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Top 10 Most Underrated Science-Fiction Movies of All Time
Context and Honorable Mentions
Avoiding classic Underrated Science Fiction films like Dark City, Sunshine or Donnie Darko-this article will look at some truly underatted or forgotten Science Films, but to give all of them a mention: some honorable mentions will be left here.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (W.D Ritcher, 1984)
Alphaville (Jean-Luc Goddard, 1965)
Appleseed (Shinji Aramaki, 2004)Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985)
Cube (Vincenzo Natali, 1997)
Europa Report (Sebastian Cordero, 2013)
Final Fantasy: Spirits Within (Hironobu Sakaguchi and Motonori Sakakibara, 2001)
Life (Daniel Epinoza, 2017)
Lifeforce (Tobe Hooper, 1985)
Moon (Duncan Jones, 2009)
Pandorum (Christian Alvart, 2009)
Primer (Shane Carruth, 2004)
A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater, 2006)
Sector 7 (Jim-Ji Hoon, 2011)
Silent Running (Douglas Trumbull, 1972)
Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)
Sphere (Barry Levinson, 1998)
Splice (Vincenzo Natali, 2010)
Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
2010: The Year We Make Contact (Peter Hyams, 1984)
NUMBER 10: VEXILLE (2007) Director. Fumihiko Sori
Vexille's one of the more unknown Japanese science fiction films. Ghost in the Shell, Akira and even the likes of Appleseed are well known, but Vexille isn't. It's a Japanese CGI animated film from 2007 that explores a unique robot focused dystopia on a global scale that is clearly inspired by the likes of Appleseed, probably because the director of Vexille produced the 2004 Appleseed film. It's a pretty great looking film with inventive action and creative moments and ideas I don't want to spoil for you. This is vague for a reason and possibly why it didn't catch on, but now you have a reason to go seek it out.
NUMBER 9: DREDD (2012) Director. Pete Travis
This masterpiece in action, visuals and confined storytelling that failed at the box office has it's cult fanbase, but deserves more attention. If you need: stop reading the article, buy a copy of this film on Blu-Ray, watch it and then finish reading. Dredd might be one of the best comic book film adaptations ever, one of the best action films in the past 20 years and a film that shows the value of CGI. Karl Urban kills in the accurate lead role, the female characters are surprisingly 3 dimensional considering sci fi films usually don't give secondary female characters more depth and the slo mo, CGI infused, gory violence is some of the best you'll ever see. I encourage you to see this in the best version you possibly can. Also it kicks the crap out of the 1995 Sly Stallone version.
NUMBER 8: INTERSTELLAR (2014) Director. Christopher Nolan
You might be asking "How can a massively budgeted Christopher Nolan film from 2014 that's the 10th Highest Grossing film that year be Underrated?" Simply put, this films efforts are underappreciated. Many people are incredibly mixed on the film and dislike it with the phrase "Aims high, but falls incredibly short", and I'd say they're missing the point by quite a margin. Christopher Nolan was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I don't think he was trying to make or achieve something greater than that Kubrick classic. Interstellar is an exploration of humanity from Nolan's perspective and it mostly gets there (Anne Hathaway's love speech is the worst of it) on pure visual storytelling. The effects of relativity, the visuals of space itself, the ocean planet, the insane ending and one scene involving Matthew McConaughey's rich acting that made me cry are reasons to see this film. The visuals, the practical effects and the sound are reasons you should appreciate this film. I feel people will appreciate it now more than even those 4 years ago.
NUMBER 7: TREASURE PLANET (2002) Directors. Ron Clements and John Musker
After having made The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Hercules: these two Disney legends were finally able to create and release their visionary adaptation of Treasure Island. A financial failure upon release (coming out at the same time the first Harry Potter film did) and not receiving the strongest of reviews, Treasure Planet was one reason Disney killed its 2D animated films slowly. But it's a great film: filled with stronger characters than the book or other adaptations, a unique blend of science fiction, steampunk and the golden age of Privateers. Jim (basically playing the kids who grew up without fathers in the wake of 9/11 and the Invasion of Iraq) meeting John Silver the cyborg on a quest to seek Treasure Planet is one of the more engaging Disney stories than even their arguable classics. Plus it looks amazing and might be Disney's best looking film ever. if you missed this the first time or haven't seen it since: give it a look and find its values. If you need better words of how great this film is: check this video by an awesome creator.
TREASURE PLANET-DISNEY'S BIGGEST MISTAKE (By Breadsword)
NUMBER 6:EQUILIBRIUM (2003) Director. Kurt Wimmer
This is like Dredd before Dredd came out. Take a post-American Psycho and pre-Batman Begins Christian Bale, give him bad ass gun fighting skills in a Sci-Fi dystopia that Hunger Games, Divergent and Maze Runner ran into the ground, make it a lean mean single film...and you get one of the all time bests in the genre. The gunfights in this are visually astounding; avoiding the classical dodge-weave-reverse tactics in other films and going for a badass experience like no other. "Gun Kata" (as it's called) basically combines Kung Fu cinema martial arts fighting with Matrix style gun battles. The entire film is worth owning but even just seeing those shootouts on YouTube is so entertaining to justify the use of science fiction in this world. Some action critics don't care for it, but with some arguments hinging on " This isn't' how a gunfight should work", I'm ok disagreeing if I get to enjoy Equilibrium.
NUMBER 5: VIRUS (1999) Director. John Bruno
Why no one talks about or loves this film baffles me. I get that in the 90's we were hating any Alien clone (and this film was considered a clone of the Alien clone Deep Rising), but if you look back on this film today-you'd want more of it. It's a Science Fiction horror film that plays things quite subtle at first, before going into the territory you can only describe as "Cronenbergian Body Horror with Machinery". It's a film that mostly used practical effects for some of its monstrous creations and should join the ranks of The Relic (they share the same producer) and Event Horizon in underappreciated 90's horror films. Virus really is a surprise in terms of scares, story and monsters. If you haven't seen it, you must.
NUMBER 4: VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (2017) Director. Luc Besson
From the year just passed, is a visual masterpiece from the director of The Fifth Element. While The Fifth Element is the better film as a whole and will be the film people know forever-Valerian follows close in its footsteps. While many will try to convince you that Luc Besson has lost his touch with films like Lucy (that's actually good if you think more and don't get caught up on the 10% thing), but Valerian is a really inventive and already forgotten piece of extraordinary Science Fiction cinema. It's opening 5 minutes that are a positive outlook to the future is one of the best scenes put to film in 2017, one action scene alone in here is more inventive than the whole of the Bourne or Taken franchise, and Rihanna's scene is the best thing in the film. It's a bit bloated, too exposition heavy and has some repetitious action scenes-but is totally worth buying on Blu Ray considering it failed at the box office.
NUMBER 3: BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW (2010) Director. Panos Cosmatos
From the son of director George P Cosmatos (who directed Rambo: First Blood Part 2, Leviathan, Cobra and Tombstone) comes a criticism of Baby Boomer Culture in the form of an ultra abstract and visually insane horror Sci Fi film. You've pretty much never seen a film like this (unless you've seen The Holy Mountain, The Neon Demon and Under the Skin) and even if you have, not like this. It's a strange, slow and cold film with some of the most haunting and unique visuals since 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's a film whose point is clear, but deconstructing it is a large task. Considering I think about this film at least once a day and dream of breaking down every aspect: there must be something amazing about this film.
NUMBER 2: GRABBERS (2012) Director. Jon Wright
Here's to the exact kind of film I'd been wishing to see as a kid that no American film could ever deliver: a fun scary monster film that doesn't' exactly traumatise me and that I want to see over and over again. It's a science fiction horror film with a simple premise: Get drunk and you'll be toxic to the monsters. If you want to know more about this film, I highly recommend you check out GoodBadFlicks and their production breakdown of it. All I can say is that it's a must own for any Sci Fi/Horror/Monster movie fan. It's well made considering the low budget, scary, engaging, funny, heartfelt without being sappy and an all around good film. It never got a full theatrical release, so buy a copy and support the filmmakers and these kinds of films.
EXPLORING GRABBERS (By GoodBadFlicks)
NUMBER 1: STRANGE DAYS (1995) Director. Kathryn Bigelow
From the director of Point Break, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty comes the best Science Fiction movie you've never heard of. While there are some lists that give this film a mention: it's so much better than they sell. This is a science fiction film that should stand with Blade Runner, The Matrix, Terminator and Inception. Releasing as a box office failure (and not Bigelow's last or biggest) the film was forgotten by so many people. But it really is a film that should be an unarguable classic. The cast is stellar and do amazing work, the visuals and work presented are fantastic, the noir storytelling is great and the action is near flawless. The opening one shot of this film which you can see listed at Number 4 in this video on best Uninterrupted Takes really is one of the best film openings and one shots ever done, while another scene later in the film is one of the best executed messed up scenes you'll ever see and I don't' dare spoil it.
Just do yourself a favour and watch this forgotten Science Fiction Masterpiece.
ANOTHER TOP 10 CONTINUOUS UNINTERRUPTED MOVIE SHOTS (By Watchmojo)
So, have you seen any of these? Do you agree or Disagree? What other Underrated Science Fiction films do you think deserve their starlight? Comment down below.
© 2018 Tyrone Bruinsma