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Cool Sci Fi Movies - 5 of the Best Science Fiction Movies You've Probably Never Seen

Updated on November 3, 2016
Christian Bale in Equilibrium
Christian Bale in Equilibrium

Science Fiction Movies I love

A lot of science fiction movies tend to be big blockbuster style endeavours, whether they make money or not, but every once in a while a smaller movie comes around that makes either a hell of an impact on me or just proves to be remarkably entertaining despite its flaws.

So here's a short list of sf movies I've falled in love with over the years. It's a mix of movies that are legitimately excellent and movies that are dumb as hell, yet awesome.

Gattaca

Somehow Jude Law ends up on my list twice, in this movie that also stars Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.

Gattaca's universe is one in which bioethics are out the window and your genetics are your destiny. Thus, Vincent (Hawke), who was born the old-fashioned way instead of having his genes artificially manipulated and fixed in a test tube, is subject to various types of discrimination due to his bad eyesight and imperfect heart.

Jude Law's character, Jerome, an Olympic athlete who is genetically perfect, suffers a serious accident which leaves him in a wheelchair. Since no one knows about his accident, he and Vincent arrange to swap identities. Vincent gets surgery to make himself taller, gets work done to correct his eyesight and he uses Jerome's DNA to pass a job interview to join the astronaut program.

Yes, some of this is absurd if you stop too long to thing about it, but they pull it off anyway. Gattaca it is a well done and tightly claustrophobic movie, masterfully directed by Andrew Niccol that is also nerve-wrackingly suspenseful and really beautiful to look at. Gattaca has also been very influential on the look and feel of other science fiction movies and television shows. Naturally, Andrew Niccol's other movie In Time, starring Justin Timberlake, is strongly reminiscent of Gattaca, and the upcoming new series from the Syfy channel, Incorporated, seems strikingly similar.

eXistenZ

Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in this movie directed by David Cronenberg. It's almost enough said, but I'll say a little more. The movie is about a virtual reality game called eXistenZ.

Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the game designer who is being pursued inside the game. Jude Law plays the flunkie turned bodyguard who is on the run with her and things pretty much stay wacky for the whole movie -- there are times when you you never really know whether they are inside or outside of the game. And there are some decent twists and turns as well. In a lot of ways I think Existenz makes an interesting precursor to the movie Inception, another huge favorite of mine.

I've watched the film multiple times and it's probably my favorite Cronenberg movie. Lots of fun. And also, incredibly bizarre with lots of slippery slimey grossness. Cronenberg really likes his body horror and there are moments during the movie where I feel compelled to look away because it is just so gross. It certainly won't make anyone's list of "classic SF" movies, but it is awfully entertaining.

Christian Bale in Equilibrium

Equilibrium

Oh Equilibrium, you are both the most ridiculous and most awesome movie ever. Stealing bits and pieces from 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 and The Matrix, Equilibrium stars Christian Bale as a "Grammaton Cleric" who basically runs around ensuring that everyone is taking their emotion suppressant drugs and not collecting any artwork, knick knacks or any bits of nostalgia that would imply fun, love, attraction, appreciation, etc. Basically this is a NO FUN zone.

Then he finds the most adorable puppy in the world and his life changes forever. Mwaha hahha! Oh how I love this ridiculous movie! Oh sure, there's a woman too. But I think the movie makes it pretty clear that it's the puppy that provides the straw that breaks the camel's tear ducts and makes Bale's character go all emo.

Other pluses of this film are the amazing gun fights, called Gun Kata. It's like Martial Arts with the weapons always remaining in your hands. Christian Bale is his usual badass self in action scenes and it is extremely satisfying to watch. Also, he looks ridiculously hot the whole movie, hot enough that you can ignore some very silly plot holes, such as the fact that Taye Digg's character never seems to be suppressing his emotions -- he's pretty much always gleeful.

I could watch this movie a 100 times and never get sick of it. It's that stupidly brilliant.

Deja Vu

I love this movie! In fact, right after watching Deja Vu as a Netflix rental, I immediately went out and bought my own copy. That's how much I love this movie.

One of my favorite things about Deja Vu is that it doesn't reveal the science fiction premise underlying the plot until you are a good way into the movie. I had an inkling of course, or rather, a hope, but the reveal is nicely done and I like the way that Denzel's character gradually moves to a place where the conclusion that this has to be time travel is inevitable. He's so emotionally involved in what he's witnessing that no other explanation would even make sense for him.

Denzel Washington does a great job, as usual, in making you care about his character and the story is very suspenseful. This is a seriously great popcorn movie and if you love time travel you will love Deja Vu. I also recommend this movie to fans of Source Code, or vice versa! If you like Deja Vu, you will probably really enjoy Source Code ,starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It didn't do that well in the cinema, but I think it's an underrated movie.

Cillian Murphy in Sunshine

The Icarus II crew in Sunshine
The Icarus II crew in Sunshine

Sunshine

Sunshine is another great movie that I originally rented from Netflix just because I wanted to watch Chris Evans, who prior to getting cast as Captain America simply didn't work enough or at least... didn't work often enough in movies that were actually good. I wasn't nearly expecting the movie to be as good as it was though. It's really the film that the incredibly boring George Clooney sci-fi movie Solaris should have been. Sunshine has the same sort of pacing and quietness to it, but far more effectively accomplished. For some viewers, the pacing may be too languid, but I found the movie pretty engrossing and the performances were excellent, particularly Chris Evans and Cillian Murphy.

Sunshine is sort of a melding of sf and horror. Cillian Murphy is the protagonist and he's one of a team of scientists that is on a mission to "reignite the sun" which is fading out. The intent is to blast a couple of nukes into the center of the sun in the hopes that this will postpone the sun's death throes a bit longer. This is actually the second mission since the first mission failed after the disappearance of the first spacecraft sent to do the job.

While on the way to their destination, the crew encounter the distress beacon from the first mission and the decision is made by Cillian Murphy's character, Capa, that they should pursue the first vessel in order to retrieve the payload so they'll have a second chance in case their first shot at the sun fails. This is definitely a mistake so as you can imagine, things go awry immediately! But I shall say no more, you'll have to watch the movie.

Directed by Danny Boyle, who also directed 28 Days Later (which gets a write-up in my post-apocalyptic movies hub), Sunshine also features Michelle Yeoh and Rose Byrne.

Sunshine Trailer

Have another lesser known SciFi favorite?

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    • rabbit75 profile image

      rabbit75 5 years ago

      Gattaca was an amazing film. I absolutely loved it after seeing it...although Equilibrium was definitely a surprise. I thought it was going to suck, but was surprised that it was actually good. Great hub!

    • profile image

      ruffridyer 6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      The only movie I seen on the list is exentxtail, oh and solaris boring. I have heard of most of them. Sunshine story remianded me of Solorcrisis. That movie h starred Charlton Heston, Jack Palance and Peter Boyle yet it still stunk. oh well, This is a good hub.

    • profile image

      frankopops 6 years ago

      Gattaca! Most amazing movie. It's unbelievable that such a great movie like that goes unnoticed. Nominated for best art direction yet got no awards, no recognition, nothing. They really should have put it off for another 10 years and it would have hit the charts.

    • jillfil0 profile image

      jillfil0 6 years ago from Houston

      Excellent list of movies! I loved Gattaca and Deja Vu was pretty good as well. All this talk about Christian Bale, I think Jude Law is ohhh sooo hot! Do a hub on him too :)

    • eventsyoudesign profile image

      eventsyoudesign 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      Science fiction is great. What I love about reading science fiction is that the writer can take you to other off line worlds. Pure fantasy and imagination. I love it! Thanks for sharing. Deja Vu is a great movie. I liked all of the movies mentioned above. I like Denzells new movie, Book of Eli", very good. Not really science fiction though.

    • How to - Answers profile image

      L M Reid 7 years ago from Ireland

      Have watched them all except Equilibrium. It sounds very good so must watch out for it. Loive Science fiction and the possibilities it throws out there for real life

    • ss sneh profile image

      ss sneh 7 years ago from the Incredible India!

      Wonderful Hub! As the title suggests I have not seen any. But will be watching them soon...Just let me tell my Favorite- Back To The Future!

    • MrSpock profile image

      MrSpock 7 years ago

      Gattaca was good!

    • embitca profile image
      Author

      Emma 7 years ago from Boston

      Yes, I agree. Equilibrium is one of the few movies that I will watch whenever I come across it. So if I'm flipping through channels and I land on it playing, I'll just watch the rest of it -- even though I own the DVD LOL Same with The Fifth Element. I always watch that if it is playing :)

    • Snake Eyes profile image

      Snake Eyes 7 years ago from Canada

      I'm always surprised at how few people know of Equilibrium, it's such a great show.

    • Cirdon profile image

      Cirdon 7 years ago

      I can't believe more people haven't heard about Gattaca. Like andscifi said, it has well-known actors, great quality and a good storyline. Even if it wasn't a blockbuster, I would have still thought that it would be more well-known.

      For those who have Netflix, Gattaca is available to stream. I highly recommend checking it out.

    • profile image

      R. E. Proctor Jr 8 years ago

      Thanks for the list... I missed a couple of these and will add them to my Netflix queue.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I thought I've seen quite a few SF movies in my day but I've never heard of any of these, except DejaVu.

    • andscifi profile image

      andscifi 8 years ago from www.andscifi.com

      I am still surprised that Gattaca doesn't get more attention. This is a movie with well known actors, great quality, a good story and a message worth telling. The only thing i can come up with is that people don't want science fiction that doesn't have explosions.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 8 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Thank you for this list. I've seen Gattaca, and agree heartily with what you said about it; so I'm looking forward to renting the others, as I figure we must have pretty similar taste. Thanks for the neat Hub!

    • profile image

      SniparX 8 years ago

      Heya I loved Equalibriam and i havve not yet seen sunshine i watched abit of it for some reason didn't catch my eye, perhaps it was the

    • profile image

      Andrew Jones 8 years ago

      Sunshine is fantastic. I true hidden gem that every Sci-fi fan needs to see.

    • Bellemerchant profile image

      Bellemerchant 9 years ago from New York

      I watched Equilibrium and all the other movies you mentioned, except for one....Existenze. Sounds like an episode of X-files where a female game designer created a game with a female heroine who in turn killed all the male gamers in virtual reality. I am a big sci-Fi fan and this hub was great.

    • dutch84 profile image

      dutch84 9 years ago

      I just watched De ja vu. I had been meaning to before, but your post reminded me.

      Anyway, I've seen Equilibrium and I've never heard of the other 3.

      De ja vu was OK. They definitely drew from the science to try to explain a possibility of time travel, but the more they explained it to me, the more impossible it seemed (for some reason).

      Anyway, great hub!

    • dutch84 profile image

      dutch84 9 years ago

      This post reminds me of an episode of the Soup

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsx1Cf-pe4k

    • evemurphy profile image

      evemurphy 9 years ago from Ottawa

      Sci-fi movies are always fun! Thanks for the tips!

    • embitca profile image
      Author

      Emma 9 years ago from Boston

      Well, I've missed you in the forums, but I know what you mean. I've already started the Christian Bale hub. Will probably publish it tomorrow. I have a ton of photos on my hard drive :)

      Glycodoc, yep, lots of great movies here. Start with Deja Vu! It's awesome!

    • glycodoc profile image

      glycodoc 9 years ago

      Well now I am going to have to go out and rent some movies!

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 9 years ago

      I posted something a few minutes ago, but nah, not really interested in the forums otherwise. Have just been really busy these last few weeks! Go on and do a photo hub of Mr. Bale... and please include some video footage!!!!! He's going to be my next Ravished List addition on my blog and I'll link to your hub!

    • embitca profile image
      Author

      Emma 9 years ago from Boston

      Yes, Christian is extremely drool-worthy. I should probably do a photo hub :)

      Also, where have you been? No forum posting anymore? I was actually about to drop you an email. I've missed you *g*

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 9 years ago

      Deju Vu was fantastic! And ohmigod Christian Bale... drool....

    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 9 years ago from london

      That is my world...science fiction. It makes me to start dreaming about all those quantum possibilities of final frontiers...

      Very nice hub.