Science fiction is always a popular genre at the movies as it brings worlds and creatures that we can otherwise only imagine to life. It's about living in the future or traveling through space. It shows us technology that may never exist. At it's best, it uses this distance from reality to show us something truly real. It's the perfect genre for those that use the cinema as a place to escape reality, while still thinking critically about the world around us.
Some of the best movies of the year were science fiction films, so this list isn't just the best of the genre, but also some of the best films you could have seen this year. Here are the best sci-fi films of 2017.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
While pretty much the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe could be considered science fiction, there's no more sci-fi corner of that universe than the Guardians of the Galaxy. Hopes were high for James Gunn's follow up to the first film, and the sequel delivered. While being as funny and full of action as the original, the sequel added an element of heart that we had not seen before. It made each of the characters stronger on their own, and stronger together, than they had been before. Also, it had a sweet soundtrack.
4. War For The Planet Of The Apes
Who would have thought when the new Planet of the Apes trilogy started that any of them would be so good. They all were, and yet, War for the Planet of the Apes may be the best so far. The trilogy comes to an emotional and satisfying conclusion, and Andy Serkis' performance as Caesar is remarkable. There's a reason that some are calling for Serkis to be considered for the Academy Award. The end of the Apes trilogy is a compelling film that makes the apes feel as human as any other character, which is part of what good science fiction does so well.
3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
We knew that Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be a successful movie, but few of us were prepared for the film being quite as good as it turned out to be. The Last Jedi challenges our notions of what a Star Wars movie can be, all without losing a bit of what makes a movie "a Star Wars movie" in the first place. It expands the galaxy far, far, away in a way that no entry has before. It introduces great new characters and takes familiar ones to unexpected places. It's surprising and shocking and fantastic.
2. The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro has been a master of creating remarkable creatures, but who knew he was equally good at building a love story for one of them. The Shape of Water is the beautiful tale of a relationship between a mute woman and a non-human (Sally Hawkins) creature that's been captured by the government. Unable to speak, we watch the relationship blossom in silence, but it's no less beautiful simply because of one of them is not human. The relationship between man and alien creatures is a staple of sci-fi, and The Shape of Water is no less that sort of story simply because this alien comes from our own planet.
1. Blade Runner 2049
After three decades, fans of the cult classic Blade Runner finally got a sequel and it was everything they wanted and more. Blade Runner 2049 is a visually stunning movie while also being ever bit the noir detective thriller of its predecessor. Denis Villeneuve weaves together a masterful piece of science fiction, which is remarkable for being quite possibly better than the original. While it's light on the action that tends to dominate a lot of the genre, it deals with real questions about our existence, as the best science fiction does. This isn't just about the question of who is human, but also what that even means.