There’s an absolute beast of a list on Netflix when it comes to sci-fi movies and TV shows, but too much of a choice isn’t always best and can sometimes be a burden for a science fiction fiend.
But fear not, we’re here to give you our own list of what we reckon are the 10 best sci-fi movies available to stream on Netflix right now.
Best sci-fi movies on Netflix
In no particular order, here are the best sci-fi movies on Netflix, according to Gizmodo Australia.
The Fear Street trilogy of films are proof that, while Netflix has a history of putting out live-action adaptations of beloved stories from people’s childhoods that end up failing to wow audiences, the studio is capable of pulling it off when the circumstances are right. What was alarming (in a good way) about each of the Fear Street films was how, even though they initially seemed as if their scares would be defanged a bit for younger viewers, they were all legitimately horrifying in a way that didn’t feel pandering.
It would be an understatement to say how much of a big deal this movie was for its time. There are plenty of genre films one could point to as being important or iconic in some way, but one of the best examples is without a doubt Transformers. Both the first Transformers and its sequels have consistently become used as an example of what Hollywood can get wrong about adapting beloved IP, and look, the reviews following its debut reflected this. Love it or hate it, Transformers is one of the best sci-fi movies out there, and you can watch it on Netflix, so you may as well give it another chance.
Blade Runner 2049
Too often sequels are little more than weaponised nostalgia, but Blade Runner 2049 offered an extended stay in the universe created by Ridley Scott’s original. At the time, we compared watching this flick to staying up all night to finish a 150,000-word fanfic that you started reading, thought was good but not great, and then just kept reading because you’d committed to it. And then the next morning, as you struggle bleary-eyed through the work day, you keep wondering if it was worth it. It’s worth it, somehow, and Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best sci-fi movies you can binge on Netflix, so do it. Let us change your mind.
The Hunger Games
If you’re unfamiliar, The Hunger Games is set in the systolic future where society is divided into factions. Every year, two children from every faction are reaped to participate in the hunger games, a blood bath fight where only one tribute survives. Katniss, from the improvised District 12, heroically volunteers as tribute in place of her younger sister. It captures the violence and emotion of the novel it’s based on, with a bonus Katniss kicking ass.
The Butterfly Effect
It’s been a few years since I saw The Butterfly Effect, and after perusing Rotten Tomatoes, I think it might be time to give it another watch on Netflix because honestly, I considered this movie one of the best sci-fi flicks ever made. The premise is strong: changing the past can drastically alter the present. And the execution isn’t the best, one scene involving a dog still haunts me years later, but it had time travel and the philosophical conundrum of what would be happening now if you did something different many years ago.
Neill Blomkamp’s 2009 feature debut arrived with the not-insignificant boost of being produced by Peter Jackson, but District 9 is so distinctive and startling in its own right that its impact and influence continue to be felt over a decade later. The themes are broad, but District 9’s gritty style and depiction of its alien characters still resonate. It’s gritty and smart and is definitely one of the best sci-fi movies to date.
The plot of Gravity is pretty simple: a crew of astronauts in space are working on the Hubble space telescope, when a Russian satellite is destroyed, splaying debris in a dangerous orbit around the Earth, tearing apart telescopes, space stations, shuttles and other satellites to pieces. It’s a brilliant film, and you’ll be gripping your seat from start to finish. The plot holds you right until the very end, with the series of unfortunate events plaguing Dr Stone from the edge of space right down to … no spoilers, the movie is only 90 minutes long. It’s a must-watch.
The Adam Project
With its blend of childlike wonder and sci-fi action, it’s fairly obvious that The Adam Project, Netflix’s 2022 film from director Shawn Levy, draws inspiration from films of the 1980s. Films like E.T., Back to the Future, The Goonies or Explorers. Beyond just that though, one thing that really makes The Adam Project feel like a 1980s movie, and part of why we like it so damn much, is its brevity. In the modern world of three-hour superhero films, fantasy epics with 12 different endings, and eight-hour TV series binges, there’s just something refreshing and delightful about a movie that jumps right in when it starts, and keeps that energy going until the very end.
Alex Garland’s Annihilation has just about everything a moviegoer could want. It has an incredibly compelling mystery at its heart, it’s filled with nuanced performances by amazing actors and it looks unbelievably fantastic. Most importantly, like the best science fiction, it challenges you and makes you think.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
For our last recommendation, we can’t go past The Mitchells vs. the Machines. The synopsis is this: A quirky, dysfunctional family’s road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity’s unlikeliest last hope. It’s cute, fun and full of sci-fi tropes. It’s made by Sony so similarities can be drawn from the conglomerate’s Spider-Man Universe. It’s one of the best animation movies you can watch on Netflix, the bonus is it’s also sci-fi.
There you go, 10 of the best sci-fi movies to binge on Netflix this weekend.