mist


Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 03:43
hi Bryn,
whoa, a wang-doodle! haha
well it would be worth tuning in just for that!
it is a great concept . . . oh the evils of alcohol!




hi JohnDoe,
i loved the overall concept of Nemesis, the whole nature vs nuture debate, and the film came hot of the heals of 9/11 and the conflict in the middle east, i felt it was asking if you grew up in abject poverty and violence would you become ruthless yourself?
and with Picard as the ultimate archetype of "good", could a clone of him be so mistreated they became "evil" . . . well thats my little synopsis anyway
oh and i see The Cube on your list haha
a film that sounds good on paper, but had some of the worst acting ive ever seen
thanks for putting together a list (quite a few i havent seen)

Comment by JohnDoe

April 22nd 2009 04:17
Hi Morgan,

The nature versus nurture angle is a fave of mine too but in Nemisis it was so brushed over with very obvious cues and no depth just cliche- at least thats what I saw......now I do want a Monroe Box though (Simpsons moment sorry)

As for the Cube YES the acting was bad but still had moments of genuine emotion, the script and set pieces were too intriguing for me not to enjoy it.

Now The Island, that to me was unbearable acting all round with not a hint of believability and a recycled story (See THX, Logan's Run plus the other 70's film it ripped off or cloned is it dumbed down for mass consumption....of course just my opinion.....don't get me started on Vanilla Sky, talk about a great premise reduced to stupidity, maybe I love the original (Open Your Eyes) too much....plus Penlope Cruz, Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise lodge for me some of the worst perfromances in film history making the self confessed amatuers in teh Cube look like Oscar winners. (You pressed my on switch, can you tell


Nice to be chatting films again with you....

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 05:04
hi JohnDoe,

plus Penlope Cruz, Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise lodge for me some of the worst perfromances in film history making the self confessed amatuers in teh Cube look like Oscar winners

oh that was cheeky!

Tom will be Tom, there is no excuse for him, but i really think Vanilla Sky is the best performance i have ever seen by Diaz - she nailed it!

see i thought Logans Run was a badly executed film based on a good idea, and The Island improved on the original inspiration with a stellar script

actually i wish someone would remake The Cube so it looked less like a stageplay . . . we dont have nearly enough mathematical dramas

always a pleasure chatting films with you too


Comment by Matt Shea

April 22nd 2009 05:36
Morgan - nice idea for a list. In terms of the last fifteen years, good calls on The Matrix, Truman Show and Contact was good as well - flawed, but good. Not so fussed on the rest of the list but of course that's just IMO. I tend to agree with Bryn - I'm not really convinced sci-fi is improving as a genre, although I think this is perhaps indicative of films in general. The only one I can think off the top of my head to add from the last fifteen years is Dark City.

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 05:45
hi Matt,
sounds like we have a few favourites in common!
i think the stories are improving as there is more technology to draw on for inspiration, more moral and ethical issues to explore . . . some of the ideas have been around in books for decades (sometimes centuries) but i think sci-fi in cinema is now becoming more mainstream and these older ideas are finally appealing to producers, so more is getting fleshed out on the screen . . . and old concepts are being enriched and renewed by all the modern implications of how the technologies could be applied
thanks for the discussion

Comment by Bryn

April 22nd 2009 07:04
I find recent sf - or sci-fi as it is when it becomes mainstream - tries to be oh so clever but over-saturates with special effects or tries to dumb down its ideas for mass consumtion. Then there are the exceptions to the rule such as the astonishing Primer, or the equally bewitching Timecrimes (both playing with that delicious sf conundrum of causality).
I much prefer the heady, but still high-tech dystopia sf of films such as THX-1138 and La Jettee, or the weathered realism of Alien and Blade Runner.
Or the dark malevolent machines of The Terminator and The Matrix (but only the first movies of each)
I'm very curious to see what James Cameron does with Avatar.
However .... I really enjoyed Contact and WALL-E, both unashamedly feel-good movies, albeit with stunning visuals and great acting

Comment by stu-kicks

April 22nd 2009 10:38
i like predator vs. alien that was sick

Comment by Mau-Medellin

April 22nd 2009 14:17
Boy... Of the films I have seen from your list Morgan, I don't think I liked any!! But, I think that's more so the genre than your taste; just not big on sci-fi.


Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 14:58
hi Bryn,
there is some really terrible sci-fi of late (i can think of a few examples starring Will Smith) where CGI does indeed saturate the film and alter the storyline to accomadate for even more visual showing off
you will have no arguments from me that Alien and Terminator were much more artfully made films than some of the "sunny" sci-fi i enjoy, but i also feel those classics had the element of surprise on their side, they could rely on the awe of the audience . . . in order to be innovative and remain interesting i think modern filmmakers are trying to develop ideas that branch off from the "dark" experience people are expecting




hi Stu,
not one of my favourites, i actually turned the sequel off when it came on tv




hi Mau,
sci-fi is not for everyone, i know some people purposely avoid it . . . are there any alien, or space, or robot, or time travel, or dystopian, or future movies that you have enjoyed?

Comment by Mau-Medellin

April 22nd 2009 16:12
nope.

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 22nd 2009 16:25
hi Mau,
haha straight shootin

Comment by RubySoho

April 23rd 2009 02:03
I've only seen two on your list. I don't really like sci fi either. But i did love The Truman Show. Never considered it sci fi though.

Comment by Jason King

April 23rd 2009 05:45
I have been thinking on this for a few days now Morgan - it is tough.

But my top 15 - although not over the last 15yrs include:
These are pretty much in order.

Star Trek (the new one)
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
Wall E
Aliens
Terminator 2
The Matrix
ET
Transformers
2001
12 Monkeys
Donnie Darko
Nowhere
The Abyss
Metropolis
The Cube

The Cube totally rocked Morgan!!

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 23rd 2009 06:04
hi Ruby,
its funny how The Truman Show became a self-fulfilling prophecy and spawned all the reality tv shows like Big Brother where cameras were on people 24 hours a day . . . i think we take it for granted now, but when it came out it was well ahead of its time



hi Jason,
ixnay on the oosegay haha
i note you chose the sequels to Alien and Terminator instead of the originals, they were very good sequels though!
i think i liked Transformers less than The Cube lol
i really need to see Wall-E and the new Star Trek . . . catch up on the latest rave sci-fi flicks
thanks so much for putting a list together

Comment by NoaIzumi

April 23rd 2009 11:55
Good choices (most of them, anyway), but I'd add two more:

12 Monkeys
Star Trek: First Contact

Comment by Wilson Pon

April 23rd 2009 12:02
A.I. and The Matrix are my all time favorite sci-fic films, Morgan. The classic slow motion movement from Keanu Reave is totally outstanding and unbeatable! LOl

PS: Morgan, maybe next time you should come up with the Top 15 Horror Movies from the last 30 years or something similar with it... Well, it's just my 2 cents opinion!

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 23rd 2009 17:38
hi Noalzumi,
i am am quite a fan of all the Picard based Star Trek movies, First Contact is another fine example
i struggle with time travel movies like 12 Monkeys



hi Wilson,
glad to see we have some favourites in common
i purposely picked the last 15 years so i could choose something other than the classics, i do love the classics but i wanted to highlight some more modern masterpieces

Comment by Lilla

April 24th 2009 07:07
Hi Morgan,

Although I no longer write my film blog, I wanted to mention a few o my favs here as Sci fi is also one of my favourite genre*s after true life stuff. and posts like this make me stop and think about the amazing stuff that hs been made.

trouble is when I sat down and thought about it, there are so many favourites I covered a whole sheet, and my daughter reminded me that there was jsut s*posed ot be about 15 or so, so from the top in order of preference

Contact (the best ever)
Timeline
Buckaroo Bonzai
Logans Run
Waterworld
Anything Trek or Star Wars.
Dune
Evolution
The Fifth Element
The Matrix
Blade Runner
Gattaca
I Robot
Paycheck

(ooh last place is hard and a toss up between Wall.E, The New Batmans, Jumper, Minority report and the Day After Tomorrow).. pick one?

I liked the premise of Vanilla Sky, Final Cut and Cypher too, but felt they all lacked something.

Lilla

Comment by NoaIzumi

April 24th 2009 11:30
Morgan,

Time travel movies can be confusing (perfect example: the Terminator TV series) and 12 Monkeys is no exception. I had a some trouble with it myself at first.

Lilla,

I always thought that Logan's Run was one of the most under-rated sci fi films ever.

Comment by Lilla

April 24th 2009 11:43
Thanks Noalzumi, I couldn*t agree more.

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 24th 2009 16:16
hi Lilla,
thanks for putting together a list!
i would nominate Jumper to be in your 15th place, i really enjoyed that film
i see we have a few in common (Contact is amazing isnt it) and a few we would disagree on, and a few on your list i havent seen at all



hi Noalzumi,
for time travel i think Terminator, Donnie Darko, and Butterfly Effect are all excellent films, but the concept of time travel itself is a paradox so it is hard to digest if it is the sole or central theme

Comment by Someone

April 24th 2009 17:04
i struggle with time travel movies

Back to the Future must have destroyed you

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 24th 2009 17:34
hi Someone,
well Back To The Future had a flux capacitor and a mad scientist to explain everything!

Comment by Ye-Ha

May 5th 2009 22:42
I don't think that I can limit it to 15, but I'm not limiting to the last 15 years either. In no particular order:

The Matrix
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Wars: return of the Jedi
Gattaca
The Terminator
The Cube
Pitch Black
Mission to Mars
Predator
Cocoon
Westworld
Robocop
Independence Day
The Fly
Alien
Logan's Run
Close encounters of the Third Kind
Silent Running
Starman
2001: A Space Odyssey

Well, now it's the top 20. But now I'm going to list honorable mentions

A.I.
Contact
Total Recall
I Robot
The other Star Wars movies
The other Star Trek movies
The other Matrix Movies

Finally, the biggest losers, IMO:
5th Element
Event Horizon
Vanilla Sky
Starship Troopers

And the worst popular of all time:

Men in Black

Best Sci-Fi TV shows of all time:

Star Trek
X-Files


Comment by Ye-Ha

May 5th 2009 22:44
I don't think that I can limit it to 15, but I'm not limiting to the last 15 years either. In no particular order:

The Matrix
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Wars: return of the Jedi
Gattaca
The Terminator
The Cube
Pitch Black
Mission to Mars
Predator
Cocoon
Westworld
Robocop
Independence Day
The Fly
Alien
Logan's Run
Close encounters of the Third Kind
Silent Running
Starman
2001: A Space Odyssey

Well, now it's the top 20. But now I'm going to list honorable mentions

A.I.
Contact
Total Recall
I Robot
The other Star Wars movies
The other Star Trek movies
The other Matrix Movies

Finally, the biggest losers, IMO:
5th Element
Event Horizon
Vanilla Sky
Starship Troopers

And the worst popular of all time:

Men in Black

Best Sci-Fi TV shows of all time:

Star Trek
X-Files


Comment by Anoop

January 21st 2010 15:13
[B][B]WHAT A FUCKING LIST !!! DEAR PEOPLE DONT BE CHEATED ~~ I AM ASSURING BELOW LIST IS TRUE !!!

THE BEST 20 FILIMS LAST 15 YEARS

]


1. THE TERMINATOR JUDGMENT DAY

2. GOOD FELLAS

3. THE MATRIX

4. PULP FICTION

5. SHWASHANK REDEMPTION

6. THE LORD OF RINGS

7. GLADIATOR

8. FINDING NEMO

9. FIGHT CLUB

10. BRAVE HEART

11. THE BOURN IDENTITY

12. THE DEPARTED

13. BOOGIE NIGHTS

14. KILL BILL

15. APOCALYPSTO

16.THE SIXTH SENSE

17. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE

18. KING KONG

19. TITANIC

20. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN




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