The sci-fi roster on HBO Max includes classics from all over movie history, as well as recent blockbusters and a few hidden gems. Here are 1
Best Science Fiction Movies on HBO Max
Blade Runner 2049
It’s quite an impossible task to make a long-awaited sequel to one of the most influential sci-fi movies of all time, but director Denis Villeneuve manages Blade Runner 2049. If something, Blade Runner 2049 is more comprehensive and ambitious than its predecessor and travels further into the future world where humans coexist with Android replicants.
Harrison Ford reprises his role as replicant hunter Deckard, but Ryan Gosling is the real star as a replicant hunting his own kind, in search of a social acceptance he will never really get.
The girl with all the gifts
A zombie movie that’s more about living with zombies than defeating them, The girl with all the gifts undermines the genre while still telling an exciting, scary story. The title character is a young zombie who retains human intelligence and empathy along with her hunger for meat.
Together with her teacher (Gemma Arterton), she travels across England with a group of scientists in search of a cure for the fungus-based zombie pandemic. But the ultimate answer to moving humanity forward turns out to be something unexpected and powerful.
City-stomping giant lizard Godzilla became a bit of a pop culture punch line over the years, but the original 1954 Japanese Godzilla is a serious and effective disaster film. The film takes on the still-fresh legacy of the atomic bomb and presents Godzilla as a literal manifestation of the dangers of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation. There’s a real sense of menace as the monster races through Tokyo, and while Godzilla himself might look a little weird, the movie is anything but.
Roland Emmerich’s alien invasion movie independence Day is pure blockbuster cheese, but it is one of the best cheeses out there. The plot is simple: aliens attack Earth, humans fight back.
Emmerich focuses on a handful of resourceful characters who take on the aliens, including a hotshot pilot played by Will Smith, an insightful engineer played by Jeff Goldblum, and an unusually energetic US president played by Bill Pullman. There are dogfights and massive explosions destroying the city, and the rousing tone and impressive special effects help viewers forgive the stupid plot.
More than thirty years after directing Alien, Ridley Scott returns to the sci-fi franchise with prequel Prometheus. Unlike the horror in one location of Alien or the action-oriented approach of later episodes, Prometheus is primarily a meditative science fiction film with horror and action elements.
It does not feature any of the recognizable aliens from previous films, but instead explores the origins of that species and humanity’s travels across the universe. It’s a thoughtful and beautifully rendered journey into a harsh alien world.
The Russian film master Andrei Tarkovsky delivers a grim meditation on human existence Solaris. Based on Stanislaw Lem’s novel, Solaris takes place on a space station above a mysterious planet. A psychologist is sent to investigate the strange behavior of the residents of the station, and he discovers that they have encountered apparitions of their deceased loved ones.
Solaris features terrifying visuals and performances as the characters struggle to understand the planet’s effects on them and discern what is real – and whether that even matters.
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is a deliberately confusing spy story about time travel, or rather, characters navigating time both backward and forward. The dense plot might be hard to figure out, but Nolan delivers the stunning action sequences, especially in scenes that appear early in the movie and return later, only in the opposite direction.
There are plenty of storylines to follow that the potentially world-ending stakes are clear, and Nolan retains an air of mystery that makes the movie more intriguing than frustrating.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
In addition to James Cameron’s two original films, the Terminator sequels are inconsistent at best. But director Jonathan Mostow delivers an exciting sci-fi action film with it Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, with the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a reformed killer cyborg from the future.
Schwarzenegger’s T-800 takes on a new, deadlier cyborg (Kristanna Loken) who has been sent back in time to assassinate future resistance leader John Connor (Nick Stahl). Terminator 3 features some fantastic action sequences along with an admirably bleak ending that ties into the themes of the franchise’s inevitable fate.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey is a fascinating mix of intellectual challenge and trippy mind bender. The film begins at the dawn of humans with primates discovering tools, before zooming in on the future to reveal a self-aware computer slowly turning on its human masters.
Kubrick asks questions about the nature of existence and also takes a psychedelic journey through the cosmos. Killer computer HAL 9000 is chilling, but the film is most disturbing in its abstract, inexplicable finale.
V for Vendetta
Based on a graphic novel written by comic book legend Alan Moore and edited by the Wachowskis, V for Vendetta is a striking vision of the future with a powerful political message. Hugo Weaving plays the masked freedom fighter V, who takes on the totalitarian regime of a dystopian future society. Natalie Portman plays a journalist who is V’s prisoner and protege, who eventually takes up his revolutionary mantle.
The film offers powerful social commentary and indelible imagery (most notably V’s Mask, which has inspired political movements in real life).