The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune into Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are 10 of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.
1. The Matrix (1999)
The revolutionary sci-fi film can still deliver a "whoa" reaction 20 years after its initial release. Computer programmer Neo (Keanu Reeves) is tabbed to explore the subversive rebellion that knows what the rest of humanity doesn't: that they're living in a simulation.
2. The Fifth Element (1997)
Director Luc Besson delivers a sumptuous future in this marvel of production design, with Bruce Willis once again playing an everyman thrust into the middle of a grand-scale conflict. Here, he's a cabbie in the 23rd century who runs afoul of aliens looking to destroy Earth.
3. Snowpiercer (2013)
In a dystopian future—in sci-fi, there may not be any other kind—a train carrying cars separated by social class circles the globe. Soon, the have-nots (led by Chris Evans) decide to defy authority and get answers from those in charge.
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Heavily maligned for booting original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in favor of Ron Howard, Solo doesn't break any new ground for the storied Star Wars franchise. What it does do is manage to navigate its well-publicized production troubles to deliver a generally satisfying and entertaining origin story of reluctant hero pilot Han Solo, played with sufficient swagger by Alden Ehrenreich. His space scoundrel charm doesn't come as easily as it did for Harrison Ford, but the production design and pulp novel-paced narrative makes for a movie that might be the most light on its feet of the Disney-era Star Wars chapters to date.
5. Ex Machina (2015)
Alex Garland's quiet—and quietly subversive—robot parable didn't arrive with all the hype of a major studio sci-fi release but still manages to outdo most big-budget android tales. As the enigmatic CEO of a robotics company, Oscar Isaac uses an underling (Domhnall Gleeson) to test his eerily lifelike AI (Alicia Vikander). But Gleeson may be the one who's really being tested.
6. District 9 (2009)
The allegory may be obvious, but director Neill Blomkamp still manages to squeeze a lot of potency from the story of a weakened alien race who finds that Earth is all too ready to consider them second-class refugee citizens. Their plight becomes better understood when an agent (Sharlto Copley) seeks their assistance after he contracts an alien virus. The film earned a nomination for Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards, earning a spot alongside the significantly more expensive Avatar. (Ultimately, they both lost out to Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker.)
7. Her (2013)
The perils of falling in love with artificial intelligence are at the core of Her, which features a terrific performance by Joaquin Phoenix as a rumpled office worker who finds his soulmate in something without a soul: An Alexa-esque disembodied voice (Scarlett Johansson).
8. Moon (2009)
Sam Rockwell stars in this low-key potboiler from director Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son) about a man coming to the end of a solitary assignment on the moon who begins to see and hear things he shouldn't. Apparently, space madness is a thing.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Marvel's tale of a misfit band of space jockeys was a surprise hit in 2014. The sequel offers more Groot, more Rocket Raccoon, and the addition of Kurt Russell as a human manifestation of an entire sentient planet.
10. Stardust (2007)
Director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel features Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as supporting players in the tale of a man (a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox) in search of a fallen star to gift to his love.