I’ve been a huge science fiction fan my entire life, not just in books but also in movies. Movies aren’t just entertaining; a lot can be learned from them in terms of how to tell a story effectively. Through a combination of great acting, amazing special effects, and a spectacular story, some movies still stand out in my mind and offer science fiction authors and readers alike all the inspiration they could ask for. There are some clear classics, such as “Blade Runner’ and ‘E.T.’ and modern day blockbusters like ‘The Matrix’ and ‘Inception,’ but there are also movies that deserve more attention. Here’s my list of ‘5 Underrated Science Fiction Movies’.
- Time Crimes – A Spanish movie about a man who stumbles upon a murder, then realizes a nearby facility is experimenting with time travel. I can’t keep track of how many movie premises fall apart when you actually think about the flaws in their time travel scenarios. This movie teaches all of those movies a lesson about how time travel paradoxes could play out. Add in great acting and storytelling and you have a science fiction movie everyone should see.
- Pie (the mathematical symbol) – A genius begins to unravel the power behind the famous mathematical number. This movie excels purely on the directing and the script, both of which are captivating. This is the type of movie that needed to be a low budget independent film rather than a big budget, polished Hollywood summer hit.
- Primer – A pair of friends build a time travel machine in their garage, then quickly realize the disastrous unintended effects it could have. In recent years, many movies have copied this scenario. Before all of them, this independent movie—made on the budget of the cost of a used car—perfected the subgenre. The script is far superior to the later, bigger budget movies and the storytelling is much more realistic.
- Dark City – A man begins to suspect the city he lives in isn’t an ordinary city at all. Before ‘The Matrix’ revolutionized the movie-going experience, Dark City was giving viewers a nearly identical premise, delivered through suspense and illusions rather than kung fu and crazy action.
- Sunshine – A group of astronauts fly toward the sun to try and reignite it and save Earth from another ice age. The entire movie is dark and moody, giving a sense of the atmosphere that made ‘Blade Runner’ so amazing decades earlier. Through a combination of great cinematography, directing, and storytelling, Sunshine reminds viewers of everything that’s good about science fiction.