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?
Netflix's vast array of films includes many great animated movies. It signed a deal with Disney last year to bring much of its classic library selection and recent titles to the service. This includes a bunch of its robust animated movie collection. It also has a deal with Dreamworks to add some of its animated movies as well.
Given that there are so many animated movies on Netflix right now, it can be hard deciding which to watch first. I decided to scope out the service and found ten animated movies you should watch right now. This list was actually much tougher to trim because there are a lot of great animated movies on the service. There are the notable titles that nearly everybody has heard of, but there are also some gems that often get ignored.
Here are ten animated movies on Netflix you should watch right now.
One of the movies that led Disney to a record-breaking 2016 is Finding Dory, the follow-up to the beloved Finding Nemo. Ellen Degeneres returns to voice the lovable and forgetful Dory, who discovers through a suppressed memory that she has a family she was separated from when she was just a cute little blue tang.
This discovery takes her on a journey across many oceans and she ends up at the Marine Life Institute in Northern California. Some of the iconic characters from the first film like Nemo and Marlin return. The sequel also introduces new characters like Hank, the cranky and curt red octopus (voiced by Ed O'Neil) and Destiny, the near-sighted whale shark who is a long-lost friend of Dory's (voiced by Kaitlin Olson). But the breakout star of the movie is Gerald, the dimwitted sea lion that steals every scene he is in. Idris Alba, Diane Keaton, Bill Hader and Kate McKinnon round out the star-studded cast for another Pixar knockout.
Disney Animation Studio continued to hit its stride with Zootopia. It tells the story of an anthropomorphic world of animals separated by two designations: predator and prey. Lions and foxes are predators, while bunnies and cats are prey. Aspiring police officer, Judy Hopps, joins the Zootopia Police Department full of predatory animals but is quickly relegated to parking duty.
As she tries to break out of the mold others place on her, she stumbles upon a diabolical plan that's turning predators back into savages, playing upon the prey's inherent mistrust of predators. Zootopia is an on-the-nose examination of race tensions present in real life that's excellently executed. It's presented by directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore and proves animated movies can tackle social issues while still being thoroughly entertaining.
Illumination Studios burst onto the scene with the success of Despicable Me and the insanely adorable minions. This paved the way for a standalone Minions movie that proved to be a massive blockbuster for the studio a few years ago. Minions tells the origin story of the little yellow bean-shaped creatures before they met Gru. The story begins with a self-imposed exile in Antarctica after the little yellow guys fail their previous master, Napoleon, and nearly end their lives as they grow disenchanted without a master. That's when Kevin, Bob and Stuart set off to the city to find a new master they can serve. By luck, they stumble upon the first female villain, Scarlet Overkill—voiced by Sandra Bullock—who is trying to steal the crown of Queen of England. Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton and Allison Janney round out the cast.
The Angry Birds Movie
Did we really need an Angry Birds movie? Probably not, but we still got one and it was actually kind of good. The Angry Birds Movie was in development for many years but it finally hit theaters last year. The movie takes place on Bird Island, an island where flightless birds live. The titular character, Red, has anger issues due to premature hatching and is forced to partake in anger management classes.
In the class, he meets Chuck, Bomb and Terrance—other birds battling their own issues. One random day, a mysterious boat arrives with pigs looking to befriend the birds. Red slowly grows suspicious of the pig's too-good-to-be-true friendship and begins investigating their true motives only to discover their evil plot.
Kung Fu Panda 3
Kung Fu Panda 3 is the third entry into Dreamworks' animated franchise that started back in 2008. Jack Back is back as Po; the round, quirky and lovable Dragon Warrior and Kung Fu master that looks nothing the part. This time around, Po has to battle Kai, a mystical bull warrior voiced by JK Simmons who returns from the spirit realm to steal his Qi (energy form).
Po is forced to train other fellow pandas from his village and in the process become The Master of Qi if he ever hopes to stop Kai. Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, David Cross, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen and Dustin Hoffman return to reprise their roles as the Furious Five and Master Shifu.
Antz was Dreamworks' first animated movie and only the second computer-animated film after Toy Story. This underrated anthropomorphic tale of ants tells the story of an ant colony and how ants go about their daily lives. It stars Woody Allen as the enigmatic and worrisome Z, a regular worker ant.
As he navigates his anxious life, Z mistakenly joins the army as they march off to a battle. This catapults him on an adventure with the Queen Ant's daughter, Princess Bala, to find their way back home to stop a plan to usurp the Queen. With a 96% Rotten Tomatoes rating, this is one of the best-reviewed animated movies of all-time.
The Emperor's New Groove
Before Disney's run of computer-animated movie dominance, it also ruled the 2D-animated movie sphere as well. One of the last great movies the studio made before the shift to computer-animation was The Emperor's New Groove. The movie centers around Kuzco, an arrogant and self-absorbed Incan emperor evicting families from their homes atop a mountaintop to build a summer home.
Amidst his new project, his mischievous ex-advisor Yzma concocts a plan to kill Kuzco with the help of her servant Cronk, but the plan goes awry and he ends up turning into a llama instead. David Spade, John Goodman and Patrick Warburton lend their voices to film that is filled with tons of humor and a lot of heart.
The Little Prince
This Netflix original movie The Little Prince is probably the most under-the-radar movie on this list. The Little Prince is based on the 1943 novel written by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The movie follows a Little Girl whose life is completely planned out by her Mother, who has a daunting Life Plan she created for an assured path to success.
Her uptight and overly focused dedication leaves little room for friends or fun until one day the Little Girl befriends her neighbor, a retired Aviator. He tells her the story of a Little Prince, who he encountered in the Sahara desert after crashing landing in the Sahara desert in gorgeous flashbacks. The movie features a beautiful combination of computer-based and stop-motion animation to deliver a fun and whimsical story about growing up.
Hotel Transylvania 2
Hotel Transylvania 2 is the follow-up to the Adam Sandler animated movie Hotel Transylvania. Sandler returns to reprise his role as the 539-year old Dracula as he balances family and his hotel business with his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her husband, Johnny (Andy Sandberg). Mavis and Johnny's son, Dennis, is about to turn five but he still has not begun his transformation into a vampire which greatly worries Dracula. Further worrying Dracula, Mavis begins contemplating moving to California to raise Dennis in a new setting since he doesn't appear to have any vampire gifts. Dracula concocts a plan to bring out Dennis hidden powers with help of a few friends but plan backfires terribly when it puts Dennis' life in danger and greatly damaging his relationship with Mavis.
Chicken Run is Dreamworks Animation's stop-motion animated tour-de-force. One of its last stop-motion movies before the studio fully embraced computer animation, it hit all the right notes. Chicken Run follows Ginger, a hen in a chicken farm run by the malevolent Mr. and Mrs. Tweety that is transitioning from producing eggs to making chicken pies. This means the chickens will be slaughtered for the pies, but they have grandeur dreams of escaping.
Ginger stumbles upon the mysterious red cockerel Rocky when she witnesses him flying over a fence. She devises a plan to escape from the farm with the help of Rocky only to see it fall apart. Chicken Run earned glowing reviews upon its release in 2000. It was one of the leading reasons for the Oscars adding the "Best Animated Feature" category the following year, after Chicken Run failed to get a single nomination.