Science fiction motion pictures capture our imagination, partially because many of them have an element of truth to them. Many of us have let our imaginations run about the unidentified flying objects that have now been acknowledged by the U.S. military, and all those Star Trek television series technologies seem to be everyday gadgets now. Yes, Capt. Kirk used a cellphone in 1973! But perhaps the most exciting Sci-Fi movies are those with the fate of humanity on the line. In these 5 Earth-shattering Sci-Fi movies, humanity hangs in the balance.
The 1998 Sci-Fi flick earned four Academy Award nominations, and none of them involved the actors. That’s particularly funny given this action-comedy enjoys a household name cast that includes Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, William Fichtner, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Peter Storage. J.J. Abrams was even involved in the screenplay.
The colorful cast of misfits is tasked with drilling a hole into an asteroid traveling at high speeds under the most dangerous conditions imaginable before it obliterates Earth. What could go wrong? Pretty much everything, which is why it was 1998’s highest-grossing film.
Ranked among the more underrated in the science fiction genre, M. Night Shyamalan wrote, directed, and produced, one of the most intriguing alien invasion movies, bar none. Mel Gibson stars as a preacher who lost his faith after the untimely death of his wife. Joaquin Phoenix plays his younger brother, a somewhat rudderless ex-baseball slugger helping to keep the family farm afloat and children safe from what comes next.
Enter militant aliens deploying crop signs to conduct reconnaissance missions in the 2002 thriller. Some factions see the alien presence as first contact, others as the end of days, but when the invasion begins, the former preacher, two children, and brother fight to survive. During the attack, God’s plan is revealed through telltale signs.
3: The Terminator
The 1984 film did things that made it the envy of the science fiction genre. Rather than start in the tired old post-apocalyptic future, the battle for human existence is fought in the present. The second thing the Terminator did was give the enemy of mankind a face — Arnold Schwarzenegger. The former Mr. Olympia bodybuilding champion perfected the relentless killer.
“Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead,” Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) says.
The Terminator throws in a coming-of-age theme through Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), who goes on to become one of the grittiest heroines in Sci-Fi. The Terminator sparked a franchise of courageous humans and determined cyborgs.
4: Star Trek
The 2009 Star Trek reboot and ensuing films prove to be even more interesting than the original 1970s television show that inspired six feature films. A newly-minted Starfleet officer, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) earns his way through the academy. We learn about his heroic Starfleet captain father, who saved hundreds of lives. The personalities of Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), Ohura (Zoe Saldana), and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), among others, are brilliantly re-invented.
It’s an entertaining re-imagining of the crew of the Starship Enterprise who are tasked with defeating Capt. Nero (Eric Bana), a vengeful time-traveling Romulan determined to destroy Earth by creating a black hole using red matter. The Star Trek reboot is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride.
5: War of the Worlds
The 2005 War of the Worlds movie starring Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier revives the conspiracy theory about a real-life invasion that may have occurred in 1938. After a Halloween radio broadcast narrated by Orson Welles feigned an incursion, some believe aliens were thwarted and the incident was covered up.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, Ray Ferrier and his brother Robbie Ferrier (Justin Chatwin) embark on a harrowing journey from New Jersey to Boston to unite his family. Extraterrestrials have little difficulty harvesting humans for food. But that level of defenselessness isn’t the most Earth-shattering aspect of the recent War of the Worlds film.