The 25 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the Last 15 Years

payn

Legend
I think everything talked about here is sci-fi, but which sub-genre seems to be the debate. I'm especially puzzled by Fury Road as there really is no technology or fantasy element to it. It's the post apocalypse and people are using primitive means to fight for precious resources.

Is that enough to be sci-fi? Are stories like The Road or Book of Eli also Sci-Fi because they are post apocalypse? I can see zombie apocalypse being sci-fi because, well zombies are science based and/or fantasy. What are the base requirements for sci-fi?
 

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For a non sci-fi example, Citizen Kane is among the best films ever made. And Citizen Kane has elements of romance in it. But I wouldn't put Citizen Kane on a "best romance movies" list. YMMV.

No, but I do put it on the list of 'top 25 movies to cure insomnia". I have never once been able to sit through the whole thing. Same with a lot of other "Classics". Or back to the subject, 2001 was interesting enough when I first saw it maybe 50 years ago, but now I can't sit through it because it is so boring and pretentious.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I think everything talked about here is sci-fi, but which sub-genre seems to be the debate. I'm especially puzzled by Fury Road as there really is no technology or fantasy element to it. It's the post apocalypse and people are using primitive means to fight for precious resources.

Is that enough to be sci-fi? Are stories like The Road or Book of Eli also Sci-Fi because they are post apocalypse? I can see zombie apocalypse being sci-fi because, well zombies are science based and/or fantasy. What are the base requirements for sci-fi?

Setting it in the future is a sufficient, but not necessary, component of science fiction. The post-apocalyptic tale is a staple of science fiction, and a popular sub-genre.

While I am not a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, I do think that his overall scheme is fairly good for science fiction in delineating the five types of tales that people generally consider science fiction:

1. All stories set in the future, because the future can't be known. This includes all stories speculating about future technologies, which is, for some people, the only thing that science fiction is good for. Ironically, many stories written in the 1940s and 1950s that were set in what was then the future—the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s—are no longer "futuristic." Yet they aren't "false," either, because few science fiction writers pretend to be writing what will happen. Rather, they write what might happen. So those out-of-date futures, like that depicted in the novel 1984, simply shift from the "future" category to number 2 ...

2. All stories set in the historical past that contradict known facts of history. Within the field of science fiction, these are called "alternate world" stories. For instance, what if the Cuban Missile Crisis had led to nuclear war? What if Hitler had died in 1939? In the real world, of course, these events did not happen—so stories that take place in such false pasts are the purview of science fiction and fantasy.

3. All stories set in other worlds, because we've never gone there. Whether "future humans" take part in the story or not, if it isn't Earth, it belongs to this genre.

4. All stories supposedly set on Earth, but before recorded history and contradicting the known archaeological record—stories about visits from ancient aliens, or ancient civilizations that left no trace, or "lost kingdoms" surviving into modern times.

5. All stories that contradict some known or supposed law of nature. Obviously, fantasy that uses magic falls into this category, but so does much science fiction: time travel stories, for instance, or "invisible man" stories.



What makes this taxonomy useful is that, generally, the five categories also (IMO) also happen to correlate, generally, to how most people view the science fiction categories. 1 is always a no-brainer ... while 5 is often contentious (fantasy or science fiction ....).

Most importantly, it shows how broad the overall category is; it's like saying "Rock and Roll" music and then getting into a debate about how this year's finalists for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame include Judas Priest, Eminem, Kate Bush, Dolly Parton, Fela Kutti, Rage Against the Machine, Lionel Ritchie, A Tribe Called Quest and Dionee Warwick.
 

Ryujin

Legend
I think everything talked about here is sci-fi, but which sub-genre seems to be the debate. I'm especially puzzled by Fury Road as there really is no technology or fantasy element to it. It's the post apocalypse and people are using primitive means to fight for precious resources.

Is that enough to be sci-fi? Are stories like The Road or Book of Eli also Sci-Fi because they are post apocalypse? I can see zombie apocalypse being sci-fi because, well zombies are science based and/or fantasy. What are the base requirements for sci-fi?
Apocalyptic movies and Zombie Apocalypse movies might as well be the same genre. The zombies are pretty much treated like extreme weather, in most cases, and the real danger is other people.
 

payn

Legend
Apocalyptic movies and Zombie Apocalypse movies might as well be the same genre. The zombies are pretty much treated like extreme weather, in most cases, and the real danger is other people.
True, but usually some bio-weapon or space rock triggers the zombie event. Peak oil, nuclear war, or climate change are not fantastic events or technologically futuristic.
 

payn

Legend
Most importantly, it shows how broad the overall category is; it's like saying "Rock and Roll" music and then getting into a debate about how this year's finalists for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame include Judas Priest, Eminem, Kate Bush, Dolly Parton, Fela Kutti, Rage Against the Machine, Lionel Ritchie, A Tribe Called Quest and Dionee Warwick.
Wut? The world is just not making sense anymore.
 

Ryujin

Legend
True, but usually some bio-weapon or space rock triggers the zombie event. Peak oil, nuclear war, or climate change are not fantastic events or technologically futuristic.
No, but such stories are a commentary on how technology can wreck the world. They project current events into the future. That is some of the best SciFi, at its heart.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Wut? The world is just not making sense anymore.

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I think everything talked about here is sci-fi, but which sub-genre seems to be the debate. I'm especially puzzled by Fury Road as there really is no technology or fantasy element to it. It's the post apocalypse and people are using primitive means to fight for precious resources.

Is that enough to be sci-fi? Are stories like The Road or Book of Eli also Sci-Fi because they are post apocalypse? I can see zombie apocalypse being sci-fi because, well zombies are science based and/or fantasy. What are the base requirements for sci-fi?

Classically, post-apocalyse stories are assumed to be sci-fi, just environmental or social sci-fi (or both). Not all science fiction is technological.
 

Apocalyptic movies and Zombie Apocalypse movies might as well be the same genre. The zombies are pretty much treated like extreme weather, in most cases, and the real danger is other people.

And note there are a number of possible stand-ins for the zombie problem--robots, mutants, alien animals. Zombies have just become the best known one.
 

MarkB

Legend
True, but usually some bio-weapon or space rock triggers the zombie event. Peak oil, nuclear war, or climate change are not fantastic events or technologically futuristic.
Frequently, though, the exact triggering event is irrelevant to the plot or message of the movie - as parodied in Shaun of the Dead, where we never learn exactly what caused the outbreak.
 

Frequently, though, the exact triggering event is irrelevant to the plot or message of the movie - as parodied in Shaun of the Dead, where we never learn exactly what caused the outbreak.

Technically that was true in the original Dawn of the Dead. It was assumed to be because of a crashed (satellite? Its been too long) but there wasn't really anything their except temporal correlation.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Technically that was true in the original Dawn of the Dead. It was assumed to be because of a crashed (satellite? Its been too long) but there wasn't really anything their except temporal correlation.
Night of the Living Dead, yes. The TV broadcasts in the original state that "Scientists theorize that the reanimations are occurring due to radiation from a space probe that exploded in Earth's atmosphere on the way back from Venus."

Dawn of the Dead and the other follow-ups leave the cause unspecified, as I recall.
 

Night of the Living Dead, yes. The TV broadcasts in the original state that "Scientists theorize that the reanimations are occurring due to radiation from a space probe that exploded in Earth's atmosphere on the way back from Venus."

Dawn of the Dead and the other follow-ups leave the cause unspecified, as I recall.
Duh, I meant Night. I've been talking about the Dawn boardgame somewhere else, so its lodged in my brain.
 

Frequently, though, the exact triggering event is irrelevant to the plot or message of the movie - as parodied in Shaun of the Dead, where we never learn exactly what caused the outbreak.
It's very common trope for it to be left unanswered. From Day of the Triffids to Tremors.
 

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