Best sci-fi on Netflix - Looper
Look at the sci-fi films of years gone by, and among all the shiny rocketships and teleporters, there's one thing that they didn't predict: streaming movies at the touch of a button.
Fortunately, we live in Space Year 2016, where we have such things as Netflix; no longer are we bound by the tyranny of the DVD shelf. But with so many films available on the service, how do you whittle them down? We've picked out the best sci-fi on Netflix, from mind-bending time travel flicks to big-budget action.
In the mood for something from another genre? Check out our list of the 40 very best movies and TV shows on Netflix.
Looper is a superb, mind-bending, futuristic, time-travelling action-thriller that sees Joseph Gordon-Levitt assume the role of an assassin whose job consists of putting a bullet in the head of people teleported to his time by a future mob organisation (holy plot line, Batman).
But when the poor sap that appears before him is his future self (played by Bruce Willis), things get rather, well, complicated.
The intricate plot is strongly complimented by plenty of action and strong performances from all, although Gordon-Levitt’s Bruce Willis-like prosthetic nose is initially a little distracting.
Words by Esat Dedezade
It's the future, and everything sucks. Big time. Human emotions are banned, as they always lead to pesky things like love, war, and fights down the local pub. The masses are kept in check through daily compulsory doses of emotion-numbing drugs, and Christian Bale is is on hand with guns and kung fu skills to help enforce the law.
That is, until he stops dosing himself, turns on the Orwellian government, and fights the establishment with a spray of bullets and slick martial art manoeuvres. Oh, and a katana may enter the fray at some point too.
It might not be Mr Bale's finest work (it definitely isn't), but it's fun nonetheless.
Words by Esat Dedezade
Star Trek: First Contact
When the Borg attempt to travel back in time to prevent mankind making first contact with the Vulcans, it's down to Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterpirse to thwart them. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry envisaged a utopian future free of conflict; First Contact chucks such lofty aspirations out of the airlock, gleefully pitting the phaser-toting Enterprise crew against remorseless cyborg adversaries in what amounts to a restaging of Die Hard aboard a spaceship.
It's smart in borrowing from the series' best entries; Picard's obsessive pursuit of the Borg echoes the Moby-Dick allusions from The Wrath Of Khan, while a fish-out-of-water time-travel comedy subplot is taken straight from The Voyage Home.
If you reduced Arnold Schwarzenegger to a Platonian concept - a simple distillation of what constituted Peak Arnie - you’d get Predator. He chews on a big cigar; he kills people then makes corny wisecracks; he shoots guns; he has muscles; he gurns and grimaces and grunts; he acts like the goddamn American hero he is; he Arnies.
Predator’s not just an Arnie film though. It also stars Apollo Creed and a famous ’80s wrestler and a guy in a big monster suits with dreadlocks, and a load of other big guys with muscles who all die. It’s all a bit rubbish and schlocky, obviously, but it’s not like you watch an Arnie film expecting Cinema Paradiso. Accept it for what it is and enjoy it. You won’t be disappointed.
Words by Marc Mclaren
Joss Whedon's sequel to his short-lived sci-fi series Firefly had a thankless task; winning over new viewers while keeping the fans happy – and wrapping up a season's worth of plotlines in two hours. And Whedon pulls it off, pretty much: Serenity appeals to newbies almost as much as seasoned Firefly veterans.
Its scuzzy, lived-in sci-fi world where good and bad is far from cut-and-dried is more believable and more appealing than the clean, black-and-white settings more common to space operas, there’s action aplenty, and its cast of flawed characters makes for an enjoyable emotional ride. But it couldn’t serve to satiate Firefly fans, of course, leading to frequent calls for the series to be brought back, Arrested Development-style, for a true final season. If anyone's going to do it, it's Netflix.