10. The Right Stuff (1983)
“The Right Stuff” feels like more of a miniseries than a singular movie when you watch it. To be critical, the film is a bit long-winded and expansive, but still captures the interesting characters that were the American space pioneers. The film boasts an impressive cast and a number of memorable scenes.
9. Gravity (2013)
People seem to either love or hate “Gravity.” Sure, the movie ran a bit too long and the dialogue seemed kinda artificial, but the plot itself was pretty brilliant. I honestly think this one would have been much better as an indy film rather than a Hollywood blockbuster.
8. Apollo 13 (1995)
“Apollo 13” is not a complex movie by any stretch of the imagination. The plot is simple and straight-forward. Add in the fact that the movie is based on true events and you’d think suspense would go right out the window. You’d be wrong…very, very wrong. See, Ron Howard brilliantly constructed interesting and endearing characters that became significant to the viewer. Thus, in seeing them in peril, the collective heart rate of the audience raised quite a bit.
7. Solaris (1972)
While the George Clooney remake was not a bad film at all, the original was a masterwork in the psychology of science-fiction. Without spoiling it too much, the story revolves around a psychologist who must uncover the truth as to why spacefarers are going mad. What he finds is that there’s a thin line between salvation and insanity.
6. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
While the first Star Trek movie was disappointing at best, the sequel brought us the complexities to which viewers of the TV show had become accustomed. Mix in a three-dimensional villain to the legendary cast, and you’ve got a major hit. And that ending…no spoilers here!
5. Aliens (1986)
The sequel to “Alien” was more a sci-fi action romp than its predecessor. Nonetheless, the movie was equally impressive and giving the titular alien an impressive human adversary, was a stroke of genius. “Aliens” also defied gender stereotypes to make Ripley one of the most badass action movie heroes.
4. Star Wars (1977)
The crazy thing about “Star Wars” is that few of the cast and crew thought the film would be anything more than a B-movie. What it obviously turned into was one of the most successful film franchises in history. One of the main reasons is the expansiveness of the Star Wars universe. As a viewer, you get to explore seemingly infinite worlds and their inhabitants. Thus, making “Star Wars” a true-blue viewing experience.
3. Alien (1979)
“Alien” combined state-of-the-art special effects with the slow burn pacing of monster movies from bygone eras. The alien in question was about as horrific as any you could ever imagine. And the way it reproduced…just ghastly. The whole idea of confining the action in space led to an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia and dread.
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
“2001” is regularly described as a ballet in space. The film is delicate, smooth, and provocative. There’s less a focus on plot or characters as there is on an emotional and meaningful viewing experience. For the casual moviegoer, this one is quite a bit to digest in one sitting. So, multiple viewings are greatly recommended.
1. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
“The Empire Strikes Back” is pretty much “Star Wars'” brooding, Emo older brother. The film is about as complex and contemplative as any “mainstream” sci-fi film. Throughout much of its runtime, “Empire” is dark and subtly horrific, almost “Requiem For A Dream” set in the Lucas universe. The final act is filled with tragedy, suspense, and shock…in one of film history’s biggest plot twists.