Sci Fi Movies 2009 - My Top Picks for Science Fiction Films for 2009

2009 was a terrific year for Science Fiction movies. And I'd say that even if Star Trek and Avatar were the only ones that had been released all year. Thankfully though, I have a lot more to tell you about as there were plenty of other Science Fiction movies in 2009 and there's a couple particularly great ones which you may have missed, so let's fix that right now.

There are probably a few movies missing from this list. I didn't add Zombieland because I think it is more horror/comedy than anything, but I may get around to adding it eventually. It probably easily falls under the post-apocalyptic genre and for me all that stuff is squarely Scifi.

With the exception of The Road, there aren't any movies on this list I haven't seen, so if you know of more 2009 Science fiction movies that I've somehow missed, be sure to let me know.

Moon, starring Sam Rockwell
Moon, starring Sam Rockwell

Moon

I'll start this list with Moon because this may well be the best movie on this list and chances are you haven't heard of it. I didn't know about it until it was released on DVD. It had a limited theatrical release.

Moon stars Sam Rockwell in a really great performance as the maintenance man and sole occupant (aside from a robot) for a lunar outpost.

He's nearing the end of a three year contract and preparing to go home when he gets into an accident off-site. Waking up, he finds himself in the company of a younger doppleganger of himself. And the story takes off from there as he tries to figure out what is going on.

The other occupant of the Moon base is Kevin Spacey as the voice of the base's computer/robot, Girty, and I probably spent half of the movie trying to figure out if he was being helpful or sinister.

Anyway, this is a great movie with a top notch actor and script and I highly recommend you pick it up.

Gamer on DVD and Blu Ray

Gamer

Gamer, starring Gerard Butler, Michael C Hall, Ludacris and Kyra Sedgwick, was almost universally panned by critics, but I thought it was lots of fun and I watched it a couple of times at the movie theater.

There are lots of sci-fi movies that riff off two stories in particular -- the Most Dangerous Game and The Running Man (which is really just another Most Dangerous Game homage). Gamer is another one.

This time the running man is a prisoner forced to take part in a reality game (nothing virtual about it) while being controlled physically by an external player. But somehow Kable (that's Gerard Butler) manages to communicate with his "player" and convinces him to release the reins. And that's when ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

And that's about all you need to know. There's tons of mayhem and violence and Michael C Hall acting creepy.

District 9

You've probably heard of District 9. This mockumentary directed by Neil Blomkamp is about a group of refugee aliens and the humans who don't like them.

Set in South Africa, where the aliens live in a refuge camp that must be moved, the parallels are obvious. Much of the movie is about the security firm that wants to know more about how the alien weapons work and a bureaucrat who accidentally gets himself infected by an alien virus.

While this movie was a big hit with lots of reviewers, I wasn't crazy about it, mostly because I can't stand mockumentary-style film-making. Filmmakers think they are being clever when they use it, but It bores the crap out of me and I can never immerse myself in the fictional world that's being created. So there's that. But you may feel differently.

Push

Chris Evans in Push
Chris Evans in Push

Push on DVD and Blu-Ray

Here's another of my favorite science fiction movies from 2009. And yet it only gets a 23% fresh on the Rotten Tomatoes tomato meter. So either I have a very high tolerance for terrible Scifi movies, or everyone else in the world is dumb. I vote the latter!

Of course, Push happens to start actors I like quite a bit. I've loved Chris Evans since Not Another Teen Movie and Dakota Fanning is about the only child actress who doesn't completely annoy me. And now she's playing spunky, troublesome tweens. She plays one here, starring as Cassie, the girl who can see the future. She's known as a Watcher. And Chris plays Mover Nick, who can win at dice and lift guns into the air with his mind.

Pushers are able to push thoughts into other people's minds and make them act on them and Cassie and Nick are on the run from the government out to find the Pusher, Kira, who escaped from The Division who wants to round up all the psychics and use them as weapons.

You can think of all these psychic types as sort of a proto X-Files characters. And I found Push much more entertaining than the last two X-Files movies.

Surrogates

In Surrogates, everyone is basically a shut-in and now we all use highly advanced remote-controlled robots (or SIMS, you might say) to go out and do our daily business.And just like the internet today, you never know who is behind the robot.

Everyone lives their life remotely, including Bruce Willis as detective Tom Greer, until someone is actually murdered through their surrogate and Willis' character is eventually forced to go out into the world as his own flesh & blood self in order to solve the crime.

I love Bruce Willis so I found the movie entertaining enough, but it is fairly forgettable. Call it a rental.

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation is the fourth movie in the Terminator franchise and the first movie set in the future that Sarah Connor was trying to prevent. When the movie was first announced, I was so excited because it was supposed to be about John Connor, the grown-up, and the guy we only get tantalizing glimpses of in flashbacks (or are they flashforwards) in the original Terminator movies that James Cameron directed.

Sadly, the movie's aims somehow morphed over time and sadly it turned out to be more about another freaking robot than it is about John Connor. Thankfully, Marcus, our half man, half cyborg original character never heard of before, is played by the fairly interesting Sam Worthington.

As for John Connor, on paper he is thinly drawn and Christian Bale's depth of characterization doesn't run very deeply at all -- mostly his John Connor just shouts a lot. For a more interesting John Connor, I think you need to look to the TV series where Thomas Dekker does a great job inhabiting a character who is not quite a man, but no longer just his mother's son in need of protection.

That said, Terminator Salvation is a more than adequate action scifi movie and I enjoyed Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese more than I expected. It just isn't the movie I've spent years hoping to see. It also didn't really fill the bill for me as a post-apocalyptic movie either. For that, you'll need to look to the 2010 release, The Book of Eli. You can see my Post-Apocalyptic movies hub for a review of that movie.

The Road

I mentioned The Road in both my post-apocalytpic books hub and the one on movies too. And I mentioned in both that I've neither read the book nor seen the movie. I haven't read the book because Cormac McCarthy bores me to tears and I hadn't seen the movie because it just looked ridiculously depressing and hopeless to me.I don't really enjoy such a bleak outlook.

I love post-apocalyptic movies and fiction generally, but mostly because to me they represent this idea that we "carry on". No matter what, we sort of just keep on striving and for the most part these movies and books carry the same idea I do and they are ultimately forward-looking and hopeful, even if you have to walk through the darkness to get there.

But I'm pretty sure this movie is not, so I still haven't seen it. I hear it's great. I will probably never watch it. Feel free to spoil me though if you think I should change my mind. How does it end? (PS: I may delete your spoiler after I read it so others don't get spoiled inadvertently.)

Star Trek

Star Trek 2009
Star Trek 2009

I've been saving the two biggest releases for last, and let's start with Star Trek. Star Trek is one of my favorite 2009 releases and I ended up catching it a couple of times at the movie theatre. it isn't so much a remake of previous work as it is an origins story.

I'm always a sucker for those and it is lots of fun seeing the young James T Kirk and Spock getting to know each other. I love both actors playing the leads. Chris Pine is a great Kirk, with just whispers here and there of some of the mannerisms that William Shatner imbued his Kirk with, but they are subtle --- much more so than the performance that Karl Urban delivers as Bones. Zachary Quinto was an inspired choice for Spock and I love his snarky, "Live Long and Prosper".

All in all, Star Trek is just incredibly engaging and lots of fun. Two big thumbs up from me and I picked up the DVD as soon as it was released.

Live Long and Prosper

Avatar

And finally, there's Avatar. I don't feel like I need to say a lot about this as this movie was hyped to the moon and back and made billions of dollars, etc. etc. James Cameron has always been one of my favorite directors and I cound Aliens, The Abyss and the first two Terminator movies among my favorites.

I can definitely add Avatar to my favorites list and I really enjoyed it when I saw it at the theatre (three times!), but now I sort of feel like I have seen it as much as I really need to and I haven't bothered to pick up it up on DVD or Blu-Ray and just may not get around to it.. And yet, Aliens and Terminator 2 are two movies in particular I can watch over and over again. I think maybe I'm just suffering from hype burnout, and will revisit Avatar in a few years.

What's Your Favorite 2009 Science Fiction Movie?

  • Avatar
  • District 9
  • Gamer
  • Moon
  • Push
  • Star Trek
  • Surrogates
  • Terminator Salvation
  • The Road
See results without voting

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Comments 12 comments

thehands profile image

thehands 6 years ago

"Moon" sounds really interesting. I'm going to go check it out on wikipedia.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 6 years ago from Scotland

Hi embitca

Really informative Hub, I haven't seen most these. I didn't even know there had been another Terminator movie :-)

I did see Star Trek but have to admit I didn't like it although the actors playing Spock, McCoy and Scotty were excellent.


satomko profile image

satomko 6 years ago from Macon, GA

District 9 and The Road are the best of the list, though I don't know how "science-fiction" The Road really is.


embitca profile image

embitca 6 years ago from Boston Author

The Road is a dystopian post-apocalyptic novel. It probably more properly falls under the wider genre umbrella of speculative fiction, but it it were written by anyone other than a popular literary novelist it would be shelved in the SF/Fantasy section. Same with many of Margaret Atwood's books, or P.D. James' Children of Men.


satomko profile image

satomko 6 years ago from Macon, GA

I totally agree with you on that matter.


Fruffles profile image

Fruffles 6 years ago from California

Push totally didn't get enough credit - people didn't like it mostly because you had to pay attention to get the plot lol i had to explain it like three times to a few of my friends. I loved it, you're not the only one xD


Fruffles profile image

Fruffles 6 years ago from California

Oh, and the Road wasn't all that good. Really slow, bleak ending, and didn't ever get into the details of how the world got to be so messed up.


qeyler profile image

qeyler 5 years ago

Avatar is in a class alone. Putting aside the 3d and all the hype; there was no Info dump. You got the info when you needed it.

The beginning, 'sooner or later you have to wake up..' which ends the suspended animation, gives you the indication that you are not going to have to listen to someone explain science that doesn't exist yet, or why A hates B and loves C ..

Hopefully it created a pattern other scifi can follow...don't intro the tech until necessary and then just enough to explain what you see.

My only prob was that there wasn't any 'grey'...these are good, those are bad.


Shido profile image

Shido 5 years ago from Richmond, BC

I have nothing against James Cameron, but I thought the computer animation Battle For Terra (2007) had a better plot though I saw Avatar first.

I really enjoyed the acting and story-line of the latest Star Trek. In fact, I'd say it is the best of the lot but..

For this year, looking at your list and not having seen Moon or Gamer or District 9 or The Road, I would say Push. Though my favourite SF to date is Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007) followed closely by Supernova (2000).


embitca profile image

embitca 5 years ago from Boston Author

Shido, I'm a big fan of Sunshine as well. Not sure I have ever seen Supernova though. I'll look for it on Netflix.


John Hewitt jr profile image

John Hewitt jr 5 years ago

Thanks for the great Hub,Some amazing movies listed here.


Lybrah 3 years ago

Push was a good movie. They set it up for a sequel but never made one.

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