We’re in a golden age of genre movies, from horror to superheroes and even musicals. Fortunately, science fiction isn’t left out of the boom. Visual effects can take us anywhere, and filmmakers are building amazing stories set in realities most of us can barely imagine.
This year has an amazing crop of speculative fiction films. Here are the best sci-fi movies coming to theatres soon.
(Note: We’ve left Marvel and DC’s movies off this feature, but if you’re looking for CAPTAIN MARVEL or SHAZAM!, check out this list.)
Alita: Battle Angel
In a far-flung, post-apocalyptic future, a scientist finds the remains of cyborg Alita (Rosa Salazar) in a trash heap. She’s barely more than a heap of parts. The scientist, played by Christoph Waltz, rebuilds the girl’s body, but her mind and memories have to come back on their own. Knowing there’s more to Alita than meets the eye, the helpful scientist tries to delay that process.
Alita’s extraordinary abilities begin to manifest regardless, along with glimmers of memory. She helps other people in her downtrodden part of the world, but that attracts the attention of corrupt forces that know precisely who and what the cyborg girl really is. Produced by James Cameron (AVATAR) and directed by SIN CITY filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. (February 14)
Sci-fi and horror are never far apart; here, they combine with the force of the Big Bang. Mankind’s first contact with extra-terrestrials has led to aliens taking control of Earth. The upside: Crime, poverty and unemployment are gone. There’s one problem: Freedom has also been eliminated.
Ten years after the occupation began, in a Chicago neighborhood that is home to both alien collaborators and resistance groups, a cop (John Goodman) leads forces set to rebel against the aliens. He recruits Gabriel (Ashton Sanders), the son of a fallen soldier. But who can trust anyone else when everyone is trying to secure a life under the overlords from space? From RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES director Rupert Wyatt. (March 15)
Director Claire Denis has made several wild, disruptive genre movies: BEAU TRAVAIL is a mold-breaking military movie, while TROUBLE EVERY DAY turns horror into something even more terrifying than usual. Now, she breaks all of the rules of science fiction.
In HIGH LIFE, Robert Pattinson plays one of several convicts on board a ship bound for deep space. The prisoners’ sentences might be commuted if they help extract energy from around a black hole. But there’s a power struggle of sorts, and a doctor played by Juliette Binoche, who is more interested in creating new life than finding energy, ends up dominating the mission. Things get bad and very weird — no matter what you expect science fiction to be, this movie is going to surprise you. (April 12)
AD ASTRA is the latest film from writer-director James Gray, a master filmmaker whose stellar work is constantly on the verge of more widespread popularity. For this film, he turns his eye to space.
Brad Pitt stars as Roy McBride, an Army Corps engineer who retraces his father’s steps to discover why the elder McBride’s mission failed. Thing is, the mission was a one-way trip to Neptune, seeking signs of intelligent life. Tommy Lee Jones plays the father of Pitt’s character, while Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, LisaGay Hamilton and Jamie Kennedy have other roles. (May 24)
Check back with the AMC® Scene for more sci-fi movie news!