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10 Most Underrated Sci Fi Movies of the 21st Century

July 25, 2018
5 min read

Sci-Fi is easily one of the most popular genres in business. But most of the sci-fi movies coming out of the studios are either comic-book or more of an action adventure. There is hardly any science in those films. The really good science-fiction movies, more often than not, come from the stables of independent filmmakers (exceptions like Christopher Nolan‘s movies or ‘Solaris’ in the below list always exist). And hence, these films aren’t typically bid-budgeted but the ideas on which they are based on are fascinating. Today, we will look into the list of most underrated sci-fi movies of the 2000s. You can some of the underrated sci-fi films on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

10. Sunshine (2007)

The story of the film revolves around a team of international astronauts, who are sent on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying Sun with a nuclear fission bomb in 2057. It is one of the rare films that combines action and science-fiction with electrifying results. Though, it is a little sad to see that such a gem of a film coming from the stables of an Oscar-winning director, Danny Boyle, is yet to be discovered by the cinephiles.

9. Source Code (2011)

From Duncan Jones, who previously directed ‘Moon’, ‘Source Code’ is movie which leaves us more than perplexed at the end. Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Colter Stevens is a pilot and a part of secret program of the government, by which he is given to relive the last few minutes in the life of another man, who died in a train explosion. Stevens is needed to learn the identity of the bomber, but when he takes up the task, he sees many things are at stake, the least available being time. ‘Source Code’ gives a new twist to the time-travel films we are used to seeing, and does so brilliantly.

8. Solaris (2002)

A remake of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 classic and one of the few remakes that manages to retain the greatness of the original while approaching the story with a unique new perspective. Starring George Clooney, the film is the story of a troubled psychologist who is sent to investigate the crew of an isolated research station orbiting a bizarre planet. Mysterious, beautiful and affecting, ‘Solaris’ is about how cruel memories sometimes can be. Even though the film flopped when it released, it is well respected in sci-fi fan communities and among critics.

7. Predestination (2014)

‘Predestination’s a befitting reality to how time-travel movies are made, and how uncertain they are. It embodies a timeless traveller, revolving in time between 1945 to 1993 in search of the fizzle bomber. The movie plays Ethan Hawke as a “temporal agent” and Sarah Snook, his “predestination”. The opening scene, itself, is paradoxical start as it combines a time-loop of 3 generations. Overall, ‘Predestination’ is a film that may not have made much noise when it released but over time it surely will acquire a cult following.

6. Timecrimes (2007)

A fascinating film based on the idea of time-travel that will surprise you at every single turn. What also helps is the fact that apart from being bizarre, the film is also darkly humorous. Made at a very low budget in Spain, Los Cronocrimenes (aka Timecrimes) was the first feature film from writer and director Nacho Vigalondo (who also appears in the film as the scientist). This is a film that is waiting to be discovered by those who are in the constant lookout of great sci-fi movies.

5. Another Earth (2011)

Imagine waking up one day to find out that scientists have discovered another earth, which is an exact replica of our planet. Same people. Same environment. Same everything. Isn’t the idea fascinating? Yes, that’s the premise of this little gem of a brilliant film, ‘Another Earth’, which completely blew me away the first time I saw. One more thing. Wait for the climax. It’s amusing. And surprising!

4. Coherence (2013)

‘Coherence’, a story of eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of reality bending events, is essentially based on a scientific theory referred to as Schrödinger’s cat theory. Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935.  In simple terms, it is the possibility of existence of multiple simultaneous realities at the same time. A fascinating film based on even more fascinating idea. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.

3. Moon (2009)

Another entry from the stables of Duncan Jones. ‘Moon’ is a story of an astronaut spending his last few days on moon — before returning to earth — when something goes awry. It may have a simple premise but it is a movie with philosophical undertones that slowly and mysteriously builds to a great climax leaving you plenty to ponder upon. Two words: highly underrated.

2. Mr. Nobody (2009)

Choices. Isn’t our whole life at the end of the day a series of choices or decisions that we make? Based on a simple premise of a boy trying to decide whether he should go with his mother or stay with his father, results in one hell of an interesting film full of absorbing visuals and intriguing possibilities. The film got butchered by the critics; but don’t believe them. Thank me later.

1. Upstream Color (2013)

‘Upstream Color’ draws its cinematic flavor from the likes of Terrence Malick and David Lynch. The quality of film-making resonates with Malick’s style of unconventionality, but resembles more with David Lynch’s surrealism infused with reality. The movie requires skills as receptive as a synapse-spark to understand the plot in its essence. The best aspect of the film is that once you have understood every aspect of it, you’ll realize that it is more of a romantic tale than a science fiction. You will also realize what a genius Shane Carruth is.

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