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

Ryujin

Legend
It was okay, but flawed. Some of those flaws:

Jessica was a wimp when she should have been badass.
Duncan was woefully miscast (Spoiler: doesn't bode well for future films).
Gurney Halleck was barely present.
Mentats where not explained.
The director expected the audience to be bowled over the climactic giant sandworm. News: it's 2022, we have seen it before.
Sand. I don't like sand. It's course and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.

On the other hand, Timothée Chalamet was great as Paul, and the Ornithopters where great.
One thing that I can say: At least in this one Jessica didn't have a complete meltdown.
 

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Mad_Jack

Hero
Eh... Honestly, I think I've only seen about seven of them, and never even heard of about half the others.
My only comment about the list is that Guardians of the Galaxy is about as much of a sci-fi movie as Star Wars - you can call them sci-fi because the characters spend a lot of time flying around in spaceships and shooting laser pistols, but those aren't exactly the main purpose or focus of the film.
 



Hex08

Adventurer
Eh... Honestly, I think I've only seen about seven of them, and never even heard of about half the others.
My only comment about the list is that Guardians of the Galaxy is about as much of a sci-fi movie as Star Wars - you can call them sci-fi because the characters spend a lot of time flying around in spaceships and shooting laser pistols, but those aren't exactly the main purpose or focus of the film.
I'm curious as to what your definition of sci-fi is because both Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars are both generally considered sci-fi. The Britannica entry is fairly long, but it specifically mentions Star Wars.

science fiction - SF cinema and TV
 
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Some people have pretty exclusive uses of science fiction; some want to separate it off from space opera and a lot of other related subgenres. While its useful to know how someone is using it, its less useful to argue about which take is legitimate.
 

Hex08

Adventurer
Some people have pretty exclusive uses of science fiction; some want to separate it off from space opera and a lot of other related subgenres. While its useful to know how someone is using it, its less useful to argue about which take is legitimate.
I assume you were addressing me even though you didn't quote my post since your post came right after mine. If that's the case, I certainly wasn't trying to argue what makes a definition legitimate, I was asking for clarification because I was curious.
 
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I assume you were addressing me even though you didn't quote my post since your post came right after mine. If that's the case, I certainly wasn't trying to argue what makes a definition legitimate, I was asking for clarification because I was curious.

That's why I didn't quote yours; it was a general comment, not intended to be a critique of you or your statement.
 

Sci-Fi is anything that is fiction outside the 'terrestrial realm??' (Personally I think that means fiction that doesn't have Fabio ripping a shirt off a buxom young woman, or a historical re-write.) Anything in the 'fantastic'...

Now whether it's 'hard' sci-fi (follows the laws of Physics to the letter) or 'soft' sci-fi lasers and 'ancient religions', that's a lot of lee-way.
 

While its useful to know how someone is using it, its less useful to argue about which take is legitimate.

IMNSHO, is also fair to consider how well a movie exemplifies a genre when making a "best of the genre" list.

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.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
IMNSHO, is also fair to consider how well a movie exemplifies a genre when making a "best of the genre" list.

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.
True. But the sci-fi genre, such as it is, has historically contained both "hard sci-fi", as in speculative fiction trying to be realistic, often exploring the ramifications of one new scientific discovery or alternate history path in a "what if?" manner, and "Space Opera", as in unrealistic movies set in outer space or in the future with science-as-magic-style technology. This is how we wind up with Guardians of the Galaxy and Fury Road on this list, which are both very good movies, though not realistic in any sense.
 
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payn

Legend
All this is pretty much the point. These no criteria anybody can vote on whatever polls just create debate. Then, it plays out on twitter and gets clicks. Which is why I vastly prefer Snarf's excellent self created lists with defined criteria that promotes specific discussion on topics that is interesting.
 

Ryujin

Legend
True. But the sci-fi genre, such as it is, has historically contained both "hard sci-fi", as in speculative fiction trying to be realistic, often exploring the ramifications of one new scientific discovery or alternate history path in a "what if?" manner, and "Space Opera", as in unrealistic movies set in outer space or in the future with science-as-magic-style technology. This is how we wind up with Guardians of the Galaxy and Fury Road on this list, which are both very good movies, though not realistic in any sense.
I think that this divide can best be described as Science Fiction vs. Science Fantasy, in most cases.
 

Mad_Jack

Hero
I'm curious as to what your definition of sci-fi is because both Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars are both generally considered sci-fi. The Britannica entry is fairly long, but it specifically mentions Star Wars.

science fiction - SF cinema and TV

They're action/adventure movies that happen to have sci-fi elements in them - you could strip out all those sci-fi elements from the story and replace them with swords and wizardry and they'd still be essentially the same movies.
I tend to delineate between movies/fiction whose stories simply happen in a sci-fi-type setting (The Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven and Battle Beyond the Stars are quite literally all the same movie with different props...) and those for whom the sci-fi elements are an essential part of the story. The differences between Star Wars and Star Trek are a good example...
While the original Star Trek series may have started out as "Wagon Train in space", it quickly becomes apparent that a great many of the stories told in that setting simply don't work without the use of "science" and the physics of the universe. They're essential story elements - either as obstacles/challenges, as solutions to those obstacles/challenges, or sometimes even as actual characters in the stories. In every episode and movie, as soon as a new sci-fi element arises that the audience hasn't encountered before there's always a character who steps into the role of the Greek chorus, providing exposition which explains to the audience why that element is important to the story. As early as the first season of the original show we start getting in-setting explanations for a lot of the technology and that information later becomes something that the characters interact with in other stories. The warp core isn't just some "spaceship engine" - how it works is regularly used as a story element. You go from learning that it requires dilithium crystals to run, to the fact that it can overload for various reasons, to having to eject said warp core to save the ship, all the way to ejecting the warp core being used as a tactic to win a battle. And those dilithium crystals themselves become story elements on their own outside of the warp core - they're more than just "spaceship gas". There's a progression (across multiple movies and tv series) that goes far beyond just "Because... warp core".
In Star Wars, the Force is a major element of the setting and yet the franchise existed for about thirty years before it was defined/explained (at least officially) as anything other than "space magic" (there was a What, but no How or Why), at which point we got a three-minute scene about "midichlorians"... The majority of the in-setting technical information about things like lightsabers, blasters and how spaceships fly was bolted on as aftermarket parts that rarely, if ever, have any real interaction with (and more importantly, lasting impact on) the main plot of the story. In rpg terms it's mostly just fluff rather than crunch. As an example, the important thing to the story is that Count Dooku is supposed to be a legendary lightsaber fencing master, in order for him to be seen as a threat capable of fending off two Jedi masters at once. However, although it's been a while since I watched the movie, I'm pretty sure it's only mentioned once or twice how he became one beyond simply having once been a Jedi. And you don't really need to know that in order to understand his place in the film. Although in the expanded universe beyond the films you know that his fighting style has a name, that it's one of the seven lightsaber fighting disciplines, and that it's the reason his lightsaber has a cool shape to its handle, none of that information has any actual impact on the main story or his place in it.

I think that this divide can best be described as Science Fiction vs. Science Fantasy, in most cases.

Pretty much - I personally see a difference between Lord of the Rings/Western/Buddy Cop Movie/Heist Movie...in Spaaaace! and actual science fiction where specific science/technology/in-setting conceits are integral to (or at least noticeably influential on) the main plot of the story rather than just being used as simple pretexts or set dressings.
 
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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
They're action/adventure movies that happen to have sci-fi elements in them - you could strip out all those sci-fi elements from the story and replace them with swords and wizardry and they'd still be essentially the same movies.
I tend to delineate between movies/fiction whose stories simply happen in a sci-fi-type setting (The Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven and Battle Beyond the Stars are quite literally all the same movie with different props...) and those for whom the sci-fi elements are an essential part of the story. The differences between Star Wars and Star Trek are a good example...
Which is a sci-fi fan argument we've been having for decades, but the Space Operas are still widely included within the Sci-Fi umbrella for categorization of movies, books, and roleplaying games. 🤷‍♂️
 




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