We may not realize it, but the first decade of the century was a pretty amazing decade for science fiction films. There are greats left off the list, and a lot of the films on the list will be sci-fi greats for a long time to come.
10. Serenity- If any of you have read some of my other articles, you might be aware of the fact that I am a huge Joss Whedon Fan. So it takes a lot for me to put something that he worked on at the bottom of a top ten list. But that is a sign of the greatness to come, and also it’s a little bit because Serenity isn’t everything I hoped it would be. It’s still great, and Firefly fans should definitely give it a watch if they haven’t already, but compared to the others things on this list, it doesn’t feel as inventive. The Firefly universe is, but the overall arc of Serenity is pretty standard.
9. Iron Man- This movie started the whole crazy Marvel thing that we are in the middle of enjoying. But it also made the science fiction elements of the universe feel real and plausible. Tony Stark is a great hero, and the film is a great start to an amazing franchise.
8. Children of Men- The concept of Children of Men is one of the most haunting concepts for a dystopian future that I have ever been exposed to. Basically, everyone in the world has stopped being able to have children. There are no more babies, and everyone is kind of just waiting around to die. So it is pretty bleak, to be sure. But it is also well-done, and fascinating, and it handles the question of what the world would be like in the event of the concept beautifully. There is one scene in particular, and fans know it well, that is beautiful, haunting.
7. Night Watch- Night Watch is a russian vampire movie. And it is a bit of a mess. But it also is kind of…unbelievably incredible. It ends in an anti-climactic way, and the sequel doesn’t really help with that. But when you watch it, you don’t really remember that stuff. You remember some of the craziest fantastical imagery that you’ve ever witnessed. A word to those who are interested: Don’t watch the dubbed version. They do really cool things with the subtitles, and the voices in the dubbed version are pretty bad.
6. X-Men- If Iron Man started the whole Marvel craziness, X-Men was a big part of starting the notion that a superhero/comic book movie could be a big hit, and done well, and super fun. The movie seems a little bit small-scale considering what followed it (the battle inside the Statue of Liberty is a small potatoes climax compared to…say…The Avengers), but it is still worth a watch. The characters are fun and interesting, and the world of mutants is handled in a humorous and realistic way. There’s a reason they keep making all the bad Wolverine movies–and this movie is part of why that idea is plausible.
5. WALL-E- This Pixar classic is so weird and bizarre that it is brilliant. Conceptually, it is almost as bleak as Children of Men, and yet it manages to be a heartwarming movie about…robots and stuff. There is a larger point about consumption and the environment, which is a great message for a sci-fi movie. But more importantly, there is that great Pixar inventiveness.
4. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind- This film is a great film. It’s a film with a capital “F.” While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it is a very indie movie romance twee sort of thing, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind produces a dream scape that is at once relatable and wondrous. It manages to show the science fiction fantasy that is human relationships and romantic love.
3. V for Vendetta- When this movie came out, every person in the audience who was dissatisfied with the political climate of the day (and there were a lot of us), cheered. But it has managed to transcend the historical context of when it came out (as the graphic novel did with Thatcher era England), and be a really cool, fun movie on its own.
2. Donnie Darko- Perhaps one of the weirdest films that you’ll ever see, until you dig deeper into the cult dungeon of things like Sleepaway Camp and Freaks, Donnie Darko is difficult to explain and utterly bizarre. But stick with all the weirdness and by the end of things it all seems to melt together like a collage. It’s a gorgeous movie, and well worth the watch. It would be the best genre film of the 2000s were it not for…
1. Moon- Moon wasn’t seen by that many people, but it should have been. The film (and this is another film in the artistic sense), deals with some intense psychological horror played expertly by the amazing Sam Rockwell. It is haunting and ethereal, and it sticks with you. It does what all great science fiction does, which is use a fantastical story to make you question some of the larger things in your life. In this instance, identity.