The science fiction and fantasy genres are among cinema’s most respected and illustrious, producing movies like Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Inception. And who can forget about 1977’s Star Wars? Clearly, the genre is rife with quality, which is a big reason why it’s so popular today.
Sadly, none of the movies mentioned above are found on Netflix (at the moment), but there are still plenty of great options to check out. From Hellboy to Gremlins, below are ten science fiction and fantasy movies worth checking out.
Escape From New York
John Carpenter’s Escape From New York typifies the kind of macho action films that were popular in the 1980s. When New York is turned into a maximum security prison, Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken is given the impossible task of finding and freeing the President of the United States, who is captured after Air Force One crashes on the island. Escape From New York is completely bonkers and absurd, but a ton of ridiculous fun.
Before the eventual remake hits theaters, check out Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, a film about a monster who kidnaps a young girl and the father who tries to get her back. Joon-ho is the same director of Snowpiercer and Netflix’s Okja, the latter of which is set to hit the service later this summer. So long as you don’t mind reading subtitles, The Host is an imaginative and politically-charged allegory that shouldn’t be missed.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
This is not the 2008 remake starring Keanu Reeves and Jaden Smith. Instead, Netflix has the 1951 original, which was a monumental and significant achievement when it was released. Stories about aliens visiting Earth are a dime a dozen today, but The Day the Earth Stood Still remains one of the most memorable. Perhaps that’s why it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
Michael Bay’s Armageddon is the very definition of a “popcorn movie.” It’s not necessarily good, but it’s still a lot of fun to watch. Apparently, it’s harder to teach astronauts how to drill than it is to teach drillers to be astronauts. That’s just one of a myriad of reasons why Armageddon is flawed, but it still manages to be entertaining.
Before the excellent 2012 reboot, Sylvester Stallone took on the role of Joseph Dredd, a famed and feared Judge who is wrongfully found guilty for a crime he did not commit. Stallone was so serious as the titular character that it was almost comical, and it didn’t help that the script was awful. Still, it features great action and more than a few memorable moments.
The Iron Giant
For whatever reason, Iron Giant remains underrated, even today. Directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Iron Giant features a powerful story about identity, humanity, and hysteria, providing viewers young and old with positive messages about who we are as people. Of course, it also features voice acting by Vin Diesel, who has even less dialog than he does in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Based on the novel from Cormac McCarthy, The Road is a brutal, bleak tale about a father and son struggling to survive post-apocalypse. This is about the furthest thing from a date movie, or a happy movie, or a fun movie. But it does feature fantastic performances from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee, as well as a faithful recreation of McCarthy’s dark vision.
In Hellboy, a demonic beast becomes an unlikely hero by protecting the world from paranormal threats. When it was released in 2004, the film was met with a positive reception, including praise for Ron Perlman. Best to watch it now, because the franchise has been confirmed to get a reboot, with actor David Harbour in the lead role.
When I first saw Gremlins, it was truly terrifying. Here was a film that made me fall in love with a cute, cuddly creature named Gizmo, who then spawns off a gang of diabolical monsters known as Gremlin. The terrible creatures looked horrifying, loved mischief, and had a thirst for murder. It was exactly the movie I shouldn’t have watched at such a young age, but I loved every minute.
Big Trouble in Little China
Another film from John Carpenter, and another starring Kurt Russell. If you’ve never seen Big Trouble in Little China, you’re in for a weird, wild ride. I don’t know how someone even came up with the story, let alone how Carpenter convinced 20th Century Fox to let him make it. Once you want it, you’ll understand why it has such a fervent cult following.
Bonus pick: Mortal Kombat
I’m not including Mortal Kombat on this list because it’s a good film. In fact, it’s the perfect example of a bad video game movie. But I can’t help but fall for how earnestly it attempts to create a world out of a violent, brainless fighting game. The dialog is bad, and the story is laughably incoherent. But the costumes were great—and who can forget the catchy techno theme song?
Flowers are blooming, days are getting longer, and summer is just around the corner. What better time than now to watch… horror films? Typically, when the summer blockbuster season comes around, the horror genre takes a back seat. So, after you’ve finished watching The Fate of the Furious, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell […]