20 Underrated Sci-fi Movies You May Have Not Seen Yet
Are we so shallow that it only takes a few laser pistols, flying cars, and matching jumpsuits to get our creative juices flowing? Are we so in love with the ideas behind the futuristic concepts of sci-fi movies that we’re willing to overlook massive flaws in storytelling? Or are sci-fi movies just vastly, vastly underrated by critics and audiences who can’t get past the androids and nanobots?
To be frank, while there’s been a ton of bad sci-fi product coming out of Hollywood over the years (looking at you, Wing Commander), there’s been just as much that hasn’t nearly received the credit it deserves. Here are our picks for 20 sci-fi movies that don’t nearly get the credit they deserve.
20. The Man Who Fell To Earth
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a daring exploration of science fiction as an art form. The story of an alien on an elaborate rescue mission provides the launching pad for Nicolas Roeg’s visual tour de force, a formally adventurous examination of alienation in contemporary life.
Rock legend David Bowie, in his acting debut, completely embodies the title role, while Candy Clark, Buck Henry, and Rip Torn turn in pitch-perfect supporting performances. The film’s hallucinatory vision was obscured in the American theatrical release, which deleted nearly twenty minutes of crucial scenes and details.
19. Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Special effects wunderkind and genre master Byron Haskin (The War of the Worlds, The Outer Limits) won a place in the hearts of fantasy film lovers everywhere with this gorgeously designed journey into the unknown.
Robinson Crusoe on Mars tells the story of U.S. astronaut Commander “Kit” Draper (Paul Mantee), who must fight for survival when his spaceship crash-lands on the barren waste of Mars, a pet monkey his only companion. But is he actually alone?
Shot in vast Techniscope and blazing color, this is an imaginative and beloved marvel of classic science fiction.
18. Black Moon
Louis Malle meets Lewis Carroll in this bizarre and bewitching trip down the rabbit hole. After skirting the horrors of a mysterious war being waged in the countryside, beautiful young Lily (Cathryn Harrison) takes refuge in a remote farmhouse, where she becomes embroiled in the surreal domestic life of an extremely unconventional family.
Evocatively shot by cinematographer Sven Nykvist, Black Moon is a Freudian tale of adolescent sexuality set in a postapocalyptic world of shifting identities and talking animals. It is one of Malle’s most experimental films and a cinematic daydream like no other.
This is where we get into the politics of calling a movie “underrated.” Tron, Disney’s 1982 foray into sci-fi and one of the godfathers of computer-generated imagery, has a fairly robust cult fan base and has inspired a slew of viral videos, fan sites, and lightcycle video games.
Tron, for all its faults (most of which revolve around its occasionally plodding narrative), is one of the most visually visionary films of the past 30 years and a darn fun adventure to boot, and it never gets enough credit for that.